With the introduction and rise of online business, ‘entrepreneur’ has become a popular buzz word. Everyone from the guy in your university class to the woman who sells baby clothes on Facebook are using this word to describe their occupation. I don’t blame them; entrepreneur is a glamorous word. Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and, more recently, Lisa Messenger all get to hold this elusive title. But what does it really mean?
The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as:
A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
Forbes defines it this way:
Entrepreneurs, in the purest sense, are those who identify a need - any need - and fill it. It’s a primordial urge, independent of product, service, industry or market.
But my favourite definition is that of best-selling author and marketing powerhouse Seth Godin:
Entrepreneurs use money (preferably someone else's 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.
An entrepreneur’s main goal is to make themselves redundant by selling out for a lot of money or building a long-term profit machine. This can be compared to a freelancer who Seth describes as:
Someone who gets paid for her work. She charges by the hour or perhaps by the project. The goal of a freelancer is to have a steady job with no boss, to do great work, to gradually increase demand so that the hourly wage goes up and the quality of gigs goes up too.
The most important takeaway from this definition is that an entrepreneur isn’t any better than a freelancer. The differences are in the nature of the work, not the outcome. In the end, it comes down to one question: Do you want to be hands-on and involved in the work your enterprise does?
The answer for me is a resounding yes! So be proud of your business and own your title. Don’t be ashamed to call yourself a freelancer and know that I’m right there next to you, working my butt off to make a living. Freelancers unite!