Are You Freelance or Self-Employed?

One of the great things about having a spouse that works in the corporate world is the support you may receive, financially and emotionally.  One of the worst things about having a spouse in the corporate world is the support you may have to give, which sometimes includes being present at corporate social gatherings.  And this is the situation I found myself in the other day.

I enjoy talking with people – whether they enjoy it as much as I do is irrelevant – but in a corporate environment, I don’t want to do or say anything that might cause my wife any discomfort at the office.  So, I try and stay as quiet as possible.  Usually there are plenty of snacks to keep my mouth busy, but on this particular event, her boss managed to catch me without a petit-four in sight.

After a bit of chit-chat, he asked about my current career.  He wanted to know where I was working, and how business was there.  I explained that I am a writer, and I that I write web copy, blog posts, newsletters, ebooks, and more.  He listened for a moment, and then deduced that I am unhappily unemployed, but since my wife is a superstar in their company, perhaps he could find me a role within their corporation.

Thus started a painful conversation where I explained that business was doing very well, and I was very happy doing what I am doing.  Needless to say, he couldn’t wrap his head around it.  So I tried to frame it in a way that he would understand.

As soon as I told him that I was “self-employed,” you could almost see the light bulb of understanding turn on.  Almost.

Websters defines a freelancer as “a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer.”

And self-employed is defined as “earning income directly from one’s own business, trade, or profession rather than as a specified salary or wages from an employer.”

I don’t see a difference, but it certainly changes the conversation.  Not only did my wife’s boss suddenly understand what I do, he wants to know what I can do for their new website.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the fuzzy bunny slippers…

So, dear audience, are you a freelancer or are you self-employed?


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