A note to freelancers: “we” is your pronoun

I recently hired a freelancer named Tom. His work was absolutely beautiful. his communications were prompt and crisp. But there was one thing that bothered me.

As our deadline approached, Tom started talking about your targets, your deadlines, your tasks.

He was distancing himself from our project. He was implying that if we miss my deadline, it wouldn’t be his fault – he’s just a freelancer.

I don’t think he was doing it intentionally. It’s a subconscious thing: your work as a freelancer is limited in scope. The client’s isn’t. As things get hectic, it’s nice to take a step back and gently remind your clients their problems are their own.

The thing is, Tom couldn’t share in the success, either. By shielding himself from the risks, he also removed himself from the rewards.

And he left me, his client, with a sour taste in my mouth.

In contrast, one of the people I was working with said to me he appreciated that from the moment we started working together, I was referring to “our” business, “our” deadlines, “our” challenges.

When things were going bad, I asked him what I could do to make ’em better. I pulled up my sleeves and jumped in the trenches.

And when things were going well, I enjoyed sharing some of the acclaim.

We’ve been working together ever since.

Freelancers: own your relationships with the people you work with. You’ll be better off for it.