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Starting as a freelancer

Want to go freelance? Your questions answered in this FAQ

Frequently asked questions about starting as a freelancer - WTFAQ

As a fledgling self-employed entrepreneur, you have countless questions. There’s a lot to deal with as a freelancer. Luckily you’re not alone. Our experts joined forces to provide answers to the questions most frequently asked by starting freelancers.

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Want to go freelance? Your questions answered in this FAQ

Starting as a freelancer

Can I carry out different activities as a freelancer, or can I only have one commercial activity?

You can have several activities registered as a self-employed worker. For example, if as well as being a graphic designer you are also good with a camera or pen, then it’s sensible to add these activities from the start. But only invoice services that are registered under your business.


And don’t forget that you have to meet conditions for certain activities. For example, if you would like to combine your freelance activity with a small catering business, you need the right permits to be able to work as a caterer as well.

Starting as a one-man business or a company?

The choice between starting with a one-man business or a company depends on:

  • How much turnover you think you will make
  • The financial risk involved in your activity

As a rule of thumb, we suggest that a company is a good idea when you generate more income annually than you need to live on.

If you have a high turnover and/or a sizeable financial risk, it's best to opt for a company. This step is somewhat more difficult, because you have to draw up a financial plan, use double-entry bookkeeping and go to a notary for the act of incorporation, but your private assets are well protected. Starting up a company costs more, but it offers better tax options to transfer value to your private assets efficiently. It’s a good way of building up savings.

If you don’t think you’ll be earning that much and if your activity does not involve any overly big risks, then a one-man business is perfect. It’s very easy to set up and if you start earning more after all, you can always switch to a company later on.
Would you like more information about which form of business to choose?

Would you like more information about which form of business to choose? Download the Start2Freelance Guide.

Will I pay more tax as a freelancer?

Yes and no.

With a one-man business you fall under the ordinary income tax system so you pay just as much as an ordinary employee. However, you are responsible for your own social protection.

With a company you can optimise your taxes and in any case you pay a lower tax rate. But the threshold and the costs of setting up a company are higher.

See 'Starting as a one-man business or a company?'

As a freelancer, do I need an accountant?

As a self-employed worker, you can take care of your own accounting. But in fact we always advise calling on a professional accountant who knows more about it. That way, you don’t have to worry about submitting your VAT declaration on time, for example. And if you start up a company, then in any case you need double-entry bookkeeping.

Not found an accountant yet? Remember that you can always come to us for advice. Securex has a wide network of bookkeepers and accountants who will be happy to help you. Be sure to visit several people and opt for someone you click with. Trust is extremely important in this relationship.

Tip: Be sure to ask whether the accountant works digitally or not. Digital tools make it easier for you to follow things up or consult figures!

Would you like a personal chat? Our experts will guide you from A to Z as you start work as a freelancer!
Book a videochat!

How do I find a good accountant?

Choosing a good accountant is very important! Make a list beforehand of what you expect of a professional accountant and talk to several people before you make a decision. If you already know other businesspeople or freelancers, listen to what they say about their accountants.

Would you like some help with this? Remember that Securex has a wide network of expert accountants who are sure to be able to support you here.

Social protection

As a freelancer, am I protected when I'm sick?

You are protected by social security as a freelancer, too, but the cover is not as extensive as for employees. So it’s advisable to take out additional insurance so that you aren’t without an income if you fall sick or have an accident. Such insurance is generally less expensive than people usually expect.

Would you like to know more about what social security involves for freelancers?  Download the Start2Freelance guide.

Do I lose my benefits as an employee when I start as a freelancer?

Lose is not the right word here. As a freelancer, however, you are responsible for your own wage package and social protection.

But you are definitely not alone here: thanks to the advice from Securex, you can have more or less the same benefits as employees.

Once you join Securex’ Social Insurance Fund, you are in any case entitled to things like maternity leave or disability insurance. And thanks to a number of insurance policies specifically for freelancers, you definitely have sufficient protection.

When you start work as a freelancer as your main occupation, some of the benefits that you have with your employer stop. You keep credit already built up in group insurance policies when you stop working for an employer, but no further payments are made into these policies.

For every benefit that you have as an employee, there is an alternative for freelancers.

Ask about it!

Is there anything between freelancing and permanent employment?

Yes. You can also work as a 'midlancer'.

Midlancing is a relatively new concept. It’s a combination between the rather uncertain freelancing and the assurance of permanent employment.

You retain your freedom as a freelancer, because you:

  • Choose your jobs and clients
  • Set your daily rate
  • Decide on the length of the project and the working hours
  • Determine what salary you receive monthly

In addition, if you have sufficient resources in your 'bonus pot', you can pay yourself a higher salary for a while. How does a bonus pot work?

Let us explain with an example: if you invoice €10,000 monthly and you want to pay yourself a salary of €2,000 then you save about €6,000 in your bonus pot. If there’s enough, then you can say that in certain months you want a higher salary.

In addition, with the midlancer status you don’t have the administrative burden. You don’t have to worry about contracts, legal aspects of paying your salary, sending out invoices or your protection when you are unemployed.

Would you like more information about midlancing via OpenWork? Contact us.

Working as a freelancer

When I'm freelancing, can I take on several jobs at the same time?

Of course, that is precisely one of the big advantages of freelancing. There is no legal limit on the number of jobs you take on. Which means that every opportunity that comes along is a possibility to use your talents.

Just make sure that you have enough time to finish the jobs so that you don’t have to disappoint any clients. Clients appreciate you being transparent and daring to say no far more than poor work or a late delivery.

Would you like to discuss your ideas? You can do that via our online video chat. Our experts will guide you from A to Z as you start work as a freelancer!

Book a videochat!
Where can I find new clients and jobs as a freelancer?

The first clients usually come from your own network. But make sure you are present on social media, register with online platforms such as ProUnity and get in contact with staffing agencies.

Every sector is different, but be sure to invest in the clients that you have. There’s a good chance that if they are satisfied, they will create new opportunities.

Incidentally, are you already a member of Freelancers In Belgium on Facebook and/or LinkedIn? It’s the biggest community for freelancers in Belgium.

How do I set my daily or hourly rate?

Your daily and hourly rates depend on a lot of different indicators. First chart your costs: working materials, social security contributions, accountant, any insurance, transport, etc. And make sure you allow a sufficient margin to be able to live.

But one of the most important indicators to calculate your rate is your market value. It’s best to take account of what is paid for your standard profile on the market. Consult platforms, ask around in your network or via the Freelancers in Belgium network.

Always pay attention during negotiations with your potential client. Be well aware what impact an increase or reduction in your rate means for you.

Tip: Ask other freelancers in your network how much they charge their clients and how they decided on that figure. Or use the Securex simulator to find your ideal rate yourself.

Won't the freelance life be too lonely?

The freelance life certainly doesn’t have to be lonely. Unless you want it to be. Surround yourself with other freelancers to learn from them, exchange ideas and build up a network.

For instance, you could join the Freelancers in Belgium network via their social media: Facebook & LinkedIn. It is the largest freelance community in Belgium where interesting initiatives are regularly organised for freelancers.

I'm not a salesperson, so I'm not too happy about 'selling' myself as a freelancer. How do I go about it?

If you want to start freelancing, you are going to have to put time into attracting clients by making yourself visible. But that doesn’t mean you have to become a door-to-door salesperson. Be visible on social media, use a professional LinkedIn profile and join the relevant associations. The most important thing is that you have confidence in yourself and your product. Then you don’t have to ‘sell’ yourself because you are helping people solve a problem. And for that, they’ll be glad to see you coming.

The most important thing is to be able to describe well what is your added value as a freelancer. Be clear about who you are, what talents you have and how you can use them to offer a solution.

If you need help with this, contact us. Our expert coaches are ready for you with a suitable process. 

How do I combine my initial job as a freelancer with looking for new assignments as well as taking care of my marketing, administration and bookkeeping?

As a freelancer and business manager you have to wear several hats. That calls for good organisation and stringent time management but it usually works out. Busy periods alternate with calmer ones and if you don’t have time to work on your own marketing, then you don’t really need it.

It’s up to you to choose when you do this. Do you want to deliver as much ‘billable’ work as possible? In that case, it’s best to do things like this after office hours or outsource as much as possible. Of course, you can also opt to set aside working hours to take care of these matters. Remember that this is ‘unpaid time'.

Would you like to discuss your ideas? You can do that via our online video chat. Our experts will guide you from A to Z as you start work as a freelancer!

Wilt u graag uw ideeën bespreken? Onze experts begeleiden uw van A tot Z bij uw eventuele opstart als freelancer!

Book a videochat!

Do I specialise as a freelancer or remain a generalist?

It all depends on your service range, client target group and development strategy. It is a good idea to think about this before you start work, but you can always adjust along the way, since you are your own boss.

As a generalist, you can reach a bigger group of clients, but you have more competition from other freelancers. Conversely, as a specialist you can establish your profile more easily and you have less competition, but the market will be smaller. It’s up to you to determine where to put the emphasis.

Any other questions? Our experts are ready to guide you from A to Z as you start work as a freelancer!

 Book a videochat!

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