Freelancer, Entrepreneur or Business Owner?

Does it matter if you call yourself a Freelancer, Entrepreneur or Business Owner?

I keep having this conversation with people.

I keep being told that it doesn’t matter, “so long as we’re solving problems for our clients”.

I think it does matter – a lot.

There’s a world of difference between freelancers, business owners and entrepreneurs.

Freelancers typically create a job for themselves. They are self-employed and work on a contract basis for a variety of companies.

Business owners might inherit or buy an existing business or create one themselves. If it starts out with just the owner in the business the idea is to bring in other people so that the provision of products or services doesn’t rely on just one person. The business could be passed on or sold.

An Entrepreneur is usually someone who develops a new innovative product or service, taking the risk that it might not work. They will usually seek investment and employ a team of people to develop the product or service. Re-paying the initial investment is often their main focus.

Not everyone fits in one of these boxes.

There are also trainers, coaches, consultants etc., who are not usually described as freelancers but could be sole-traders or business owners.

Why does it matter?

It’s about expectations. Yours and the clients you work for.

Freelancers earnings are limited by how many hours they can work and how much they can charge per hour. They are often vulnerable to losing earnings if they can’t work. Some people won’t hire a freelancer because they’re afraid of continuity issues but would engage a business that could show they didn’t rely on just one person to provide a service.

Most people would be hard pushed to name a famous freelancer but there are millions of businesses that still bear the name of their founder, so it depends on whether you’re happy for your business to disappear when you do, or if you want to leave a legacy.

Ironically, both groups of people are most often found quoting, and endeavouring to follow, advice from entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are more visible, more famous and more glamorous than freelancers but they are also the hardest to copy because they are so innovative.

It’s your choice!

There is no right or wrong about the choices people make and there are pros and cons for each category.

People generally start freelancing because they want to be their own boss.

Unfortunately, they often turn out to be the worst boss they’ve ever had, working long hours for poor pay with no holidays and insane deadlines.

New business owners can get great satisfaction by creating something that can exist without them and leaving a legacy but they can equally be overwhelmed by the responsibility of employing people and making payroll.

Entrepreneurs can find themselves at the mercy of investors but could also experience amazing rewards. However their failure rate is so high that it has been turned into a virtue!

Where are you?

More importantly, are you where you want to be?


For help creating a business that gives you the lifestyle you want, get in touch!

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