Becoming a freelancer: where to start? (Taxes, registration, income/expenses...)


Not sure if this is the right site for freelancers, but becoming a freelancer is kinda a one-man start-up.

Anyway, my question would be, where to start. I only have a technical education and I actually don't know anything about business and taxes. I'm looking for some kind of a primer for starting a business/becoming a freelancer and I'd prefer it to be general. I'm especially not looking for something that is US specific, since I'm not living in the there.

Also, if this is the wrong site, please feel free to let me know and eventually point me to a better place to ask.

Solo Entrepreneur Foreign Tax Business

asked Sep 27 '10 at 07:47
164 points
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  • There is no business primer that covers e.g. taxes or registration and is generic enough to cover any country. Such things are country (and even state) specific. Your question is also too broad. A guide that covers all the basics of running a consulting business is a book-sized topic and I'm sure there are books on that topic in your country. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk 14 years ago
  • Hmm. Just wondering what people learn about business, finance and taxes in school. That must be very broad as well. And I think even though the numbers might be different in various countries, aren't the concepts more or less the same? – Znq 14 years ago

4 Answers


They say that your income potential will meet or exceed the income of the 5 people you associate with the most - so my recommendation would be to get out and make friends of some local successful Entrepreneurs. Pick their brains, ask them how they got started and ask them their advice for you.

answered Oct 28 '10 at 02:35
Cheryl Allin
71 points


Thanks for all the answers. They're all good advice, but not really what I asked for.

I was not really interested in how to get customers and start working, but rather how to understand how taxes work and how an invoice has to look like, etc.

Anyway, to help others with the same questions: I ended up talking to other freelancers in my city and also spoke to a local lawyer, who is helping me with the taxes and other legal issues. I got plenty of good advice there and can highly recommend to go to some local meetups, where other freelancers attend as well.

answered Jan 16 '11 at 03:21
164 points


My short answer is to keep it really simple. It's easy to over-think and over-complicate it, especially when you're first starting out.

Your first step would be to find your first customer willing to pay you to do something. Typically that's done through your existing network. I wouldn't bother forming a legal entity or setting up accounting at this point.

When you get to the point that you're working for people you don't know, then it might be time to setup an LLC (or some legal structure) and setup your accounting. You could go for quite a while without having that setup. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I started my consulting practice I thought I had to get all this stuff setup prior to working - which just wasn't true.

It would be helpful to know to give you a better answer - what Country are you in? What skills and interests do you have?

answered Jan 12 '11 at 01:11
Alex Cook
641 points


Most freelancers I know were employees and left their companies on good terms. Later on their companies gave them projects or introduce them to some customers who need their expertise.
Starting alone without any referral is pretty much harder and risky.
As for other stuff like taxes. I am sure you know or can reach an accountant who will explain to you how things go on. In all cases you need an accountant to deal with because he will make your life much more asier when dealing with the administration

answered Sep 27 '10 at 08:44
121 points
  • Thanks. I'm already talking to an accountant and he is pretty much making all decisions for me. And I trust him. However, I'm curious mind and just like to understand more what's going on there without having to waste my accountants time. – Znq 14 years ago
  • Then ask the accountant. I am sure there is an entity that has courses he can refer you to. most governments offer those for free for upcoming entrepeneours. – Net Tecture 13 years ago

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