How to become Self-Employed in 9 Steps

Your steps to becoming self-employed

These are the steps you should take to start your own business and become self-employed now.

IMPORTANT: Many people want to start their own business directly after their old job. However, I strongly recommend that you register with the employment agency or job center BEFORE you start your own business.

1. Financial department

Please note: You always have to register before you offer something (e.g. put a website online) or even sell something! You will receive a new tax number. You will need this number for your future tax returns and invoices.
You are free to choose the date of incorporation. As an address for your activity you can

  • use your apartment (Attention: Check permission from landlord!),
  • an office or
  • a coworkingspace.

It is important that you can be reached at this address.
In addition, you can register the so-called small business regulation with the tax office, if you want to use it.

2. Bank account

Open a real business account and separate private and business expenses. On the one hand you keep so better the overview. On the other hand you avoid problems with the tax office. You can use a pure online account or a normal one. It is important that you do not use a private checking account for your business. That can give trouble with the bank.
In practice, you often need a real Master or Visa card (not a debit card). This applies to rental cars, for example.

As a person interested in sustainability in all its forms, I recommend GLS Bank to you. Unlike some online banks, GLS is a real bank. Also, they only invest in sustainable projects and NEVER in weapons.

3. Trade Office

Here you register your business. However, this only applies if you are a trader and not a freelancer. Please also register here before you start your business.
You always register your business in the city where your main business activity is located.

4. responsible Chamber

As a rule, you become a compulsory member of a chamber. Whether you belong to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Chamber of Crafts depends on your activity. Membership fees are due for both. However, you can also participate in events, for example.

Freelance professionals can join the respective state association of freelance professions locally.

5. Employment agency or job center

If you have not registered with your local unemployment office prior to incorporation, please apply for unemployment insurance. In this way, you can maintain or rebuild your entitlement to unemployment benefit 1. This can be very valuable, especially in the first years. During this time there is still a lot to learn and to optimize. This can also be accompanied by financial bottlenecks.
Especially if you have a family, this point is very important. If something goes wrong, you can take help from the office. If you are not insured, you must disclose and use up your assets. In addition, spouses are obliged to share a financial income low of self-employment. Therefore, unemployment benefit 1 can provide significant relief on the bank account and in your relationship.

Apply NOW for your start-up grant. To do this, you will need:

  • Resume,
  • Certificate from the start-up course,
  • Business plan and financial plan
  • as well as the certificate of viability.

IMPORTANT: Both items are only possible in the first 2 weeks after you become self-employed.

6. Health insurance company

I recommend you voluntary membership in a health insurance company. Apply for the minimum contribution for self-employed to start. So you can use your money in the best possible way. Pay attention to your sales during the year. If they increase, you must form reserves for the additional payments.

A private health insurance is of course possible. However, it also carries great risks. You should weigh these up carefully beforehand. Here, too, there are financial pitfalls, e.g. for family planning.

7. Law firm, notary & lawyer

For certain formations you need a notary. This concerns for example GmbH contracts and entries into the trade register. But also for other areas I strongly recommend you to use legal support. These are:

  • general terms and conditions,
  • contract templates and
  • the privacy statement

Please don’t just turn to acquaintances here. Look for you specialist lawyers for trade or data protection. So you make sure that you yourself will have no problems. A customer will always get right if you make mistakes. This can then also strain the friendship later.

8. independent insurance brokers

Always seek out a brokerage firm that knows commercial well. Many brokers work mainly with residential clients. Therefore, they do not know enough about commercial risks. Of course, you can check any offer. But a professional will quickly show you better alternatives.

You should definitely take out liability insurance. If you don’t have the money for it, you shouldn’t set up in the first place. The risk would be too high.
Whether you need other insurances, you derive from the business model and the risk analysis.

9. Tax consultancy

Depending on the type and scope of your activity, a tax office can be very helpful. You don’t always have to commission your entire tax return right away. A consultation by the hour is also possible. In that case, you prepare everything and then clarify your questions in conversation.

If you are planning to hire, you will need a payroll office. Many tax firms offer this as well. But there are also independent service companies.

More info to make yourself independent

Now you know the most important steps to become self-employed. Feel free to contact us if you need addresses or tips for any of the above points.

Also feel free to take a look at the development opportunities for your company.

Stylized airport tower as image for Start-Up-Lotse consulting for sustainable start-up and business development


Karsten Schmidt was an important sparring partner in the phase of my foundation. He advanced my idea significantly with good questions, methods and ideas. His way of working is very pleasant, high-quality and open. I can highly recommend his support to every founder.

Trainerin Manja Naumann (auf google)

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