Rijeka Freelancers Meetup – Gradska knjižnica Rijeka, 4.2.2020.
How to start
• Freelancing for the last 5 years
• Web development & data analysis
• (Co-)organiser of various meetups
• Freelancing in Vienna
• Zagreb Freelancers
• Rijeka Freelancers
What is freelancing?
• Freelancer – a person who pursues a
profession without a long-term
commitment to any one employer
• Key aspects:
• A professional
• A business
• Basically, the smallest possible
company – just the owner
• Has a certain set of skills
• … that people are willing to pay money for
• Formal education
• Lots of my successful colleagues freelancers are self-taught
• A wealth of resources online
• Invest in paid courses & books
• Usually much more aﬀordable than bootcamps and can give
you good results if you are disciplined
• Your skills are your craft, you need to keep improving them
• Who would want to hire someone with your skills?
• Really worth looking into this before you start
• If you wanted to hire someone with your skills what would your options be?
• Where would you look? Send some inquiries
• What if you were looking from somewhere else in Europe / US / elsewhere?
• Maybe slightly pivoting from your core comfort zone can make you more attractive to
• Is there a certain niche you can ﬁll
• e.g. I specialise in developing applications with data analytics
• Maybe a food photographer is more sought-after than a wedding photographer?
• Legal entity
• Provides services at a certain price
• For smaller amounts and to test the water you could probably just take the money or
delay issuing an invoice
• Autorski ugovor
• No risk to get started with
• More serious towards your customers
• ~40% taxes & social insurance and not meant for the long run
• Some professions (e.g. chamber of graphic designers) can get reduced fees
• Paušalni obrt
• < €40k annually ~15% taxes & social insurance
• Great option to get started! One of the best in the EU
Setting the price
• Talk to your peers
• Search around the web
• e.g. https://n26.com/en-eu/blog/how-much-do-freelancers-make
• Search for salaries
• Usually more data
• Some countries (e.g. Austria) publish legal minimum salaries (Kollektivvertrag)
• Don’t be afraid to have higher rates than “what is expected”
• Don’t forget to convert to gross amounts, as taxes are calculated diﬀerently
• Freelancer bills ~1000 h vs. an employee ~2000 h / year
• Time spent on other activities, no sick leave, …
• Gradual increase
• Bump the rate every time you have a new lead
• Only when you get 3 rejections go back to the previous amount
• Value-based pricing
Is that enough?
• Well, not really…
• There are certain other skills & activities one needs to be
successful at freelancing as well
• Find a good accountant
• Not strictly needed (for e.g. an obrt)
• Can be very helpful – especially in the beginning
• Separate business bank account!
• My accounting template (for Austria)
• Try to get accounting and administration out of the way!
• Marketing – how to promote our services?
• Negotiation – what if the customer’s expectation don’t
match up with our wishes?
• Start building a brand
• Your reputation is everything
• Personal connections
• Try to be good to everyone you encounter, don’t burn bridges
• Personal referrals are by far the best marketing technique
• In-person events are the best way of making personal connections
• Invest in attending events abroad. You can combine a professional trip with a
• We don’t always get what we want
• Compromise, but don’t go below your minimum
• Have a safety buﬀer
• “No, thanks” money – the option to walk away
• Learn about anchoring & other negotiation techniques
• All about the process
• The customer doesn’t necessarily know what to do
• The freelancer’s job to educate the customer if necessary
• Look at what some larger agencies have online
• e.g. for software development
• Sometimes can be adapted to suit you
• They can come up
• If you’re unlucky, already while you’re not experienced
• Consult professional legal advisors if necessary
• For smaller amounts maybe the distraction is not worth it
• Retrospective analysis – tweak your process
• Have empathy
• Invest in language skills
• Immerse yourself in professional communication
• Audio books
• Read books
• If business is going well, it can usually go even better
• Be careful that you don’t try to scale too quickly
• Things can take a downwards turn as well
• Remember to keep that savings buﬀer
• Keep your life expenses as low as you can
• Investing in your own knowledge always a good idea
• Delegate work to freelancers better than you at certain things
• In the future people might return the favour
So how to start?
• Build up a savings buﬀer
• Set yourself some tangible goals
• Have a plan B
• E.g. I had 3 monthly salaries saved, gave myself 2 months
to ﬁnd a customer and left the last month as backup to
ﬁnd a “normal job” if necessary.
• Apply for grants
• National and local city grants can be obtained
• EU funds
Is it really so
• It looks harder than it is
• Once you split things into tasks, they are manageable
• Surprising how much you can do in 8 h when you don’t
have a boss and you focus on individual tasks
• Challenging, but can be achieved
• Important to set boundaries with your customers
• Set deadlines and be transparent if you bump into obstacles
• No radio silence!
• Helps to have a diﬀerent work space
• A library?
• A coworking space?
• RiHub – https://rijeka2020.eu/projekti/rihub/
• Look for community help
• Freelancers Croatia
• Rijeka Freelancers
• Look for education and professional guidance
• http://www.porin.hr/ in Rijeka
• https://plaviured.hr/ in Zagreb
• Maybe someone here has other suggestions?