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>What is the difference between: contracting, freelancing, consulting and
>being self-employed? Would these terms be considered to have the same
As the variety of answers suggests, these terms overlap, and the
distinction between them isn't always clear.
However, a cynical answer would be that the difference between
"contracting" and "consulting" is about twenty dollars an answer
and more respect. I'm only partly joking when I say that, too.
I've done much the same work when I called myself a contractor as
when I was a consultant, but companies tend to treat a consultant
better. Maybe it sounds more impressive.
>Also, if a technical writer does either one, should he/she have a
>company name? Why would a technical writer want to have a proprietorship?
Mostly for tax purposes. If you have a proprietorship, you can
write off work-related courses and software. If you work from
home, you can claim the percentage of your house that is used for
office space as a deduction off your household expenses.
If you don't want to be held responsible for your company's
finances, then you might consider incorporation. When you
incorporate, you also get tax breaks, but not necessarily the
same as with a proprietorship. This is a very complex issue, and
you should see if you can find some information on the subject,
either from an accountant, a taxation office, or an organization
that provides information for small businesses (we have the
latter in BC; I don't know if they exist in Alberta).
Another reason for incorporating is that some contracting
companies won't work with you unless you are incorporated, or
will work with you, but at a lower rate.
>If a technical writer decides to do contracting, should the relationship
>between the writer and the company be defined - i.e. as either a
>employer-employee relationship or a business relationship?
Maybe this is the difference between being a contractor and a
consultant. A contractor has an employee relation, while a
consultant has a business relation.
Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189
"They sought in kirk, they sought in hall,
The lady was na' seen,
She's o'er the border and awa'
Wi' Jock o' Hazeldean."
-Sir Walter Scott, "Jock o' Hazeldean"