How to become a freelancer

How to become a freelancer

Do you have what it takes to be your own boss? Better still, do you have a knack for words? Then freelancing for Supertext may be the dream job for you. Find out the nitty gritty of setting up shop as a freelancer.

The definition.

A freelancer is a self-employed professional who works for different companies on various assignments. Typical professions may include graphic designers, programmers, dance teachers or sculptors. At Supertext, we work mostly with copywriters, authors, journalists, editors, proofreaders and translators. We assign projects to our copywriters and translators and they invoice us for their services. They are not employed by us – we work with them on a freelance basis, according to a contract that governs issues concerning work processes, confidentiality, liability, payment, copyright and data protection.

The start.

So how do you start freelancing? Every country has its own process and it would be impossible to cover them all here, but we’ll try to point you in the right direction, albeit from a mainly Swiss angle.

  1. First, you need to gather your courage, determination and dedication. It takes a great deal of effort to build up a client base and secure regular work. But in return you become your own boss with the freedom to choose your own working hours, holidays and fees.

  2. As a self-employed person, you are your own company. The most important requirements are: a) you run your business under your name; b) you issue your own invoices; c) you are an independent contractor; d) you are liable for your business. This is true for freelancers in Switzerland, and will generally apply to most countries. SVA Zurich’s checklist will help you evaluate your self-employed status.

  3. To register as a self-employed person in Switzerland, contact the Ausgleichskasse (compensation office) of the canton of your residence. In Germany, contact your local Finanzamt (tax office); in the UK, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC); in France, URSSAF; in Italy, Business Register of the Italian Chambers of Commerce; in the US, the US Small Business Administration, which should be able to point you to the right authorities in your state.

  4. Remember to clear up any issues with licenses and permits.

  5. In Switzerland, you must prove that you have at least three clients. Other countries may require more proof, or proof at a later date – this is for the protection of freelancers in order to prevent companies from employing them without paying social benefits.

  6. In Switzerland, if your revenue is more than CHF 2,300 per year, you are obliged to pay AHV/IV/EO (Old-Age and Survivors‘ Insurance/Disability Insurance) contributions. Other countries may even ask you to pay your estimated annual taxes in advance.

The support.

Most countries offer support on getting started. And if you’re employed, freelancing on the side is a good, low-risk way of testing the water. The gruenden.ch platform provides information about building a side business as a freelancer. Sites such as wir-gruenden-in-deutschland.de, gov.uk or sba.gov are also helpful resources.

The client.

Once you’re set up, it’s time start working. Most freelancers have a combination of direct clients and agencies as their source of work – networking is key. To work as a freelancer for Supertext, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Register on our website at https://www.supertext.ch/en/company/jobs.

  2. Upload your CV and confirmation from the authorities that you are registered as a freelancer. In Switzerland, this is a letter from the compensation office such as the SVA in Zurich; in Germany, a letter from your local tax office with your tax number; in the UK, a letter from HMRC confirming your tax code and NI number.

  3. Once you are registered in our system, we will assess your profile and, if suitable, send you a link to your contract, which we ask you to print, sign and send back by post – two copies. This may take a little time.

  4. We will then send you a test piece. If all goes well, we’ll approve your application and that’s it – you’re a Supertexter!

So if you’ve got what it takes to write scintillating copy or high quality translations, start this process today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image: Sebastian Wiertz – From Chaos to Order (CC BY 2.0)


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