As a freelance web designer I worked with a lot of freedom. I was not attached to one place and that gave me a lot of time and space to move around. I took full advantage of that in my late twenties and early thirties, until I met a beautiful Dutch woman. It was time to settle down and I moved to Utrecht to continue my work in a quiet yet thriving Dutch city. This turned out to be an incredibly productive decision for my work, and I grew beyond freelancing. I needed employees and security, so it was an obvious step to start a Dutch business. The obvious problem being that I had no idea how to start a Dutch business. So I read around a bit, looked at various website, and had my wife do a lot of translating for me (my Dutch was improving but still very shaky on technical details). After reading every piece of information that I could easily get my hands on and understand, it was time to start a Dutch business. I had decided that I needed to choose a besloten venootschap, or BV, which is the equivalent of the British limited liability company in the Netherlands. It seemed complicated but entirely possible. I went to my local Kamer van Koophandel office and got all of the forms which I thought that I needed. My wife and I sat down at the kitchen table and began to start a Dutch business. Or at least that was the intention. We very quickly discovered that we needed to communicate with a notary for specific forms, so we arranged that and had to wait a while. Then we discovered that to start a Dutch business we had to have a specific type of bank account, which we did not yet have. As a non-Dutchman, that also took some time to organise. Then we found out that the forms which we had spent many, many hours filling in and collecting data for were the wrong forms. And then I gave up. I had a small but significant breakdown or burnout and I lost all interest in my plan to start a Dutch business for many, many months. My wife tried to help me, she tried to do as much of the work as she could on her own, but it was draining us.
Next time I start a Dutch business
I am now recovered, doing a lot of freelancing again, and planning to start a Dutch business in the coming weeks. This time, I am going to do it differently. I am going to continue working as a freelancer, and use the money that I earn to hire experts to start a Dutch business for me. I have heard great things about Intercompany Solutions, based in the Netherlands. Their website intercompanysolution.com provides clear information and the conversations that I have had with them via telephone and e-mail have been very promising. Allowing experienced experts in the process take over the work for me should make it quicker and easier for me, and the fact that I can continue working while Intercompany Solutions works for me means that it may even save me money.
My advice to you
There are a few things that you must do:
- Plan in plenty of time;
- Get expert help;
- Check everything at least three times;
- Take time to stop and relax.
If you follow these tips, with help from the right people, it should be very possible to start a Dutch business without going through what I went through.