Are You an Entrepreneur or a Freelancer?

Have you heard the argument that freelancers aren’t entrepreneurs?

It goes something like this:

Freelancers are NOT entrepreneurs because they only generate income while they’re working.

Or this:

Freelancers are NOT entrepreneurs because they provide a customized service. The client is the boss. And that makes freelancers service providers, not entrepreneurs.

I must admit, these arguments don’t make sense to me. But they did get me thinking recently.

I mean … what is an entrepreneur anyway?

According to, an “entrepreneur” is:

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

By that definition, many of us are entrepreneurs.

If you’re taking your freelance effort seriously, you’re treating it as a business. And you’re probably taking considerable initiative and risk.

Does it matter that you don’t have employees, physical products or a fancy downtown office?


Does it matter that you sell a service?


Does it matter that you don’t have investors, a line of credit with your bank or a board of directors?


We’ve entered an age where a one-person service-based business is a viable model of entrepreneurship.

Just because you’re crafting a customized, made-to-order product (the client deliverable) doesn’t mean you’re any less of an entrepreneur than a furniture business that sells custom, made-to-order pieces.

One-person businesses are growing like crazy. And many of them are wildly successful.

The web has democratized access to resources, knowledge, information, talent, tools and marketing reach. And in the process, it’s leveled the playing field.

Today, each of us has the power to create the kind of leverage that used to require several employees and massive amounts of capital just 20 years ago.

Here’s a great example of that leverage:

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 33,624 “nonemployer” firms brought in between $1 million and $2,499,999 in revenue in 2014!

(Not to mention nonemployer firms that brought in $2,500,000 or more.)

Those are some serious numbers for a one-person operation!