So you are thinking about going freelance? Nice! The reasons for considering a career as a freelancer are different for everyone. Maybe you need more variety. Maybe you no longer want to work for a boss and you long for some freedom. Or maybe you see no other option because you cannot find a paid job.
The following applies to all cases:
“How do I start as a freelancer?” Is a question that probably comes to mind. There is, of course, a lot involved. So you have to think carefully about what you specialise in and how you will put yourself on the market. Then you may have to quit your current job. Of course, you also ask yourself what you need to do before you can start as a freelancer. Below are some things you must do.
It always seems nice to work independently and it is. However, there are also disadvantages to having your own company, no matter how big or small your company is. In the first place, running a business can be a big risk. Although the risk as a self-employed person may not be that great, for example, you have no guarantee whatsoever that you will get assignments or income. It is, therefore, a good idea to discuss your ideas with family, friends and acquaintances. Do not get off to a hasty start. What seems like a good idea now may not probably be a good plan in a few weeks/months.
Make a plan and be critical
To test your idea for feasibility, write a business plan. This does not have to be a comprehensive document, but it does provide clarity. In the first instance, the plan is for yourself and to make clear what is involved when starting your own business. A business plan makes it is easier to convince others at a later stage that you have a good idea. This can be important, for example, to attract some measure of investment. A business plan highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the entrepreneur and the opportunities and threats of the company. You also prepare a financial budget in a business plan. Do not view everything through friendly eye, but be critical of yourself.
You may need money to start your business. There are many ways you can get money. Normally you will have to raise part of the starting capital yourself. You can also contact banks, family members, suppliers or private investors. To get money from these people or agencies you must have a water-tight financial plan.
Arrange the most important things first
Be very clear about what you specialise in. You must have this information when you register at the Chamber of Commerce. Keep in mind that registration costs € 50. The Chamber of Commerce will then pass on your registration to the Tax Authorities. You will then receive your VAT number.
You can consider yourself a freelancer (or self-employed person, this is almost the same and can be used interchangeably), this does not mean that the Tax Authorities and UWV do the same. If you doubt whether the working relationship that you have with your client is considered by the Tax Authorities to be an entrepreneurial relationship, you can use model agreements that have been tested in advance. If you work in accordance with the articles in the model agreements, the Tax and Customs Administration already gives a guarantee in advance for paying payroll taxes.
Note: working with model agreements is not mandatory.
In addition to working with model agreements, it is wise to immediately show your general terms and conditions to your client and have them signed. General terms and conditions are the rules that you want to apply as standard when concluding an agreement.
Most self-employed people work at the client’s location and do not need business spaces. In other cases, you have to think carefully about what you definitely need and what it costs. You can work at home or in a shared working space. Whatever you choose, you will have to take a number of things into account. What requirements do you set for space? What is the zoning plan for that space? Can you possibly expand at that location? Which rules apply to your business space – do you fall under retail or catering space or office space? All of these things must be carefully researched and thought through before you ultimately make your choice.
Cover risks as self-employed (insurance)
As a self-employed person you run risks. You can cover those risks by insuring yourself. Of course, you have to take out personal insurance, but it can also be useful for your company to take out company insurance. An important insurance policy is a liability insurance policy for companies, with which you can cover important risks.
Other insurances that can be useful: illness and disability, pension, glass damage, household effects, legal aid, transport, loss of income, theft and so on. It is up to you to assess which insurance policies you consider necessary.
Now that’s the hardest part. Looking for assignments. You do this by expanding your network. It is therefore very important to go to networking meetings. It is also useful to create your own website and ensure that you end up high on Google search result page. In other words, search engine optimisation. In addition, social media is also a handy means of getting in touch with your potential target group.
Once you have completed some assignments, the administration comes into play. Your clients are always expecting an invoice. You must also calculate your own salary and how much tax you have to pay. Once a quarter you transfer the VAT to the Tax Authorities. Once a year you declare your profit to calculate your final income tax. You can do this yourself or outsource it to other professionals who can make sure that it is done well and on time.