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What are the differences between running a one-man company in Germany versus in the US?

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FlightFight

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I live in Germany and running a one-man company here seems like a lot of bureaucratic work although I only have very surface level knowledge of the matter.

There's also a lot of laws regarding privacy concerns and the internet which you have to pay attention to in Germany.

I wonder if it's any different in the US. The US is known to be the land of opportunity for entrepreneurs but I'm keen to hear what you have to say about this.
 

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Jon L

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A one-man-band here in the US is still pretty easy. Hiring employees, though, not so much. That's why I don't hire employees here. Its not worth the trouble. Mine are all sourced overseas. They're just as good for what I need, and a lot cheaper. Hiring overseas is my way of 'sticking it to the man.' (The man, in this case, being an overbearing government that seems to know much better how to run my life than I do.)

Now, if I were doing work that required local employees, I'd need to contract with experts who could tell me how to avoid the many pitfalls of being an employer.

I did have occasion to hire a guy who, as a former bank robber, I should have known better than to hire here in the US. He talked a great game, but when it came time to actually perform, his way of 'selling' was to lie to clients. When I let him go, since he was Black, I was told by an HR advisor of mine to be extra careful because he was a member of a protected class. I'd never heard of that term used about a fellow human before, but I find it repugnant. I was raised with the idea that there were only two races, the decent and the indecent. (That, a quote from a guy who knew a thing or two about actual racism.) I guess I was naive.

I'm going to stick with hiring outside the US for as long as I can.
 

MartijnS

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Hey @FlightFight ,

I can not speak to the exact difference, but I think my background is very closely aligned:

I've been self-employed / contractor , for about 10 years in Canada (whose business climate, as far as bureaucracy is very similar to that of the US, albeit slightly higher taxed).

Almost 2 years ago I moved back to my native Netherlands - which I believe has a business climate similar to that of Germany (although you guys probably have taken the bureaucracy a bit more to the extreme).
Here I continued doing simlar work (I'm in software development).

Being entrepreneurial minded, moving back to Europe from North-America (let's generalize it like that), has definitely been a bit of a shock - in the negative sense.
In North-America it is a lot easier, and I would say more encouraged, to be self-employed. Not to say you can't do the same in Europe, but it's almost like it's frowned upon. "People should just get a full-time job, with a company, get their pension, take their holidays, and not try to stick out above the rest."

In Canada, I was used to having various development contracts with small startups - most of it just word of mouth. Then do some work for them, send an invoice, get paid (or not :) ) as simple as that. Here in Netherlands you almost have to go through an agency, deal with job interviews, formal processes. And all just for temporary contracts.

I've also noticed that here in the Netherlands, full-time employees in the company you'd work at as contractor, sometimes don't treat you with the same respect, and make you feel like you're just trying to 'leach', whereas you usually provide value that is otherwise hard to find.

I can go on about this, there are many other small differences... and if feels like 'death' by a thousand cuts.

This forum at least keeps giving me a healthy and positive outlook at what's possible. (I still have my Canadian corporation, so I still have the means to excel across the pond).
 
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Kid

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Hey @FlightFight ,

I can not speak to the exact difference, but I think my background is very closely aligned:

I've been self-employed / contractor , for about 10 years in Canada (whose business climate, as far as bureaucracy is very similar to that of the US, albeit slightly higher taxed).

Almost 2 years ago I moved back to my native Netherlands - which I believe has a business climate similar to that of Germany (although you guys probably have taken the bureaucracy a bit more to the extreme).
Here I continued doing simlar work (I'm in software development).

Being entrepreneurial minded, moving back to Europe from North-America (let's generalize it like that), has definitely been a bit of a shock - in the negative sense.
In North-America it is a lot easier, and I would say more encouraged, to be self-employed. Not to say you can't do the same in Europe, but it's almost like it's frowned upon. "People should just get a full-time job, with a company, get their pension, take their holidays, and not try to stick out above the rest."

In Canada, I was used to having various development contracts with small startups - most of it just word of mouth. Then do some work for them, send an invoice, get paid (or not :) ) as simple as that. Here in Netherlands you almost have to go through an agency, deal with job interviews, formal processes. And all just for temporary contracts.

I've also noticed that here in the Netherlands, full-time employees in the company you'd work at as contractor, sometimes don't treat you with the same respect, and make you feel like you're just trying to 'leach', whereas you usually provide value that is otherwise hard to find.

I can go on about this, there are many other small differences... and if feels like 'death' by a thousand cuts.

This forum at least keeps giving me a healthy and positive outlook at what's possible. (I still have my Canadian corporation, so I still have the means to excel across the pond).

Thanks for sharing your experience.

In some other thread (here at flf) one user pointed out that in Spain there is ,like, national outlook that being entrepreneur or businessman is almost equal to being a cheater or scammer.
've never been there but it seems that only goal of going there would be having vacations.
 

Ing

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MartijnS , a very fine enumeration, which hits it at the point.
 

Ing

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Btw, I just remember, that I started to build a legel homepage last year.
For example I didn’t dare to install a FB pixle, because of the lack of clear legality.

But please proove me right. I d like to use that. Legally!
 

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