The Difference Between Being Self-Employed and Entrepreneurship

Today we are turning the blog over to BRA member, Elizabeth Ribons. As a lifelong entrepreneur, navigating life and business, Elizabeth has developed a perspective that leverages change to encompass life and career that she now shares through her speaking, courses, webinars, and podcast.

She is passionate about inspiring and empowering her audience to remain dynamic in career and life and shares insight, knowledge, and proven processes with them so they can continue to THRIVE and create their best life.

Our lives, business, and the world as a whole are changing at a rapid pace…How do we keep up? How can we remain relevant? Now, Elizabeth is sharing her insight on being self-employed vs. entrepreneurship with us to help you decide which option is best for you!


We know it from a young age…Or, it happens organically later in our life journey.  We find ourselves owning our own business.  And, as women?  It makes a lot of sense to work for ourselves (in some capacity) more now than ever.

It affords us the flexibility we need to integrate life and career as well as decide how we want to work without bumping our heads on glass ceilings or predetermined bias. 

As for myself, I came upon it early with side businesses in grade school, through college, and then into my adult life.  Yes, I did work for others but not to build a career path.  It was either to learn more, supplement my small business at the time, or try out an opportunity that was interesting.  But, my mind was always focused on the end result and that was to be my own boss.

And isn’t that what many of us want?  But for some reason…we stop there.   We are excited at creating something all our own, making it a reality, and then eventually making a profit which is very satisfying.  Many are not aware of the difference between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur. Today I am breaking down both with you!

PHOTO CREDIT: Kathy Schuh Photography

When Starting Your Own Business

To succeed at either option, we should all ask ourselves at the very beginning of starting a business some important questions:

  1. What is important to me now and in 5 years? In life and career?
  2. How does that look and what can I do now to set that into motion?
  3. Does the success of the business rely solely on me being in it, creating the service or running it?
  4. Do I want to earn a living doing what I like or do I want to build a business I can sell if I choose to?

These are just a few important questions to ask yourself. You most definitely want to think about how it all fits in with your life plan and goals. Then, tailor it to make sense for you.  You could be a professional and choose to open your own office, a designer and open your own firm, a health practitioner and open your own business. Each of those examples could have opportunities to create products or a business you could grow and sell. Or, you could choose to be at the hub of the business and it functions because of you.  

Neither are wrong…But be intentional about how you want this to grow.

Liz Ribons

My mother always said: “Start the way you want to end” (not that anything is ending) but keep in mind where you are headed.

Entrepreneurship Isn’t For Everyone

In The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber, he provides the argument that all small businesses must start from an entrepreneurial perspective.  I have read this book a few times, it is in my syllabus for my community. My mentees and clients have found it incredibly helpful! He asks all those questions – given that you want to become an entrepreneur. 

But, perhaps that is not what you want?  You need to ask the questions and decide what fits best for you.  Not everyone desires to be an entrepreneur.  Maybe you provide a great service to others and you have employees and that is enough?  Ambition is good but burnout is not, and this is the point Michael Gerber is making.   Check yourself – see where you are at and then set the framework from there to build an empire if you choose. 

I never ever believe there is one way of doing things. Now with remote work, more collaborations than ever, and smart ways to earn, your small business can succeed. Keep the option to scale accordingly in mind at the start but, do what my mother always said: 

“Start the way you want to finish.

If you found this blog helpful, read all about the 3 Public Relations Basics you need to know next!

Welcome to BRA - Business
Relationship Alliance