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Freelancer vs Self-Employed: Is There a Difference? Which is Right for You? 

Freelancer vs Self-Employed: Is There a Difference? Which is Right for You? 

freelancer vs self-employed

The great debate of freelancer vs self-employed has been going on for years. The biggest difference between the two is how the workers themselves feel. Do you see yourself as a freelancer, who creates their own schedules and picks up projects from other companies? Or do you see yourself as self-employed with other employees under you while you make your own schedule and create your own projects?

What does it mean to be a Freelance worker?

Freelance workers are by definition self-employed, but with a twist. Some refer to them as contractors, hired as extra hands on a project. Freelancers can choose their own hours, and for the most part, they get to decide what they work on and can accept or decline jobs and projects that they feel passionate about. They can even accept multiple jobs at once depending on their schedule. Freelancers tend to work alone, and will many times work from the comfort of their homes, or bounce around coffee shops or coworking areas to have a change of scenery.

Freelancers, unlike people who are self-employed, can take on multiple projects at once. They can work on 5 completely different things throughout their week or month. With freelancers, pay will look a little different than with other jobs. Your “paycheck” will look different from month to month, so you’ll have to make sure you stay on top of how many projects are needed to uphold your cost of living.

Though many people see being a freelancer as being someone who is “gig” based, it’s often quite the opposite. Many freelancers have regular customers that make it possible to be a freelancer full-time. Those companies rely on freelancers to complete the job and for it to represent the best version of their company, especially in the age of covid and the pandemic where many employees are working from home.

What does it mean to be self-employed?

Being self-employed means exactly that, you are your own boss. You decide when and where you work and have a degree of autonomy over your business. Also, you may have other employees that work under you. You may also invest in freelancers to help you with your business. The biggest factor is that you call all the shots because, without you, there is no business. For someone who is self-employed, there is a very good chance that you work on the same projects and end goals every single day. Though the goals and projects may change from season to season, and year to year, you are still working towards the same things.

As a self-employed worker, you are the overhead. You answer to yourself and create all of the accountability set by previous bosses or jobs. With complete autonomy over your work and projects, you determine the rules for yourself and for your business. You’re still able to change things up, but you may not have as much freedom with your decision-making as a freelancer would.

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How to know which one is right for you?

Many similarities exist between a freelancer vs self-employed. Both have autonomy in their schedule and scope of work. Both mean the same taxes in the eyes of the government. The biggest difference is how you see yourself, whether it be as self-employed or a freelancer. Depending on the journey you are on for your life, may have a factor in what you call yourself. Maybe you are trying to find a new job with a new company. If that’s the case, calling yourself a freelancer may be best. The potential new job can see clearly that you are picking up multiple jobs, can manage your time proficiently, and can start whenever they need you to start due to your flexible hours.


Now that you know the biggest differences between a freelancer vs self-employed, make a conscious decision for your next journey in life. Whether you are looking to be your own boss with one specific goal in mind, or you want to be your own boss while bouncing around, you’re able to find the best job title that describes the work you do.

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