We vs I

Are you a “WE” or are you an “I”? As a freelancer, do you represent yourself to clients as something larger than yourself?

Some freelancers consider it “dishonest” to represent themselves as being an entity larger than one person. They figure that the client can see through your BS and see that you’re a “one man band”.

My view is that you present yourself the way you want your client to see you. If you want the client to see you as a one-person shop, then make sure you focus your energies on conveying that you are “I” and will bring your personal abilities to the task.

Some situations where that’s entirely appropriate:

– you’re looking to subcontract work from agencies
– you want to only take long-term contracts from one client at a time
– you are focused on landing smaller clients only
– you offer services that are of a more personal nature (e.g., writing)

Some clients want that one-person-shop feel.

However, if you want to land larger clients/projects or have more projects in-house than just one person could ever do at once, then even if you are a one-person shop, you should present yourself as being more capable than one person can possibly be. In this case, you aspire to be (or are) a micro-business and you should present yourself to clients that way.

And every marketing message about your business needs to convey “WE” and that your company will bring all its abilities to whatever tasks you’re trying to sell.

For my consulting firm, although I’m the only employee at this point, when I talk about the company’s abilities, I always use “we”. I have been doing this since day one and I have built the business to the point where I have three subcontractors working with me along with a couple of web design firms and my wife contracts for providing marketing services.

And, yes, initially it felt dishonest referring to my company as “we”. But then I realized that I was representing my company and not just myself.

Because you don’t refer to a company or business as “I”.

So are you a “WE” or an “I”? Do you have a company that wants to be more than just its founder or are you an individual who is content representing yourself?

Choose your direction and make sure all your marketing messages match that decision.

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