What Do You Do?

The other day, I was talking to someone about becoming a freelance writer, and the real and/or perceived struggles I am experiencing. Anyway, I had an epiphany and I wanted to share it here. Maybe it will be helpful to you, particularly if you’re thinking about self-employment.

Being someone who willingly walked away from a “good job” to pursue a freelance career, I just realized that one of the most difficult aspects of this transition for me is figuring out how to answer the question, “What do you do?”

How to answer the question, "What do you do?" when you're self-employed (especially newly self-employed).

Here’s how I typically end up answering, “What do you do?”

Um. Well. I’m a freelance writer, but I only have a couple of clients. I just quit my job three months ago, so I am kind of still figuring it out. So, we’ll see if it ends up working out for me or not.

You know what that sounds like?

It sounds like I don’t believe in myself. It sounds like I’m worried about what other people are going to think about my life choices. It sounds like I’m making excuses. (These are true to some degree.)

That lovely saying you’ll hear about a gazillion times between the time you finish college and when you retire or die comes to mind: Fake it ’til you make it. Clearly, I need to take that a step further.

Fake it until you can fake it better.
I’m bad at faking it. I have no patience for inauthenticity, which is why I sometimes swing a bit too far in the other direction with extreme honestly and too much information. I let my feelings about how I’m doing encroach on the facts about what I’m doing.

So what do I do? Tell people what I do without implied question marks or caveats.

I’m a freelance writer, a content strategist, and a small business owner.

Simple, true, and to the point.