My first month of self-employment

my way towards self-employment

In November 2020 I decided to take a huge personal step. I quit my beloved job and started my journey in becoming an independent freelancer. During the previous five years of working at two different companies the desire to start something for myself and being able to work with people from more than one company at a time became bigger and bigger. So the day came, 1st of January 2021, the first day of me being self-employed. Here’s what happened during the first month.

some numbers

Of course I was trying to prepare as best as I could beforehand and so I was able to start off working with two companies (both through Upwork). Another one approached me after reading one my blog posts which accumulates to three total clients.

Being self-employed also means being responsible for managing when and how much to work. As it’s what I’m used to and also works best for my clients I mostly kept working during the week which results in following distribution of my working time.

Working time distribution across the week
Working time distribution across the week

While being surprised during the creation of this chart I guess this spread is pretty common. You start with a lot of energy at the beginning of the week and it decreases every day. So if you need something done quick, make sure to give me call at the beginning of the week. 😁

In total I was working 149 hours across January. Dividing this by 20 working days results in 7.45 hours a day or 37 hours a week. That’s pretty close to the usual 40 hour contracts that are common in Germany and I had signed at my previous employers.

I expect to stay at this level of workload at least as long as COVID is a thing. Afterwards I may spend more time on other activities I enjoy and have been missing since quite some time.


During my first month I also bought a few things to improve the experience of my clients, my productivity (at least that’s what I’m telling myself) and to help protect my personal health.

As I’m mainly working from home and thus spending quite some time with people in video calls I got a proper microphone cause who likes having a constant noise in their ear during a two hour call, right?

Besides some small things, like a USB-C hub or wireless headphones, I finally got myself a standing desk. Did get pretty used to these things at the office of my previous employer and missed having one a lot since working from home due to COVID. I’m a fan of mechanical ones cause I’m concerned about the electronic parts breaking and I don’t move it up and down multiple times a day anyway.

Other than that I reused the simple setup I already had. A Dell XPS 13 and secondary monitor. That’s all I currently need and I don’t plan on extending my setup for the time being.

all hail the bureaucracy

I’m living in Germany and as you may know there are a lot of complex regulations here for every aspect of life. The fact that I had to create a different kind of invoice for each of my three clients should demonstrate that. Unfortunately the German law is behind its time when it comes to jobs that haven’t existed 10 years ago just like my profession as a Cloud and DevOps Engineer.

This results in having to argue with the finance authority whether you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer (yes those are two distinct things in German law). Don’t wanna go into too much detail here cause it’s probably not relevant to you anyway but just know that I had my fights.

Tax declaration is another complex topic in Germany. You can probably take care of it on your own and spend hours on topics you don’t enjoy and prevent you from doing what you excel at.

Or you can take a decent amount of money and let it getting handled by someone else. Ideally this should be someone you trust. That’s why I’m already at my second tax accountant after my first month of self-employment. Let’s hope I can stay with this one for a while.

Last topic, bank account. Fortunately it’s not hard to get a cheap or even free bank account in Germany these days. There’s only one thing that almost no bank talks about for whatever reason and that’s receiving money from other countries or in foreign currencies.

As one of the reasons getting self-employed was to work with companies outside of Germany this point is very relevant to me. I still don’t know what I need to pay until I receive my first payment and then it’s too late anyway. Let’s see how good or bad it’ll be.


So there you have it. My first month of self-employment in ~800 words. Hopefully you got some value out of my story. Feel free to reach out to me if you have some questions regarding the process of getting self-employed.

All in all I’m very happy with my new way of working and hope that I have to take care of less and less annoyances each month and to be able to focus on what I enjoy. Maybe there’ll be another update after some time. Stay safe!

update 17.04.2021

I came up with an update after three months of self-employment. Feel free to check it out.


If you have questions or want to give feedback feel free to contact me.