Drop the employee mindset

Freelancer Mindset vs Employee Mindset

Are you stuck in employee mindset or have you made the jump to freelancer mindset?


Employee mindset can totally sabotage your freelance writing success.

Questions about this have been popping up recently in my free Facebook group, things like “work history” and “qualifications” and freelance writing “resumes.” Some writers felt they couldn’t move forward in their business without these things.

But as a freelancer, you don’t have to have all those boxes checked in order to qualify for work. These are all symptoms of employee mindset, and they will keep you STUCK.

In this post, I’ll share why freelancing isn’t the same as being an employee, and how to shift into freelancer mode. I’ll also give you a list of things your freelance clients are legally NOT allowed to ask of you (even though I see it all the time).

Key Differences between Employee and Contractor Mindsets

If you’re having trouble making the shift from corporate employee mindset to freelancer, it helps to view yourself as a contractor. Not the construction contractor building your porch, but a person who works in a contractor role vs. an employee role. You are an independent business owner, not a remote working employee. Got it? Good!

This is SO important, because you are responsible for your taxes, your legal issues, and your autonomy.

Autonomy–again, you are an independent business owner, not a remote employee!

You have a portfolio, not a resume. Some jobs on job boards request resumes. While you can put together a writer’s resume, I try to avoid these gigs. They’re speaking the corporate lingo and don’t fully understand how freelancers work. Your portfolio emphasizes your skills and results, not the number of years you’ve been doing this.

You bear all the costs of doing business, which is why you need to charge higher rates than someone would pay an employee. You are responsible for providing your own equipment, paying for your own health insurance, and shelling out more for taxes, the taxes that an employer would normally pay.

Your work is based on RESULTS, not on history. It’s not which school you went to or how many years you’ve been in this profession, it’s your talent.

You should NOT be micromanaged. This is a business providing a service, within a reasonable time frame, for an agreed-upon sum of money. You are not an employee at a desk with a boss breathing over you. (Although I hope that doesn’t happen too often for people who work in an office…eww!)

The one thing sabotaging your freelance writing success

What Your Clients Can’t Demand of You

Your clients cannot tell you to work in a specific location.

They cannot tell you to work at specific times. They can tell you when they need the work by (i.e., a deadline), but not when you actually have to work on it.

Your clients cannot limit who else you work for. Please, don’t ever sign a non-compete agreement, EVER. You are cutting off other clients who you could work for if you do.

They cannot dictate the amount of hours that you work for other clients. If they want to reserve your time, they can pay you a retainer. This means that they pay you a set amount, usually monthly, to reserve your time for their projects. Then even if you work fewer hours for them during this time, they still pay you the set amount.

Your clients cannot tell you HOW to do the work. Your work process is yours; they cannot tell you to do it differently. They can plug you into their systems, if they need you to use a proprietary system. But they can’t tell you to research and then write your blog post in one sitting, when you work better researching and writing at the same time.

Join Us

If you have more questions about shifting into the freelance mindset, please come join us in my free Facebook group, the Ink Well Guild

If you need to fill out your portfolio, check out Clips Camp. It’s a three-week course for new and advanced new freelance writers who want to get started with high-paid client work. If you’re on Upwork or Fiverr and miserable, if you haven’t even done anything to get started and you don’t know what the first step is, then Clips Camp is for you.

I teach you how to put together a solid portfolio of writing samples that position you as the kind of awesome writer that awesome clients want to hire. If you want in on that or you just want more information, go to clipscamp.com, and I will see you on the inside!

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Ashley (24) (1)

After working with dozens of brilliant, hard-working entrepreneurs as a freelance writer, I learned a thing or two about great content. Now I bring my years of experience, practice, and self-study to bloggers and businesses that want to nail it in the content game.


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1 thought on “Freelancer Mindset vs Employee Mindset”

  1. I just wanted to reach out and say thank you. For twelve years I’ve made my fair share of excuses for not writing professionally, looking at job postings and thinking, “Well, shit, I don’t have five years of copywriting or content marketing experience.”

    Reading something like this, “Your portfolio emphasizes your skills and results, not the number of years you’ve been doing this…” really helps to quell some of the apprehension I’ve felt about whether I’m capable. It cements a perspective I’ve had for some time: that being one’s ability and work should speak louder than one’s professional or academic pedigree.

    So, for what it’s worth, thank you for the inspiration. I really needed it.

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