What is the difference between self-employed and self-employed?

What is the difference between self-employed and self-employed?

Table of Contents

The relaxation of the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT) transformed the relationship between companies and workers. It opened up new possibilities for professionals to provide their services to organizations, but it still raises many doubts when hiring.

Some terms that, on the surface, look the same, end up causing confusion. This situation happens, many times, with the difference between self-employed and liberal professional that is not known by everyone. This causes these two concepts to be used in the wrong way.

To prevent this from happening any more, we have prepared this content for you to understand the differences between them and the professional responsibilities of each one. Check out all the topics we’ll cover next

  • what is a liberal professional ?;
  • what is a freelance professional ?;
  • what is the difference between self-employed and professional ?;
  • what laws involve the two professionals ?;
  • how to be a professional or self-employed ?.

What is a liberal professional?

Before understanding the difference between self-employed and self-employed, it is necessary to know the meaning and specifications of each of them. The liberal professional is one who has a specific technical training, whether undergraduate or technical course, regulated and supervised by a class entity, such as OAB, CREA, etc.

He is free to decide whether to have an employment or to start his own company. Thus, you have the options to work as an individual for an organization or independently and as a legal person (with a CNPJ). In addition, you must be registered with the appropriate professional council and contribute to the union of your category.

But, after all, who are the professionals? Any regulated profession allows a person to be a professional, such as:

  • doctors;
  • dentists;
  • architects;
  • lawyers;
  • journalists;
  • real estate brokers;
  • accountant, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of being a professional

The main advantages of being a professional are:

  • Act in your area in a regulated manner;
  • To have a salary that follows the union, in the case of CLT;
  • Guaranteed labor rights;

The possible disadvantages are:

  • Poor schedule flexibility, usually follows business hours;
  • Need for approval by regulatory agency or council;
  • Professional independence regulated by the body that represents it.

What is a freelance professional?

The self-employed person is one who dedicates himself to an activity in an independent manner, without the requirement to be registered with a professional body or an academic or technical training in the area.

This professional has no employment relationship under the CLT regime and can work in several segments freely. However, he also does not have labor rights, as vacation, Thirteenth or weekly paid rest.

Some professions that can be developed independently are:

  • painter;
  • seller;
  • electrician;
  • designers.

Advantages and disadvantages of being self-employed

The main advantages of being self-employed are:

  • flexible schedules and freedom to create your own routine;
  • autonomy in the provision of services and price negotiation;
  • income directly to the worker.

Meanwhile, disadvantages include:

  • financial instability;
  • not have labor rights provided for in the CLT, such as holidays and the thirteenth;
  • not be represented by a council or body;
  • cannot be linked to Simples Nacional.

What is the difference between self-employed and self-employed?

Now that you know what a freelance professional is, it is important to understand the main differences between them, which is training. While it is a requirement for the first group, it may be optional for the second.

The self-employed person has the option of having or not some professional qualification, being able to freely offer his services to any segment. Liberal workers, on the other hand, must have an academic or technical background and act in their area, regardless of whether they work for themselves or for one or more companies.

Therefore, we can highlight the main differences between self-employed and self-employed being:

  • The liberal professional needs to have a technical or academic background, while the self-employed person does not;
  • The self-employed person does not have an employment relationship, whereas the self-employed person may choose to have or not;
  • The self-employed person is not regulated by bodies or councils, while the self-employed person is.

However, although there is this difference between self-employed and self-employed, it is important to note that the exercise as a self-employed person of regulated professions requires the same rules as the self-employed.

In both cases, they can have a CNPJ and act as an individual company, issuing invoices and providing services as an individual or legal entity.

What are the laws that involve the two professionals?

In addition to the issue involving technical training, another difference between self-employed and self-employed is taxation in each case. With the approval of the new legislation, many changes took place in these categories.

If you are still not aware of all the changes that happened with the labor reform and would like to stay informed, we suggest you to read this article here.

Now, to understand the main rights and duties that involve self-employed and self-employed professionals, check out the following list:


Generally, the person is registered with the council in his area and his rights and taxes will depend on whether the person chooses to work as an employee or employer.

As an employee, he follows the following legislation guidelines:

Now, as an employer, you must follow the following guidelines:

  • properly register the company;
  • collect the EHIC rate from employees;
  • make the FGTS deposit with an amount equivalent to 8% of the salary of its employees;
  • sign the portfolio of all employees;
  • properly pay the employees' income.


As the self-employed person does not work with an employment contract, he is not subject to the CLT regime. Therefore, most of the tax burden is linked to income and social security. He still needs to contribute to the EHIC and ISS.

When this professional opens a company, becoming a legal person, he also starts to pay taxes such as Cofins, PIS and CSLL.

In addition, in order to have guarantees and be able to receive through RPA (autonomous payment receipt) you must be registered with the city hall of your city.

How to be a professional or self-employed?

The professionals who follow these two models are considered entrepreneurs. And, for those who follow this path, it is necessary a lot of financial planning and knowledge of different areas, such as accounting, marketing, etc.

You will need to be very disciplined to deal with the freedom your career will have and you will need to invest in networking. To be known in your city and win customers, you will need to publicize your work.

Another fundamental point is to establish your own goals. Define short, medium and long term objectives and periodically make revisions to adjust some points when necessary.

In addition, it is necessary to regularize the performance of the professional so as not to have legal problems in the future. Among the existing options are that of Individual Microentrepreneur (MEI) and registration can be done over the internet at Entrepreneur Portal.

Now, for those professionals who cannot formalize as MEI, either due to their professional activity or because they exceed the permitted billing limit, it is possible to follow the Microenterprise (ME) model.

But, after all, what is the best option? Although both concepts allow you to practice a profession independently, there are great distinctions when it comes to exercising your activities and paying taxes. Therefore, it is necessary that you know your professional profile.

Analyze whether flexibility is important to your routine and whether you are willing to experience financial instability. In addition, reflect on the positive and negative points of the two models and on the difference between self-employed and self-employed. Only then will you be able to follow the best path for your career.

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