Nowadays, there has been a confusion between the job of a freelancer and an entrepreneur.  It’s because the former has the mindset of the latter.

There are reasons why are they perplexed between the two.

freelancer entrepreneur difference

People who work from home cannot help but see themselves as businessmen because, in freelancing, they also reach out to clients and sell their ideas and skills.

Like a businessman, they sense the need of the market and address it by showing what they could offer for the growth of a company. They build themselves like a brand for them to get a job.

So if they are not the same, how is a freelancer different from an entrepreneur?

What is a freelancer and how does he do business?

A freelancer is self-employed who works according to his skillset needed in the market. He gives his services to several clients or to businesses.

A freelancer’s job includes copywriting, blog writing and social media marketing. It also covers technical support such as web design and programming.

There’s also a space for creativity such as graphic design and it offers financial aid like bookkeeping.

The common goal of these jobs is to come up with a juicy content that will be good for the clients and their company.  

Freelance workers have flexible schedules and they can choose the best time for them to work on projects. They can decide whether they can work part time or full time.

freelancer perks

Aside from that, they have the liberty to select clients they want to work with. And because they are experts in their niche, they can negotiate their rates and ask for a higher pay.

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur builds his business on creative ideas, leadership, and innovation.

What makes them special is that they bring new ideas to the market. Then they use it to develop, produce and hope for the success of their business.

Types of Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs differ based on what they love to do and how they want to do it.

Some start a small business with less than 500 employees. They make their own products and sell them in pop up stores. It operates in either partnership or sole proprietorship.freelancer versus an entrepreneur

Home-based businesses are becoming a trend today in entrepreneurship. They maximize their own resources or skills and manage their business at home. They can put up a garage reseller, tutor students or make their own product and sell it.

Another option that entrepreneurs go to is an online business. This boosts the growing industry of E-commerce. Sometimes, they create their own product and then put up a website as a marketing strategy.

How do entrepreneurs work?  

Most entrepreneurs seek for investors who can fund their startups. They create comprehensive pitches and a business plan to get the right investors.

Others resort to bootstrapping. They use their own capital and utilize free tools and apps that can help them run their business.

There are also entrepreneurs who practice crowdfunding. With the help of crowdfunding platforms, they collect capital, gather potential customers, and test their products.

Once entrepreneurs have enough funds, they will begin to hire workers and form a team that will help in the company’s growth. Then they have to sell good-quality products to get the return on their investment or ROI.

There are overwhelming obstacles along the way. But as long as there are an open communication and harmonious relationship, the company and its people will stand strong.

Entrepreneur vs. Freelancer vs. Businessman

Before you decide to take the leap, let us imagine what your life will be if you’re an entrepreneur, a freelancer or a businessman.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you should be ready with one of a kind business proposals. You invest in your skills and you amplify them to have your own startup.

In this field, there is no boss-employee relationship. You have to work side by side with your workers to get to know them. With this, you’ll be effective in delegating a task because you know their character and their skills.

Along with a good relationship is the generosity when it comes to ideas. You are willing to share what you know to bring out the best to your workers.

However, if you want to work alone, you might want to be a freelancer.

If you want to be a freelancer, you have to be an independent worker. You will work on several assignments for different clients and take productivity measures to save time.

Freelancing will allow you to build your connections through meet-up activities and online groups. Despite your busy schedule, you have time to spend with your family.

Also, you can work anytime and anywhere. This means you can be a digital nomad and travel and work at the same time.

When it comes to your payment, you can negotiate your rate to your clients and they’ll pay you for your extra work.

If you have a competitive attitude, you might want to consider becoming a businessman.

You consume your time with your business and your company. From this, you have time to learn, enhance and explore the opportunities for your business.

Your venture is based on an existing idea. This means that you have to compete against other companies that have the same product to gain profit and stand out.

Making money is your goal. The main reason why you ought to have skillful employees is to get what you have invested and to have more.

You don’t want to test new ideas because risking it might let you lose what you have started.

How to shift from a freelancer to an entrepreneur?

Yes, it is possible to shift from being a freelancer to being an entrepreneur.

But when is the right time to do it?

Successful switching of career is all about timing.

If you are in a season of your life wherein your hourly rate does not make the ends meet and you want to get out of your daily grind routine, then it’s time for you to think bigger.

Freelancers who made it big

There are many freelancers who successfully moved to entrepreneurship.

One of them is Mason Gentry. He was a freelance art director but he used this ability to come up with artistic bottle designs on his online business the Faucet Face.

According to him, it wasn’t easy in the beginning because he had to develop it at night and work on it whenever he has available time in between his freelance gigs.

But now, he is selling the bottles that he had made and designed.

Another inspiring story is from Chris Davis. He started out as a freelance copywriter in an advertising industry for agencies that needed aid for creativity.

Because of the radio spot assignment that he did for Velocity Credit, he became their source for conceptualizing and making their advertising job. And with this working relationship, it led him to start his own agency, Swizzle Collective. It provides services such as advertising, content creation, digital services, strategy, and branding.

Now that you’re convinced it’s possible, let’s talk about ways on how you will begin.

Change your freelancer mindset

As a budding entrepreneur, you have to move away from your freelancer mindset before you take the big leap.

Reflect on the level of happiness that you have right now. Are you happy with what you are getting?  Or you want your income to work for you?

In entrepreneurship, you won’t only work on a project basis. You have a lot of responsibilities and decision making to make, so you have to be strategic on how you’ll manage your work.

As the CEO of the company, you have to think about growth even before you start. This will give you a clear direction on how will you lead your company to success.

Thinking ahead is not enough to put up a company. You need to be smart in hiring people and establishing work process to grow your business.

Be part of a solution

Make products or services that solve problems. Remember, relevance is what makes a product successful.

The key is to identify the pain points of the industry and provide ways on how to deal with them.

There are former freelancers who established startups who operated under the idea of helping and building others.

Among them is Brian Casel. He is an expert in designing WordPress websites for his clients. When he had reached his comfort zone in freelancing, he thought of other ways on how to expand his business.

So, he used his expertise to make and sell WordPress themes to address the needs of bootstrapped businesses.

Carol Tice, a seasoned freelance writer, also took the same path. She shared her skills by mentoring other writers who want to make a living through writing.

She founded the Freelance Writers Den that offers substantial freelance writing materials such as bootcamps, e-courses and live training events.  

Establish your brand

Branding is essential in entrepreneurship because it represents you and your product’s vision.

This will serve as your presence in the industry. That’s why you should market yourself. Explore marketing strategies and utilize social media, content or email marketing to make your brand visible.

Not only that, it will also add up to your customer’s engagement.

So don’t just make a brand that will make some noise, make sure that it’ll be known because of its value and it’s impact to the consumers’ lives.

Ask for help

Like in freelancing, having a network plays an important role in entrepreneurship. Through this, you’ll feel motivated and inspired to continue your business.

You can start by attending startup events in the local or international community. These activities will allow you to connect with other entrepreneurs, share your ideas and learn from others’ experience.

It will expose you to global trends and business opportunities. This is also the perfect avenue to make an impression on your potential investors.

Be yourself and present your business idea the way you want others to see it.  

Bootstrapping is the way to go

If you are a new entrepreneur with a slim budget, it’s time to live a frugal life and cut the unnecessary personal expense.

Then, create a business model that will easily generate revenue. This can cover the continuous expense of your venture.

If you don’t have one, search and adapt the ones that have proven to be effective.

Monitor every penny that you will spend. Use free software accounting tools to save you from an early bankruptcy.

Embrace Failures

Your first attempt will not always be the best.  So you have to expect imperfections along the way.

But, these will push you to become better. These temporary setbacks can create a  permanent better version of yourself.

Both freelancers and entrepreneurs have inevitable risks. But whichever path you choose, passion and drive are the ones that will let you taste your sweet success.

So are you ready to make that shift?

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Rose Tornandeso is a freelance writer from the Philippines. Aside from writing for NextStep, she also enjoys writing fictions. When she’s not chasing deadlines, she plays legos with her son and visits art galleries.

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