It’s National Freelancers Day 2011: Time for us to drop the term ‘freelance’ for good?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011, 18:25 | Category : General
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Today is the third “annual celebration of freelancers” (www.nationalfreelancersday.org.uk) in the UK, a campaign designed to raise the profile of independent working as a career choice, and run by NFP freelance representative organisation PCG.

No doubt a worthwhile campaign with good intentions, but it got us talking about the term “freelance” and its perception in the comms industry.

In short, we think its past its best. If anything it often carries negative connotations – someone that lacks loyalty and goes where the money is – “free-loader”, “Sir Lance-a-lot” etc. This is actually no surprise when you think about its origin – first coined by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Ivanhoe, where he referred to a “medieval mercenary warrior” as a Free Lance:

“I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”

Determined and focussed perhaps, but beyond that not quite the connotations we are after.

For us, we feel the term freelance fails to do justice to what we do, and the standards and professionalism of the people we work with. We’ve developed a rigorous entry process and strict standards, aimed to smarten up the market in the comms sector. We tailor fit the best independent professionals to specific brands, as well as building teams, to provide the best-fit scalable solution available to our clients.

There are undoubtedly those out there in the comms industry that have damaged the freelance name – causing literally more trouble than they are worth. So they can keep it. However, we feel that the professionals we work with deserve something better. Something that we can coin here and take out to the industry, starting with our own clients (direct and agencies alike).

So we’re keen to hear your suggestions and thoughts. Post your these on our LinkedIn Group page – The Buzz Board – or email them over, and we’ll chose a favourite and post it here next week.

We are serious about this and keen to cut the word “freelance” from our own marketing materials across the board, so it would be great to know what you think.

Russell

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