advice for Self-employed
  • The expansion of the government’s aid package is correct and necessary
  • Nevertheless, as self-employed, we cannot only rely on the state
  • Now it’s time: don’t panic, but more entrepreneurship

Many self-employed people, freelancers and everyone who works differently than the norm stipulates are currently facing particularly great challenges. The country is in a shutdown – the mandatory break is causing many existential concerns.

It was necessary for the government to increase the comprehensive package of measures. Huge sums are being moved for the “rescue package”. But many do not feel saved, but overwhelmed with the chaos of the allocation of funds. Because in individual cases it gets complicated quickly. After all, it was recognized that easing short-time work and a credit program are not particularly helpful for the self-employed without employees.

The rapid response makes us confident that politics sees our situation – but does it understand the reality of our lives?

The grants now planned are intended to quickly ensure that ongoing operating expenses can continue to be paid. It seems unclear whether the self-employed, who have hardly any running business expenses, but are unable to cover their living expenses due to the enormous losses, are also eligible to apply in all federal states. It is not without reason that easier access to basic security was also decided. For a fixed period of time, the asset check is waived here. From the point of view of the federal government, everyone is helped. Indeed, the chaos of many countries in terms of eligibility reveals a lack of understanding of independent work models, particularly in the knowledge society.

For us self-employed people, it’s now about liquidity. Not only for business expenses, but also to make a living. Reducing the current tax prepayment and deferral of tax payments due can only be the first important lever to maintain liquidity. In my view, the legislator is also asked to reduce the minimum assessment threshold for determining the contribution for self-employed persons in the statutory health insurance to the de minimis threshold of 450 euros. And also the suspension of other compulsory contributions, such as the contribution of the IHK or professional chambers, would be conceivable measures. In principle, consideration must be given to opening voluntary unemployment insurance with fair contributions for the self-employed.

Don’t rely on the state

We self-employed people don’t often call the state. Entrepreneurial risk is part of our life plan. We are always aware of this even in normal operation. We choose this route because we want to work independently and with all uncertainties and challenges.

This crisis is not self-inflicted. Nevertheless, we must and can help ourselves.

What can we do ourselves? Few advice to self-employed

My first advice to all self-employed: Please stay pragmatic. As is well known, fear is not a good advisor, and just calling for rescue without getting creative is no indication of entrepreneurial thinking and acting. Entrepreneurship also means doing more with what you have, and that’s a lot!

  • Make what you can available online: Create a new offer, pass on your specialist knowledge, get paid for it via Paypal or Patreon, be online, or temporarily offer other services that you might have left out and that are now helping others would. Sold via Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  • Be busy and don’t resign. You don’t capitalize on crises, but if you can help calm the situation, you should help where you can. Even if you are not directly paid for it, new ideas and future business relationships arise.
  • Solidarity with your network: where can you support each other now? Which services and services share via social media channels?
  • Actively take care of due income: Make your (partial) bills now, ask your customers for quick payment. Many will understand this at the moment.
  • Checks what you can postpone, save, or spend on your own expenses.

If all of this is out of the question

Use the time to sharpen your business concept. We have no choice but to think entrepreneurially and make something of the situation. Especially if you work solo, you can continue to develop in new directions without major capital expenditure.

  • Sharpen your business concept, familiarize yourself with the principles of entrepreneurship.
  • Make your website fit and optimize it for visibility and sales.
  • Actively acquires new cooperation partners and, where possible, pools forces.
  • Network in online groups and via social media channels, but avoid negative forums and mobsters. Seeks proximity to potential customers and partners.

Whether independently or not

  • Support the self-employed, with whom you are already a customer, and see if you can also meet your needs with small labels and independent providers: If yoga classes, theater tickets, chassis service, hairdressing appointments or catering have already been booked, but fail – if you can find a way and show solidarity with the people from whom you also like to buy.
  • Become an influencer at short notice: Use your social media accounts and your private network to refer to the work of these providers and make them visible.
  • Pay your bills quickly. Many self-employed workers wait forever due payments despite having completed their services.
  • Supports artists and cultural workers through the Patreon platform.

Don’t panic, but more entrepreneurship

Think bigger, not smaller in this challenging time. This dry spell will not last forever, and as soon as the virus is under control and everyday life is back, we can start again.

When all of that is over, we go back to partying (dance amusements!), Do meet-ups and conferences, go to concerts and events and maybe even better appreciate what art, culture, community and the possibilities of the market mean.

Remain prudent and entrepreneurial! There is always something!

Catharina Bruns
Entrepreneur, author and founder

Insider for entrepreneurship, new work, independence, work culture

Catharina Bruns (born 1979) is an entrepreneur, author, and founder of several creative companies. Her book “work is not a job – you decide what work is!” It is a plea for a new, entrepreneurial attitude to work. She is the co-founder of various startups, including “work is not a job”, “Happy New Monday”, “hello handmade” and many more, and she chairs the Kontist Foundation for Citizen Entrepreneurship.


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