A lot of people think freelancers and entrepreneurs are the same thing. While there are similarities between them – they are their own bosses and claim their “business” on their taxes – the two are distinctly different. This distinction is important to understand if a freelancer wants to expand the operation.
An entrepreneur’s business is in an entity separate from himself which he takes part in. A freelancer is, herself, the business – without her it wouldn’t exist. This difference is huge. Entrepreneurs can make money while they sleep, take more time off (eventually), and sometimes make a bigger difference in their communities. Let’s look a little closer at the differences to see why.
The Difference Between a Freelancer and an Entrepreneur
Freelancers work to get paid and get paid only for the work they do. Essentially, they trade time for money. While they can take on a lot of clients to increase their billing, no matter how large their client base, they will always have a cap on their income because there is only so much time in a day.
Now, if you are a top notch freelancer – I mean, you’re really at the top of your niche; you have a big following, and incredible reputation – you can make a whole lot of money and participate in some really amazing projects. But most freelancers are not quite on that level.
Most successful freelancers are pretty good at what they do but, the fact is, there are so many thousands of them all over the world, all doing the same thing you do and all charging competitive rates, you’ll price yourself out of the market if you shoot for the stars. Clients have their pick of many worthy options. You aren’t going to get away with charging huge sums of money unless you are elite. And getting to that level takes a whole lot of skill and a little bit of luck.
So what do you do when you want to move past that barrier? Become an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs offer a service or product beyond what they, themselves, can make. And, as a result, they employ people to do the things they either can’t do themselves or don’t have enough time to do. Rather than offering just web-design, for example, they offer a full-service marketing service which includes web-design, written and visual content, SEO, etc. This is clearly more than one person could handle offering all by themselves. It could take one person a year to fulfill a single contract.
The products or services that an entrepreneur offers are multifaceted, and are produced by an entity apart from himself. In fact, this product may not depend on the entrepreneur himself at all.
An entrepreneur has the ability to make money when he or she isn’t even present – while sleeping or on vacation. A freelancer cannot do this. Freelancers only make money for the products or services they create. If the business makes enough money, the entrepreneur could hire a complete team and quit working if he were so inclined.
The business is something that can be sold (even if no one wants to buy it). Again, a freelancer can only sell her services and not the business itself. People pay for the freelancer’s creations – once the freelancer is gone so are the products and services she provides.
Becoming an Entrepreneur
So, when is it time to take the leap from freelancer to entrepreneur? Well, you have to be ready both mentally and financially. Becoming an entrepreneur requires money and a team. Starting a business takes planning and strategy. But once you’ve set it up – once it’s rolling – the sky is the limit.
A person needs to prepare for the leap on many levels. They need to make sure that their lives allow for the demands. Do you have the time to devote to this? Do you have the money or can you get it? Do you have the skill set? Are you a risk taker and a leader? Once you’ve determined that you have what it takes, you need to get down to business and start building.
- Make a business plan
- Hire a team
- Market your company
None of these are easy things to do. They take a whole lot of time and strategy. But they are requisite in order to build something that is bigger than yourself. Are you ready for the challenge?