Being self-employed in Spain is probably your best option if you’re keen to be your own boss and/ or want to set up a business concern.
However, as is the case in most countries self-employment in Spain isn’t an easy route to take. To help you make a success of the venture, we’ve put together ten tips on being self-employed in Spain.
1. Choose your niche carefully
To make the best go of being self-employed in Spain, do some market research and find out which is the best business likely to be successful in your chosen location. Look at your skills and talents, and see if these are needed or missing. If you work online or remotely, take time to see if you can feasibly carry on working in this way in Spain. For example, check the availability and speed of internet connections.
2. Get the word out
Perhaps the biggest challenge of being self-employed in Spain (and indeed anywhere) is finding clients. You’ll need to do the following:
Network in your chosen area – select networking events carefully and only go to those where you’re likely to meet entrepreneurs with synergy to your business.
Market your business or service by leaving flyers in strategic places, advertising in local papers and generally making yourself known.
Get referrals – most business by self-employed individuals and small businesses in Spain comes from personal recommendations. Make sure you offer quality services (go the extra mile as much as possible and always when you’re starting out).
Top tip - when you’ve got a satisfied client, ask them to refer you and write a testimonial. You can use this on your website or to show future clients.
3. Get properly registered
Tempting as it may be to work under the radar, you should register with the tax authorities and the social security system when you decide to be self-employed in Spain. This inevitably involves paying tax (15-20% on your earnings) and monthly social security contributions, but working illegally will ultimately cost you more.
Top tip – when you register, check current reductions and find out if you qualify. For example, the under 30s and women over 45 are often eligible for lower social security payments.
4. Get your paperwork in order
When you set up as self-employed in Spain, hire the services of an accountant to guide you through tax payments. Keep all business-related receipts for expenses in a safe place.
5. Have a business bank account
From day 1 of being self-employed in Spain open a separate business account. Use this to pay all your business expenses (including tax and social security) and receive payments.
Top tip – when you receive payment, work out how much tax and social security is due from it. Keep this amount in your business bank account transfer the remainder to your personal account. This means you will always have funds to pay tax and social security dues.
6. Be strict on payment
One of the biggest obstacles for self-employed individuals in Spain is getting paid. Decide what your payment terms are from the very beginning and stick to them.
When you have a new client, inform them of these before taking on a job and state your payment terms clearly on all your invoices.
7. Budget for lean times
Self-employment is rarely a smooth path of continual jobs and income. When you have a busy month with good earnings, save some for the leaner months.
Top tip – use your quieter times for marketing your business and getting the word out.
8. Be disciplined
Working for yourself takes discipline. Avoid distractions while you’re working. Likewise, remember to take time out and don’t fall into the trap of working all the time.
Top tip – if you work from home, try to have a separate and designated work space. This helps you get into a working mood and keeps you away from distractions.
9. Do what you’re good at
At the beginning of your self-employed journey it can be tempting (and perhaps obligatory because of financial constraints) to do everything yourself in the business.
If possible, do only what you’re good at and get others to do the rest. This allows you to give full attention to your skills and therefore earn more money.
Top tip – if your budget is low, think about trading skills. Ask someone to do something for you in exchange for your services for them.