Choosing Your Official Title as a Freelancer
As a freelancer, you are an expert in something but you don’t always have a title as a freelancer. Whether that is writing, graphic design, video editing, or anything else, you are an expert in your field. As an expert, one of the best ways to drum up business is working with bloggers and the media to get featured as an expert.
However, when someone from the media quotes you, they will typically ask for your title. So what do you say? Freelancer? Founder? President? CEO?
Let’s take a look at what to use for your title as a freelancer.
Why your title matters
As an online or offline worker, it is important to handle yourself professionally. One aspect of this is following the corporate tradition of having a title at work. In the past, I’ve had job titles including Financial Analyst, Senior General Accountant, Senior Treasury Analyst, Finance Analyst II, and Senior Financial Analyst. But now, I own my own company. Legally I’m the President, Treasurer, and Chief Executive Officer of Narrow Bridge Media, Inc., but that doesn’t always sound great when introducing yourself or in a written interview.
Your title should tell people what you do in a clear, easy to understand way. You’re the boss. You can make your title anything you want. But just because you can pick anything doesn’t mean just any choice is the right choice.
Choosing a professional title
For most freelancers, a professional title is the best option. A professional title should either show your position as owner of your own company or what you do. In the best case scenario, it may do both.
For example, if you own your own registered business you can absolutely call yourself President & CEO. But in many cases, that is not descriptive enough. In other cases, you could call yourself “Freelance Writer” or “Freelance Developer,” for example. I find that putting “freelance” in my title makes me look like a person than a business, so I drop the word freelance anytime I am sharing that I’m a writer. In fact, in some cases I’ve simply used “Writer” as my title. On my website, I use Writer, Speaker, and Consultant as my title, but in some publications that is too long and complicated.
According to freelance platform UpWork, the best title to get hired is simple and succinct. Highlighting your primary niche or area of expertise is definitely better than something vague or generic like “entrepreneur” or “jack of all trades.”
Fun titles can work too
In some industries or areas, notably the startup world, titles can be fun and creative. Copywriting Ninja, Graphics Guru, Social Media Rockstar, and other fun names work great if you are able to to use them in a creative manner. This type of title is best for creative type positions. If you are a freelance accountant, it is best to stick with a more professional title.
At one point, I jokingly suggested referring to one social media friend as Twitter Pirate. If you do go with a fun title, try to come up with something on your own. Ninja and rockstar were overused for a while, so something new and fresh can keep people on their toes.
Focus on the value you provide to clients
At the end of the day, your client doesn’t care what you call yourself. They just want you to do a great job and provide great work. If your title is ambiguous or complex, it might turn off potential new clients. If your title is about what you do for your client rather than about yourself, you are on the right track to great title.
But remember, if you don’t provide a quality, consistent, and reliable result, you’ll be stuck with the worst title of all: unemployed.