Yes, if you are not an employee, you are considered an Independent Contractor/ self employed. Providing services to, or on behalf of a business, may be of an employee/employer or an independent contractor relationship depending on the nature of work and span of control involved. Determining the relationship between you and your employer (or employee) can sometimes be confusing. However, put simply, if you are not paid as an employee, you are considered an Independent Contractor and are required to have a business license.
Fortunately, the State Department of Employment Development (EDD) has a very helpful booklet highlighting specific guidelines to follow in determining the correct relationship between you and your employer or employee.
Contact EDD if you are unsure of the relationship. Once a determination has been made that your relationship is not that of an employee/employer, then by default, it is that of an independent contractor subject to a business license.