Starting out

There are many advantages in being self-employed: For example, you can put your own ideas into practice and work independently. You can be successful professionally and organise your work schedule flexibly. However your company has to be successful in the medium and long term so that you can play by your own rules. Therefore think twice about whether you are really suited to work as a self-employed person.

Depending on the industry and business idea, totally different personalities can be successful. There are, however, some basic characteristics, which you should have to be successful as a self-employed person. They include self-discipline, determination, the ability to communicate, creativity and risk awareness. You should be able to recognise opportunities, market niches and trends, and be able to approach customers. In addition, you need extensive market knowledge and a certain degree of commercial expertise.

Please note: Due to their sole responsibility for their entrepreneurial initiative, many entrepreneurs have a considerably higher income than the average employee. However, this is not the rule in the first years following the start-up of a company, especially in the case of technology-oriented companies.

Before you set up a business, you should therefore clarify the following:

  • Questions regarding the company itself and the implementation:
    • What do you want to produce?
    • What kind of service do you want to offer?
    • What is a suitable location?
    • How large is the catchment area?
    • Who are your potential customers?
    • How large is the customer area?
    • How many competitors are then in this market? How competitive are they?
    • What are the costs of setting up the company and during the initial period of operation?
    • How much seed capital do you need? Who will provide it?
    • What financial assistance is available? What conditions apply to it?
  • Questions regarding your qualifications and personality:
    • Does your practical experience fit in with the chosen industry?
    • Are you professionally qualified?
    • Have you already organised and controlled the work of employees before?
    • Do you have a well-founded commercial or business education or the corresponding experience?
    • Are you prepared to work more hours per week that you are used to?
    • Will your family support you in your plans?

If you want to set up a business from unemployment, you should plan this carefully and make use of any available support.

An alternative to setting up a new company is to take over an existing company. Usually there are already customers, suppliers and experienced employees. More information can be found in the aspects of daily life "Company Succession".

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Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium released it on 23.09.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.