Freelancer Vs Self-Employed: Similarities and Differences

Last Updated on March 25, 2023

Freelancer Vs Self-Employed: Similarities and Differences

You have a great lot of freedom and flexibility when you operate independently. There are various enticing benefits to being self-employed or as a freelancer, from expanding your skill set and professional development chances to achieving a work-life balance that is completely customised for you. However, there are also drawbacks, including varying workloads and uneven pay, as with any form of job.

Although the terms freelancing and self-employment are sometimes used synonymously, there are some important differences between the two that you should be aware of. Depending on who you work for, what you’re producing and/or selling, and other significant criteria, working as a freelancer and working as a self-employed person varies slightly from one another.

Being a Freelancer

freelancer at work

The term “freelancer” is disliked by certain people. They believe it sounds less serious than being self-employed. Freelancing is viewed as gig-oriented by many people. Freelancers, also referred to as contractors, are thought of as hired hands who complete projects.

Another thought is to market services rather than ideas. Many people think of freelancers as professionals who market services rather than goods (like graphic designers or freelance writers).

People who identify as independent contractors frequently operate alone. They occasionally have the flexibility to choose their own work schedules and accept a variety of clients and assignments. However, unlike self-employed individuals who have more control over their output, they frequently have to comply with customer requests. As a result, even though a freelancer is self-employed, doing so frequently can make them feel like they are still employed, especially if they are constantly putting in long hours on a project.

Being Self-Employed

self employed florist

While freelancers are always self-employed, not everyone who is self-employed is a freelancer. Owners of businesses are frequently thought of as self-employed. This group includes many startup entrepreneurs and business owners who also identify in this way.

Those who come to mind when you hear the phrase “becoming your own boss” are self-employed persons. They have control over what they work on, how they work, and for how long. They typically don’t follow instructions from customers.

Self-employed people have complete control over their work schedules, projects, and methods. Self-employed people are more likely to have (or desire) staff, and they occasionally recruit independent contractors (freelancers).

Similarities between freelancers and self-employed workers

Both job categories have some characteristics and could first be mistaken for one another. Here are some key parallels between independent contractors and self-employed people:


Freelancer Vs Self-Employed

Freelancers and self-employed people are more autonomous than traditional employees. They have the power to choose their employment, their coworkers, and their assigned work schedules. Freelancers and those who work for themselves have some degree of control over their work. They can both decide when and how often they want to work.

A self-employed individual has total control over how they manage the operations of their firm, just as a freelance creative writer has entire control over the words they choose to use and the order in which they use them. Because their supervisors give them duties to do and expect them to do so according to their employers’ instructions, regular employees do not have this kind of autonomy.

Creative freedom

Self-employed people and freelancers have the creative freedom to express themselves via their work. The independent contractor has control over the kind of business that their brand engages in. The freelancer has the option of choosing the clients and projects they want to work on.


Self-Employment tax

Both self-employed professionals and freelancers must submit taxes in the same manner. Freelancers and self-employed people both pay self-employed taxes when tax season comes around. They fill out a form detailing their business operations, including costs and profits.

Differences between freelancing and self-employment

Even though they may resemble one another, self-employment and freelancing have unique characteristics. If you’re thinking about either of these jobs, the following are some crucial distinctions to be aware of:

Level of control

Although both independent contractors and self-employed people have some degree of autonomy or independence, their operational scope or degree of control varies.
The clientele that a freelancer chooses to work with is somewhat under their control. Although they are free to determine their own rates, working hours, and other terms, they always cater their services to the needs of their customers. When they accept work from a client, they finish it in the manner and on the schedule specified by the client.

Self-employed people have a little bit more influence over this. When it comes to the services they provide and the manner in which they provide them, they have a bit more creative allowance. As a result, even if they both have some control, the degree of that control varies.

Freelancers tend to work alone

Freelancer Vs Self-Employed

The majority of freelancers are independent contractors. However, independent professionals are more likely to hire individuals to help them and make sure that their enterprises run well, creating a larger firm. It’s not because independent contractors lack the resources to employ staff; rather, it’s because self-employed individuals are frequently business owners.

While self-employed people concentrate their efforts on building a business or brand, freelancers offer a variety of services to a variety of clients. Therefore, larger businesses or those seeking to expand frequently require outside help.

Freelancers often take on multiple jobs at once

Freelancer Vs Self-Employed

Taking on work from several companies at once is the most typical kind of freelancing. However, a self-employed person might potentially work for several different businesses, but they usually wouldn’t identify as such. Most persons who work for themselves run businesses that have an operating framework. They also work to develop and sell their brand. Self-employed persons put a lot of effort into developing positive working connections with their clients and their staff. They want their brand to grow and accomplish their intended objectives.

Furthermore, freelancers usually finish contract work. Self-employed people are more entrepreneurial and concentrate on launching new businesses. Typically, they look for grants, investors, and other business expansion options.

Work commitment and relationships

Professionals who work for themselves give their entire attention to their company and the customers who purchase their goods or services. Growing one’s business or brand is the primary objective for independent contractors. They achieve this by building positive business and client relationships. Freelancers sometimes hold temporary positions, thus they might enter into customer ties for a shorter period of time than professionals who work for themselves.

Customers choose a product or service more often based on a predetermined pricing structure and a company’s reputation, while clients more frequently select the terms of a contract.

Before you go…

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