I’m surrounded by entrepreneurs. Social media experts are entrepreneurs. Web designers are entrepreneurs. Management consultants are entrepreneurs. Accountants are entrepreneurs.
Except they’re not – not really.
“Entrepreneurs use money… to build a business bigger than themselves. Entrepreneurs make money when they sleep. Entrepreneurs focus on growth and on scaling the systems that they build. The more, the better.” (Seth Godin)
If you provide a service in which you swap your time for money – like I do – you’re not an entrepreneur. You’re a freelancer.
Using a business name in place of your own doesn’t make you an entrepreneur, either. My copywriting company has a business name (Mortified Cow), but that doesn’t imbibe it with special entrepreneurial qualities that allow me to earn money while I sleep.
And that’s OK.
There’s no shame whatsoever in being a freelancer. In fact, we ought to recognise the benefits a little more. For starters, it’s – as Seth writes – “… the single easiest way to start a new business”. You just need to find ONE client who’s willing to pay you for your service, and boom: you’re in business!
Freelancing doesn’t consign you to a life of low pay or disparagement. You can charge A LOT of money for your time – and command an equally impressive amount of respect – if you’re good enough. And if you’re down with our whole idea of achieving financial freedom at a young age, you can save up all that money and invest it in assets that provide a healthy ROI to cover your living expenses.
Being a freelancer isn’t “all or nothing,” either: anyone can make their own products in their spare time (books, apps, software…), put them out onto the global market, and get paid for them over and over again. At some point, those products might end up earning you enough money to make freelancing entirely optional.
But the biggest benefit to freelancing (if you ask me) is that you get to do what you love every single day.
If I decided to build and run a copywriting agency, I’d no longer be able to do any of the client work myself: I’d be busy dealing with hiring decisions, unhappy clients, scaling opportunities and financial projections instead.
If you LOVE what you do as a freelancer, bear in mind that everything changes once you decide to build a “bigger than yourself” business out of it.
True entrepreneurs deserve credit for taking risks, pushing boundaries, creating jobs, challenging the status quo, and yes: earning money while they sleep.
But there’s nothing bloody wrong with making great money while doing wonderful work for appreciative clients… and loving every second of it.