What's the Difference Between an Entrepreneur and a Freelancer?

"Entrepreneur" is a hot word today – and it makes sense why. We hear about the 60-year-old who ditched their desk job of forty years to become an entrepreneur by founding a million dollar business. Heck, we hear about the 18-year-old who ditched their school desk to become an entrepreneur by founding a billion dollar business.

The rise of small businesses has brought the rise of freelance work. Freelancing means working at free will for different employers at different times rather than being employed by one company. Basically, freelancing is known as being self-employed. There are lots of successful freelancers out there, selling their brand and skills at high rates and making good money.

However, while freelancing may be just as challenging and admirable as entrepreneurship, make no mistake. The two are not the same thing.

So, do you think you may make a great freelancer? Or are you hyped on an entrepreneurial idea? Here are some differences between the two.

Freelancers finish projects given to them...

If you're a freelancer, you are working to get projects done for business owners or companies who looked outside of their own team for your specific set of skills. You probably have several projects going on at once with different clients, set deadlines and instructions.

Entrepreneurs create the projects.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs are getting projects done for themselves and their business. Maybe they came up with the idea for the project, or maybe it's something that simply had to be done in order to keep business moving.

In this case, the only deadline an entrepreneur is working to meet is a deadline they created themselves. In other words, self-motivation, and dedication are key.

Freelancers rely on a paycheck from others...

Since freelancers finish projects given to them, that means they also receive paychecks from the business owners and companies they work with. This is a responsibility on its own for freelancers, as they must make sure they are effectively documenting their hourly work and checking in with employers to make sure no paydays are missed.

Entrepreneurs rely on the paycheck of their own business.

However, entrepreneurs get to rely on the paychecks that come from their own projects, aka their business. A lot of entrepreneurs look at this as freedom – they are no longer living by paychecks from an employer! However, if a livable salary isn't coming out of the business at the end of the month, the responsibility falls all on the entrepreneur.

The similarities? Self-employment and responsibility.

With both freelancing and building your own business comes self-employment. This is great for those who are responsible, proactive, and prefer flexibility over structure.

But its a very different experience taking on projects from other business owners versus being responsible for your own business. Which do you prefer?