7 Freelancer Stereotypes That Are Totally True

Life as a freelancer looks different for everyone, and it doesn’t look very much like what non-freelancers think it does. No, we don’t sit in our pajamas all day, and no, we’re not kindly saying we’re “freelancing” when what we mean is we’re unemployed.

However, there are a few common threads in freelance life which actually are true a lot of the time. Which isn’t to say that they’re true for everyone, but in a lot of cases, these freelancer stereotypes exist because, well, they really are rooted in fact.

We like MacBooks. I don’t have exact figures on this — because no one’s really studied the technological preferences of freelancers, at least not in a way that I could find — however, if a hashtag search of Twitter and Instagram tell me anything, it’s that freelancers really do prefer the portable, durable, powerful MacBook Air as their go-to machine.

A photo posted by Jesse Higson (@frontendjesse) on

We sometimes work from coffee shops. Ok, sometimes we work from co-working spaces because they are cool and fun, but they’re also a little pricey for those of us who are just starting out. So, for a change of scenery, and because our houses get boring, many freelancers do, indeed, pick up our stuff and head out to plug in and work while we watch the world go by.


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We work all the time. It’s kind of difficult to thoroughly unplug when your house is your office and your personal computer is your work computer, so some freelancers do have a really hard time striking that whole work/life balance thing just right. Though that also often means we find ways to get paid while on vacation, so it could be worse.

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We don’t like offices. There’s a distinctly untrue perception that one of the reasons that freelancers prefer to work for themselves is because they’re not very social people; what’s more likely is that we really value productivity, and office spaces have been shown to be pretty unproductive. Commuting to an office can also be difficult, depending on where you live, and can take up a lot of time. So yes, we do prefer to work outside of an office. That’s just one of the reasons we’ve chosen this.

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We’re big networkers: If you invite us to an event and inform us that there’s free food and/or an open bar, expect us to be there. Both because of the free food, and because we understand the need to network. After all, we have to be. To make it work as a freelancer, you do have to have a pretty thick list of contacts who might like to hire you. Plus, working around others who are creative makes us feel more creative. So yes, we probably will ask you to meet us for coffee at some point, because…

A photo posted by Jaana Brett (@jaanabrett) on

We love caffeine. To be fair, everyone loves caffeine, don’t they?

We don’t want to go back to a 9-to-5: According to research from Crunch Accounting, most full-time freelancers wouldn’t take a traditional job opportunity if it came their way. Why? Because for some of us, there just isn’t another way to do it.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.