Moonlighting vs freelancing?

Recently on the Creative Freelancer Conference LinkedIn Group (join us for very active discussions), I asked about the difference between moonlighting and freelancing.

In response, I got a lot of thought-provoking perspectives.

Gerry Suchy said: Moonlighting is like taking your sister to the prom. You really want to be there but just don’t have the courage to actually go out and do something about it.

Mohamad Kebbewar said: Moonlighting is like staring at the wall and dreaming of landing Nike as a potential client.

Angela Joseph said: I think moonlighting is freelancing while still holding down a full time job. I guess that’s where the “moon” part comes in. If you have a full time job and submit proposals, query letters etc. and get hired then you’re working by the light of the moon, so to speak, since you do it after your regular working hours.

Kristin Maija Peterson said: Freelancing equals self-employment. Moonlighting is trying freelancing on for size (while still being employed full time). Moonlighting will let you know if you are disciplined, good at managing your time and prepare you for issues of being in business for yourself.

Jennifer Quinton said: I was a moonlighter for years, but always referred to myself as a freelancer. The intitial impression of moonlighting is quite simply working the extra job to make the extra money, whereas freelancing is seen as more of a serious endeavor. Both great ways to achieve a goal, though one does seem finite while the other could lead you anywhere.

When I was doing what this forum seems to be agreeing is “moonlighting,” it mostly had to do with wanting extra creative projects in addition to my day-to-day predictable design job; but I also didn’t have the financial means or the client base to start my own business.

I still didn’t have those things when I was working on site in temporary (via agencies) or contract (via me) positions, that’s when I fell into my own definition of freelancing. I was still working for someone else but the boss, the desk, and the building would change from time to time.

So what people are describing in the discussion as freelancing makes me think now of a third category…business owner. The boss, the desk, and the building don’t change quite so much, but the clients and the projects do. And I love it.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Add something?

One thought on “Moonlighting vs freelancing?

  1. GraphicDesignBoss

    Isn’t Moonlighting “trying before you are buying”

    Not that there is anything wrong with that 😉

    Ilise, just off topic for a moment. I’m a regular visitor to How mag ‘blog’ from Australia and it is frustrating that you don’t open it up to commenting. There are some great posts there would be even richer for discussion around them.

    Is it really a blog if you shut down commenting?