Review your business idea
Prepare a business plan
Financing & public support
Business or liberal profession
Taxes & Accounting
Networks & contacts
Are you really an entrepreneur?
The most important part of any business or self-employment is… you, the person who runs the business! Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Can you stand up to the challenges and demands of self-employment?
Do you have the necessary professional and commercial qualifications?
Can you fill any gaps in your professional or commercial qualifications with further training, with business partners or with your network?
Do you have the support of family and friends?
Do the people around you (family, friends, partner etc.) support what you plan to do? Be realistic in your assessment: Experience shows that self-employment takes a lot of time and dedication.
Special Feature: Questions specifically for migrants
Is your German good enough?
To be successful on the German market, it is extremely important to have a good command of German. If your German is poor, it is almost impossible to communicate freely with customers and suppliers, but also with authorities and banks. All official documents published by the authorities are usually available only in German, for example. And the business plan you prepare for banks and business partners also has to be in German. Would you like to improve your German? Or do you need to start learning it as a beginner? Take advantage of the language courses on offer!
Do you have a valid residence permit that allows you to go self-employed?
Citizens of a member state of the European Union (EU) or an EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), do not need a special permit to go selfemployed. Citizens of a non-EU or non-EFTA country will need to clarify
whether their residence status/permit entitles them to go self-employed. If not, they must apply to the Foreigners Office for an additional permit. Please note: If the residence permit bears the words “Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet” (“Employment permitted”), or “Niederlassungserlaubnis” a special additional permit is not required.
Do you need official recognition of (higher) education certificate/professional qualifications from abroad?
Find out whether you need official recognition, who is responsible for providing it and how the recognition process works.
Information on the recognition of certificates of higher education
Information on the recognition of professional qualifications
Information on the recognition of certificates of school education:
The terms “Freiberufler“, “freelancer” and “self-employed” are often confused and used as synonyms.
Please note: Self-employed people in Germany are
- either business people [Gewerbetreibende] with an activity that is classified as a trade or a business [Gewerbe]
- or members of the liberal professions [Freiberufler] with an activity that is classified as a liberal profession [Freier Beruf]
Different rules apply to these two categories.
It is very important that you distinguish between these two types of new businesses and find out which one is right for you. Read on here