Updated: Apr 23
Freelancing is a growing trend. It is becoming an increasingly acceptable form of income, and as more people are choosing to take control of their work-life balance, more are realising the benefits. All the statistics show that this is becoming a bigger phenomenon worldwide. Don’t believe us? Check out the country stats...
The lifestyle benefits of a freelancer can be different from person to person, but a majority agree that being your own boss can be incredibly rewarding. You can make your own hours, pursue the projects you find most interesting, and most importantly, have the flexibility to work anywhere, at anytime. Job satisfaction ranks higher for freelancers than those in traditional jobs. (Morgan Stanley). You can read more below about why our freelancers decided to go out on their own.... but first, here's our guide to setting up in 4 major countries:
Opening up your own business license to begin your freelancer journey can be the first step towards your freelancer lifestyle. Our JOLT_ team members are from all over the globe, and therefore have some helpful links and tips for those thinking of starting their own business.
Disclaimer: These are some friendly tips and tricks for inspiration from the JOLT_ team and they are NOT to be used as legal advice.
Country: United States of America
Luckily, it’s quite simple to start your own business in the U.S. BUT, it does depend on what kind of business you’re starting up, whether you want to provide a service or sell products, and which products you sell.
Make sure that what you plan to do is written out in a solid business plan. Be sure to research the different aspects of your biz (inventory, products, sales prices, competition, locations, etc.) Write down your goals and expectations as well.
Fund Your Business
If you have the money to start your business on hand, you’re good to head to the next step. But, if you don’t, there are plenty of ways to increase the capital of your business. There are grants that you can apply for, loans, and even investment opportunities if you know the right people.
It’s extremely important for your business to be legal with state and federal tax laws. You can contact the IRS and they will be happy to help you with deciding on the type of business you have and getting a tax identification number. On top of taxes, you’re required to register your business.
Do you need insurance?
If you own a storefront, hire employees, or sell a tangible product, it is HIGHLY suggested (if not required) for you to buy insurance for your business. Even if you don’t sell a tangible product and work remotely, it is still a great idea to protect yourself with business insurance.
When you’re thinking about adding employees to your roster, you need to make sure that they are legal to work in the U.S. Checking for their working status, collecting insurance cards, social security cards, and employee tax forms are required when you’re adding people to your team.
Overall, the best way to start a business in the U.S is to contact a business mentor that can help you through the process to ensure that you’re taking all of the right steps for your specific company.
Who are you?
Work out who you are and what you want to do. Your business name, in particular, is important. You’ll be registering a business name with the government and will need to obtain all your digital collateral, like website URLs and socials; plus any physical collateral if you choose to go down that path. Changing these things can be convoluted and annoying if you haven’t thought your business name through in the first place.
What’s the plan?
Much as with the US, writing a strong business plan is paramount for your success anywhere in the world. Ask yourself what you’d like to achieve for the next three, six and 12 months, as a starter.
Sole trader- just you. Rocking your business. You are the sole owner and you’re in charge (and responsible) for everything that goes on. You can still hire people as a sole trader.
Company- there are different structures but essentially a company is an entity that has a separate legal existence to its shareholders.
Partnership- when more people come together to run a business
Get an ABN
An Australian Business Number is a key step to starting your newfound freelance field. This 11 digit number is how the government registers and recognises your business. It’s smart to apply for your ABN and your business name at the same time, though not a requirement it just makes the process easier.
Find your funding
Getting going financially can be a real struggle, without significant savings or some private investment it’s hard to get the ball rolling. Often it’s advisable to ease into your very first business venture, potentially keeping a job on the side to help you fund living while you’re working on your business.
In Australia, there are sometimes grants available it assist you in starting up your own business. These change with the governments in power and are often at the state level, but it’s always worth checking if you’re eligible for some financial assistance. Here we’d advise you Google ‘small business grants’ and your local state and council area.
Business Taxes in Australia
Death and taxes, right? Registering for the correct taxes is THE most important step in setting up a business in Australia. Yes, they are confusing, but the implications if you don’t pay your taxes are far worse.
When you are starting out the main taxes you should consider are:
1. GST (Goods and Services Tax)- for when your business owns over $75,000 per year or more
2. PAYG withholding (Pay as You Go)- if you have employees you’ll need to register for PAYG. This is to keep a portion of payments made to your employees and other businesses, which you then pay to the ATO.
3.FBT (Fringe Benefits Tax) - Again, if you have employees and are in a position to provide them with things like work phones, credit cards or cars you’ll need to pay FBT.
Starting your own business in Australia is approachable, particularly as a freelancer. If you’re hoping to start a larger business or sell physical products things are a little trickier, but still very doable.
What do you want to become?
Choosing a business structure is your first big decision when setting up on your own in the UK, and it has a lot to do with what services you provide and how much you want to grow your company...
Business structures in the UK
Sole trader- best for individuals and the majority of freelancers who want to keep it solo - who runs the world? You do! You are solely responsible for your expenses and your losses, but you get to keep all your love post-tax profits - winning!
Partnership- share the love and start your business with a partner (or more, free love baby!) - split the responsibility, but remember, you also have to split the profits...
Limited Company- A good choice if you want your business to be a separate entity from yourself and if you want to grow grow grow! Usually more expensive to set up, there are more rules with a Limited Company, you can't take out. money as easily and you need to create shares, but you can build up a bigger business and sell it.
What's in a name?
Everything! You need to choose a name so you can register your business properly and so that you can buy your domain - are you even a business if you don't have a website? In the UK, there are a lot of businesses registered, so you have to choose a unique name with a domain available (keep in mind that there are different rules for registering Sole Trade and Ltd. Company names). Our advice here? Keep it professional. We know a guy who named his business after his daughter, while this is a heartfelt gesture, if the business goes under then it might not mean such good feelings - plus we think his son may not have been so happy about it.
Your next step is to say a royal hello to the Tax man! In the UK, as a freelancer, you have to register for and file your own tax return. You can do so here. You submit once per year and pay tax and National Insurance twice per year, in January and July. Keep track of everything you spend and everything you earn in a trusty folder, or in the multiple online apps available. We recommend doing your research and also speaking to a professional accountant to help you out.
Cover yourself and get insurance in case something goes not quite to plan! If you're a sole trader you will need to get indemnity insurance. But also consider the fact that you are now working alone, so health insurance incase you get sick could be a good idea too.
Get those Gigs!
Get your logo and get your website designed and built - JOLT_ can help you - and you're ready to go out and get those projects in! It's a gig-economy so go out there and sell yourself!
Consider joining forces and becoming a member of a freelance collective, like JOLT_! Benefits include help when starting out on your journey, access to new clients and immediate project work, and keeping things social - just because you're a sole trader doesn't mean you have to be lonely!
Different Danish Business Licenses
Enkeltmandsvirksomhed = Sole Proprietorship
Personligt ejet mindre virksomhed: Personally owned hobby company
Interessentskab (I/S): General Partnership
Iværksætterselskab: Entrepreneurial limited company (LLC)
Anpartsselskab: Private limited company
Aktieselskab: Public company
2 Steps to get you started
Step 1: Danish Business Authority
Danish Business Authority official registry for your business. The requirements to register will depend on whether you wish to establish a permanent company or provide services in Denmark on a temporary basis. In many cases, you will need a specific license, permit or authorization in order to carry out work in Denmark.
Step 2: Danish Tax Authority
Danish Tax Authority is the second most important government institution you want to be familiar with. They have a great step by step on how to file, account, and hire through your business account.
Denmark has a great work-life balance and the work culture tends to be a flat hierarchy. Meaning that employees are more likely to take things up directly with the CEO or manager in charge. This promotes space where everyone is heard and constructive criticism is welcomed.
Why did JOLT_ freelancers decide to take the plunge into Freelancing?
Raised on sun and saltwater, the environment and sustainability have become increasing passions of Brianna. Living on the coast, her devotion quickly grew into a career when she began copywriting for sustainable and eco-friendly companies.
Till is our resident photographer, filmmaker, influencer, and nutritionist. He has a background in Biology and Nutrition but his true passion is high impact visual content.
Olivia has always been a nomad having lived in many states in the USA and now Europe. She has always used remote working as supplementary income while on the move. Now living in Denmark, freelancing was a great way to build her network in her new home as well as being flexible with her family life, especially now that she has a toddler.
Inge is a Dutch native living currently in Copenhagen. She has a talent for telling stories through art and images. On her personal time she works on her comics, exhibitions, foundations and design competitions.
We hope that you take some of our advice to heart. Opening a business can be scary, lonely at times, and stressful but the rewards are much greater. Especially if you pursue something you are passionate about -- then you will never work a day in your life.
Nasdaq: The gig economy 2020
Oxford Internet Institute: Where are online workers located
Payoneer: Freelance income survey
Payoneer: Top 10 Countries for freelancing
Forbes: Freelancers and the workforce
Statistica: Freelancers in Europe by sector