I really wish that we, Black people, would start addressing the “work freedom” question in more nuanced ways, simply because there is more than one path to economic wokeness.
I’m a firm believer that we worship Entrepreneurs as the saviors of Black economics entirely too much. Not everyone is born an Entrepreneur or even enjoys or wants that life…I know I don’t.
Too much of the Black discussion of independent work revolves around the Entrepreneur. Much of our acknowledged economic history focuses on the business owner, but the freelancers who have always been there in their quiet work, get little attention…from shadetree mechanics, to musicians, to cooks and piano teachers…freelancing is nothing new.
We have a proven history in all three forms of independent work and it’s time all three received equal respect without the respectability. Before that though, it’s important to understand what each is.
Freelancing, Ownership, Entrepreneurship…What’s The Difference?
I trust very little of the mainstream/White business media…tech and the Internet world included.
It’s not because they’re giving bad advice or are malicious (ok, sometimes they really are) but it’s largely because most of their advice flatly ignores my life situation. One of the few I do follow consistently is Seth Godin — as with any thought-leader of any race some things he says are questionable, but he does enough questioning of the status quo to be a reliable source for me.
He answers the entrepreneur/owner/freelancer question very neatly.
Do you want to be a freelancer, an entrepreneur or a business owner? A business owner is the boss, but it’s a job, a place that is stable and profitable. An entrepreneur is an artist of sorts, throwing herself into impossible situations and seeking out problems that require heart and guts to solve. Both are fine, but choose.
A freelancer is someone who gets paid for her work…Freelancers write, design, consult, advise, do taxes and hang wallpaper. Freelancing is the single easiest way to start a new business.
Entrepreneurs use money (preferably someone else’s money) to build a business bigger than themselves. Entrepreneurs make money when they sleep…The goal of a freelancer is to have a steady job with no boss, to do great work, to gradually increase demand so that the hourly wage goes up and the quality of gigs goes up too.
The goal of the entrepreneur is to sell out for a lot of money, or to build a long-term profit machine that is steady, stable and not particularly risky to run.
I believe we all need to acknowledge the importance of a work life that considers all these options and is willing to flow freely through them as needed. Our relationship with work is of a unique, and planned nature and if anyone needs the flexibility modern technology offers around income, we do.