Sunday, June 16, 2024

What Ought to You Name Your self?

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Generally, when individuals ask what I do for a dwelling, I battle to actually describe it.

“Properly, I’m a contract author,” I typically say. However imagine it or not, not everybody actually is aware of what freelancing is. Additionally, that isn’t the one factor I do. It’s extra of a simple, catch-all time period. And—that is nit-picky, however I’ve been in enterprise for myself for a very long time and been very profitable at it. One way or the other, “freelance author” doesn’t actually seize all of that.

“I’m a author and PR marketing consultant,” is one other model I take advantage of. I all the time get numerous followup questions as to what “consulting” is and the main points of my every day work. I really feel that after I say the phrase marketing consultant, I’ve to someway show that what I do is an actual job. It carries just a few extra expectations.

And actually, what is consulting? And what’s freelancing? And what ought to I name myself professionally, for crying out loud?

The freelancing vs. consulting debate is long-running and complicated. And there’s actually no single proper reply. However all of us have to determine what language to make use of, and to try this, it may possibly assist to have a greater understanding concerning the historical past and context of each phrases.

On this article, we are going to attempt to untangle the variations, outline what you’re actually saying once you say freelancing vs. consulting, and enable you determine what phrases finest fit your function and enable you keep away from that awkward pause on the subsequent networking occasion when somebody asks, “So, what do you do?”

Freelancing vs consulting: what’s the distinction?

In case you are attempting to grasp freelancing vs. consulting, it’s necessary to actually dig into what every phrase means.

The phrase freelance comes from the e-book Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. What? You is likely to be saying––what does a e-book written within the 1800s need to do with my freelance job?

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In its first use, “freelance” meant actually a free lance––a warrior (presumably with a lance) who was not loyal to any territory or trigger, and fought whoever paid them probably the most.

It has since come to imply an expert who just isn’t locked right into a single firm, however sells their abilities to numerous shoppers and may come and go as they please––inside the phrases of their present contract. Freelancers do no matter is required, from coding pc software program to designing brochures, and every thing in between.

Seek the advice of is an excellent older phrase, compiled from French and Latin, which implies to name collectively or take recommendation. The phrase “marketing consultant” as a job really additionally comes from a e-book––on this case, Sherlock Holmes, though it might have been in use earlier than then.

Within the company world, consulting simply means to provide recommendation professionally. You could be a marketing consultant in virtually any trade, and what consultants do varies wildly. They’re typically introduced in to assist an organization resolve a particular drawback. Consultants would possibly provide authorized assist, fame administration, HR considerations, or virtually anything.

Whereas freelancing and consulting are related, they aren’t precisely the identical. Among the variations between freelancing vs. consulting are:

  • Freelancers are by no means full-time staff for one firm. A marketing consultant, then again, may go for a consulting agency, a big company or the federal government as a W2 worker.
  • Consultants typically signal on for a protracted time period, such because the period of a strategic shift, or are even saved on retainer. Whereas that is true for some freelancers, extra typically, a freelancer is introduced on for a particular job or collection of duties. When the work is completed, the contract is over.
  • Freelancers often have a number of shoppers directly. A marketing consultant most frequently stays with a single consumer till the issue is solved, after which strikes on to one thing else.
  • Consultants are inclined to work extra on the large image. They provide plans pushed by technique, and infrequently the enterprise does the implementation themselves. Or a full group of consultants works on these particulars. Freelancers usually tend to be employed to try this implementation work after the overarching path has been decided. This isn’t a set distinction. Some freelancers provide technique planning as a service, and a few consultants deal with the ways, however on the whole, consultants are extra centered on the grasp plan.
  • In a approach, all freelancers are consultants, as a result of they’re providing outdoors experience. However not all consultants are additionally freelancers, as a result of lots of them are full-time staff working for a single enterprise.

A lot of individuals use the phrases freelancer and marketing consultant interchangeably, however as you may see, the 2 roles are considerably completely different. That doesn’t imply you won’t be each issues, however it’s a good suggestion to know the nuances and guarantee you’re utilizing the proper title within the appropriate scenario.

Evaluating freelancing vs consulting

Whether or not you are attempting to determine what to name your self, or fascinated with a future profession and what varieties of abilities you want, right here’s a breakdown of freelancing vs. consulting.

freelancing vs consulting


Neither freelancing or consulting has an official diploma or coaching that’s required. Nonetheless, consultants are thought-about “specialists,” and want to actually know their stuff.

Usually a marketing consultant has a complicated diploma, in depth expertise, or each. Freelancers merely should present that they possess the talents for which they’re being employed. Training can definitely assist with this, however it isn’t seemingly {that a} consumer will request to see a diploma or transcript.

Authorized Considerations

Nobody needs to get in authorized bother, so it’s necessary to know the ropes if you end up fascinated with freelancing vs. consulting.

Technically, neither time period is legally outlined, so that you gained’t face a penalty for calling your self both a freelancer or a marketing consultant. In both enterprise, relying in your final targets, it’s possible you’ll need to contemplate hiring an lawyer to enable you arrange an LLC and defend your self.


When you’re in enterprise for your self, cash is fairly central to every thing you do. How are you going to make a dwelling? It seems that freelancing vs. consulting is structured fairly in a different way in terms of billing.

Freelancers can invoice their shoppers any approach they select: hourly, per mission, or by way of a retainer. They ship their very own invoices and receives a commission intermittently, relying on how they’ve set issues up and the way typically they bill for tasks. Usually, cost doesn’t occur till a mission is completed.

Consultants usually tend to be on a cyclical pay construction, often by way of a month-to-month or bi-monthly test or cash switch. Additionally necessary to know––usually consultants cost a better price than freelancers, attributable to their distinctive experience inside their discipline.

Getting Began

One other aspect of freelancing vs. consulting is how one can start.

Beginning a contract enterprise is fairly easy. Determine what marketable abilities you’ve got, construct a portfolio, and begin on the lookout for shoppers.

Consulting is a little more concerned. Companies on the lookout for a marketing consultant need somebody who is aware of so much about no matter a part of their enterprise they need assistance with.

To land high quality contracts, you want a level, confirmed expertise and a protracted record of references. In the event you decide to work for a consulting agency, a university diploma or some sort of certificates is likely to be sufficient to get you within the door. Working for your self, you’ll seemingly want somewhat extra meat in your resume.

freelancing vs consulting

Discovering Work

The place do freelancers and consultants discover their shoppers?

Many freelancers depend on handy freelance web sites to seek out and apply for area of interest gigs. In fact, it additionally helps to construct a web site, ask for referrals, provide lead magnets, and do numerous networking.

Consulting is somewhat completely different. Usually, consultants first have to persuade a enterprise that they want consulting companies, and speak themselves into the job. Consultants want phrase of mouth in a giant approach, and usually tend to do content material advertising and marketing and paid promoting to seek out their perfect shoppers. The bigger your consumer base, so long as you constantly present high quality service, the better it’s to seek out new consulting jobs.

Freelancing vs consulting: what’s the best phrase for you?

So, now you’re an professional in what freelancing vs. consulting means. However does that reply our unique query?

What do you name your self?

As you could have guessed, the reply just isn’t essentially an easy one.

The quick model is, you may name your self no matter you’d like. There’s no “freelancing vs. consulting” committee that provides you permission to be both a freelancer or a marketing consultant. Legally, neither title is tied to a certificates or license.

The longer model is that it most likely comes right down to your expertise degree.

A contractor simply beginning out, or shifting industries might be extra of a freelancer than anything. As you’re employed by way of varied tasks, acquire extra information, add to your portfolio or take new programs, you’ll begin to really feel extra assured in your work. When your shoppers utterly belief you to advise them on main choices, you would possibly contemplate restyling your self a marketing consultant.

If, then again, you’re branching out to work by yourself after years of expertise, being a sought-after professional amongst colleagues or shoppers, calling your self a freelancer is likely to be underselling your abilities. You may select to make use of the time period marketing consultant as a substitute, and certain cost a better going price proper off the bat.

Simply keep in mind, for those who promote your self as a marketing consultant, after which can’t ship a excessive degree of experience, problem-solving and strategic considering, you’re more likely to find yourself with annoyed shoppers who gained’t be recommending you to their community.

Contemplate this instance. A designer, contemporary out of faculty, decides to tackle contract work so as to journey for just a few years earlier than settling down in a single place. He decides on an inventory of companies he can simply present, and begins making use of for jobs on websites like Freelancer.com and indicators up for a service like SolidGigs to hunt out extra work. This designer might be calling himself a freelancer, as a result of he’s trying for lots of flexibility and freedom, is comparatively new to the trade and does particular duties.

One other instance is likely to be a mother who decides to take a break from the company rat race so as to spend extra time together with her youngsters. She has been working in advertising and marketing at varied corporations for over a decade and has some spectacular outcomes to point out for it.

There isn’t any purpose this lady shouldn’t ask for referrals from her previous shoppers, put collectively a killer web site, and arrange store as a marketing consultant at a better price than she was working for at her earlier place.

Freelancing vs. consulting comes right down to what appears to suit finest. There isn’t any set threshold if you end up “formally” a marketing consultant. Simply contemplate your strengths, weaknesses, and the extent you’re at at present.

Make the choice for your self

Freelancing vs. consulting; LLC vs. sole proprietorship; work at home vs. renting workplace house. There are such a lot of inquiries to ask your self when beginning a enterprise. Whether or not to name your self a freelancer or marketing consultant is likely to be one thing you’re fighting. You need to get it proper, so you’re studying all you may and attempting completely different titles as you go.

Freelancing vs consulting—freelancing is concerning the freedom to work for your self and pursue your ardour. Consulting is about offering detailed, confirmed, actionable recommendation that solves strategic issues.

Let me provide some recommendation. The extra necessary query is why?

Why do you need to go into enterprise for your self? Why are your abilities distinctive or invaluable? Why are you a great match in your goal shoppers?

The entire whys will enable you hold going when issues get arduous. They are going to enable you justify each your title and your charges as you promote your companies. They are going to information your targets and enable you make good choices.

Certain, it issues what you name your self, because it sends a transparent message to shoppers about who you’re and what you may provide. However whichever you select, having sound, well-thought-out whys for every thing you do will go a lot additional in impressing the following individual to ask you, “So, what sort of work do you do?”

Preserve the dialog going…

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Profile Image: Kylie Burgener

Written by Kylie Burgener

Employees at Millo.co

Kylie Jackson Burgener is a mom of three and a contract marketing consultant, specializing in public relations, writing and content material advertising and marketing. She is a cofounder of Measured Melodies, a leveled piano sheet music system for piano lecturers and college students. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina together with her household.

Kylie’s Articles

Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, at Millo.

At Millo, we attempt to publish solely the very best, most reliable and dependable content material for freelancers. You may study extra by reviewing our editorial coverage.

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