When I moved to France in 2006 there was almost no advice or support for people who wanted to work as freelancers in La République. There seemed to be books aplenty for people wanting to convert a barn into a gite, run a ski chalet or retire to the Dordogne; but nothing, rien, for those of us who simply wanted to earn a living in our new home away from home.
Upon arrival in France I was not short of information, though it was often of little use because almost no-one I met had actually had any first-hand experience of being self-employed themselves. Which meant most of the advice I received was either ill-informed or just plain wrong. Trial and error seemed to be the only way forward and I made my fair share of errors, which ultimately resulted in the demise of my first freelance business in France.
Thankfully things have changed for the better since then. All the information you need is now freely available online and it’s possible to complete many of the formalities, that were once only possible with a pen in hand, electronically. In 2009 the Sarkozy government introduced a new, fairer, statute for independents called the auto-entrepreneur, for which the net result was the creation of thousands of new businesses overnight. The growing success of the portage salarial and cheque emploi schemes have also made life easier, however, things are still far from simple. With earning limits, several legal structures and numerous charges to account for, understanding your obligations can still be very difficult. Furthermore, since the sovereign debt crisis hit in 2010, government legislators have been tinkering with the rules concerning many freelance statutes in order to save money.
Today there are sixteen recognised ways to work for yourself in France, but you need to know the difference between each option, what you’re allowed to do, what you’re not allowed to do, what you’re required to do and the pros and cons of each before you can make an informed decision. Hopefully you’ll find all the information you need to get you started right here in Freelance in France 2015.
If I’d had this book back in 2006, along with the new choice of statutes, I would most certainly have become a millionaire by now.
Who wrote it? Me. Hence this shameless plug-blog (or blog-plug?).
My relative silence here has been partly due to this little project which has finally come to fruition after some years of struggle … five at the last count. As the name suggests, it is a practical guide aimed at helping anyone wishing to work for themselves in La République; and avoid the pitfalls that many have fallen head-first into!
There are sections covering Border Working, being an Au Pair, Cheques emploi (CESU), Auto Entrepreneur, Intermittent du Spectacle, EI Travailleur Indépendant, Artist-Author, Portage salarial and Cooperative as well as all the forgettable acronymns that represent one-man bands: EIRL, AREL, EURL, SASU, SELARL and SELAS. Amongst the practical information you’ll also find my take on the reality of doing business French style. It is packed with links to official government websites, information on Tax, Health, Pensions, VAT, Personal liability, Customs and other formalities as well as a “Getting started” section for each category.
It’s currently available in print on lulu.com and is on pre-sale for the Kindle edition at Amazon; (to be released at the end of this month) and I’ll be launching a website very soon to receive any feedback or comments/queries you might have at www.freelanceinfrance.fr.
Here endeth the crisis!