Being your own boss: this is how self-employment works

  • Do you want to be your own boss? With the right business idea, you can be on the road to success
  • Perseverance, a stable network, and enough start-up capital make it easier to start your own business
  • Step by step to your own business: business and financial plan, the correct legal form, and registration with professional associations and chambers are a must
  • Your new tasks as an entrepreneur: acquisition, bookkeeping, and personnel planning

Do you have a brilliant idea for a new product or service? Do you think you could run a business better than others? And do you feel like being your own boss instead of spending the day in conferences? Then the jump into self-employment is probably the right thing for you. As a self-employed person, you are initially your own boss – and maybe soon the boss of employees. The disadvantage: Nobody transfers your salary at the end of the month. Instead, you bear the entrepreneurial risk yourself. Nevertheless – or perhaps because of it – more than 300,000 people dare to take this step year after year in Germany alone. Our tips help you find out whether self-employment is the right path for you.

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Jump into the deep end: tips for starting your own business

Most company founders have long thought about whether they really want to make the leap. Before you decide, you should carefully consider the following:

  • Is your idea suitable? As a company founder, you have to be convinced that you can do something better than others. The ideas for this sometimes come from the most unusual places. Afterward, however, check very systematically how suitable your business idea really is for everyday use: Start with extensive Internet research – order some competing products, for example, so that you can take a closer look at them. First talk to friends, then also to industry experts or consultants about your idea.
  • Do you have the necessary stamina? No matter how good your idea is, there is a great risk that the start to self-employment will be slow. Think carefully about how you intend to deal with initial setbacks. And make it clear to yourself once again why independence is so important to you – that can help as motivation.
  • Do you have a sufficient network? As a self-employed person, you jump into the deep end. So you should at least know the water well. Ask yourself whether you already have potential customers for your service in their professional environment. And check whether there are also important business partners or suppliers in your circle of friends. This makes the start-up phase a lot easier.
  • Do you bring the necessary change? From day one of self-employment, you will no longer receive a salary. Check carefully how you can or want to finance the first six to twelve months of self-employment. These can include savings, a loan, or government aid, such as the so-called start-up grant. In the mind game, be sure to reckon with a bad course of your future business. If things go all the better in reality – wonderful.

Let’s go: This is how you start your own business

You weren’t put off? Wonderful. Then start your own company step by step. We will help you with these tips on the most important steps towards independence.

Business plan

If you know exactly what you want to offer, you have to create a so-called business plan. This plan summarizes who you are, what you can do, what you do, and how you plan to make money from this idea. Take a lot of time to create it – the document is still very important for the next steps. List very carefully what qualifications you already have in the targeted industry and what commercial knowledge you have. A carefully kept résumé is essential for this. With our free editor, you can create a meaningful résumé in no time at all. Include in the business plan why your product has a chance of success. And don’t forget to honestly state any current deficits – of course, always in combination with a suggested solution. When creating the business plan, you will often find free help from chambers of industry and commerce or from start-up competitions, where experienced founders can give you valuable tips from their experience.

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You can theoretically earn unlimited money as a self-employed person if your business is doing well. In the beginning, however, you need to know how much money you actually need. In your business plan, you have listed exactly which investments are necessary at the beginning and when you can expect the first sales. If you can fall back on savings at the beginning – wonderful. Otherwise, you have to convince a bank or other investors to give you a loan. Prepare for these appointments as best you can, paying particular attention to any weaknesses in your plan. Chances are, your funders will ask for exactly this. And: Be sure to compare the offers from different banks. Besides, you can apply for a start-up grant at the employment agency if you start self-employment from unemployment. If you bring a partner with capital on board, clarify the terms of your cooperation beforehand – for example, your business partner’s right to have a say.

Legal form

Think about the legal form in which you want to start your business. You can also draw on the experience of chambers of industry and commerce and professional associations. Carefully weigh the pros and cons. Different requirements are depending on the company: In creative professions in which the service is in the foreground, you are often considered a freelancer. This means that your bookkeeping does not have to be as complex as in a business. But here, too, you still have a choice: As a registered businessman or woman, you can start quickly, for example, but you are also liable with all of your assets. In a limited liability company, you have to bring in a certain amount of capital (25,000 dollars) – liability is limited for this. Do a good calculation of what is worthwhile for you. Let us advise you.


Now you can really get started. Do not forget to register in good time with professional associations or – this even has to be the case – with the competent chambers. With this recognition, you can also apply for a trade license from the authorities. You also have to report to the tax office so that you can have the correct tax number on your invoices right from the start. And don’t forget to take out important insurance policies in good time.

Everyday life alone: ​​These tasks come up to you

Congratulations, you are now your own boss! A good start. If you have previously worked as an employee, you will face some new tasks. We’ll tell you how to master them well.

  • Acquisition.  You are responsible for ensuring that your business also has customers. Think about a strategy for customer acquisition before founding. This can include a mixture of different measures: Place an advertisement in the local newspaper at a shop. Start a website that contains all the important data on products, prices, opening times, and – very importantly – contact options. Go to important trade fairs – but find out beforehand whether an expensive stand is really worthwhile for you. The so-called cold calling can also be important: You can contact potential customers and introduce yourself. Think about beforehand which arguments you bring with you – and expect that some will hang up immediately.
  • Accounting. The money flows, the sales are good. Don’t forget that you have to prove every expenditure and income. Collect all documents right from the start – the tax office can still ask for documents up to ten years later. Check out different software that can help you with bookkeeping. And if the tasks get bigger and bigger and you no longer feel good about them: Think about hiring an internal or external employee to do the bookkeeping. But also remember: You are still the boss – and you are also responsible for the numbers.

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  • Personnel.  Most self-employed start out on their own – but when things go well, the companies grow. Then you need staff. So make sure you look out for suitable employees in good time. This can be difficult in some coveted professions. A great way to keep expenses down while distributing the work: Hire employees part-time or in a $ 450 job first and expand the contract when things go well. Or offer an internship for young people who really want to make a difference. In any case, it helps to sound out the market in good time and to check how attractive you are as an employer. This works, for example, via an online job market or in rating platforms for employers. Take a look at the offers of the competitors there and pay attention to where you might be offering better conditions or what is being criticized by the target group.

Regardless of whether you make your way through working life as a lone warrior from now on, found a successful company, or maybe even lay the foundation stone for the next “Microsoft” and will soon be the richest person in the world: It is all alone in your hands.

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