Difference Between An Entrepreneur And A Self-Employed

entrepreneur and a self-employed Sometimes we misinterpret self employment to entrepreneurship and I find it saddening. Though they share lots of similarities, they don’t really share the core attributes and the beauty that makes them distinct. I’m studying entrepreneurship as a profession and funny enough, lots of prospective entrepreneurs in my department still dwell with that self employment mentality. That’s the mentality that warrants you to work day in; day out without a moment rest. You’re working tirelessly on your business doesn’t make you an entrepreneur. There’s a huge difference between an entrepreneur and a self-employed and I’m going to make them known in this article.

In my own personal theory, a self-employed can rise to being an entrepreneur. But the major trigger of such transition is mindset. If you don’t know the true definition of entrepreneurship, you might not really be able to grasp its concept and practice. A self-employed works every hour, sometimes more than an employee. All for the purpose of paying the bills. If a self-employed stops working, the business crumbles. He dared not go on a vocation or waste a moment on a picnic retreat. Actually, it’s better to be an employee than a self-employed for life. Below are the differences between an entrepreneur and a self-employed.



An entrepreneur is against the motive of working for money. To him, it’s an insult to his personality. Why is that? Ever since gold got detached from our currency, it become fait money which can also be called a mere paper money. Why would someone hustle all day for paper? An entrepreneur doesn’t work for money rather, he programs money to work for him. In this context, money is the slave not him. An entrepreneur can choose to go on a 6 months vocation and the business will still be functional. Well, reverse is the case for a self-employed. This is the major difference between an entrepreneur and a self-employed.

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Here in Nigeria, millions of individuals are surviving the country through their petty trades. That’s a noble thing. But calling them entrepreneurs is inappropriate and lame. The sickening aspect is when people envision a bead maker or a buns seller whenever entrepreneurship is mentioned. I got the shock of my life when an approximate friend of mine ask of my department. I mentioned entrepreneurship and he burst out in laughter. This is what happens when we have the wrong orientation of what entrepreneurship is.


You’ll agree with me that a self-employed is one who works alone. He handles the overall operation of the business and without him, the business becomes nonexistent. A self-employed knows all but specializes in none. Have you ever wondered why that market woman in your street isn’t growing despite years of starting the business? Have you ask yourself why many self-employed still cry for money along with employees? It’s because they are yet to attain the class of entrepreneurs. It’s because they are not yet entrepreneurs. Believe me, you don’t need to have an exceptional skill to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs doesn’t have any specialty. What they do is employ experts in various fields of life to help build the business. Entrepreneurs hire the best sales team, he hires the best lawyer and accountant. Entrepreneurs, according to Robert Kiyosaki uses OPT (Other people’s Talent) to grow their business.

“Every entrepreneur is self-employed, but not all self-employed are entrepreneurs” – Henry Ibeleme

Entrepreneurs are not the best, but they hire the best. This is what I call working smart. Working hard will not make you rich, what will make you rich is working smart. I was talking to a group of people who aspires to be entrepreneurs. What struck them the most was the concept of working hard versus working smart. Working hard can be useless at times, but working smart can make you a millionaire in weeks. It’s good to work hard, but when you couple it with smartness, the result becomes more than imagined.

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An entrepreneur and his business are not one. They are two different entities with different persona. Have you ever wondered why Mark Zuckerberg goes home annually with $1 as salary? This might sound strange but it’s a business strategy. When you disassociate yourself from your business, you discover that the business continues even after death. If any issue arise in the course of business transaction, only the business can be sued. You as the founder can’t cause you’re not the business.

However, you can’t be a separate entity if you don’t have all the business mechanisms in place. You need to make sure your business is registered and that you’ve the right personnel on deck.


If there’s one thing entrepreneurs don’t joke with, it’s the game of investment. This is also among the core difference between an entrepreneur and a self-employed. At the infant establishment stage, entrepreneurs spend more on assets, things that brings in more money that helps finance the business. A self-employed on the other hand may not even know the difference between assets and liabilities and as thus, keep spending money on things that takes money away from the purse.

When I started my first partnership business, I and my team knew that without an extra funds, we’ll be out of business before we know it. We had to invest the little money we had into a lucrative goldmine. The partnership business was running and swallowing finance and we were ready to feed it. Honestly, we weren’t making profit at the initial stage, but the business was expanding. We kept feeding and ploughing back the little profit to the business until it turned into a money-making machine.

Investment isn’t only to finance your business. An entrepreneur is always seeking for a new way to have an impressive portfolio and financial statement. Not just that, to also have another stream of passive income – an income that comes without working for it. This is just like playing the game monopoly in life.

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This is another difference between an entrepreneur and a self-employed. When it comes to time, an employee may be better off than a self-employed. A self-employed, because the business is his works an extra mile into achieving greater result. He knows that not keeping to time will mean low output and he doesn’t want that. Sometimes, he might also work throughout the night. An employee on the other hand have no choice. He had to keep up to time or get fired by the boss. While an entrepreneur is the king of time. He can do anything he wants. He can go anywhere as long as he has extra hands working and running the business.


For the fact that you still hustle to survive, you’re doing a noble thing and should be celebrated. But in all our endeavors, we should strive to grow and be more. An entrepreneur doesn’t surface overnight. A self-employed can become an entrepreneur today just by employing more hands in the business. It can be done. It’s all about knowing what’s required to climb to the next level. The difference between an entrepreneur and a self-employed wasn’t highlighted to discredit you or your hard work. It’s to inspire you to take an extra step into real freedom and fulfilment.

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