How do I become self-employed on a part-time basis?

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How do I become self-employed on a part-time basis?

Many people dream of being their own boss, but only very few take the plunge into self-employment. This is due to the financial security offered by a permanent position. Giving up your main job is therefore not an option. Nevertheless, it makes sense to pursue your passion and realize your own ideas. Being employed full-time and self-employed part-time is the ideal compromise.

The advantages of part-time self-employment

Being self-employed on a part-time basis is very much in vogue. More and more people are opting for part-time self-employment. According to the KfW Start-up Monitor for example, there were around 605,000 business start-ups in 2020. Of these, 439,000 were part-time self-employment.

Most people take the plunge into self-employment because they hope it will increase their income. The realization of a brilliant idea and the exploitation of one's own talents also play a role. Being self-employed on a part-time basis also offers the security of a second mainstay if you lose your main job. A second job offers the advantage of being able to test self-employment risk-free for the time being before it becomes your main occupation.

First steps: How do I become self-employed on a part-time basis?

"How do I become self-employed on a part-time basis?" This is a question that many employees don't know the answer to. They are used to punctual wage payments, fixed working hours and clear work instructions. Nevertheless, there is a great desire to Hamster wheel and to act freely and independently. The first step therefore requires courage. After all, you are leaving the Comfort zone and from then on you are on your own.

Starting your own business as a sideline: these are the first things to consider

If you want to be self-employed on the side, you need to be clear about what this means. Are you happy to give up your free time and can you actually balance your family, career and side hustle? In addition, depending on the sector, you will not only need sound specialist knowledge, but also start-up capital to build up your business. Only when the basic requirements are right will you be in a position to take the plunge into part-time self-employment.

Legal basis: What do I need to consider?

Being self-employed on a part-time basis is not always possible without further ado. After all, you have an obligation to your employer to continue to perform your duties conscientiously. Your part-time work must not impair your performance at your main job.

Part-time self-employment is not possible if you are competing with your employer. For example, if you work as a pastry chef in a café, you are not allowed to become self-employed on a part-time basis by baking cakes and selling them to your customers.

In addition, you may not use your employer's data or resources for the purpose of your secondary employment.

Conclusion: The employer must be informed in any case and permission must be requested if necessary.

Special regulation for civil servants

As a civil servant, you have a special employment and fiduciary relationship. You may be self-employed on the side for a maximum of one fifth of your working hours. If your weekly working time is 40 hours, you can invest a maximum of eight additional hours in your part-time business. If you are self-employed as a civil servant, the earnings limit is 40 percent of your final basic salary.

Civil servants are obliged to inform their employer before taking up part-time self-employment. There is also an obligation to obtain approval. Permission can only be granted if the sideline does not interfere with official interests. Permission is limited to a maximum of five years.

Requirements for exercising self-employed secondary employment

If you want to sell self-knitted sweaters or paint pictures, you are welcome to become self-employed on a part-time basis. However, there are certain requirements for many activities. For example, if you run a pet boarding business or look after dogs, you need a special certificate of competence. If you produce baked goods or other foods, you must attend a training course and need a health certificate. Check whether your part-time self-employment requires a permit or authorization and whether you even need a Master craftsman's certificate you need.


If you become self-employed on a part-time basis, you need to register a business or register as a freelancer. The easiest way to do this is to complete the tax registration questionnaire electronically via ELSTER.

self-employed part-time

Health insurance and social security contributions for part-time employees

It is not necessary to be self-employed on a part-time basis and pay health insurance if your main occupation predominates. Like other social insurance schemes, you finance your statutory health insurance through your main job. Do you earn more as a self-employed person than as a permanent employee or do you invest more in it Time than in your employment relationship, then this regulation does not apply, because then your secondary occupation is your main occupation.

To be on the safe side, you should ask your health insurance provider. In some cases, income from secondary employment is taken into account when calculating insurance contributions.

Taxes: important information for the part-time self-employed

How much tax is payable on part-time self-employment depends on the income. In general, self-employed income is subject to tax in the same way as regular earned income. To be on the safe side, set aside around 30 percent of your earnings to protect yourself from unpleasant surprises later on.

Trade tax

If you run a business on the side, you must also Trade tax is due. However, this only applies if you exceed the tax-free amount of 24,500 euros per year.

VAT liability for part-time self-employment

In general, your business is subject to VAT. You submit an advance VAT return to the tax office and deduct input tax in return. As a small business owner, you are in the clear. You save yourself the formalities if you generated less than 22,000 euros in the previous year and remain under the 50,000 euro mark in the current year. As a small business owner, you do not have to charge VAT.

Earnings limits and tax-free income: An overview

How much can you earn tax-free as a part-time self-employed person? That's a very interesting question, after all, you want to earn a good income. Being self-employed on the side and paying tax is less attractive. Nevertheless, the same rules apply to everyone. The tax-free allowance is EUR 11 604 per year, regardless of where the income comes from.

However, there is one exception. It is indeed possible to generate tax-free income through part-time self-employment. However, at up to 410 euros per year, the tax-free allowance is very low.

Self-employed on a part-time basis: Earnings limit

How much can I earn as a part-time self-employed person? This question is important, because as income increases, at some point self-employment is no longer part-time. This has consequences that affect social insurance, for example. If you work full-time, the guideline for part-time self-employment is a maximum of 18 hours per week. The income from your part-time business must not exceed the income from your main job.

Time management: balancing your main job and self-employment

Many employees who become self-employed on a part-time basis underestimate the time required and the mental strain. It's great if you enjoy being your own boss and are fully committed to your new job. However, your family may suffer as a result of your commitment. You fulfill yourself and the others lose out. Problems can also arise at work if you no longer approach your tasks with the same enthusiasm as before.

So never forget that there are more important things in life. Include enough time for your family and free time in your planning and don't get too fixated on your side hustle. Take things easy and build up your second livelihood step by step.

Coaching and advice: support on the path to self-employment

Many people have a growing desire to become self-employed on a part-time basis. They displace their Needbecause they don't trust themselves to do so. Yet they are perfectly capable of doing more with their lives. Coaching supports the self-discovery process by motivating you to find solutions on your own.

Ideally, the coach by a person with experience especially in the area of business start-ups. He recognizes whether you have the personal prerequisites and assesses your potential. Potential realistically. Perhaps you just need the right impetus to give shape to your ideas. In many cases, coaching will open up new perspectives for you. For most start-ups, this type of professional support offers enormous benefits.

Self-employed on a part-time basis - a step towards financial and personal freedom

Do you have the feeling that your job doesn't give you enough room to Self-realization are you looking for more freedom and financial security? Follow your passion, become self-employed on a part-time basis and work as an entrepreneur on a trial basis. You will soon find out whether this task fulfills you. Let our free masterclass "Your start to financial freedom" inspire.

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