Entrepreneur vs Freelancer: Which One Are You?


People are often confused between whether they are an entrepreneur, or a freelancer. There's nothing wrong with either, but it's important to know and decide which one you're going to be.

Knowing which one you are is very important, because by knowing, you can align yourself with your goals and the lifestyle you want to have. Let me start by defining and simplifying the two.

If you're a freelancer you work for yourself, and you get paid by the hour or by the project. Graphic designers, writers, consultants, even my income comes from freelancing (or contracting) as a DJ in nightclubs. The key takeaway here, is that your freelancing income stops when you stop. For example if I'm not DJ'ing, I'm not getting paid, and whenever I'm finished for the night, there's no money coming in from that job. The aim of a freelancer is to take on a comfortable amount of projects, gradually raise your hourly rate or price, that quality of the jobs and continue to work for yourself. 

Entrepreneurs use money, either their own or from others, to build businesses bigger than themselves, usually at as large a scale as possible. The aim of an entrepreneur is to sell the company for a lot of money via a buyout, or build a sustainable business that continues to run without their physical input. Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg don't have to be working to make money, they make it in their sleep.

Here's a really good quote from Seth Godin when he talks about this. He says:

'If you're an entrepreneur, it is impossible to succeed by using your own labor to fill the gaps. That's because your labor is finite. It doesn't scale. That's because if it's a job only you can do, you're not building a system, you're just hiring yourself (and probably not paying enough either)'

It doesn't matter which one you are, it's okay to be either. Although it's critical to know which one you fit. If you're a freelancer, then freelance. Don't try to bring on more freelancers and manage them all, that's not being a freelancer and you'll get stuck and go into dangerous territory. If you're an entrepreneur, don't hire yourself, focus on building an efficient and scalable system that will run with or without your input.  Don't get caught up in your own ego of trying to this all-round superman entrepreneur, you'll burn out and it's also not an efficient way to do things (even though to be honest we all try to do this at some stage, myself included).


Be honest, acknowledge which one you want to be, and be consistent. Good luck!


(Twitter @mitchills)