The keys to success for the self-employed

Becoming self-employed is an aspiration for many, offering freedom, flexibility and the opportunity to pursue a passion. However, navigating the world of professional independence can also present unique challenges. In this article, we will explore key strategies for the self-employed to maximize their success in 2024. Learn how to optimize your productivity, manage your finances efficiently, and use digital marketing to increase your visibility.

Definition of a self-employed person

A self-employed person is a person who carries out a professional activity on his own, without being an employee. And therefore bound by a contract of employment to an employer. This independence means that it is not subject to a fixed schedule imposed by an employer. And that they usually have to find their own clients or projects. The self-employed assume full responsibility for their activity. Including financial management, customer acquisition, pricing. And sometimes even the payment of their own social and fiscal charges.

The self-employed can operate in a multitude of sectors. Such as arts, consulting, computer freelance, marketing, copywriting, and more. They may choose to incorporate as a sole proprietorship or work in other legal forms. According to the legislation of the country where they operate.

This form of work offers great flexibility and the opportunity to work on various projects. But it also implies greater uncertainty and the absence of certain benefits linked to paid employment. Such as health coverage provided by the employer, paid leave, and job security.

What is the difference between self-employed and salaried?

The main distinction between a self-employed worker and an employee. It is based on the nature of their relationship with their work and their employer (or absence from it). Key differences include:

Nature of the Contract

  • Independent: Usually works on the basis of specific contracts with clients or projects, without an employment contract. The freelancer often has to actively seek new clients and projects.
  • Employee: Linked to his employer by an employment contract that defines the conditions of employment. But also work schedules, holidays, wages, and other benefits. The employer provides the work and pays the employee.

Management of Expenses and Taxes

  • Independent: Responsible for the management of its own social and tax charges. This often includes paying their social security contributions. Their income taxes, and sometimes managing their own retirement.
  • Employee: Social charges and taxes are generally managed by the employer. Who withholds social and tax contributions directly from the salary before paying it to the employee.

Flexibility and Autonomy

  • Independent: Has great flexibility in terms of schedules and workplaces. He also has full control over the selection of his projects and clients.
  • Employee: Subject to schedules and rules imposed by the employer. With less flexibility in the choice of tasks and projects.

Job Security and Benefits

  • Independent: Does not benefit from job security and must manage periods of low activity. Rarely eligible for benefits such as paid leave. But also health insurance provided by the employer, and end-of-service benefits.
  • Employee: Often enjoys greater job security. With access to benefits such as health insurance, paid leave, and retirement plans.

Risk and Liability

  • Independent: Assumes higher entrepreneurial risk and is fully responsible for the success and failure of his business.
  • Employee: Carries less entrepreneurial risk. Although responsible for his performance at work, he does not bear the direct financial risk of the company.

The decision to work as a freelancer or employee depends on personal preferences. And the search for security or flexibility, and opportunities in the chosen field of activity.

What activities are carried out as self-employed?

The self-employed can carry out a wide variety of activities in many sectors. The nature of their work often depends on their area of expertise, skills and interests.

Some examples of activities that are commonly performed as self-employed include:

Provision of Professional Services

  • Consultants in various fields such as management, marketing, finance, or IT.
  • Digital freelancer: web developers, graphic designers, SEO experts, digital marketing specialists.
  • Health professionals: psychologists, therapists, life coaches.

Creatives and Artists

  • Writers and copywriters: authors, web writers, copywriters.
  • Artists: painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians.
  • Designers: interior designers, fashion designers.


  • Craftsmen: carpenters, cabinetmakers, welders, jewelers.
  • Renovation professionals: plumbers, electricians, painters.

Liberal professions

  • Lawyers, accountants, architects: often grouped in firms but working independently.
  • Real estate agents: often working on commission for the sale or rental of real estate.

ICT and Informatics

  • IT experts: IT security specialists, system administrators, mobile application developers.
  • Digital content creators: videographers, podcasters, bloggers.

Education and Training

  • Trainers and coaches: trainers of adults in various fields, sports coaches, teachers of foreign languages or music.

Trade and E-commerce

  • Online sellers: people running online stores on platforms like Etsy, eBay, or through their own website.
  • Import-export: independent specialists in international trade.

The flexibility of being self-employed allows many people to turn their passions or hobbies into profitable businesses. However, it also requires good management, discipline, and an ability to adapt to changing markets.

Master the productivity of the independent

The freedom to be your own boss brings its share of challenges, including how to stay productive without the structure of a traditional job. Here are some strategies:

  • Establish a Daily Routine: Start by clearly defining your working hours and respecting them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Use Task Management Tools: Apps like Trello or Asana can help you organize your projects and track your progress.

Financial Management for the Self-Employed

Sound financial management is crucial for the survival and growth of your business as a self-employed person.

  • Account for Your Expenses and Income: Use freelance accounting software to monitor your finances.
  • Plan for Off-Peak Periods: Set up an emergency fund to help you manage fluctuations in income.

Maximize Your Visibility with Digital Marketing

In today’s digital economy, having an effective digital marketing strategy is essential for the self-employed.

  • Optimize Your Website for SEO: Make sure your site is search engine optimized to attract more visitors.
  • Use Social Media to Your Advantage: Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter can be powerful tools for networking and promoting your services.

What are the advantages ?

Working as a freelancer has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages that can vary depending on personal goals, field of activity, and risk tolerance.

Here is an overview of the main advantages and disadvantages:


  • Flexibility and Freedom: The self-employed have the freedom to choose their working hours, their workplace, and often, the projects they want to work on. This allows for a better work-life balance for many.
  • Project Selection: Being able to choose who to work with and what types of projects allows you to focus on the work that is most interesting or lucrative.
  • Autonomy: Being your own boss means having total control over the direction of your business, from business decisions to growth strategies.
  • Income Potential: Without a fixed income cap, the self-employed often have the potential to earn more than in paid employment, especially if they are highly skilled in their field.


  • Income Instability: One of the biggest challenges is income irregularity, with periods of high activity alternating with low periods.
  • Lack of Social Benefits: The self-employed often have to buy their own health insurance, do not benefit from paid leave, company retirement, or other social benefits offered by an employer.
  • Responsibility and Risk: Being independent means taking sole responsibility for the success of your business, which includes managing difficult customers, collecting payments, and taking responsibility for financial losses.
  • Administrative Responsibility: Managing an independent activity requires taking care of many administrative tasks, such as invoicing, accounting, and compliance with tax and legal obligations.
  • Isolation: Working independently can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation, especially for those who work alone at home without much social interaction.


The decision to become self-employed should take into account these advantages and disadvantages depending on what is most important to the individual. For some, flexibility and autonomy outweigh the financial uncertainty and challenges of running a business. For others, the security of a stable income and the benefits of a salaried job can be more reassuring. It is crucial to carefully assess your priorities, skills, and risk tolerance before making a decision.

The choice of legal status is crucial for any self-employed worker, as it has implications for business management, taxation, social security, and legal liability. The options available vary by country, but here is an overview of the most common legal forms for the self-employed:

Individual Company (EI) or Self-Employment (micro-enterprise in France)

  • Features: Ease of creation, simplified management, personal income tax. In France, the self-entrepreneur (or micro-entrepreneur) regime offers simplified creation and management formalities, and an advantageous tax regime based on a capped turnover.
  • For who? Ideal for activities with little financial risk, little or no initial capital requirement, and relatively low turnover.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Features: Debts are limited to the capital contributed, more complex management, taxation on the profits of the company that can be advantageous depending on the structure and income.
  • For who? Suitable for entrepreneurs wishing to limit their personal responsibility and considering a growth of their activity or association with other people.

Limited Liability Company (EURL)

  • Features: Variant of the LLC for a single partner, offering the same protections and obligations.
  • For who? For freelancers seeking to limit their liability while remaining the sole owner of their business.

Simplified Joint Stock Company (SASU)

  • Features: Offers great flexibility in organization and management, possibility to easily evolve in SAS if you want to welcome new partners, taxation on companies.
  • For who? Suitable for entrepreneurs planning strong growth or needing flexibility in the management and organization of their business.

Liberal profession

  • Characteristics: For non-commercial activities (medical, legal, accounting, etc.), often under professional orders. The conditions vary greatly depending on the country and the type of activity.
  • For who? For regulated professions requiring specific qualifications and subject to professional ethics.

How to become independent?

Becoming self-employed is an exciting journey that offers freedom and autonomy, but it requires careful preparation and organization. Here are the key steps to start your business as a freelancer:

Define your Project and Market

  • Identify your niche: Choose a field of activity that you are passionate about and in which you have skills.
  • Study the market: Understand the needs of your target market and identify your future customers.
  • Learn about the options: The statutes vary according to the country (sole proprietorship, EURL, SASU in France, for example). Each statute has its own fiscal and social implications.
  • Consult an expert: An accountant or a business start-up advisor can help you choose the status that best suits your situation.

Conduct a Market Study

  • Analyze the competition: Identify your competitors and differentiate yourself.
  • Define your value proposition: Clarify what makes your offer unique.

Prepare a Business Plan

Write a business plan: It is an essential tool to clarify your strategy, plan your budget and convince financial partners.

Register and Obtain the Necessary Authorizations

  • Registration: Depending on your status and activity, you will have to register with the competent body (chamber of commerce, URSSAF, etc.).
  • Permits and licences: Some activities may require specific authorizations.

Manage Your Accounting and Tax Obligations

  • Open a dedicated bank account: This will help you separate your personal finances from those of your business.
  • Keep your books up to date: Either do it yourself or hire an accountant.

Subscribe to the Necessary Insurance

  • Professional liability insurance: It may be essential depending on your sector of activity.
  • Social protection: Find out about health, pension and retirement coverage for the self-employed in your country.

Developing Your Online Presence

  • Create a website: Your professional showcase on the Internet.
  • Use social networks: They are essential for marketing and networking.

Find Customers

  • Professional network: Participate in events, trade shows, and use professional networking platforms.
  • Marketing and advertising: Develop a strategy to promote your services or products.

Training and Adapting

  • Continuing Education: Stay current in your field and develop new skills.
  • Be flexible: Be prepared to adjust your offer according to the evolution of the market and the needs of your customers.

Becoming independent requires determination, discipline and a willingness to continually learn. With good preparation and a thoughtful strategy, you can build a thriving business and enjoy the freedom of being self-employed.

Manage your Contributions with URSSAF as an Independent

When you start or manage an activity as a self-employed worker in France, one of the most important steps is to understand and navigate the URSSAF (Union de Recouvrement pour la Sécurité Sociale et les Allocations Familiales) system effectively. URSSAF plays a crucial role in collecting social contributions from the self-employed, which contribute to your social coverage. Here’s what you need to know to manage your interactions with URSSAF smoothly and effectively:

Registration and Declaration

From the start of your activity, registering with URSSAF is an essential step. It allows you to obtain your Siret number and start your business legally. Subsequently, your turnover is reported periodically, often quarterly or annually, depending on your regime.

Calculation of Contributions

Your social security contributions are calculated according to your professional income. It is therefore vital to understand how these contributions are assessed in order to budget effectively and avoid surprises.

Payment of Contributions

The URSSAF provides several payment methods, including direct debit, online payment, or by cheque for certain cases. Opting for direct debit can simplify the management of your contributions and ensure you stay in good standing.

Services and Support

URSSAF offers various assistance services for the self-employed, including free training, personalized advice, and support in case of financial difficulties. Feel free to inquire and use these resources.

Benefits and Rights

As an independent member of the URSSAF, you benefit from social security rights, which include health insurance, family allowances, retirement, and the right to vocational training. Understanding these benefits allows you to better appreciate the importance of your contributions and plan your social protection over the long term.

Managing your URSSAF contributions is an essential aspect of your activity as a self-employed person. A good organization and a clear understanding of the system can greatly contribute to the sustainability and success of your business.

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Understanding the Social Regime of Self-Employed

The social security scheme for the self employed (RSI), now integrated into the general social security scheme under the name of Social Security for the self employed, represents a fundamental element of social protection for entrepreneurs, craftsmen, traders, and liberal professions in France. Here’s what you need to know to confidently navigate this specific social program:

Affiliation and Contribution for the self-employed

As soon as you start your self-employed activity, you are automatically affiliated with the Social Security for the self-employed. The contributions you make cover several branches of social security, including health, retirement, and family allowances.

Calculation of Contributions

Contributions are based on your activity income. It is essential to understand how they are calculated to anticipate the amount of contributions and manage your budget effectively. During the first years of activity, contributions can be adjusted according to actual income, which requires an annual adjustment.

Health Coverage

As an independent, you benefit from health coverage for you and your beneficiaries. This includes access to care, reimbursement of medical consultations, medicines and hospitalization costs, as well as the payment of daily allowances in case of sick leave, under certain conditions.


The scheme also provides for your pension rights, with the establishment of a basic pension and, as the case may be, a supplementary pension. It is crucial to learn about the contribution methods and options available to optimize your retirement rights.

Family benefits

The self-employed also contribute to family allowances, which entitles them to various benefits in the event of birth or family support.

Vocational training

The social scheme for the self-employed includes a contribution to vocational training, allowing you to access training to develop your skills and support the development of your business.

Online Management

The majority of the steps related to the social security system of the self-employed can be done online, via the dedicated portals, thus facilitating the management of your contributions and your rights.

Understanding the social regime of the self-employed is essential to secure your activity and guarantee your social protection. It is recommended to keep regularly informed of legislative and regulatory developments to maximize the benefits of this regime and anticipate the obligations it imposes.


Being self-employed offers unprecedented opportunities. But it also requires discipline, planning and adaptability. By applying the strategies discussed in this article, you can build a successful and sustainable independent career. Remember, success comes not only from what you do, but also from how you do it.

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