Being a Small Business Owner Can Be Amazing, but These Are Some Things You Should Know

Being a Small Business Owner Can Be Amazing, but These Are Some Things You Should Know

Many people seem to think that people who have their own business have it all. Well, that isn’t usually the case. Having your own business can be a lot more challenging than simply being an employee. Of course, there are a ton of pros to working for yourself. Sadly, people often don’t know the effort and dedication it takes to own a small business. This is especially the case for people like me who are not native to the Netherlands and had to figure out the system. At the end of the day, for a lot of us, the pros outweigh the cons. Here are some things you probably never knew small business owners like myself have to handle. 

Probably for every 15 people who contact me about a potential project(s), only 1 or 2 people hire me. This is the case for many reasons. Often people just ask me for a quote and then end up hiring someone who’s cheaper. Other people only want to hire a writer experienced with writing in certain niches, like cryptocurrency or targeted ads. There are many other reasons why people don’t hire me like they want someone who will give them free samples or they want a 24-hour turnaround.

People Will Try and Rip You Off

The fact of the matter is, a lot of people take advantage of writers and editors. This is the same for a lot of other fields. I once had a lady ask me to do some work for her as an example, and that she’d only pay me if she liked the work. I told her absolutely not. I have enough of a portfolio that people can see my work before deciding to hire me, or they can hire me for a paid test task. If they like my work, then we proceed from there. If you went to a job interview, would you accept working a day or two for free? Of course not! Why should it be any different for freelancers? 

I am sometimes told that my prices are too high and that someone else can do it for a fraction of the cost. And you know what I tell those people? I tell them, go ahead, hire someone else. If you’re a business owner, it’s important to know your worth. Someone else will always see that you know what you’re doing and pay you what you’re worth. In addition, people haven’t got the slightest idea of what you have to pay for as a business owner. Just because we charge €50 an hour, that doesn’t mean we pocket that €50. 

There Are Other Costs Involved

First of all, we need to pay VAT to the government. For non-essential goods and services, that is 21%. So after 21% is deducted from that €50, I’m only left with €39.50. Now there are a lot of other costs to being a business owner. If you sell goods, then you need to pay for inventory. Other costs include accounting software, an accountant, someone to make your website if you can’t do it yourself, the hosting fee, if you want a brick and mortar business then you have to pay for that. We don’t get paid for all of the hours we spend trying to find clients and talking with potential clients. You also don’t get benefits such as paid vacation time, paid sick time, a pension, and more. The list goes on and on. 

Another thing people don’t think about when wanting to start their own business is how many hours they are going to have to work. If you wanted to have more free time than working at a 9 to 5, be prepared to work 24/7. Starting a business takes a ton of time. You don’t have anyone to cover your work if you’re sick or want to go on vacation. The clients come first. If they don’t, then most likely they are going to find someone to puts them first. 

My Business Is Writing and Editing

I have been a freelance writer and editor for several years now. I write and edit social media posts, blog posts, website content, CVs, cover letters, and much more. Prior to April 2021, I only took random freelance jobs on top of my full-time job. Then I finally started my own writing and editing business. I made many mistakes along the way, from charging people way too little to not having everything in writing. I’ve learned from those mistakes and hope that others don’t make the same ones as I have. 

If you’d like to hire me to write or edit something, find out more about my services and contact me via my website:

Now, if you live in a country that isn’t your native country, you’re going to have to learn the tax system and deal with the bureaucracy. Even if you live in your native country, there will still be a learning curve. There is so much stuff that you probably didn’t expect. You need to make terms and conditions, probably buy insurance for your business, and much more. All this stuff costs money and/or time. 

Don’t Be Discouraged to Chase Your Dreams

I am absolutely not discouraging anyone from starting a business. I think being a business owner is amazing. There are so many pros like being able to work from home and not having to deal with crappy people. You can pick and choose your clients. But, at the end of the day, know that you’re still going to have to deal with emotions. Because humans have emotions. You’ll have to deal with the government. You will probably not be profitable for a while. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the Netherlands. There are some amazing tax advantages to being a business owner. 

My words of advice to anyone starting a business are: make sure to have a lot of money saved because anything can happen, make sure people sign contracts, don’t give up when people don’t pay – it’s part of being a business owner, ask others for advice, and most importantly, have some fun! If you have the chance to do what you love, then do it. Why in the world would you want to put up with other people’s crap if you don’t have to?

What is your dream business and what is stopping you from starting it?

Follow me on my Instagram and my Facebook for more about my life in the Netherlands.

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