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Self-employment: A challenge with opportunities?

What you should know about balancing self-employment and family

Self-employment and family: opportunities and challenges

Working independently sounds like freedom and independence. But it also brings challenges, especially when it comes to balancing job and family. Family-friendly working conditions are the key to a good work-life balance. Those who are professionally independent often have it in their own hands to reconcile their own work with childcare or caring for relatives. We show what opportunities and challenges self-employment brings.

Advantage flexibility - you are in control of your everyday life

High flexibility is one of the great advantages of self-employment - especially when family life and work routine have to be coordinated. As a self-employed person or freelancer, you can quickly adapt your working hours to unscheduled situations in an emergency, for example if your child falls ill or needs to be accompanied to an appointment.

You can also independently prepare and manage your professional re-entry after parental leave. This allows you to adapt your own professional development to personal and family needs.

Always advantageous is a professional network that you can rely on. For example, cooperation and mutual support can help over bottlenecks and even larger projects can be managed despite reduced working hours.

The basis: good time management

Whether the interplay of independence and being there for the family succeeds in practice depends on various factors that you can fortunately influence yourself.

The basis is provided by good self-organization. When is work time and when is family time? A successful time management can help you to reconcile family and career even if a day sometimes runs differently than planned.

If you have your time management well under control, you can even benefit in the end. Often, limited time windows increase your own efficiency and motivate you to work through the tasks at hand in a disciplined manner. Good time management ensures that there is enough space for your family life after work.

Another important factor in shaping your self-employment is your choice of workplace. While home offices save on commuting, co-working concepts can provide the distance you need to stay focused on the job. Increasingly, these also offer integrated childcare options.

Use financial aid

In addition to the organizational challenges, you are probably also asking yourself how the financial situation will affect your family. Especially if you are still about to take the step into self-employment, you should take the time to document what expenses are necessary to build your own business. Also consider how to minimize financial risk for the sake of your family.

The state also offers assistance: If, for example, you have a child during your self-employment, you can apply for replacement benefits such as maternity pay. A prerequisite for this, however, is membership of a statutory health insurance scheme and, in addition, an entitlement to sick pay. In addition, you are entitled to parental allowance if you are self-employed. It is then calculated on the basis of your income in the last fiscal year before the birth. With parental allowance plus, the reference period can be doubled to up to 28 months, in which case only half the parental allowance amount is paid per month. This is particularly interesting if you continue to work during parental leave. Up to 32 hours per week are possible, the income is counted towards the parental allowance.

Where to find help and advice?

If you are considering becoming self-employed, you can find out in advance from the Federal Employment Agency about subsidies, such as support for starting a business. Book yourself best a personal consultation at your responsible location.

You can also use the Family Portal of the federal government to book a consultation appointment for questions about "self-employment with children". It also often helps to talk to people in your own environment who are already self-employed and ask them for advice and tips.

More informationLinks for further reading

The Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (VdU) answers many questions on its website for women who want to take the step into self-employment:

Parental allowance as a self-employed person? Learn more here:

Information on support for business start-ups is provided by the Federal Employment Agency: