DEFINITION of 'Self-Employed'

A situation in which an individual works for himself or herself instead of working for an employer that pays a salary or a wage. A self-employed individual earns their income through conducting profitable operations from a trade or business that they operate directly.


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BREAKING DOWN 'Self-Employed'

It is important to note that being self-employed is a different situation than simply being a business owner. A business owner is someone who owns a company but does not work with the day-to-day operation of the company. In contrast, a person who is self-employed owns their own business, of which they are also the primary or sole operator. Furthermore, there are often different taxation-related implications for being self-employed versus being a normal employee or a business owner.

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