I’m usually just “independent consulting” during this time, as an umbrella covering both client and personal project work.
I recommend tailoring your presentation to your audience. Certain organizations may be appreciative of your overall experience, as suggested above, while others (most) really don’t want to hear that stuff.
In the latter case they only want another cog for their machine, so you’re going to be the bestest, most uniform and perfectly fit one they’ve ever hired, right?
I wouldn’t lie about it, but “positioning” is important. This does no one a disservice, as all they want to know is that you can do the job, and the interview is just a means to an end.
I’d categorize this as “startups versus large corporations,” but for me that hasn’t been the case—I’ve encountered narrow-minded CTOs at small, ostensibly progressive companies, and large employers that don’t seem to give a hoot what I’ve done as long as I seem like a good fit.
For someone searching for a day job to support a side business, I’d recommend large organizations over startups, based on my experience.
I also think the contracting suggestion is a good one, as you can find long-term contracts through recruiters that offer a rate above market salary, but with stability and W-2 status so you don’t have to mess with self-employment tax.
It’s true that you won’t get your full billing rate, but larger employers typically aren’t going to hire an independent to begin with, and besides you’re not trying to build a client business anyway. (If so, there are different strategies, and if you want to build products there’s the billable hours trap that many consulting shops fall into.)