This question came up recently when I was chatting with a group of virtual co-workers.
Yes, I joined a great group of people who are all starting their own businesses and are at a similar point in their businesses as me.
Which is to say, some of them aren't sure whether to call their work "freelancing," "consulting," or "a business."
When I quit my job in October 2015, I thought I would be "freelancing." Or "consulting." But now I know I run my own business.
But it's not because I have employees. I don't, (although I do sub-contract some work).
And it's not because my business has a name or a separate bank account.
Here's why I think I am running a business, rather than freelancing:
1. I create. Sure, I do work for my clients. But I have also created a program from scratch, that is designed to solve a particular problem for my ideal client. (Increase revenue for bloggers.)
And I realized that that is creative! I have created something unique in the marketplace. Which brings me to no. 2...
2. I responded to a need in the market. When I first "went out on my own," I did it because I wanted things for myself--a flexible schedule, the ability to choose whom I worked for. But after about a year, I realized that I needed to offer something that was missing in the market for my ideal client. What is she not able to do that she wants to be able to do, but she doesn't know how and no one is offering help?
... The need I responded to, that my ideal clients ask about: "How do I create a consistent, steady stream of leads to her online products?" So that, whether or not she's doing a launch, has a new product, has a certain article or promotional piece that goes viral, she has her steady baseline of leads that convert at about the same rate, month after month, so that she's got a base of revenue she can count on.
Sure, A LOT of people have systems and ways for making money, but no one makes quite the same offer to quite this exact client.
Once I could see my service as a product, something that served a need, I knew I wasn't freelancing anymore.
And that's when I started telling people I run a business.
So what do you think? Am I way off base? Do you agree? Let me know.