Freelancing: The Gateway Drug to Entrepreneurship

Many freelancers start out just thinking that they’re going to make a few dollars on the side: they’ll work their day job and just put in a couple of hours writing articles on the weekend. But freelancing can tempt you to keep moving forward. You can earn a little more if you dedicate a few more hours to writing. Maybe if you add in another hour for marketing, you can land some bigger clients. Next thing you know, you’re freelancing full-time!

It doesn’t stop there, either. Many freelancers get the bug for working on their own and want to keep finding ways to increase their income. Freelancing full-time is a fast way to catch a full case on the entrepreneur bug. You start thinking about how you can expand your writing business: how can you attract bigger clients? How can you create products and other sources of revenue? How can you put more money in your pocket?

Many freelancers avoid calling themselves entrepreneurs. There seems to be an invisible line in the sand, that makes any freelancer who uses the term ‘entrepreneur’ a little less of a writer or a creative. Personally, I think that division is ridiculous. Freelancing is entrepreneurship, stripped to its cleanest form. The only difference in thinking of ourselves as entrepreneurs, as well as freelancers, is that we’ve chosen a term that broadcasts that we plan to build our business up beyond a few hours after work.

Are you a freelancer or an entrepreneur?

8 Comments

  1. JoAnna   •  

    I’ve always thought of myself of a freelancer, but now that you bring up this point, I’m not quite sure why. I suppose in my mind “freelancing” is something you do on the side while being an entrepreneur is a full-blown, creative business strategy … though much of freelancing is that as well … hmmmm …

  2. Sara   •  

    I definitely think of myself as a freelancer, mostly because I haven’t done much of a push to market myself otherwise. I mostly do magazine work, and have two monthly columns (one online, one in print) but am open to branching out and trying new things (such as taking on clients!) I’ve been dying to make the leap…”when the time is right”. Yet I can’t seem to make that leap, even though I know full-well that there IS no right time.

  3. Jesaka   •  

    A writer after my own heart! I consider myself an entrepreneur because I love owning my own business as much as I love writing. Well, almost! Sometimes I will use freelancer or entrepreneur depending on the audience, but I love that “entrepreneur” carries some business heft with it. That really works for me since I work with small and medium-sized companies and provide marketing “expertise” in addition to copywriting.

  4. thursday   •     Author

    @JoAnna, It took me a little while to realize how close the two terms really are. Just as you point out, there are some differences in the connotations, but the actual meanings are so close!

    @Sara, I had the same exact problem when I decided that I wanted to use some of my writing to create products, rather than doing so much client work. Any change is hard, but if you have to transition between two different sources of income, the process can be downright scary!

    @Jesaka, Do you see your clients reacting better to the thought of working with an entrepreneur (especially when they’re bringing you in for more than just writing) than the might to a freelancer?

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  7. Kristine   •  

    A freelancer, indeed. An entrepreneur sounds like you are selling something physical, like a product, with all the business plans and marketing tools. I, as a freelancer, don’t sell products but I sell my services (unless maybe you sell eBooks…but then, they still aren’t physical products.)

    I guess it depends on the person ;p

  8. thursday   •     Author

    @Kristine, From my point of view, a writer selling a product like a book can be a good thing — after all, that’s an easy way to build more passive income. I can see your point, though. If you focus primarily on providing a service, your clients may have an easier time identifying you as a freelancer.

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