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    e-⁠Residency for solopreneurs: what are the benefits?

    Whether you're a freelancer, consultant, side-hustler or part-timer, e-⁠Residency is the perfect solution to start and run your enterprise through a limited liability company in the EU

    Embarking on a journey as a solopreneur might be the most rewarding thing you ever do. As a one-person business you're free to set your own goals, do work that you love, and manage your own time. In other words, you can choose your own adventure!

    Often though a solopreneur's adventure involves navigating complex bureaucratic hurdles. This can be expensive, time-consuming, and overwhelming. So what if there was a digital haven designed to streamline the entire process, allowing you to focus on your craft without the administrative headaches?

    Enter Estonia's groundbreaking e-⁠Residency program – the adventure of choice for independent spirits seeking global opportunities.

    There are already many e-⁠resident solopreneurs from around the world operating their private limited companies, known as OÜs, in Estonia. E-⁠Residency provides a perfect solution, because all that is required to establish an OÜ is a single owner, director, and shareholder… who can all be the same person!

    Imagine accessing a vibrant community, conducting all operations effortlessly online with a digital ID, and leveraging the credibility of a European private limited company. Speedy processes not only save valuable time for clients but also unleash the potential for passion projects. Take advantage of comprehensive resources and minimal costs to try out entrepreneurship or start growing that side hustle.

    This article delves into the benefits of e-Residency and establishing a company in Estonia for solopreneurs, freelancers, consultants and side-hustlers. We have already covered the benefits of e-⁠Residency for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in an earlier post. A third considering the advantages for micro-enterprises specifically will be published soon.

    What is a solopreneur?

    E-⁠Residency considers a solo entrepreneur or 'solopreneur' to be someone who runs their business alone, without any partners. Key motivations include: commercialising personal skills to provide services, staying in control of decisions, keeping costs and time spent on administration low, and, for some, establishing a launchpad to grow a side-hustle into something bigger. Solopreneurs want to monetize their time without excess paperwork. They are looking for an easy, affordable way to sell their services without hassle and at minimal costs.

    The solopreneur segment includes enterprises at the very smallest scale of SMEs. Indeed, there is some overlap between the solopreneur segment and the micro-enterprise segment, i.e. enterprises with less than 10 employees and under €2 million annual turnover. However, the way we differentiate them is that solopreneurs usually identify differently from micro or small business founders. Solopreneurs might identify as: freelancers, sole traders, self-employed operators, side business owners, consultants, or contractors.

    Read more about solopreneurship in our guide to starting a solo business:

    Why should solopreneurs become an e-⁠resident?

    Join an active and growing community

    This year, the e-Residency community reached 100,000 e-residents from over 170 countries. Well over 90% of e-residents establishing Estonian companies started as solopreneurs. At an e-Residency community event in Berlin last year, German e-resident Julian Maier made contact with the e-⁠Residency team, and started to realise the value of our community.

    "I really felt this connection. I liked the whole community vibe, and the other people who were hanging out there. I like being connected to real people, who actually care about what I am doing and are supportive."

    Julian Maier, URBN TIGER

    Access to the e-⁠Residency network also means you can easily find support, advice and a network of trusted service providers. They have the knowledge to help you get started and run your enterprise with ease.

    Find the professional services to run your business efficiently on the e-Residency Marketplace:

    Be free to work anytime, anywhere

    All e-⁠residents receive a personal digital ID, which provides 24/7 remote access to Estonian e-services. This means you can start and run your business from anywhere in the world at any time. Plus, all digital services you might need, including the company register, tax portal and accounting software or APIs, are available in English. Be in charge of your hours and your work-life balance.

    British e-resident and outdoors adventurer Chris Shirley was wooed by Estonia's digital infrastructure, which allows him to work from anywhere. 

    "I could do my remote work in a futuristic and sustainable cabin in the forest, then shut the laptop and go mountain biking and wild swimming,"

    Chris Shirley, Haus of Hiatus

    All this also means that e-residents can benefit from belonging to Estonia’s innovation-driven business ecosystem without ever having to visit. There is no need to physically visit or telephone government agencies or notaries, spend hours on hold on the telephone, print or scan paper documents, deal with mail or postal deliveries, or queue for anything. This is unheard of in other countries, like Spain, as e-resident Maya Middlemiss attests:

    As an immigrant to Spain but with an Estonian OÜ, I enjoy a level of frictionless administration that would be unrecognizable for a local business here.

    Maya Middlemiss, Blocksparks OÜ

    Why should solopreneurs start a company in Estonia?

    Register a company rapidly 100%

    Once you have your e-Residency digital ID, you're ready to start your company. Do it fully online in as little as 15 minutes and 33 seconds! The ease and speed of registering a company in Estonia leaves you with plenty of time, freedom, and flexibility over your life and career. 

    Find out how to start a company in a few straightforward steps:

    Access knowledge and experience

    E-⁠residents have so much information at their fingertips to help in their solo business endeavours. There are other e-⁠residents with in-depth experience of running a company in Estonia and in the EU. They’re ready and willing to provide advice and shortcuts to do things legally and efficiently.

    The e-⁠Residency Team also provides up-to-date content and support to e-⁠residents, on all topics relevant in your journeys. You can access written content, guides, case studies, and videos across our online channels, regular live Q&As, and events. 

    What benefits will a solopreneur get running a company in Estonia?

    Operating your freelance activities or side-hustle through a private limited company based in the European Union raises your legitimacy in the eyes of clients and partners. Italian e-resident and solopreneur Cetti Lipari chose an Estonian OÜ for this reason:

    I work with global clients and funders, who prefer working with the authority of a distinct business entity. Plus, I can administer my passion-project of photography through my company.

    Cetti Lipari, Upnõu OÜ

    Save time and costs without compromising security

    Your secure e-resident digital ID gives you full, simple, secure access to the online business services you need, whenever you need them. Use time-stamped digital signatures to sign legal contracts and confirm transactions efficiently and with the same legal standing in Europe as handwritten signatures. This allows e-residents like German digital nomad Jan Johannes to run a businesses in the safest way possible, saving time and paperwork, and speeding up administrative processes.

    “As an e-resident, I could do within 10 minutes a month what took me an hour a week in Germany to do. That is four hours a month that I saved just by being an e-resident.”

    Jan Johannes, Cloudless OÜ

    All of this means you can make more time to do what you love. As an e-resident, run your business on your own terms, supported by digital services that can fit around your schedules and demands. Added to this, you don’t need to pay taxes upfront as you would as a freelancer in many countries. Estonia’s tax system has been ranked the most competitive in the world for 10 years in a row in the International Tax Competitiveness Index. 

    E-residents can benefit by building up business presence in Estonia, which will give their business the necessary substance to pay taxes here. Marketplace member Priolaunch's Andra Larrin explains the advantages as follows:

    Estonia is super easy to navigate, the system is very easy overall, and the tax system is very easy to understand and to apply in practice

    Andra Larrin, Priolaunch

    Read our tax guide for solopreneurs:

    How can solopreneurs grow their side hustle?

    Focus on your clients not your paperwork

    Estonia's seamless services allow you to focus on your core business. As a result, you have more time to spend on building up your clients and creative portfolios. Keep growing by reaching out to new clients in new markets globally with your borderless fully digital EU-based business.

    Network to find partners, clients and community

    Don't do it alone. Get all the support and advice you need. Connect to e-⁠Residency’s huge global network of entrepreneurs and service providers. Leverage the Estonian e-⁠Resident international chamber association (eerica), an independent, membership-based organization of e-⁠residents formed to provide support to the community.

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