Freelance Your Way to French Freedom

Freelance Your Way to French Freedom

Freelancing is a great way to secure yourself an income for your new life in France. If you’re thinking of moving to France with a young family or ahead of retirement, then the chances are that you’ll need to find a way of making an income. Freelancing in France is a great way to do this.

A term we’ve all heard, there’s often confusion about the sort of work that can be done on a freelance basis and indeed how it all works. In fact, freelancing is often though of as a bit of a creative, romantic way of working, whereby the freelancer strolls down to his or her Mac in their pyjamas to do a bit of work before heading off to the gym or going to get a coffee that has a long, fancy name. If this is your notion of freelancing, it’s time for a rethink!

One of the most pointed definitions of the term “freelance” is someone who “works for different companies at different times, rather than being permanently employed by any one company”. So, a freelancer, in France or anywhere else for that matter, may have two or twenty two clients at any one time and may spend whole days, or parts of their day doing work for each of their clients on either a time-charged basis or on a fixed fee basis.

The type of work carried out by freelancers ranges from highly skilled IT type roles to data entry and online research that call for significantly lower skill levels. The great thing about freelancing is that you can take it with you wherever in the world you decide to live. All you need is a great Internet connection and luckily they abound in France, some of you may be able to run their business from a tablet or smart phone!

How to become a freelancer in France?

Here are our Top Tips to help get you started:

Establish demand. It sounds really obvious, but it’s essential that you invest the time to make sure there’s a demand for the service you’re planning to offer AND that you can satisfy that demand remotely while living in France.

While it may well be that for certain clients you’re happy to travel from time to time, it’s best if you can establish an entirely remote customer base from day one, enabling you to really enjoy your new life in France. Once you’ve established that there is a demand and that you can satisfy it remotely, it’s a simple case of making sure you’re confident that you can get access to the people who are likely to become your future clients. Creating demand, even for what seems like a great idea is extremely difficult and in some cases impossible. Many, many people have gone bankrupt over the years on the back of what seemed like a really good money making idea at the start; so do make sure you’ve done your homework, and lots of it!

Identify your Unique Selling Points (your USPs). These are the reasons why your clients or potential clients choose (or should choose) you and not your competitors. These points are at the core of everything you do and whilst not always easy to identify and then put into words, they’re your little communication pot of gold.

Get yourself an image. Business image is really important, particularly if you’re working at a distance as many freelancers do. In this day and age, an image needn’t cost a fortune and can be created with some very simple ideas. Things like a simple logo, an effective business name and a slogan or tagline, will give even the tiniest freelancer business the feel of a big, serious organisation and will help you win clients in today’s busy marketplace. Once you have your logo and your business name etc organised, get some business cards printed, make sure you use them consistently across all your promotional materials.

Get yourself online. Having a website these days is perceived as being as important as a business card was 20 years ago. That’s not to say that you need to invest a fortune and hire a website designer to create a top-notch website for you, a free to create blog or template website such as WordPress will do the job perfectly well at the start and will save you a lot of money in the early days. It's a good idea to get on social media as well, start with Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, in that order, and perhaps Pinterest as well if you have images.

Set your business up appropriately. The auto-entrepreneur system is often hailed as the natural choice for freelancers in France, but before assuming that this is the best option for you; seek advice. Spending a couple of hundred pounds on advice could end up saving you a fortune in unnecessary cotisations and income tax. In the same way that different business structures in the UK suit different circumstances, the same is true in France. It may well be that auto-entrepreneur is simpler than a fully-fledged business structure, but it mightn’t be the most cost effective way to set yourself up. So, before making your final decision seek quality, professional advice.