Whether you’ve just begun your freelance career or you’ve been working online for some time already, a question you might not have considered yet is:
Do you want to be a freelancer or a consultant?
When I first started out as a freelancer, I didn’t really understand the difference between the two terms. Even now, most people use them interchangeably, but there are some significant differences that should be considered when planning out the future of your business.
What’s the Difference Between A Freelancer And A Consultant?
A freelancer can work for either a single individual/business or several at the same time. They are typically hired on a project-by-project basis. They are given an assignment, they complete it and they get paid. Freelancers can have regular clients or they can have new ones all the time. This is the way I started working from home many years ago.
A consultant, on the other hand, is someone that people or businesses turn to for guidance and advice. They are also hired to complete an assignment but are given much more freedom to use their skills and experience to complete it in a way that helps the client achieve their goals.
As a freelance copywriter, for example, might have the exact format, wording, and ‘voice’ of the assigned copy dictated to them. They must tailor their writing to match the exact wishes of their client. Even if they know a better way to do something, they must defer to the instructions of their client.
In contrast, a consultant would be asked their opinion and trusted to provide the sales copy based on their recommendations. They have much more freedom to use their creativity and abilities to serve their client.
What Are The Benefits Of Being A Freelancer Or A Consultant?
There are benefits to both positions. It is up to you to determine which role is best for you. Let’s take a look at the difference:
- No huge expectations to be an authority in your field.
- Simply complete the tasks that you are assigned & get paid.
- No responsibility to help the client thrive and grow.
- May cause less stress
- May charge higher rates due to their expertise.
- Often have loyal clients who give them repeat business.
- Spend less time seeking out new clients
- Have more freedom to exercise their knowledge and talents.
Should You Be A Freelancer Or A Consultant?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Every freelance professional has their own reasons, goals, and agendas for doing what they do. I worked online part-time for a few years before transitioning to full-time self-employment through freelancing. At that time, being a consultant would not have been a smart choice for me. I simply did not have the experience or the time to invest in large projects.
Positioning yourself as a consultant might be the way for you to go, though, if your goal is to build a solid full-time business. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Think about what is right for you and your family before committing to one or the other. And remember, as an entrepreneur, you can redefine your job description at any time.
Making The Transition From Freelancer To Consultant
Consultants are usually researched pretty heavily before they are hired by an individual or a company. Having some experience and documentation of your abilities will be of great help when looking to land a new client.
Get your name out there by publishing great, valuable content, A LOT. You can do this on your own website and even other websites as a guest blogger. Write reports, ebooks, e-courses, and other training material to give away. Make a video series or host a webinar. Participate in social media groups and post regular, helpful content to your own accounts regularly. All of this will help establish your authority and build credibility.
Lastly, you can position yourself as an expert in your field by making helpful suggestions to your current clients when it is appropriate. Not all clients will be receptive to this, so use your best judgment on who would be the most receptive to unasked for advice.
You may be quite happy with your freelance business as it stands right now, and that is fine. But, if you would like to grow your business and make more money, adding ‘consultant’ to your list of services might be something worth considering.
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