In freelancing, YOU ARE YOUR OWN BOSS, we all know that. You can set your own terms, your rates, your services, just like you would if you have your own business.
But is that really how we are supposed to look at this?
Personally, I don’t believe that. As an architect, I always saw freelancing as something like offering services as an architect. You are offering professional services to your clients.
So, here’s how I look at this. If you are a freelancer, you fend off for yourself. You hunt and gather jobs and resources, you do everything from the job, accounting, invoicing, even filing of your documents. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are farmers. They wait for their produce by relying on other people’s money, skills, resources, and other automations.
What’s the difference?
Seth Godin, a prominent name in the business world once said in an interview what he thinks is the difference between the two.
“Freelancers get paid for work. If you’re a freelance copywriter, you get paid when you work. Entrepreneurs use other people’s money to build a business bigger than themselves so that they can get paid when they sleep.”Seth Godin
What does that mean? Well, for one, you can’t call yourself a business owner even if you have an “entrepreneurial mindset”. You only become a business owner when you make use of resources other than those that are yours.
As a newbie who is looking to start earning online, having an entrepreneurial mindset is a great start, but you can’t remove the fact that you are always going to start off as a freelancer.
If you have enough money to start a business where you will handle people who will do jobs for you and then earn money from the clients that you give service to, then you can call yourself a business owner.
Similarly, when you reach the point when you are earning by having other people work for you. Or when you outsource your work while earning from a client, then you become an entrepreneur. You don’t get paid for your work, you get paid for the work that people under you do for your client.
What’s my point?
My point is, don’t get lured when other people preach that you can earn a huge amount of money in freelancing by treating yourself as a business. First off, they are not freelancers, and you won’t be a freelancer if you earn off of other people’s resources.
As a freelancer, you need to have a skill that you can offer, and you get paid by offering that to clients.
As an entrepreneur, you also have clients, but you don’t necessarily have to provide them your service, because you have people or automations taking care of that for you.
What I’m saying is that freelancing is a great first step. Entrepreneurship, on the other hand is a great goal. A lot of essential skills that entrepreneurs should have can be learned while freelancing.
I have seen a lot of potential freelancers fail or give up because they had the wrong interpretation and mindset. Having the proper awareness and understanding of what you are starting is always the best option.
Other key differences
- Freelancers do everything for themselves, entrepreneurs have people or automations to help them.
- Freelancers work to get paid, entrepreneurs get paid even when they are sleeping.
- Freelancers use their skills to get paid, entrepreneurs use other people’s money to build a business model to help them get paid.
Finally, there is nothing wrong with any of the two. Both are good sources of income. In reality, both can help you earn 6 or 7 digits a month.
However, they are not the same and they are not to be intertwined. The two both have different methods and freelancing certainly cannot be called freelancing anymore if you earn from clients by using other people’s skills or money.
Also, there is nothing wrong with starting small. Knowing that you are just in the starting point in your career and that you are building your foundation is not in any way limiting your beliefs. It is just strengthening your foundation and making sure that you are in this for the long haul.
Lastly, in order to find out if you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, remove yourself from the equation. If you are not there to work and do your job, will money still come in?
If no, then you are a freelancer. If yes, then you have already use other people’s skills and resources to help you, as an entrepreneur.
As for me, I’m still a bit of both. I haven’t fully transitioned to either one. I started as a freelancer until I eventually started small businesses that enabled me to earn passively. I still have clients that I offer services to, but I also have businesses that help me earn.
Let’s talk about those next time, shall we?