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Get away from the employee mindset: 5 tips to think like a self-employed person!

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As a self-employed person, you can set your own hours, work according to your own schedule, and even decide what projects you want to work on next. This can be fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful and frustrating – especially if you haven’t prepared yourself mentally for the new challenges of self-employment.

Fortunately, there are ways to learn how to best work as a freelancer without losing focus and drowning in self-doubt. Here are our 5 tips for your new self-employment mindset.

1. You are responsible for the quality of your work

The first step to thinking more like a self-employed person is to take responsibility for your own work. As a self-employed person, you have to make sure that you deliver high-quality products and services and that they are finished on time. 

Especially at the beginning of your self-employment, you often can’t rely on anyone but yourself, because you don’t have a team around you that can step in when you’re in doubt or to whom you can hand over projects. Therefore, you should be aware from the beginning that you are solely responsible for the quality of your work. 

➡️ Here’s all you need to know about hiring people as a freelancer

2. You must can make decisions yourself

A great advantage of being self-employed is that you can make your very own decisions without having to worry about what others think. So if you don’t want to take on a certain project and would rather focus on another client instead, you can just make that decision and only have to answer for it to yourself. 

However, many newly self-employed people are still so stuck in the typical dynamics of an employee relationship that it is difficult for them to work in a truly self-determined manner and make decisions freely at the beginning. Therefore, always keep in mind that when in doubt, you only need to ask yourself for permission to do something. You are your boss – and therefore you also make your decisions.

💡Tip from Accountable: Especially when it comes to the question of accepting a new project, it can be helpful to know how much money you have already earned and whether a little extra income would brighten up your month. With our free app, you can easily track this and see how many projects you are currently working on.

3. Flexibility is king

Things never fully go to plan – especially if you work for yourself. Clients drop out, new projects come in, deadlines are delayed or demand simply changes. You can only react to all these changes with flexibility if you want to establish yourself permanently as a self-employed person.

No day is like the other. That’s what makes this job so interesting. It is guaranteed never to be boring. But in order to prepare yourself for this new way of working, it doesn’t hurt to think in a solution-oriented way right from the start and to have a plan B, C, D or E ready in case of doubt. 

4. Self-determined work requires discipline

As a self-employed person, you’ll probably start out working from your home office or renting a desk in a coworking space. But you need to be prepared for this kind of work – or at least mentally prepare for the problems that can potentially arise.

After all, there are all sorts of distractions lurking at home that could very well keep you from working, and if you’re a social person who likes to brainstorm for work, then the loneliness of a home office could become a problem for you. 

Some, on the other hand, might need familiar things around them that make them feel comfortable: their pictures on the walls, their desk set up just right, and their favorite cup within reach when they sit down each morning. That’s going to be rather difficult in a coworking space.

That’s why it’s best to think in advance about what kind of work environment best suits your personality – and establish routines in your daily life that will help you settle into your new work more quickly. And of course, a certain amount of discipline is also essential. 

➡️ Working from home: This is what you can claim on tax

5. You can save taxes through business expenses

As a self-employed person, money is probably a bit tight at the beginning, but some business expenses can make your life significantly easier. And the good thing is: not only do they make your work life a little easier, but they can also save you money.

This is done through so-called business expenses that are necessary in order for you to do your job. You can deduct these expenses in your tax return – and ultimately save taxes.

➡️ Here’s the difference between business expenses and income-related expenses

Conclusion: Thinking like a self-employed person

It’s time to start thinking like a self-employed person! This may seem difficult at first, but over time, this new way of thinking will become normal for you. After all, you can only build a successful freelance career if you also actively work on yourself and your mindset.

💡Tip from Accountable: Want to free your mind to focus on the really important things? Our app takes almost all the bookkeeping off your hands! So you can focus on your mindset and don’t have to deal with time-consuming accounting activities. 

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Tino Keller, Managing Director & Founder of Accountable Germany
Tino Keller, Managing Director & Founder of Accountable Germany

Tino already built two companies and therefore knows the challenges freelancers face first hand. With Accountable he wants to solve all those challenges related to taxes.
When not working, Tino enjoys a nice Asado with a glass of Malbec as well as celebrating one of the occasional wins of favourite soccer team 1. FC Köln.

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