Chicago (The Loop)
Chicago (West Loop)
Chicago (Wacker)
Houston (Theater District)
Houston (Scanlan Building)
Dallas (Katy Building)
Charlotte (Uptown)
Jacksonville (Groover-Stewart Building)
Seattle (Pioneer Building)
Alexandria (Old Town)
Indianapolis (Circle Tower)
Pittsburgh (Golden Triangle)
San Diego (Gaslamp)
Denver (16th Street)
Chicago (River North)
Kansas City (Kessler Building)
Richmond (Shockoe Slip)
Nashville (5th Avenue)
Minneapolis (Lasalle Building)
Boulder (15th and Canyon)
Cincinnati (Hooper Building)
Savannah (Johnson Square)
Phoenix (Midtown)
Chicago (Superior)
Minneapolis (TriTech Center)
Madison (The Capitol)
Orlando (Angebilt Building)
Denver (Trinity Place)
Milwaukee (Cathedral Square)
San Jose (North First)
Washington, D.C. (Dupont Circle)
Phoenix (Heard Building)
Norfolk (City Center)
Miami (Biscayne)
Columbia (Main Street)
St. Petersburg (4th Street DTSP)
Austin (North Austin)
Houston (Upper Kirby/Greenway)
Albany (State Street)
America Chicago
America Adak
America Anchorage
America Anguilla
America Antigua
America Araguaina
America Argentina - Buenos Aires
America Argentina - Catamarca
America Argentina - Cordoba
America Argentina - Jujuy
America Argentina - La Rioja
America Argentina - Mendoza
America Argentina - Rio Gallegos
America Argentina - Salta
America Argentina - San Juan
America Argentina - San Luis
America Argentina - Tucuman
America Argentina - Ushuaia
America Aruba
America Asuncion
America Atikokan
America Bahia
America Bahia Banderas
America Barbados
America Belem
America Belize
America Blanc-Sablon
America Boa Vista
America Bogota
America Boise
America Cambridge Bay
America Campo Grande
America Cancun
America Caracas
America Cayenne
America Cayman
America Chicago
America Chihuahua
America Costa Rica
America Creston
America Cuiaba
America Curacao
America Danmarkshavn
America Dawson
America Dawson Creek
America Denver
America Detroit
America Dominica
America Edmonton
America Eirunepe
America El Salvador
America Fortaleza
America Fort Nelson
America Glace Bay
America Goose Bay
America Grand Turk
America Grenada
America Guadeloupe
America Guatemala
America Guayaquil
America Guyana
America Halifax
America Havana
America Hermosillo
America Indiana - Indianapolis
America Indiana - Knox
America Indiana - Marengo
America Indiana - Petersburg
America Indiana - Tell City
America Indiana - Vevay
America Indiana - Vincennes
America Indiana - Winamac
America Inuvik
America Iqaluit
America Jamaica
America Juneau
America Kentucky - Louisville
America Kentucky - Monticello
America Kralendijk
America La Paz
America Lima
America Los Angeles
America Lower Princes
America Maceio
America Managua
America Manaus
America Marigot
America Martinique
America Matamoros
America Mazatlan
America Menominee
America Merida
America Metlakatla
America Mexico City
America Miquelon
America Moncton
America Monterrey
America Montevideo
America Montserrat
America Nassau
America New York
America Nipigon
America Nome
America Noronha
America North Dakota - Beulah
America North Dakota - Center
America North Dakota - New Salem
America Nuuk
America Ojinaga
America Panama
America Pangnirtung
America Paramaribo
America Phoenix
America Port-au-Prince
America Port of Spain
America Porto Velho
America Puerto Rico
America Punta Arenas
America Rainy River
America Rankin Inlet
America Recife
America Regina
America Resolute
America Rio Branco
America Santarem
America Santiago
America Santo Domingo
America Sao Paulo
America Scoresbysund
America Sitka
America St Barthelemy
America St Johns
America St Kitts
America St Lucia
America St Thomas
America St Vincent
America Swift Current
America Tegucigalpa
America Thule
America Thunder Bay
America Tijuana
America Toronto
America Tortola
America Vancouver
America Whitehorse
America Winnipeg
America Yakutat
America Yellowknife
Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST)
Hawaii-Aleutian with Daylight Savings Time (HADT)
Alaska Standard Time (AKST)
Alaska with Daylight Savings Time (AKDT)
Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Pacific with Daylight Savings Time (PDT)
Mountain Standard Time (MST)
Mountain with Daylight Savings Time (MDT)
Central Standard Time (CST)
Central with Daylight Savings Time (CDT)
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Eastern with Daylight Savings Time (EDT)
Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
Atlantic with Daylight Savings Time (ADT)

Employment, as we’ve come to know it, has changed drastically in the past two decades. Nowadays, people are free to work wherever and whenever works best for them. One of the results of this trend is the rise of dozens of names and titles that seemingly describe the same thing: freelancer, entrepreneur, self-employed, and so on.

While all these terms have come to refer to someone not employed in the traditional sense, they do have their own definitions and differences worth understanding. First, let’s start with simple definitions.


The Definition of Self-Employed

Working for oneself as a freelance or the owner of a business rather than for an employer. ‘a self-employed builder’Oxford Dictionary

Think of self-employed workers as anyone who calls themselves the boss of their business. If you get to decide which hours you work, what you work on, and how you work on it, you’re self-employed. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and startup founders can fall into this category.

It’s not uncommon for a freelancer to refer to themselves as self-employed on government documents or client negotiations. In this context, self-employed simply means “not traditionally employed”.

Examples: Daniel owns a business fixing up broken computers. Lisa runs her own service coaching people within their career. Both would be considered self-employed.


The Definition of Freelance

Self-employed and hired to work for different companies on particular assignments. ‘a freelance journalist’Oxford Dictionary

Freelancers, or contractors as they’re also known, are also self-employed. The main difference is that freelancers take on a variety of jobs from a variety of clients. While self-employed, you can typically focus on doing the same work and make money off products or services you sell, freelancers may drift from client to client, one day working on a webpage, another day working on an ad.

Examples: Joe is a freelance programmer. Last month he was designing a website for a client, this month he’s working on a different client’s app. Melissa is a freelance writer- she may be writing press releases for a client one day, and writing blog posts and articles the next.


Perhaps the biggest difference between freelancers and self-employed individuals is the freedom in their role. Self-employed workers may run their own business, whereas freelancers are typically beholden to the requests of their clients and tend to work alone. While self-employed workers choose which brands to work with, freelance employees may not have that liberty.


The Similarities Between Freelance and Self-Employed



For the most part, both self-employed and freelance workers get to enjoy a certain level of control over their work. Both get to decide when and how to work. A freelance writer has freedom in the words they choose and sequence, while a self-employed business owner has freedom in running his business how he pleases.


When tax season rolls around, both the freelancers and self-employed people will have to fill out Form 1099. You can find a copy of Form 1099 on the IRS website here.

Creative Freedom

Both freelancers and self-employed people have the ability to express themselves through their work. For the self-employed business owner, the control is over what kind of business the brand works on. For the freelancer, they have the freedom to choose which clients they want to work with. Traditional businesses don’t always have the ability to choose who they work with.


The Differences Between Freelance and Self-Employed


Level of Control

While both freelancers and self-employed people can choose how, and where, they work, the freelancer doesn’t always have the ability to choose what he works on. He can choose the clients, but at the end of the day, the client chooses the project and sets the expectations.


Freelancers are always self- employed, but self-employed people aren’t always freelancers. They may own a business or startup, and focus primarily on a certain line of work. Titles matter even when people pretend they don’t – self-employed may connote a sense of individualism and achievement, while freelance might imply one works for multiple clients and is not necessarily dedicated to one.


Speaking of dedication, freelancers and self-employed people differ greatly on who they deliver their work to. Self-employed people are loyal to their own business’s work, and to the customers that purchase their product or service. Freelancers tend to drift between clients, so if one relationship sours, he must find a new one (potentially abandoning the project he’s been working on with the previous client). Check out our previous post on building trust with your clients and customers.


Which One Should I Call Myself?


At this point, you may wonder- what should I refer to myself as? Well, that is entirely up to you. No one will bat an eye if you call yourself self-employed when you’re a freelancer, and similarly, you can consider yourself a freelancer at times when you’re self-employed. What you need to think about is the connotation.

Freelancers have a certain reputation for working on several projects. Ask yourself- is this something you want your clients to know? Do you want to emphasize the fact that you work alone, and perhaps on multiple projects at a time?

On the other hand, self-employment can mean a number of things: from business owner to freelancer, it’s simply an umbrella term for anyone that pays themselves through their own labor. That can be helpful if you want to give off the idea that you are independent and autonomous.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Either way, it’s not about what you call yourself, but how you do it!

Check out our other comparisons: between a leader and a boss, or an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur.

For more guides and resources for businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, visit Novel Coworking’s blog today.