Considering becoming self-employed?

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There are many benefits to starting your own business: you'll be your own boss, and you can work with the very things you've always dreamt of.

But the path to that dream can be challenging, and there is no single way to a successful business. We've gathered a number of tips that other self-employed people have benefited from. You can use them to get an idea of whether or not becoming self-employed is right for you, or how you can take the first steps toward starting your very own business.

1. Find out if your business idea is sustainable

The more prepared you are, the greater the chance of your business getting off to a good start. Whether you're a recent graduate or you have many years of experience, it's important to first think about some things that can serve as a sketch of your business plan:

What are you selling?

Is there anyone who will pay for or invest in your product?

What does the market look like, and who are your customers?

Consulting services and entrepreneurship classes can be a great idea to get started. They can help you answer these questions. You can get help with sales techniques and how to best present yourself and your business to new potential customers.

Keep an eye on the calendar — DM and MA regularly hold events for self-employed people (in Danish)

Also take a look at MA's spotlight on freelancers, self-employment, and entrepreneurs (in Danish)

2. Make a plan — so you can have space for the fun stuff

There are a lot of things you'll suddenly need to keep tabs on when starting a business. It can seem impossible to manage, but it's easier than you might think. Taking a little time to make a plan and get an overview of everything will let you bring your creative ideas to life.

Working hours while self-employed — while studying, on unemployment benefits, or alongside another job?

Depending on your situation, it can be a good idea to make a plan regarding when and how much you'll work on your business.

For many, the biggest hurdle to becoming self-employed is making it all come together financially. You can choose to become self-employed full-time, right away. While there are some economic risks associated with that, it's important to some people that they dedicate themselves fully to their new business.

The rules for unemployment benefits allow you to work under self-employment in a limited scope while still receiving benefits. Be sure to familiarise yourself with these rules and remember to contact MA before starting your business if you want to receive unemployment benefits alongside your new business.

Read more about your activities while receiving unemployment benefits

How do you register your business — and what kind of business should you start?

You need to register your business with SKAT at (in Danish). Before you do so, it's important to consider what kind of business you want to create. You can familiarise yourself with the different kinds of business and what they mean to you and your business at Iværksætterretshjælpen (in Danish) (an organisation that provides legal assistance to entrepreneurs). Note that as of 9 April 2019, it is no longer possible to register an iværksætterselskab ("entrepreneur company", abbreviated to IVS).

VAT and taxes

One thing that can discourage people from becoming self-employed is the fear of running afoul of VAT and tax regulations. But it doesn't have to be so difficult. Entrepreneurship classes can easily guide you through the rules, and SKAT holds free classes for people like you who are considering becoming self-employed.

If you later find that this element of your business is difficult to manage, you can prioritise spending some money on an auditor or accountant who can do the work for you. Taxes and VAT aren't everything, and they shouldn't hold you back from becoming self-employed.

Read more about contracts, pay, pensions, illnesses, and parental leave under self-employment (in Danish)

3. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs

You're guaranteed to run into a variety of questions or challenges during your initial time under self-employment. You might also find that you have more work some times than others. To address these kinds of fluctuations, it can be nice to talk to someone who already knows the game.

Ask a self-employed person in your industry who you respect or admire about meeting up now and then to discuss how you can further develop your business. You can also become attached to a mentor through DM's mentor scheme.

Read more about DM's mentor scheme (in Danish)

You can also pay for a space in an office community with other self-employed people. It's good to have colleagues to chat about this and that with. It's also a great idea to surround yourself with like-minded people who believe in their own dreams of owning a business.