To run a business, you need a company. You can join an existing one or create a new one. That sounds easy to say not to do. If you are French, it could be easy to do. The ‘auto entrepreneur’ website provided by the French government is the easiest way to start. You just have to enter your social ID number, the type of activity you want to provide and your good to go. 2 weeks later, you’ll receive the official ID (siret number in France) of your company. The name of your company is your first and last names, it’s mandatory. You can still use a commercial name as a brand for your activity but your full name must be visible on all your official documents : quotes, invoices or websites.

The website for auto (or micro) entrepreneurs provides all the information you need and you can use it to manage your company, at the government level : declare your income for tax purposes, change your activity, cease your activity, modify… and so on. It’s really straightforward, there is a limit of income per year (around 70k) and you have to pay taxes every 3 months. If you don’t have any income during the time period, you have nothing to pay. The average rate for tax is around 23%. I may dig deeper in all the tax details later on through another blog post but it’s not the purpose Today.

You can start your company for free with no risk. It looks really appealing to me. You only have to keep an updated spreadsheet of your income and expenses as your accounting system. No need to invest in an expensive accounting software and in an accountant to review your balance book (because you don’t have one). You must also have a dedicated bank account for your activity but not a professional bank account (which is always more expensive than a standard one).

So I decided to start my business for free, I mean for free as much as possible, just to see if it’s possible. I’ve created my own micro enterprise, I’ve opened a free personal bank account (there are many free online banks) and I’ve designed a free website. I’ve also started to create a package of documentation and presentation about my business on a cloud storage provider. The only thing I had to pay was the domain name. I already own one and I use it for my business. It costs around 10€/per year. OK so let’s say I’ll try to start my business with a very limited amount of cash. I'll invest only in books.

I like the idea of a company of one. Recently I’ve seen an interview with Paul Jarvis, a self entrepreneur (link to the video). He has a minimalist approach to business. He also explains that growth for a business is not always as good as it could be. In the case of Paul, if he had too many clients, he wouldn’t be able to reply to every one himself, he could lose the connection to his customers. He prefers to work on his core activity which he likes to do rather than managing people. So the business success metrics are not the head count in your company. As a minimalist, Paul explains that you don’t have to always try to grow your business, you can reach a certain point when you earn enough money to live well and to travel, you have the perfect balance between work and free time. In fact, when you find this kind of stability, there is no need to grow or to change it. Just keep enjoying the business lifestyle you’ve built for yourself. The minimalism philosophy is to use only what you need, nothing more and applied to business, it's an interesting combo compared to traditional capitalism. In a company of one, let’s say a company self centered, the growth is more on learning new skills, trying new activities or selecting only profitable customers.

The idea is really powerful. Business growth is great to a certain extent. It reminds me of the ‘Peter principle’. In companies, when someone is good at his job, he gets promoted and if this person is good at this new role, he gets promoted another time… Until this person is promoted to a role where he’s incompetent. At this point you don’t have any promotion any more. In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence : growth is not always what a business needs.

With this in mind, I’ll keep on growing my own business but not at all cost. Currently I’m still working for a company, as I did for the last 15 years. The goal is to grow a side hustle. It looks like it is a major trend. It happened mainly during the pandemic with all these people with new free hours due to work from home. As I’m an entrepreneur now :) I am seeing the world as a producer and not as a consumer. This opportunity should be exploited and should be packaged to a product and be sold to the mass. The only question is HOW ? Maybe we’ll talk about it later on.