Let’s start over, shall we? Entrepreneurship vs self-employment.

Fundile N. Mcoyi
3 min readApr 12, 2021


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I thought entrepreneurship is the same thing as being self-employed for a very long time, and I proudly used these two terms interchangeably for a while whilst building my company. Truth is, I was self-employed yet thinking I am an entrepreneur. The difference between these two is very vast.

An entrepreneur and a self-employed person may share the similarity of owning a business but their mindset and approach are completely different.

The distinction between self — employment and entrepreneurship are:

Self-employment: When one works for himself. Maybe as a contractor or running your business.
Entrepreneurship: Process of setting up a business, taking on financial risk, in hope of getting profits in return.

(Srivatsa, 2019)

I contracting people to do work on my behalf with risks in hopes of getting profits yet I was burning myself! The people that I worked with were always protected however, I also noticed that I would throw myself in the fire. I would always be the risk that I put on the table should anything go south.

I failed as a self-employed individual as well as an entrepreneur because I was working off the wrong foundation for the wrong structure, I wasn’t building what I needed to build on my structure.

The points below outline some key differences that I have found to be key distinguishers.

  1. Being self-employed, you have people working for you. Being an entrepreneur, you have people working with you. As a self-employed person, you hire people to work for you. The vision and goal are set by you and it solely depends on you. As an entrepreneur, you have people working with you. You and your team work together on setting and achieving the company goals.
  2. Self-employed people are the face of their business. If their absenteeism is constant, their business will significantly go down. This is not the case for an entrepreneur. The business will keep running even if the boss is absent because the employees understand the vision of the business.
  3. For self-employed, if the business owner retires or passes away, the business will also die. But if the business owner passes away, the business will continue. It is not dependent on him to exist. For example: Even after the demise of Steve Jobs, Apple continues its business. Or even after Jack Ma retired, Alibaba continues its operations.
  4. Self-employed is reserved in his thinking. He does not want to go big. He is just concerned about paying off bills. Entrepreneurs are open-minded. They are global thinkers. They understand the advantages of catering to people’s needs on a large scale. Thus a self-employed person is not a risk-taker. He fears change and an entrepreneur is a risk-taker. He has the zest to explore new opportunities and believes that he can manage and control risk. They understand that with great risk comes great returns.
  5. A self-employed person tries to do everything on his own because he thinks he is the best and nobody is better than him. An entrepreneur on the other hand understands and accepts that he can’t everything on his own. He delegates the right work for the right people so that there is efficiency in the work done.
  6. Self-employment does not have many requirements and restrictions. Entrepreneurs must deal with a wide range of legal requirements including business registration, insurance requirements and filing taxes.

The realisation of my oblivious nature would have seemed to put me back at square one. But I disagree. After months and months of intra-self conflict as well as hard-knock business lessons, I am proud to say, I’m back at the drawing board but not one I was at before. I have new insights now, new lessons and yes, I have got a hell of a lot more bruises now than I had before. This means the only direction from here is upwards and better!

My blog entries are always to give just a bit of insight to other individuals who might be in a similar space to the one I am in.
(I can’t tell exactly which space that is, because no 6 months are ever the same. LOL)

All in all, I hope people can evaluate themselves better after reading this and align themselves to the correct foundations and principles.



Fundile N. Mcoyi

African. Creative. Lover of life.