The Ten Types of Freelancers: Which One Are You?

During my years of working online and interacting with other freelancers, I’ve noticed that most freelancers seem to fit into several personality types. Each type of freelancer seems to have a number of common character traits.

It can be fun and helpful to examine these freelancing personality types. Often times your freelancing personality type can show what makes you act the way you do as a freelancer.

So, what type of freelancer are you?

(This article is intended to take a lighthearted look at the various freelancing personality traits. It is based purely on my own impressions and not any kind of scientific study…)

Freelancing Personality Types

Here are the ten freelancing personality types that I’ve worked with over the years. See if you can recognize any of them. You may even find that you fit into one (or more) of these types.

  1. Loner. The freelancing Loner is exactly what it sounds like – a person who prefers to work alone rather than as part of a team. Often, the Loner desires a quiet or isolated environment. He or she may also work unconventional hours. The Loner may be alone, but usually they are not lonely.
  2. Social Butterfly. The Social Butterfly freelancer is easily recognized by his or her prominent presence on nearly every available form of social media. While most freelancers participate in a few forms of social media, the Social Butterfly is drawn to and active in all forms of social media.
  3. Empire Builder. You’ll probably recognize the Empire Builder because of how quickly their business expands. In a matter of months, it seems, they are expanding their business and hiring others. Often an empire-building freelancer moves out of the realm of freelancing into the corporate realm rather quickly.
  4. Controller. For some freelancers, it’s all about being in control. Generally speaking, a controller does not like to have a boss or manager over them. Controllers work best when they are given a general direction and allowed to make most of the major decisions for themselves.
  5. All About The Money. While all freelancers work to earn their living, this particular freelancing personality is driven primarily by the profit motive. He or she may move into and out of new ventures rather quickly, dropping activities when they discover that an activity does not provide enough profit.
  6. Balancing Act. This type of freelancer is primarily lifestyle driven. They strive for a better quality of life. Often, he or she has other demanding responsibilities in addition to their freelancing work. The Balancing Act freelancer may also value being location independent and being able to set their own hours.
  7. Consummate Professional. To the Consummate Professional, their reputation is everything. He or she wants to be known for the high quality of their work. For this freelancer, getting a byline or other recognition for their work is extremely important.
  8. Anti-corporate. I just recently ran across this type of freelancer. As I was waiting in an airport, I overheard two freelancers talking to each other. “I’m against anything corporate,” the one freelancer said to the other. “I work mainly for individuals and other freelancers.
  9. Experimental. The Experimental freelancer is someone who is trying on freelancing. Often they are looking for a life-change. He or she may have recently lost their traditional employment. Some experimental freelancers will embrace freelancing permanently. Others will move on after a few months.
  10. Semi-retired. The Semi-Retired freelancer is a seasoned professional who has chosen to come out of retirement to freelance. Usually, they have many years of professional experience to offer. Their driving factor is the need to be active and to contribute. Frequently, they prefer to work part-time.

Changing Your Freelancing Personality

If you notice that one freelancing personality type seems to fit you better than the others, ask yourself: “is this personality type good for my business?

If the answer is “no,” don’t panic. All is not lost. You may be able to take steps to change your freelancing personality type.

For example, if you feel that you are too much of a Loner, make it a goal to take on some projects where you must work with others. If you’re too controlling, make it a point to occasionally accept a project where you will have to follow someone else’s direction. If you’re Anti-corporate, ask yourself if you are missing out on lucrative assignments by not accepting corporate clients.

What Do You Think?

Do you fit into one (or more) of these personality types? Which ones?

Would you add any other types of freelancing personalities? Why, or why not?

Top image by luc legay