Other than homeworkers (which is vague), freelancers (which is, to my knowledge, US-specific, and non-exclusive to this), what other words do self-employed people working from home describe themselves, that are uniquely highlighting these features of their working condition?

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    A "freelancer" is someone who sells his work or his time on a short-term or per-piece basis. For example a "freelance writer" may write a magazine article and then try to find a magazine to publish it, as opposed to a writer employed by the magazine full-time. A freelancer might or might not work from home. Someone who works at home might or might not be a freelancer. I work from home but I receive a regular salary from my employer. (I've heard that the term originally referred to mercenary soldiers: he was a "free lance", i.e. a soldier whose lance and body were not owned by any government.) – Jay Jan 9 '13 at 7:52
  • @Jay, you're sort of correct about the origin of freelance, though it was invented by Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe, so it's fictional rather than a term that would have been used in the period described. As such, freelancer is of UK origin, and contrary to what is stated in the question, is certainly used regularly outside the US. – Jon Hanna Jan 11 '13 at 11:58

In the US we refer to them as telecommuters.
A freelancer is an entirely separate thing.

I would expect these terms to carry over to the UK.

  • Yes, we also telecommute in the UK. – deadly Jan 9 '13 at 8:34
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    The definition of telecommuter is someone who is employed by a company that works from home. The OP specifically asked for a word or phrase for self-employed people working from home. I don't really see therefore how this word is appropriate or answers the question. – spiceyokooko Jan 9 '13 at 13:01
  • @spiceyokooko Good point. That said, the OP has accepted this answer :o – coleopterist Jan 9 '13 at 17:19
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    @coleopterist Since when has accepting the answer to a question got anything to do with whether it's correct or not? And 4 people like the answer, despite the fact it doesn't answer the question rolls eyes – spiceyokooko Jan 9 '13 at 18:27
  • @spiceyokooko IMO, 4 people like the answer because the title of this question is ambiguous. – coleopterist Jan 10 '13 at 13:35

The term homeworker is indeed used in the UK.

It is not the same as homemaker, which can be used for someone who stays at home but does not work for an employer (and who might be called a housewife). A homeworker is understood to be working for an employer from home.


The term homeworker is only vague in the context you wish to use it in because it means someone who works from home. That person may or may not be self-employed.

The term freelancer is inappropriate in your context because whilst normally they would be self-employed it refers to someone who is hired for work on an ad hoc basis and they may or may not work from home.

The only phrase that meets both your requirements of self-employed and someone who works from home is self-employed homeworker.

There is an acronym, SOHO that refers to small office/home office but is generally used to differentiate market segments rather than refer to individual people. You could within the right context use self-employed SOHO worker or workers.


While telecommuter is used in the UK, I have also seen the use of teleworker.


I think the word home should be avoided as it lowers the credibility

External Executive or Outsourced Partner, came up to my mind

  • I agree with your first point; but Executive usually denotes management, and Outsourced has unhappy connotations. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 9 '13 at 18:06

I describe myself as a "home-based worker" in this context. I am also, as it happens, a freelancer, but as others have pointed out, the two things are orthogonal: you can be an employed home-based worker or homeworker, and you can be a freelancer who attends a regular place of work (in some cases your own office, in other cases clients' premises).

And yes, "freelancer" is in regular use in the UK.

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