Is it worth it to be a freelancer in Berlin?

A hand with watches over the laptop's keyboard | Is it worth it to be a freelancer in Berlin?

Question

Anyone here is a freelancer? Can you share your experience please, and tell me if it is worth it to be a freelancer in Berlin?

Answers

  • Yes and no. You’re responsible for all health insurance and pension payments. For everything.
  • Check with the Berlin Freelancers Facebook group.
  • You need to price in all the extra expenses like taxes, health insurance and Steuerberater and VAT. If you are still competitive then go for it. Also, don’t start without 6 months buffer, which is 6 months worth of money to live and cover overheads assuming no money coming in.
  • I would even say if you are starting without any clients and projects then consider 12 months buffer. If you have a paying client from the beginning then 6 months buffer. Ensure your contracts allow you to bill monthly or quarterly and not just at the end of the project. Be able to walk away from a bad client. Ideally have 2 clients at any given time. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Ensure your contracts are airtight no wiggly room, penalties for late payments. Get written confirmation of milestones completed.
  • Depends. Accounting, bureaucracy, health insurance and other legal issues could be more than in many other countries, with direct and indirect costs. Germany doesn’t really facilitate self-employment. But can be managed.
  • If you are freelancing in a niche area in tech you can make a killing. You can even make more than C-level. But you will rarely get any equity, that is the downside.
  • Yes, love working freelancer. Flexibility, remote working, great lifestyle but you must manage your taxes carefully, budget well in advance and be aware of your industry peaks and lows… Good luck!
  • I was freelance full time for 4 years. I am now full time employed and part-time self-employed. The part that gave me anxiety was always owing money to either Finanzamt of TK. I felt like every time I got ahead I automatically owed more money. It’s a balancing act. But I had a lot of fun and a lot of freedom. You can do whatever you want that is amazing.
  • I moved here on a freelance artist visa and it was extremely hard. Even tho the bar for me was the lowest, I was struggling a lot to pay taxes and insurance. So yes, highly depends on the field.
  • It is great if you make enough money. I can imagine how horrible it would be if you don’t. The best option is employment and freelancing on the side.
  • Starting up as Self-Employed (“Freiberufler”).
  • I m a freelancer for 30 years. I like it, no boss who tells you what to do. Maximum of freedom but you have to deal with uncertainty and you must be able to motivate yourself.
  • I work as a freelancer and absolutely love the freedom it gives me. But yes it does come with quite a bit of anxiety too. Especially in the beginning as you are building a client pool.
  • I am a freelancer for 10 + years… for sure it is worth the trouble. Less safety but more freedom, more holidays (including working part-time remote on the trips). In the beginning, it can be hard. Try to win partners and long term customers. Makes it much easier. PS: I work as a professional WordPress web-designer, SEO and Online Marketing Consulting. In the beginning, also 6 months kitesurf instructor in Spain 1/2 day and 1/2 web design. Focus on projects and winning customers is important! In the first 1 1/2 years, I focussed too much on travelling instead of working.
  • 10 years freelance and then got a steady job. The steady job is honestly better, especially with the generous holiday entitlements here in Germany.
  • Was working as a freelancer for nearly 7 years in Berlin and from what I learned is:
    • it is amazing to be in charge of everything in your personal and professional life
    • sometimes you have the fear of losing clients or not being able to find clients.
    • selling and negotiating skills are important to have
    • government doesn’t want you to be a freelancer. They will gladly support you if you want either to be employed or run a small business, but not freelance. the taxes can destroy you.
    • fear apart, try to sell your service as high as possible and deliver the best job you can and you will have the freedom you are dreaming of.

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