In last week’s post, How To Prepare For Going Freelance As A Copywriter, I covered the more universal challenges and topics I’ve been facing to prepare myself for freelance writer-dom. But freelance writing can be done from around the world, and every country has their own set of challenges to be met by freelancers.
Take me, for example. I’m a German working in Germany. I have different laws and regulations I must abide by than people doing the same work in another country, or hailing from a different country.
I’m no expert in any of these topics, and never will be. This list should serve more as pointers of things to consider rather than an all-encompassing how-to guide.
Before going freelance, everybody should find out how these things work in his or her country.
Before you make your first euro, dollar, or peso, you need to find out which taxes you must pay, in what amount, and at what intervalls. If you’re an expat, make sure to figure this out for both the country you’re from and the country you’re currently living in – both cases can differ vastly from country to country. Your local revenue office will no doubt be happy to help you figure all this out and fill out the right forms to correctly register your business.
You probably know whether health and other kinds of insurances are mandatory in the country you live in or not. In Germany, health Insurance is mandatory, which I believe to be a good thing. It’s a simple equation, really. Your ability to earn money depends on your health, which can never be guaranteed. One illness can not only stop you from earning money, but can cost you immense amounts in treatment while you’re not bringing in those earnings. With the right insurance, you may not only prevent yourself from sliding into debt, but may actually get paid sick leave.
Of all the things to scrimp on while freelancing, insurance isn’t one of them, in my humble opinion. For myself, I’ll be looking into health, unemployment and pension insurance, which brings us to my next subject.
For many types of jobs in many countries, paying into a pension scheme is also mandatory. Find out how to do so as a freelancer in your country, and what options you have beyond this prescribed payment plan.
Even if it isn’t mandatory, you should consider and find out what options you have to pay into your retirement fund. As young and reckless as you may be now, there will in all likelihood come a time when you want to retire. You’ll be grateful for the money you’ve put aside for this very purpose.
Any and all of the above-mentioned subjects may vary not only between countries, but between freelancing part-time and full-time as well. Be sure to know as much as possible, and consult experts if you’re uncertain. This may save you a lot of time, trouble and money in the long run.
Did I leave anything out? If you can think of or experienced more rules, laws and regulations that every aspiring freelancer needs to figure out in his or her country before taking the leap, please tell us about them in the comments.