What is the difference between a consultant and a freelancer?

Sent by Jonathan Stark on August 20th, 2019

Some people advise freelancers to start referring to themselves as consultants because “consultant” sounds more valuable.

The trouble is, it’s not that simple. The difference between freelancer and consultant is not merely nominal.

Here is the dictionary definition of consultant:

con·sult·ant /kənˈsəltnt/ noun 1. a person who provides expert advice professionally. synonyms: adviser, guide, counselor; expert, specialist, authority, pundit; informal: ace, whiz, wizard, hotshot; maven

Here’s my take on it:

A consultant sells advice (e.g., brains, smarts, expertise).

A freelancer sells activities (e.g., hands, time, labor).

You might do a mix of both. The more you provide advice and the less you provide activities, the more of a consultant you are.

In general, it’s more profitable to be a consultant.

Yours,

—J