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Set up your own business: Finally you are your own boss

Reading time 10 minutes
Set up your own business: Finally you are your own boss

You finally want to be your own boss and start your own business? You never again want to dance to the tune of a superior who, in your eyes, has already had his best professional years? Do you dream of finally taking the helm into your own hands and shaping your professional life the way you want it to be?

Then you've probably thought about starting your own business more than once, haven't you? Basically, nothing stands in your way. Anyone who has an idea of how to earn money and is of age can become self-employed. Depending on the legal form you choose, an informal letter to your tax office may be sufficient.

But there is one thing you should not forget: If you are self-employed, you work yourself and constantly. You alone are responsible for your success and that means work - a lot of work. Only if you are diligent and keep your head above water will you be able to successful be. A sophisticated plan is needed. We explain everything you need to know about self-employment!

What exactly is meant by self-employment?

Self-employment means that you pursue your activity at your own financial risk. You set your own prices, write your own invoices and take full responsibility for satisfying your customers and getting your money. There is no employer standing protectively in front of you and paying you a fixed salary every month. That is entirely up to you. So you bear the full business risk.

What forms of self-employment are there?

Not all self-employment is the same. For example, you can choose whether you want to work full-time or part-time. Most people don't take the plunge into full-time self-employment right away. They start slowly and first become self-employed on a part-time basis. The advantages of this option are obvious.

Your income remains secure thanks to your full-time permanent position and you can build up your business in peace, without any existential fears. The risk you take remains manageable. It is important that you inform your employer about it. As long as your performance in your main job does not suffer and your self-employment does not compete with your employer, he cannot ban you.

Also, don't forget to inform your social security providers. Although you remain insured through your main job, it is possible that your profit from self-employment will be added to your salary. In this case, your social security contributions will also increase.

Becoming self-employed: about tradesmen and freelancers

All persons who offer products and services count as traders. This would be the case, for example, if you open a production plant, trade in goods or run a restaurant. Often these are operated as small businesses. Then you do not need an entry in the commercial register, but you are only allowed to operate as a Sole proprietor or a maximum of three people within the framework of a GbR.

Last but not least, there are the freelancers. They are often found in the creative industry. If you are a musician, painter or author, you are in good hands in this category. You can also work as a freelancer in scientific and educational professions. You do not have to decide on a legal form. All you have to do is register with the tax office.

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Become self-employed in 10 steps

"Starting today, I'm going to start my own business!" You announce this sentence and off you go? No, unfortunately it's not that simple. There are a few steps you need to work through so that you can not only work legally, but also be successful in the long run. We're going to explain to you exactly what those steps are.

1. the sparkling business idea

At the very beginning, there is the idea. Of course, something has to form the basis for you to start your own business. But what exactly should such an idea look like? A spontaneous flash of inspiration in the shower is not enough. A business idea also includes the economic aspect.

Can you really make money with it? Will there be enough customers interested in it? Your idea can be brilliant - if you can't find customers for it, it won't get you very far. The ideal business idea solves a concrete problem satisfactorily. At best, you don't jump on an already moving train, but stand out from the crowd.

2. become self-employed - your business model

You've got the idea, now it's time to get down to business. You now turn it into a business model. This involves points such as the corporate spirit, the business structure and the value proposition. For now, it's enough to write down all your thoughts in bullet points.

3. a detailed business plan

Now it's time to formulate your key points. You add important details and look ahead to the future. How will your company develop in the next few years? Make initial forecasts. Why is this important?

So that you can better judge whether your project is feasible at all. In addition, a Business plan indispensable if you want to convince potential business partners or financiers of your merits. No one will enter your business or support it financially if you do not present a solid plan. What legal form have you chosen? What about liability and taxation?

What strategies do you want to use to achieve your goals and in what timeframe? All of this is part of your business plan. Once you have completed this step, you have already created a guideline for your start-up. You also know how much start-up capital you need.

4. the necessary financing

All the capital you need has to come from somewhere. Your savings don't provide it? Then you need outside capital. Most founders opt for a classic bank loan. But you can also get investors to participate in your return or start a crowdfunding.

5. become self-employed - your registration at the trade office and Co.

Finally you have the money you need. Now nothing can stop you! So off you go to the tax office, the Chamber of Trade or the Trade Licensing Office. As a member of the liberal professions, you inform the tax office in an informal letter that you want to become self-employed. You briefly describe your activity and that's it.

You go to the Chamber of Crafts if you want to set up a craft business. There you register in the register of crafts and trades that are not subject to licensing or in the register of crafts and trades. Then you can register with the trade office.

If you want to open a business, your path leads there immediately. You fill out a form and pay a small fee. The trade office then independently informs the tax office, the relevant chambers and all other authorities, such as the building authority or the health department - if this is necessary.

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Careful with the trade office

If your way leads to the trade office, you should pay attention to some things. Sometimes you have to meet certain requirements to be allowed to carry out your business. Certain qualifications or permits may be required. These can be trade licenses, master craftsman's certificates or health certificates. Be sure to read up on the trade regulations to avoid unpleasant surprises that cost you a lot of time.

It is also possible that you will have to prove your financial and personal reliability. In this case, a certificate of good conduct from the police or a clearance certificate from the tax office may be required. The authorities may also inspect your business premises to ensure that they meet the legal requirements.

6. choose your legal form

Depending on which legal form is suitable for you, registration in a special register is necessary after your business registration. For example, you must be entered in the commercial register if you want to establish a limited liability company. This also applies to merchants. If, on the other hand, you are founding a partnership, you will need to be entered in the partnership register.

The tax entry sheet

Once you have registered your company, the tax office will send you a tax registration questionnaire. In it, you tell them which legal form you have chosen and how much revenue you expect to generate with it. You also indicate whether you want to become self-employed on a full-time or part-time basis and whether you want to make use of the small business regulation. You can make use of this regulation if your turnover remains below 22,000 € per year. This exempts you from sales tax and thus also from the advance sales tax return and declaration.

Once you have submitted your questionnaire to the tax office, they will evaluate it and give you a tax number. From now on, you will indicate this number on all your invoices. The tax office also determines whether you are considered a freelancer or a business.

7. your professional internet presence

Nowadays, nothing works without a website. Nine out of ten Germans research stores and service providers on the Internet. So it would be fatal if you weren't represented on the World Wide Web! But you don't offer anything online? Then use your website purely for information purposes and turn it into your digital business card.

Give potential customers the opportunity to get an idea of you and your company in advance and to inform themselves comprehensively about your offer. Make sure you also think about social media! Is it worthwhile for you to be active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Xing, etc.? In most cases, the answer is clearly: "Yes!"

8. raise your marketing

Your mere presence on the World Wide Web does not automatically attract customers. You first have to draw their attention to you and beat the advertising drum. Place ads, do SEO, be active in social networks, print flyers, run ads in newspapers and magazines, and so on. However, you should not advertise wildly, but rather come up with a plan.

To do this, you must first define who belongs to your target group. Things like age, place of residence, job, leisure activities and gender can be decisive here. Think about how you can best reach this group and which marketing channels are particularly suitable for this. Your budget also plays an important role. If you don't have much of a budget for the Marketing then online marketing via social media is perfect for you.

9. become self-employed: an organized accounting department

Accounting is a really tiresome topic for almost everyone who wants to start their own business or has already dared to do so. Tax returns, income statement, advance sales tax return, invoices - the list is long. Do you EmployeesFor example, there is also payroll accounting. Accounting accompanies you almost every day. If you are not a professional in business administration or a true tax genius, then it can't hurt to get help. This way, you can be sure that the tedious paperwork is done correctly and you have more time to take care of your core business.

10. the necessary insurances

If you want to become self-employed, you have to take care of insurance yourself, which is handled by your employer when you are employed. This includes statutory health and long-term care insurance. Inform your insurance provider that you want to become self-employed and state how much you expect to earn. As soon as you have received your first tax assessment, send it to your health insurance company and your contribution will be recalculated correctly.

It is important to know that you now have to pay the full insurance contribution yourself, because you no longer have an employer who pays half of it. If you wish, you can also take out private health insurance. The same applies to the statutory pension insurance. It is not compulsory in every case, but for example if you are a freelancer or self-employed. The latter applies if you work mainly for one client or if he is responsible for the majority of your turnover.

If you are not obliged to take out a statutory pension, you can still pay into the pension fund voluntarily. Even if you want to save money at the beginning of your start-up and think you still have plenty of time to take care of your pension, you should not postpone the topic for too long! By the way: As a freelancer in the artistic field, you can be insured through the Künstlersozialkasse. It pays 50 % of the contributions to your statutory health and pension insurance. However, the processing of your application can take a few weeks, so register early.

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Other insurances

Is there a risk of personal injury or financial loss in your job? Then professional or business liability insurance is essential for you. Make sure that the amount of damages covered is high enough. Damage can cost millions.

It also makes sense to have inventory insurance to protect your premises and property. In the event of burglary, vandalism, fire and storms, you'll be on the safe side. Last but not least, let's talk about company accident insurance. This is provided by the employers' liability insurance association with which you have registered your business. By the way, you only have one week to register, so be quick!

About the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment

Like almost everything in life, self-employment has its advantages and disadvantages. Here, above all, the topics of freedom and responsibility are opposed to each other.

What's so great about being self-employed?

You decide how you do your work, when the day begins, when you finish work, who you hire and, in short, you pull all the strings. This is probably the biggest advantage that self-employment has to offer. It also gives you a high degree of flexibility.

You have an important appointment today? No problem, just plan your work around it. Your kids are on vacation? Then you don't have to worry about whether your vacation will be approved, because you write the plan.

Not to forget, you finally have the chance to fully realize yourself. There are no longer any limits to what you can do as an employee. Now it's entirely up to you whether you pursue your dreams or not.

Becoming self-employed: The second side of the coin

All the freedom your self-employment gives you comes at a price. You are not only responsible for yourself, but also for your employees. It's your job to make sure there's enough revenue to cover your running costs, pay your employees enough and leave something for you to live on. You also need money to move your business forward and launch new products.

Not only your livelihood, but also that of your employees and partners are in your hands - and that can be quite stressful. On top of that, you only get paid for actual performance. If you just sit around doing your time, there will be no turnover and therefore no income. It's not for nothing that they say self-employed people work for themselves all the time.

A sophisticated Time Management is also in demand. If you can determine your own working hours, you'll certainly be tempted to sleep longer, finish work earlier, and squeeze in a day off here and there. But this can quickly put you in a difficult position. If you can no longer manage your workload and slide further and further into the red financially, the consequences can be fatal.

These are the qualities you should have if you want to start your own business

If you want to start your own business, discipline and ambition are required. You alone are responsible for the success of your business. Only you can drive it forward: so be motivated, thirsty for knowledge and hardworking! Read the article to find out what other qualities you should bring with you. "10 most important qualities for self-employed people".

You will learn the most important skills that will help you to be successful in your own business from our experts. All you need to do is to download our Greator Business Coach Training to start!

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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