Freelance vs Self-Employed – Which Type Of Worker Are You?

Ron Potterman

Ron Potterman

People often mention being freelancer or self-employed as if these terms mean an equivalent thing, but there’s a difference between the two. Being freelance or self-employed is as different as apples and oranges.

We’re living in a digital age; people can work from anywhere and whenever they want. This shift is the advent of remote workers, also known as self-employed, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Each of these terms is used to describe anyone that works independently rather than through a traditional employer. All these terms aren’t the same, but most of us use these terms interchangeably.

All freelancers are self-employed, but all self-employed individuals are not freelancers. It may sound not very easy to you, but the key differences are easy to understand.

So, let’s start exploring similarities and differences between freelancers and self-employed workers.

Self-employed individuals are the bosses of their own businesses. If you decide what projects you want to work on, set up your own schedule, and define your plans independently, then you’re a self-employed person. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and business owners of them fall into this category.

Self-employed workers have more say in how they operate their business and don’t take instructions from clients. Freelancers can call themselves “self-employed” on Taxes or other government paperwork.

For example, Daniel started a digital marketing agency and enlisted the help of freelance ad managers and content creators to help him run his business. Daniel only monitors the progress of workers and their schedule. He only works when he needs to.

Freelancers are also self-employed individuals. The only difference is that freelancers can swing from client to client and take on multiple projects or assignments. Simultaneously, self-employed people usually focus on doing the same work every day and making an income off services or products they sell.

Unlike self-employed workers who have complete control over their input and don’t answer anyone, freelancers take instructions from their clients. They may move from client to client, one day working on data entry and the next day developing a website.

For example, John is a freelance android developer. Last month he was designing a mobile app for a grocery shop, and this month he is building a new website for a motivational speaker.

Maybe the significant difference between these two types of workers is the freedom in their respective roles. Freelancers tend to work alone and are always at the mercy of their clients. Self-employed workers are more likely to run their businesses and may even have some employees too. Freelance individuals may not have the chance to select which brands to work with, while self-employed people usually can.

Freelance Vs Self-Employed: The Similarities

1) Creative Freedom:

While traditional employees usually don’t have the opportunity to choose their work assignments, freelancers and self-employed individuals have the chance to express themselves via their work projects. And this is the most common reason people strike out on their own, independent career path. For freelancers, they can choose which customers to work with. For self-employed workers, they can control what kind of services or products they sell.

2) Tax Assessments:

At the end of every fiscal year, both freelance and self-employed people will need to fill out similar tax forms. Both will report their expenses, revenue, and profits. Other than that, they will be taxed similarly as well.

3) Autonomy:

Both types of workers enjoy a certain level of enjoyment over their work, mainly when and how they will work. Freelancers have the freedom to decide their processes, production, and pricing. Self-employed workers get to do all that too. They have the freedom in running their business how they please.

Freelance Vs Self-Employed:

Now let’s dive into the differences between these two types of workers.

1) Titles:

Think of it this way: freelance workers are always self-employed, but self-employed individuals are not always freelancers. The reason is simple, self-employed people usually run their own startup businesses and focus primarily on a specific line of work. The type of title someone uses can leave an impression on what and how they do their job.

For instance, being called a “freelancer” may imply to some that the person performs lots of random tasks, working for lots of clients, and may just be starting their professional career. However, being called “self-employed” may connote a sense of individualism and achievement in many people’s minds.

2) Level Of Control:

Although both freelance and self-employed people have a lot of freedom and get to make many choices about their work, they are not always at the same level. That’s because freelancers can’t always choose what they work on. They can select the clients, but in the end, the client chooses the project. Freelancers must defer to their clients as to the deadline, type of project, and the results they expect.

3) Commitment:

Self-employed people are dedicated to their business, team, and customers who purchase their products or services. Freelancers are only dedicated to their customers. They tend to drift between clients, so if their regular client decides to cut ties, then the freelancer will generally move to another client.

Conclusion – Which type of worker are you?

Now that you have a greater understanding, you may be wondering which type of worker you are. Well, that’s entirely up to you. No one will care if you call yourself freelance or self-employed. The main thing you need to focus on is how each title makes you sound to potential business partners and customers.

How will they perceive the different terms? Does your used term accurately reflect your goals? Do you want your clients to know that you’re working on multiple projects and working alone as a freelance?

Or do you want clients to perceive you as being a business owner? Do you want the general public to see you as autonomous, independent, and established? If so, then you can use the word “self-employed” on your business cards.

After all, the choice is yours. It’s not about what title you use but rather the work you do.

Ron Potterman
Ron Potterman

Ron started as a tech blogger 15 years ago. Since then, Ron has developed massive writing skills and is reviewing tools for freelancers and more.
Ron has a huge part of our Everythingfreelance.com community.

We write our honest reviews but we may receive compensation from the below providers if you purchase through the links provided. Read more here

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