Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kamer van Koophandel

This morning Fred and I went to the Kamer van Koophandel. That's the Chamber of Commerce. We'd been there before - a few months ago. We went to get information about "starting your own business." (You get a free pen for sitting through the talk.) I had to register with them and become an official business before I could become an official freelancer. As of this moment, I am an official business - with the out-of-the-box name "Andy Baker" - but we still have to send something to the tax office before I can actually bill people. That should be another week or ten days.

Getting to the office this morning was sort of a hassle. It had been raining so we were going to take the tram. But then it stopped, so we decided to ride our bikes. Half way there, it started to rain, so we parked them and rode the tram in. Fortunately for me, I always walk out the door dressed in rain gear and a hat. Unfortunately for Fred, he cares more about style and doesn't cotton to rain gear or hats.

Bike traffic this morning seemed particularly horrible, partly because of the rain and partly because there are so many people out at that time of day. Something about children going to school...? You might not think that bike traffic could be annoying, but it can. It's the bakfiets, families riding in small herds, and the rain, but it's also the sheer volume of traffic. Anyway, getting there was a pain in the neck. The tram was a relief except that it was packed.

My business will entail writing, editing and teaching. It seems that I might do better financially if I did the adult teaching on a freelance basis. And I have a few leads on the other two. We'll see how it goes. I'd like to do more writing and editing. And it seems that my unconventional career path calls for being freelance. Fortunately, Fred can handle the accounting side of things and to walk me through the paperwork and meetings. I'm not sure what I would have done this morning without him. He reads that technical Dutch so much quicker than I could. I just nod and follow along. (But I'm good at a party. At a party I can actually talk.)

The entrepreneurial thing never really interested me until years ago in NYC. That was during the other recession. I couldn't find a job and I rolled the idea over for a while. It seems like in the US you can just make some money on the side and announce at the end of the year that you did it. Here, you have to plan it and put down on paper how many clients you expect to have and how much money you expect to make. It's a lot of guess work.

Fortunately, it's a fairly straightforward process and the people (with the exception of a tax man Fred spoke to today) have been fairly friendly. And friendliness makes this (and most things) so much easier, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Dagmar said...

Wow, I have that pen as well. Congrats on your new business. Hope you get really busy soon. But not too busy to knit!

Do you stop by tomorrow in DNA? Hope to see you there!

Dagmar