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Are you an entrepreneur or self-employed business owner? [Entrepreneurship
Posted on February 4, 2013 @ 05:08:00 AM by Paul Meagher

According to Statistics Canada, we can distinguish between self-employment and entrepreneurship as follows:

Self-employment is often considered as an indicator of entrepreneurship. However, not all self-employed individuals innovate or intend to innovate, nor do they grow or intend to grow their business (Hurst and Pugsley, 2010). Thus, not all self-employed are "entrepreneurs".

Under this definition, Statistics Canada considers farmers, doctors, lawyers, baby-sitters, paper-carriers, garage owners, contractors, store owners, dentists, and many others to be self-employed business owners rather than entrepreneurs per se.

According to Brandon Kennington, the difference between an entrepreneur and a self-employed business owner comes down to mindset:

Take an example: an Interior Designer, an Architect, Lawyer, or even a Doctor. All could own their own business, large or small, but if the business depends on the talent of the business owner to be there and perform the work, then the person is just self-employed....

Observe a day at your work. Are you building the business or are you running the business? If you find that you are running the business, don’t be surprised if you still are working the same "job" after 20 years and ready to retire with nothing to show for it. If you are simply running the business, your business is your "job", with no fringe benefits paid for by someone else.

Brandon suggests the difference comes down to the entrepreneur coming to work each day trying to figure out how to automate parts of their business so they can grow their business. I'm not convinced that this is the critical mindset difference, but business automation broadly construed to mean "not doing it myself anymore" is an important aspect of growing a business.

So, are you an entrepreneur or a self-employed business owner? Do you view innovation as a critical aspect of your business? Do you want to grow your business through innovation or are you happy running a business and earning a comfortable income from it based largely on your own skills and work-ethic?

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