Freelance, entrepreneur, self-employed… What’s the difference ?

Everytime I think about sharing my experience with you about creating my business and related things, I always wonder about the word I should use to qualify myself. Same when I have to fill in a form about my professional activity. It’s even worse if there are multiple choice, and freelance, entrepreneur and self-employed are each an available choice.

So let’s dive into this today : what’s the difference between a freelance, an entrepreneur, and someone who is self-employed ?

I have to admit, when I researched for this article, it left me a bit confused. And I think the key element to my confusion, was : the culture. If I had such trouble differenciating freelance and entrepreneur, it was first of all because of the fact that I’m French. Let me explain.

To put it simply, in an international approach (= I guess it started with the US), a freelancer is someone who is paid for their time, while an entrepreneur is building something (a company) which will allow him to earn money while sleeping. Both are self-employed individuals.

The thing is, in France, if you want to work as a freelancer, you need to create your own business. The easiest form of business you can create (and most people start with that) is called a micro-entreprise, so you are a micro-entrepreneur, also previously called auto-entrepreneur. So… You are an entrepreneur in France, even if you’re ‘just’ doing freelance work. ‘Entrepreneur’ is a French word, and it only means ‘starting something by yourself’. So yes, that’s why it is confusing to me when people say freelancers are not entrepreneurs… because to me, they are.

If I follow the ‘official’ guidelines as to what makes a freelancer, and what makes an entrepreneur… Well, I guess I’m both. I work as a freelance translator, and I’m also an entrepreneur when it comes to being a self-published author. Which doesn’t help me to choose which word is supposed to define me the best, right ? So I guess I will just continue to use both.

What do you think about ? Are you a freelancer ? Entrepreneur ? Both ? What do you think of the different definitions ? Let me know ~

I hope you all have a beautiful day, and see you next week !

Marie.

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