To be or not to be – The “arte” of being self-employed in Spain

“Todo lo que quieras”

Asa child my father always told me I could have anything I wanted, I just needed to work for it. Years later, I was working a 9 to 5 job, which actually began at 7:30 and ended at 10 pm, unless I had a client dinner. The famous evening meals, “cenas con clientes” would become endless as my pharmaceutical sales career progressed. I hit all my targets. Instead of talking to 15 doctors a day, I´d try and shoot for 20 to 25. I enjoyed my commissions. My company car got upgraded, and so did the other benefits…but something was missing. Granted, I was in my early twenties and did not have a mortgage, wife and three kids, so I still had time to think and yearn for more when I finished my job. And so, I did. I thought. I thought, How can I really change things in my country? How can I make Madrid a better place to live and work? How can I be free from having corporate sociopaths deciding my schedule and objectives? Is it possible for clients to actually like what I sell? It all clicked one night after spending over a grand on a client dinner in midst of a huge layoff. As the tar-tar was being served on a rooftop restaurant of Velázquez, I said to myself, maybe there´s a better way to use time and money. That´s when I started to consider self-employment.

I started to visualize another future,I started to dream of freedom,untapped earnings, flexibility in how I did things, and most of all, creativity! I could create things and let the customers decide if an initiative was a clever idea or not, not some boss in a distant cubicle. By the time the coffee came I was in full daydream mode, so the voice of reason kicked-in. ¿Y cómo? But how could I even do this? Countless hours in sales training and business school courses taught me a lot about how to get promoted in a huge Fortune500 company, even in Spain during the crisis…but how could I start something from scratch? “muy Difícil” people throughout my day would always tell me how near-to-impossible self-employment in Spain was at the time. “qué caro” Or how expensive it was just to keep things running. Well, after months of listening to people´s banter, I set out to find out for myself. I began scheming. I continued with the 8:00am client visits and the 1:00am “cenas” but I secretly strategized how to become my own CEO, my own boss, self-employed, and what I found was that it was a lot easier than what people made it out to be!

There´s actually lots of types of companies one can incorporate, but starting something small and new is one of the easiest. Autónomo, or sole-proprietor / freelance, future business magnate, etc is the quickest way to start making money in the world of selfemployment. Once you get a steady income and more experience in the market, you can expand from there. In Madrid, since 2016, autónomo rates (That´s what you pay the government, Seguridad Social, to be selfemployed, covering healthcare and other benefits) are a flat 50€ for the first year and a half. All you have to do is go to your nearest tax office, Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria, or simply “Hacienda” fill-out the Modelo 037, to say who you are, and what you do (what business activity you´d like to be involved in). Then you can go to the Social Security office to complete the form Modelo TA0521. Once you got those, you can start invoicing (or getting paid, “Show Me el dinero!”). If you´re more of an on-line go getter, download your identity certificate from and use it on the tax & social security websites.

If you have any questions that you would like answering about business or work related issues in Spain just send them to editor@madridmetropolitan. com and we will publish the reply.

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