The platform economy refers broadly to various business operations taking place via digital platforms. For example, products, services or job assignments can be bought and sold via the platforms that function as a market place.
A self-employed person or sole trader is someone who works under a business name.
Grant recipients work in a similar way, often for short periods on a grant for either one or more work providers.
Digital employment service platforms are market places where those offering labour and those needing it meet. They differ and their range of services varies. In general, employment service platforms provide short-term jobs or project work, and, depending on the platform, they also may pay salaries on behalf of the work provider and attend to the other obligations of an employer.
Freelancer means a self-employed person who does not belong to any of the respondent groups mentioned above, but holds, for example, a freelancer tax card. Freelances often have more than one employer at the same time. Freelances also include ‘light entrepreneurs’.
The concept of self-employment is in many ways relevant to new forms of employment and entrepreneurship. It reflects a change in how work is done and a diverse approach to employment. The concept covers various forms of self-employment, which combine working alone and independently with an entrepreneurial approach to employment. The self-employed person works full- or part-time as a solo entrepreneur, self-employed person, freelancer or grant recipient.
There is as yet no established definition of the sharing economy, but it basically refers to the phenomenon whereby people share their under-used resources (such as goods, services, time or expertise), using various digital platforms for others to use. The European Commission uses the term ‘collaborative economy’ to describe the phenomenon. It may be either to make a profit or be a non-profit exercise.
The use of billing services, i.e. light entrepreneurship, is one form of self-employment. The concept of light entrepreneur took shape with the advent of billing services companies and is an established term in colloquial language (in Finnish, at least). However, the concept does not describe a person’s official status, and light entrepreneurs are classified as salary earners or entrepreneurs depending on the point of view. By using the billing services, self-employed persons can issue an invoice for their work, without being registered as a company (‘light entrepreneur’). The billing or salary payment service meets the statutory obligations it pledges.
A solo entrepreneur is someone who works for him/herself in his/her own company. The company could be a limited liability company, a general partnership, a limited partnership or a cooperative.