How can I make myself self-employed

What do I have to do to become self-employed?


FAQs on self-employment - answers and tips

For founders, this text offers the most frequently asked questions and answers before starting their own business, sorted according to the phases of founding.

[BEGIN: Insert an Image between this tag]

Andreas Munck

For over 7 years I have been advising start-ups on their way to starting their own company. I would be happy to call you and help you with all questions relating to your start-up in a personal conversation.

  • Startup expert
  • 7 years of experience


Start phase: what is my business idea?

At the beginning of every start-up there is the right business idea. This has to be carefully considered, because not all business-oriented ideas lead to independence. It is important that you can identify with your idea. So it should suit your personality and interests.

Find ideas and concepts

One possible way to develop an idea is through brainstorming. This is where you collect your ideas and expand them with the appropriate keywords or keywords. I also get impulses from outsiders, for example from family and friends. Ask yourself: “What would make / simplify my life or that of others?” You should also deal with the perspectives, such as marketing, of your ideas. If your idea can be marketed simply and intelligently, it will become more valuable for potential partners or investors. At the end of this process, you should have found the right business idea for you. You can find more inspiration in our great guide to the business idea.

Didn't find an idea?

If, despite careful consideration, you have not found a suitable business idea for yourself, founding a franchise company could be a possible alternative for you. Here you take over an existing business model including a marketing concept and corporate design.

Would you like to start your own business, but are still unsure and have questions about starting a business? Arrange a start-up consultation plus (1 hour) with one of our consultants. We will call you back!

Do i need a business plan?

A business plan is always helpful when starting a business. It is only mandatory if you want to apply for start-up capital at a bank, but it is advisable to come up with a plan even without this plan. The following points should be considered in your business plan:

  • A market and competition analysis: Are there companies similar to yours in your area?
  • Company goals and perspectives: What do you want to achieve and what could the future of your company look like?
  • Marketing: How do you want to make yourself known? Please also note the location of your company.
  • Your team: Are you setting up a business alone or as a couple? Do you want to hire employees?
  • Your financial plan: Where do you start What can we expect for the future? Preliminary research is essential here.


Definition phase: which legal form is right for me?

The legal form determines the structure of your company, which is why this decision should not be made ill-considered. First of all, you should decide whether you want to set up a corporation, sole proprietorship or partnership.

Forms of corporation

Those who prefer a strict separation between the company and the shareholders should choose the form of a corporation. As a legal person, it can, for example, conclude contracts with its shareholders and is therefore not affected if shareholders leave. The profit of the company is due to the owners according to their capital shares. A major advantage over a partnership is the limitation of liability to the company's assets.

Here is an overview of possible forms of corporation:

  • Limited liability company (GmbH): The basic requirement for founding a GmbH is a share capital of 25,000 euros, which the shareholders must pay in. The share capital is at the same time the liability assets. Every GmbH can have any number of shareholders and needs at least one managing director.
  • Entrepreneurial Society (UG): The entrepreneurial company, like the GmbH, has limited liability and forms an alternative to the classic GmbH. In the case of a UG, share capital of only one euro is required.

one-man business

In addition to the corporation and partnership, there is also the form of the sole proprietorship. If you want to set up your company alone and with little start-up capital, this legal form is suitable for you. It is also very easy to set up. However, the owner of a sole proprietorship is liable with private assets. If you are planning a commercial operation, you will probably have to register your sole proprietorship in the commercial register.

Forms of partnership

The advantages of a partnership are the lower costs involved in setting up, accounting and taxes. Your disadvantage compared to the corporation is your personal liability risk.

Here is an overview of possible forms of partnership:

  • Civil Law Society (GbR): If you are founding together with at least one partner, the legal form of a GbR is ideal. The partners can each be a freelancer or the owner of a sole proprietorship. Special formalities and minimum capital are not necessary. However, all business partners are liable in the event of damage. A correct social contract is therefore very important.
  • Limited partnership (KG): If you want to start a company with at least two people, the KG is also an option. In a limited partnership, at least one of the partners has unlimited liability, all others only limited liability.
  • Partnership: For freelancers, the partnership was created as an alternative to the GbR. The partners can limit their personal liability in the articles of association. Advantage of the partnership: Each partner is only liable for himself. However, this legal form is not permissible for every profession.

Of course, there are other legal forms and mixed forms of the above-mentioned company forms. Which one you ultimately choose depends on your business idea, your capitalization and many other considerations. The advice of a tax advisor or lawyer should not be omitted in such a decision.


Preparatory phase: how do I finance my company?

You need a certain amount of capital to start a business, because starting out as an entrepreneur costs money. You need capital for, for example, a job, office supplies, registrations. In the best case scenario, talk to lawyers, notaries or consultants about your ideas and plans - there are costs for this too.

Debt capital - loans

As a rule, banks are your first point of contact when it comes to your start-up capital
Company goes. You have to repay this debt with interest. A professional business plan and good preparation for the bank meeting are essential. If you work out your idea well and present it accordingly in the business plan, there are good chances of getting a loan. In principle, however, the house bank will not do without private collateral and a corresponding credit rating. If this is approved, it is best to open a business account with the respective bank. In addition to loans from banks, you can also take advantage of loans from private individuals.

Equity - Bootstrapping

Of course, you can also finance your company without external subsidies. An independently financed company formation is also called bootstrapping. If you put a lot of equity into your business start-up, most of the company stays with you and does not become owned by investors.

Borrowed Capital Grants

A start-up grant is a financial grant that usually does not have to be repaid. They can be awarded by federal offices, banks or the employment agency. In order to be able to receive a grant, you have to submit an application. You should carefully check your application for a grant for correctness and form, because even small errors can lead to a rejection. This is where start-up consultants can help. There are currently over 2,000 different programs for grants and funding for business start-ups within the European Union and Germany.

Funding programs and government grants

The loan programs of KfW Mittelstandsbanken are among the most important forms of funding. The “KfW start-up coaching Germany” and the “BafA Unternehmensberatung” funding program run by the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Execution Control cover a portion of the costs incurred for consultancy services. Young entrepreneurs can also take part in a start-up competition with their project. For startups in the field of information and communication technology, for example, it is possible to participate in the IKT Innovativ, which is paid for by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Reasons after graduation or out of unemployment

When starting a business out of unemployment, various subsidies can be obtained. For example, recipients of unemployment benefit I have the option of receiving a so-called start-up grant. Recipients of unemployment benefit II can apply for entry allowance if certain requirements are met. At the time of applying for the grant, there must still be a certain residual entitlement to unemployment benefit. Both funds are a discretionary service of the employment agency. Therefore, in case of doubt, the grants can be rejected. For founders who want to set up a business directly from their studies or university or who graduated not too long ago, there is the “Exist start-up grant”. Scientific staff and doctoral students can also use this scholarship. The “ego. Start-up grants” from the Sachsen-Anhalt investment bank are also intended for post-graduate studies. There are also grants from the EU: with the “Horizon 2020” program, the EU wants to mobilize around three billion euros for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises by 2020.


What taxes do I have to pay?

There are several types of tax that you can expect in Germany. Here is a brief explanation of the most important:

  • Income tax: If your profit is above the certain allowances, you will have to pay tax on it. In principle, all costs associated with generating the income are deductible.
  • Corporation tax: This tax only applies to corporations. Here their profits are taxed minus an allowance.
  • Trade tax: The trade tax is a municipal tax. Everyone who has registered a business in Germany has to pay it. In the case of partnerships, however, the limit of EUR 24,500 applies - below that you do not have to pay any trade tax.
  • Value added tax: All companies add sales tax to their invoices and then pass it on to the tax office. The rate is seven or 19 percent, depending on the product. The small business regulation offers an exception to this. Small business owners do not need to show sales tax on their invoices.

Depending on your individual business, they also affect other types of tax, such as property tax or flat tax. It is worth making an appointment with a tax advisor in advance of any business start-up to clarify any tax issues.


Which insurance do I need?

The most important insurance is business liability insurance or professional liability insurance. This protects against personal injury and property damage that you or your employees cause. Inventory insurance makes sense if you have rented office space. This protects against damage caused by fire, tap water, storms and burglary. The costs for both are fully tax deductible as business expenses. Social security is compulsory for your private coverage. These include health insurance, pension insurance, accident insurance, long-term care insurance and unemployment insurance. The social security contributions are also called social contributions.


Start-up phase: where do I have to register?

If you want to start a company, you have to take a few routes to government offices. These authorities are relevant for your establishment:

  • Commercial office: Register your business here. It is irrelevant whether part-time or full-time self-employment is sought. The tax office, the trade association, the state statistical office and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) or the Chamber of Crafts (HWK) are informed by the business registration.
  • Tax office: You will receive a questionnaire on tax registration from the tax office. You have to fill this out and send it back. After the data has been checked by the tax authorities, you will receive a tax number for your new company. From this point on, you can issue invoices.
  • Employer's liability insurance association: You must register your company with the responsible trade association within one week of founding it.
  • Federal Office of Statistics: Companies are obliged to report to the Federal Statistical Office. However, founders can be exempted from this for the first three years.
  • IHK and HWK: Membership here is compulsory. Business start-ups who are not registered in the commercial register (HR) and whose business income does not exceed 25,000 euros do not have to pay an IHK contribution for the first two years and also no HWK contribution for the year of registration.
  • Federal agency for work: If you want to hire employees in your company, you must apply for a company number from the Federal Employment Agency. This is the only way to correctly pay social security contributions.


Final phase: how do I find a suitable marketing strategy?

Nowadays, an attractive website is part of the basic equipment of every company. Appearance on common social media channels is also becoming increasingly popular. Of course, the print media also provide a suitable advertising framework.

  • Step 1: Define your target group: Who will benefit from my business idea? Who will buy my product or who will use my services?
  • Step 2: Define your goals: what do I want to achieve? Where do i want to go What are my company's strengths?
  • Step 3: Take a look around: who is my competition? How do you advertise? Can this also work for me?
  • Step 4: Define marketing concepts: which concepts do I know? Do I want to go the classic print route or be active on social media channels?
  • Step 5: Bring your ideas together and build your own marketing strategy.


The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee that it is correct, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult a technical expert in a specific case - we will be happy to put you in touch. assumes no liability for damage caused by errors in the texts.