... start up my professional practice
Freedom or security
If your professional practice is still in the start-up phase, many options are still open to you. Do you want to start your own business, are you going to work in employment or will you do both? Are you aiming for an optimal artistic freedom, or do you choose financial security?
As a creative person, you are often more broadly usable than you might think. You have a number of important competencies, such as being able to collaborate and think creatively, that are very well usable in other settings besides the regular stages.
You can develop both a broad and a mixed professional practice. A musician playing in different bands who teaches on the side, or a visual artist working independently with a seat in a commission has a mixed professional practice. You can also focus on the broad professional practice. You can for instance think of working as a trainer in the business community, as a creative coach in a care facility, or carrying out projects for a community centre, together with the local residents.
Making a clear survey
Begin by making a clear survey of all practical matters you will be faced with and listing the questions you have about them. Think of: income and taxes, administration and insurances, and - should this apply - form of enterprise or work location. Make sure you have insight into your network and potential clientele.
The beginning of a new business, assignment or job
Everything begins with a clear, brief and catching story about you and your work. Make sure you can tell who you are and what drives you. It does not have to be a smooth sales pitch. Go ‘on the road’ with your plan. In order to get assignments you have to put yourself in the client’s position. If you apply for a job in employment, you have to be able to present yourself in a comparable way.
Determine the market
At the beginning of your career you will take on various kinds of jobs. At a certain point you will have to focus and make choices. What are my strong points, where are the opportunities, and where are the threats (the SWOT-analysis), what does my network look like and where do I put it to work, how do I expand it and maintain it.
Based on the listing of your wishes, opportunities and qualities, you can assess the best choice for you. This might be looking for a job in employment, longer-term, or short-term projects, or working in commission, as a freelancer or a self-employed person. Most beginning artists combine employment contracts with assignments.
Employment. assignments and forms of enterprise
If you become an entrepreneur, you lose the right to social security benefits, you have to deal with VAT and you have to keep accounts. You have to register at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). Many employers assume you have a declaration of independent contractor status. Apart from that you have to choose a form a enterprise: is it going to be a one-man business, or - for instance - a private company. You can also set up a foundation paying you. Gain information in the field of insurances and pensions.