Starting as a freelancer, a practical guide

I’ve been a freelancer for 5 years now. In these years a lot of (new) colleagues asked me how to get started. I always thought it wasn’t that special, but I guess going freelance is still “a thing”.

Here is a practical guide to get started. There is some Dutch specific stuff in here, but most is not country specific and common sense. 

🎓 Official part

Go to and follow the steps.

Save the bills as expenses 🙂

Now you’re set! Go! Be a freelancer! Don’t make it harder than it is 🙂

All the other stuff is optional, not officially needed, but I think super helpful, so read on if you want!

🚨 Mandatory from my perspective

Get insured (you need to get help for this from an intermediate, helped my out)

  1. Legal Counsel (rechtsbijstand ZZP)
  2. Professional Liability (Beroeps- & Bedrijfsaansprakelijkheid)
  3. Disability insurance
  4. Optional but highly recommended: insurance for your stuff
  5. Pension (or “old age money”). I’ve got my freelance tax friendly account at

Do this also!

  1. Officially it’s not mandatory, at least not in the Netherlands, but it is still very helpful: business bankaccount. I’ve got mine through as it has some integrations my usual bank ASN does not have yet. Especially the integration with my “account” (see point 3).
  2. Website & email, but make it simple. Get your domain, easy template and go! (see for instance Costs per year: ~1-2 hours work. Usually this includes emails as well, I’ve integrated with Google Workspace for and additional 6 euro’s per month, so my mail is with google although I use my own extension. You can always make it more elaborate along the way
  3. Outsource your finances, but send your invoices yourself. I’m with , someone local is probably best. They do all my VAT-taxes (BTW), my business year-report and my income taxes (and of my wife’s) every year. Costs per month: 1/2-1 hours of work with my hourly rate. They also make sure I get all my “starting up” tax discounts.
  4. Simple (Google) sheets with your daily hours (payed and not payed) including your travels and distance. With some pivots you get a lot of overview and insights.
    • Data for your invoices
    • Overview of distances travelled (taxes
    • Year over year data on your performance
    • How much you do for clients 
    • Etc. and so on…
  5. Doc for your invoices (for me also through Google), I just copy paste the last one, chance the numbers, download as pdf and send
  6. Buy almost everything you need as a business expense, your “accountant” can help (see point 3). This means laptop, phone, internet bill, paper, pens etc. If you already have them, get them on your expenses anyway as starting expenses, your accountant knows how.

💸 Backup

And last but not least, start saving money! Make sure you have at least 4-6 months of living costs saved up over time as a backup for the times you are out of an assignment or something else happens. Do this before you invest in other stuff!

❓I’m probably forgetting some things I now find natural, so if you have any questions or things you miss, just ask!