“Home-based employment means working for an employer from your home. This arrangement takes place upon the mutual agreement of the employer and employee; and includes provisions typically found in the workplace. These may include benefits, supervision, time requirements, output requirements, equipment or procedure requirements, etc. Examples of home-based employment include “help-desk” staff, call center work, word processing, reservations agent, computer operator, medical and legal transcription, programming, and/or professional, advisory and managerial work, etc.
Self-employment means owning a business and working for oneself. Some examples of such business opportunities are manufacturing, distribution, retailing, sales, marketing, advertising, publishing and franchising. Other options might be providing business services, such as computer work or consulting as an independent entrepreneur. As a business owner, you may have the option of working from home, a store or at some other location. The key difference from home-based employment is that you are not an employee of someone else. An interesting option is to provide paid services in your vocational field [professional, managerial, executive] to business and government agencies with an objective of future employment by demonstrating your capabilities as a consultant or contractor
An alternative definition of self-employment is: “To be self-employed means controlling your own work; To earn ones living by working independently of an employer, either by freelance or by running a business.”
Excerpt from MA EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES