5 Types of Freelancers (According to Seth Godin)
The Mechanical Turk, The Handyman, The Craftsman, The Unique, and The Remarkable
In Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course, Seth says there are 5 types of freelancers: The Mechanical Turk, the Handyman, the Craftsman, the Unique, and the Remarkable.
The Mechanical Turk (Level 1)
This is the lowest level in the ranking. Mechanical Turks are freelancers who don’t need to worry about finding new clients because there’s a middleman who provides them with the next gig.
Uber drivers are Mechanical Turks. Uber drivers don’t need to worry about finding the next passenger. What Uber drivers need to do is to be good enough Uber drivers. That’s all.
If you’re a Mechanical Turk, the good news is that you don’t need to worry about any marketing. The bad news is that you’re too generic. In Seth’s own words, you’re “cog in a system that’s run by somebody else.” And when you have no control over the system you’re in, guess what? You’re replaceable and disposable. You are “anyone”. You don’t want to be “anyone”.
When I work for schools as a freelance teacher, I’m a Mechanical Turk.
The Handyman (Level 2)
You’re a Handyman if you’re the easiest one to pick. If you’re the only plumber in your area, you’re handy. And that’s the only reason why you’re going to get the next gig. If many people need what you do, then you’re sorted.
The Craftsman (Level 3)
This is somebody who’s demonstrably a little better than the next freelancer. Let’s say you’re a yoga teacher standing in a line with ten other yoga teachers. If you’re a Craftsman type of freelancer, a yoga student who’s looking to hire a teacher would pick you because you’re a little better than the other nine. And you’re better because you’re invested in your craft.
The Unique (Level 4)
The Unique is the one and only. The Unique has built a name and people want what (s)he does because of that name. It’s a completely different story to be The Unique. It’s difficult to be one. But it’s worth it.
The Remarkable (Level 5)
Colleagues and clients in your industry talk about you if you’re The Remarkable. Not because you’re special. But because it’s worth doing it. You’re a professional whose work stands out and can be recognised by miles away. It’s the highest level freelancers could possibly aspire to.
What type of freelancer are you?
At the moment, I’m mostly a Mechanical Turk.