In a lot of ways, freelancing women have it better than their full-time-employed counterparts.
For example, the gender pay gap is practically non-existent on the Fiverr platform with men making just $0.04 more than women. This pales in comparison to the 20% difference that you’ll find in the corporate world.
On top of this, female freelancers on the platform get 9% more projects than their male counterparts. So in spite of the unique challenges of freelancing as a woman, there are a lot of perks depending on the platform you choose to use. But that doesn’t neutralize the challenges you might face and it doesn’t help you avoid those days spent questioning your abilities.
For those moments and for those days, take a moment to look back at some of the women who’ve made this day possible and all the lessons they’ve left behind.
1. There’s Nobility in What You Do – from Helen Keller
Helen Keller once said that she longed to accomplish a great and noble task. She followed up by saying that accomplishing small tasks as if they are great and noble was also her chief duty. This is a lesson in adopting the right attitude toward your work.
Some people may not understand what you do and others might not take freelancing seriously. But instead of letting those naysayers get you down, remember the lesson Helen Keller left behind and adopt the attitude that there’s a whole lot of nobility in freelancing. After all, not everyone has the discipline and determination that freelancing requires, but you do.
2. If there’s No Road, Make One – from Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree and get certified to practice medicine. Needless to say, she faced a lot of discrimination from her male counterparts. But instead of giving up, she opened a practice of her own with exclusively women physicians.
As a pioneer in the medical field, Blackwell was responsible for diversifying the career path for women. If it weren’t for her, who knows where women freelancers would be today? With her guts and determination, Elizabeth Blackwell teaches a lesson in paving your own way even if you don’t see a road ahead of you.
3. Your Personality is Your Strongest Weapon – from Edith Head
Edith Head, the woman behind hundreds of iconic movie looks, had a distinctive and unforgettable personality. This personality also reflects in her designs and her signature look. Her peculiar bob cut with micro-bangs and her tinted round glasses were the inspiration behind Edna Mode from “The Incredibles.”
Contemporary costume designers have yet to beat her record for the most Academy Awards in costume design (she won eight). Although other designers may be just as gifted as Edith Head, few have the kind of standout personality that makes her so memorable.
Even in the world of freelancing, there are thousands of people just as talented and experienced as you. So the best way to stand out in the market is by letting your personality shine through in your works, client interactions, and bios. It can be your strongest weapon for winning over and retaining clients.
4. You Can Rock Motherhood AND a Career – from Sacagewea
Sacagewea, along with her husband, joined Lewis and Clarke on their historic expedition, working as a guide and translator. When their boat overturned, Sacagewea dove in and rescued all their supplies while her husband froze. Most importantly, she did everything those male explorers did and made the entire journey while also caring for an infant baby.
If that’s not a lesson in the phenomenal spirit of mothers, what is? If you’re juggling motherhood and freelancing, use this example as a reminder that you have the power to do both and rock both especially with better organization.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge the Norms – from Madame C.J. Walker
Being the first self-made female millionaire in the U.S, Madame C.J. Walker has a lot to teach about entrepreneurship. She was responsible for developing a new line of haircare products targeted toward black women, thus overhauling the marketing industry and setting new beauty standards.
Madame C.J. Walker teaches a lesson in ingenuity and the need to disrupt norms. This lesson is particularly important for women freelancers, who often have to struggle in a market that’s not always favorable toward them. Some clients may be more inclined to heckle with rates or to nitpick on the quality of your work just because you’re a woman.
That’s when it becomes necessary to remember the lesson from Madame C.J. Walker and set new standards that favor you. Don’t be afraid to do what’s necessary to challenge these norms and set healthy boundaries even if it means dropping outrageously difficult clients.
Doing These Phenomenal Women Proud
On Women’s History Month, there’s no forgetting the sacrifices these women made to pave the way for the current and future generations. So make the most of the lessons they taught and do them proud with your spectacular work.