Freelance vs Self Employed – What’s the Difference

It’s hard to believe that there are more than 75 million freelancers in America.

Lots of folks mix up “freelancing” and “self-employment,” but they’re actually different. Knowing the distinction is important for how we work today.

What’s the deal with freelance versus self-employed? Keep reading to find out the differences.

Freelance Work

Freelancing is akin to being a free agent in the job market. Freelancers offer their talent to clients on a project-by-project basis.

They aren’t bound to a single employer. It allows them the flexibility to take on several assignments simultaneously.

Companies often hire freelancers when they need specific expertise for a limited period. It’s a cost-effective solution for both parties.

Freelancers thrive in all kinds of fields. Identifying projects that align with their skills and interests is a defining feature of freelance work. The inconsistency of income and the constant need to secure new projects can be challenging.

Freelance Jobs

Freelance jobs are often short-term, project-based assignments. Companies engage freelancers for specific tasks or projects. Once the job is completed, the working relationship usually concludes unless there’s a new project on the horizon.

This dynamic nature of freelance jobs means freelancers must be adept at marketing themselves. They must constantly seek new opportunities.

Freelance Recruitment

For businesses, hiring freelancers involves a unique recruitment process. It’s different than bringing someone on board as a traditional employee. Companies look for freelancers with the necessary skills for a particular project.

The process focuses on evaluating the following:

  • A freelancer’s portfolio
  • Experience
  • Ability to meet project deadlines

Clear communication and defined projects are crucial. Businesses can also use freelance recruitment services to find the right professionals.


There’s also the broader term “self-employed.” Freelancers fall under the self-employed category. Being self-employed extends beyond project-based work, though.

A self-employed person is someone who operates their own business. Unlike freelancers, self-employed individuals may have ongoing relationships. Being self-employed often involves managing the following aspects of a business:

  • Marketing
  • Finances
  • Client relationships

Unlike freelancers, self-employed individuals may not hop from project to project. Instead, they cultivate a stable clientele.

This stability can provide a more predictable income stream. It also demands a commitment to building and maintaining a business over the long term.

Choosing Between Freelance vs Self-Employed

It can be tricky to decide between freelance and self-employed status. People must consider the following:

  • Their career goals
  • Preferred work structure
  • Tolerance for uncertainty

Freelancers can pick and choose projects but may grapple with income instability. Self-employed people may have more stability. They must manage the responsibilities of running a business, though.

Now You Know the Difference Between Freelance vs Self Employed Employees

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to freelance vs self-employed. Businesses and workers need to understand the differences, though. Choosing the right career or profession is crucial for success.

Did you appreciate this guide on freelancing and self-employment? Please scroll through our blog to find more business content.

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