Start Your Own Business – 5 Phases to Independence

Sven Scheuerle Last updated 22.10.2020
8 Min.
create a business plan
Last updated 22.10.2020

Have you often wondered what it takes for you to start your own business? Then I would like to tell you today: It is probably easier than you think! Deal with the 5 phases mentioned within this article and you will see how you too can master the path to self-employment.

The route to independence is not as complicated as most people think. You just need to know how to proceed and what business idea you want to start with. 

In this article, I would like to introduce you to what I consider to be the 5 most important phases that you have to go through if you want to become self-employed. These phases aim at people who want to set up an online business. 

The 5 phases on the way to independence

Of course, starting up or self-employment in online business is not too different from a classic business idea with a "usual" business idea. However, some factors such as the location search are usually overlooked completely. Because many self-employed people with online business set up their office at home or work in coworking spaces, cafés or other locations.

You can find some great insights especially on the topic of location-independent working in the article by Michael Hörnlimann: Become a digital nomad.

I hope you enjoy reading this and that these 5 stages will help you get to grips with being self-employed. 

Phase 1: Find your business idea

Also in online business, it is, of course, necessary that you know exactly what you want to do. Especially the world wide web offers numerous possibilities to earn money in your self-employment. 

I find it amazing what jobs are now available that are only possible with the help of the Internet. Be it the social media manager, the virtual assistant, the online marketer or online coach. 

So if you have the know-how and interest to start your own business on the internet, you should know in which direction it should go. Only in this way you can position yourself afterwards with your service or your product optimally positioned on the market.

create a business plan

Phase 2: Business plan

The preparation of a business plan is to be advised to anyone who wants to become self-employed. Even if it is "only" a freelancer or sole proprietor. Because the business plan helps you to take a closer look at your business idea and at yourself. 

So you'll be analyzing the following points there, among others: 

  • How are the market and competition?
  • What is your short-term/long-term goal?
  • What are the requirements for your self-employment? 
  • What knowledge do you have?
  • How do you want to market your service/product?
  • How do you finance your self-employment?
  • etc.

To summarise the important aspects of a business plan. You already get a great overview and find out whether or not your business plan is future-oriented. 

A business plan is especially necessary if, for example, you want to become self-employed from unemployment and want to apply for a start-up grant from the employment agency. And of course also if you want to benefit from subsidies for your start-up.

In both cases, your business plan will then be put through its paces. If there is a chance that you will successfully implement your business, you have a good chance of receiving a grant or funding.  

If you are looking for a template to create a business plan, then I can recommend to you the one of the IHK Munich.

Is a business plan absolutely necessary?

Good question! I'd say it's up to each person to decide for themselves. If you do not necessarily need it for the start of your self-employment, because you are "only" self-employed on a part-time basis or there is no reason that forces you to create it, it is not necessary. 

Why please! No matter in which area you want to start your own business, I can only warmly recommend a business plan. Of course, there is some work involved, but the result can be very revealing.

Phase 3: Your financial plan

During the whole planning phase of your independence, you must not forget your private finances. Even if these are already partially taken into account in the business plan as a sole proprietor, you should still get a complete overview of your private finances.

You should be able to answer the following 3 questions: 

  • Do I have enough reserves until my business is up and running?
  • How much money can I invest in my business? 
  • Do I have to take out a loan?

Phase 4: Register your business

Now we come to one of the most important phases on the way to your independence - the business registration. Without your business registration, you are not allowed to be active as an entrepreneur. 

At first glance, "registering a business" sounds worse than it is. Although everything is very bureaucratic in Germany, you have the registration of your business done in just 30 minutes. Excluding the waiting time, of course.

All you have to do is go to the local administration/city council and fill out the appropriate form. In it, the authority would like to know some personal data such as your name, address and more about the activity you will carry out within this trade. 

After you have filled out everything, you will directly receive the certificate for your business. The costs for a business registration vary from city to city and are between 20 and 50 euros.


Tip: Before you make your way to the relevant administration, check whether your city also offers online business registration. In more and more cities, you can now do this from the comfort of your own home.

Phase 5: Your branding & brand

If you have reached the fifth and final phase, congratulations! Now it's time to promote your service/product and get the word out.

What you need of course - who would have thought it? Your website! For someone active in online business, that's probably the least they can do. 😉 You should also present yourself on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Don't worry, you don't need it all at once! Work your way through step by step and create one channel after the other.

However, in order for you to have a so-called branding at all, you will need your own logo and a name or a brand, which you should of course use on all your channels (corporate identity).

For example, you can create such a logo cheaply on a platform such as Fiverr to create such a logo. But also Canva is a great tool with which you can easily try it yourself.

How to get your first customers

If you dare to take the step into self-employment, especially the full one, you are usually 100 per cent dependent on customers. Because without work you will of course not be able to earn money. 

That's great! Especially for freelancers, there are a lot of platforms here that you can use for customer acquisition. In the following, I would like to show you some ways and portals with which I have already been able to successfully acquire new customers.

Portals

In the following portals (except dasauge) you can register as a freelancer for free. However, if you want to apply for jobs, you usually have to pay a small fee. 

Only on dasauge.de you can apply immediately for suitable offers without registration.

Twago

twago

Click here to go directly to twago.de.

hellofreelancer

hellofreelancer

Click here to go directly to hellofreelancer.com.

dasauge

dasauge plattform

Click here to go directly to dasauge.de.

Facebook groups

Yes, you see right! Facebook groups have an incredible amount of potential and that's exactly why you can use them alongside the previously mentioned portals. There are hundreds of groups on Facebook that focus on jobs for freelancers. 

When you type the term "freelancer" into Facebook, the following already appears: 

facebook groups

As you can see, a little research can be well worth it even on Facebook. 

Word of mouth

The most classic way to get new customers is of course word of mouth. This means: If other customers were already satisfied with your work before, they will recommend you to other people/companies. 

So there's nothing wrong with asking clients you've worked for to recommend you if the opportunity arises. 

Why I recommend you start part-time...

I started to deal with earning money on the Internet almost eight years ago. I was a bit was fascinated by the fact that it was possible to build up a business online. 

Still fascinated, I started to deal with the issue very intensively. In the beginning, I built up a small blog, of course without earning money, because I did everything wrong that can be done wrong. 

Nevertheless, over the years, I have been dealing with this topic more and more and have tried different things. So I was able to acquire a lot of knowledge myself, which I can use today for my customers and my online business. 

In between, I took a long break until I decided until a few years ago that I wanted to run my business so professionally that I could make a living from it in a few years. I did all this on the side. So besides my main job.

The big advantage of being only part-time self-employed is that you have a fixed income at all times. You are not necessarily dependent on a fixed monthly turnover to cover your living costs. 

Furthermore, you can gradually build up your customer base, which will secure you when you leap full independence. The financial risk in part-time self-employment is therefore minimal. 

These 3 mistakes you should avoid

  1. Don't be too greedy

    When you start your own business, it can be worthwhile to start with smaller prices. But: Of course you should be able to live on it! The first thing is to win customers. You can always adjust your prices at a later point in time. If the customer is satisfied with you, he will also pay this price.

  2. Acquire customers - ALWAYS!

    A big mistake that most self-employed people make is to rest on their laurels. But what if you suddenly lose a big client that was financially important? Exactly for this reason you should also acquire customers if you currently have enough customers. Only then you have a "backup" and can balance the financial situation.

  3. Do not compare yourself with others

    The Internet offers a lot of good potential for further development. But unfortunately, it offers just as much negative potential in the form of comparisons. Everyone posts daily how much money they make and how great their business is. But you should never let that influence you. Because if you do, the constant comparison will drag your own business down. Always do your own thing and do everything as best you can. Nothing else counts!

More typical mistakes that you can make as a freelancer and should better avoid, reveals you Jan Tissler in his article.

Final thoughts

I think it has never been easier to start your own business than it is today. The internet offers you so many possibilities and opportunities that you can use. 

For the start and to be able to try out, I recommend you as already mentioned in the article, the part-time self-employment. This way you can test without any risk if what you have planned works. 

You have questions or comments on the topic of building your own business? Then feel free to use the comment function. You want to be informed about news on the topic of WordPress , online business and Co. Then follow us on Twitter, Facebook or via our Newsletter.

Photo: Matthias Müller | pixabay, startup-stock-photos | pexels

Sven Scheuerle - Independent freelancer and passionate affiliate marketer - has been working in online marketing for many years. He is also a blogger and regularly posts on his blog BLOGGiraffe.de about self-employment in online business.

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