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October 31, 2023 - 2 min read

What Does Being Self-Employed Mean? 

What is a self-employed individual? The term "self-employed" characterizes a wide-ranging category of individuals who work independently and generate income through their own business activities. Self-employment is not limited to a specific legal structure but encompasses various forms of working independently, including sole traders (also known as sole proprietors), freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers. This diverse group plays a crucial role in the American workforce, offering a spectrum of services across multiple industries.

Independence and Autonomy
Self-employment represents a departure from traditional employment, providing individuals with a high degree of independence and autonomy. Those who are self-employed have the liberty to choose their work, clients, projects, and schedules. This flexibility is attractive to many, allowing for a work-life balance tailored to individual preferences.

Taxation and Reporting
Taxation for self-employed individuals involves specific considerations. They are responsible for reporting their business income and expenses on their personal income tax returns. Understanding and complying with tax regulations is crucial for self-employed individuals, and they may benefit from certain deductions and credits tailored to small businesses.
One deduction that is substantial for self-employed individuals is the mileage deduction. Using an automatic mileage tracker like Driversnote minimizes the effort you have to put into this, while maximizing your tax benefits. 

Financial Responsibility
Self-employed individuals bear full financial responsibility for their businesses. This includes funding their own operations, managing cash flow, and covering business expenses. It also means that they are entitled to any profits their businesses generate, providing direct financial rewards for their efforts.

Diversity in Self-Employment
The self-employed category encompasses a wide array of professionals and workers. It includes freelance writers, graphic designers, consultants, plumbers, electricians, artists, and small business owners, among others. Their work varies from providing specialized services to creating products, offering great diversity within this group.

Challenges and Rewards
Self-employment offers numerous benefits, such as freedom, potential for financial success, and the ability to pursue one's passion. However, it also comes with challenges, including income variability, the absence of employer-provided benefits (like health insurance and retirement plans), and the need to handle administrative tasks such as bookkeeping and marketing.


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Yes, a freelancer is considered self-employed. Freelancers work independently and are responsible for managing their own business activities, making them a subset of self-employed individuals.

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