Skip to main content

Self Employment & Entrepreneurship

Have a skill or talent that others could use?

Have an idea for a new process, technology, or product?

If yes, then you may want to consider self employment or entrepreneurship.

So, what’s the difference?

The Self Employed:

  • earn an income directly from customers, clients, or other organizations.

  • includes freelancers — those who work on a contract and project basis with different organizations.  

  • are, according to Industry Canada, “people who earn income directly from their own business, trade, or profession rather than earn a specified salary or wage from an employer.”

  • are, according to Statistics Canada, “working owners of an unincorporated or incorporated business, persons who work on their own account but do not have a business, and persons working without pay in a family business.”

Examples: Wedding Photographer, Graphic Designer, Writer, Au Pair


An Entrepreneur:

  • also known as the Founder, is the person who first creates or establishes a business.

  • is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on much of the financial, personal, and professional risks.

  • creates value by offering a product or service, carving out a niche in the market that may not exist currently.

  • “...always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” (Peter F. Drucker)


  • Evan Spiegel, Co-Founder of SnapChat

  • Diana Olsen, Co-Founder & President Balzac’s Coffee

  • Elon Musk, Founder & CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Is Self Employment / Entrepreneurship Right for You?

There are many resources and quizzes available to help you answer whether being self employed is a real option including:


Apply to Ryerson Summer Company

Ryerson Summer Company provides support to students interested in applying to Summer Company. Information sessions, business plan boot camps, office hours, and individual application support are available to students applying to the program.  

Summer Company is a program that runs from June–August and provides current students with start-up money and access to mentorship and advice from local industry professionals to help get their business up and running. More details of this Government of Ontario program are available online.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources to support you as a growing entrepreneur / as a self employed person:

For more tips, read: 'Conducting Your Job Search' in CAREER COMPASS

Check out our Job Search Tutorial, or
join us at our next Tutorial or Workshop on Job Search Strategies.