freelancer n : A person hired to do specific assignments, not employed continuously
The world of the freelancer is a stressful place to be.
In my career as a Communications Specialist I have worked with many different clients, in many different business sectors and have often been approached by marketing, advertising and PR agencies to provide freelance support.
For me, freelancing is a secondary activity, smoothing out the inevitable peaks and troughs in workflow that beleagues the self-employed, and is an activity that I enjoy immensely.
However, the role of freelancer is in danger. Like the corner shop that has gone before them, the freelancer’s true worth to the communications industry will only be realised after they have long gone.
Let’s look at the evidence.
Over the years the supermarket has emerged supreme – cheaper and easier to access – but it lacks the convenience and quality that the corner shop offers. The smaller, more specialist corner shop is always there if needed, when it suits, but taken for granted. Occasionally it’s used, picked up and put down when the whim takes, however, the commitment of long-term support or the guarantee of on-going loyalty is totally out of the question.
Fast forward a while to a Christmas Eve when an essential ingredient has been forgotten and is needed urgently for the following day. The faithful corner shop springs to mind for the purchase but it is no more. Forced out of business due to lack of support, it has long closed its doors forcing the essential ingredient needed desperately for Christmas Day even further from reach.
Like the old adage, nothing is truly appreciated until it’s gone.
I do hope that communications agencies wake up in sufficient time to recognise the true worth of the freelancer before they are extinct, for they are the foundations on which the industry is built.
I must confess, however, that a smile was brought to my face when I learned that the term ‘freelance’ was also defined as “a mediaeval mercenary”.
Perhaps the freelancer needs to re-connect with their mediaeval ancestors and become a bit of a mercenary to survive.