"Freelancing a good way to try out if one’s services sell”
These questions have been discussed at two webinars concerning entrepreneurship which Hanken Business Lab has arranged together with Hanken's alumni team during the spring. The third and final webinar in the serie will take place on 20 April at 14.30-15.30. The event is in Swedish and open to everyone – sign up here .
Emil Kylämarkula, COO at the freelance platform FREE.fi that offers invoicing and accounting services for freelancers, spoke at the first webinar. He says that there is a clear trend towards more people choosing to invoice for services they provide as freelancers alongside other jobs.
“It has for a long time been a bit chill to freelance in the capital region, but now it has become increasingly common in other major cities in Finland, and also for example in the service industry in Lapland", says Kylämarkula.
FREE .fi is currently Finland's second largest light business platform for self-employed after Ukko-fi. The company employs 25 people and has annual sales of over 30 million euros.
“The administration gets much easier for the self-employed when the invoicing is done via us. We also help our customers to sell their know-how and do lobbying for entrepreneurs to have a better position in society”.
There has long been a niche for freelance in the creative industries, but recently it has become increasingly common also in IT consulting as well as in the construction, cleaning, logistics industry and the banking sector.
Kylämarkula recommends freelancing especially for two reasons: you can focus on what you want to do, and you get paid more for the job you do compared to if you are an employee.
According to Kylämarkula, freelancing is a good alternative for example for those who want to test whether there is a demand for the services they offer. When the annual revenues exceed 15 000 one should, however, consider if an own company would be a more profitable option.
"Entrepreneurs do not have to be alone"
Monika Ahlskog is CEO and founder of Nooga, which provides accounting and other professional services for enterprises. Nooga was founded in 2016 in Jakobstad and has since then grown into a company with a turnover of two million euros a year and with 27 employees in agencies in five locations: in addition to Jakobstad also in Kokkola, Vaasa, Uusikaupunki and the newly founded office in Kampen in Helsinki.
One piece of advice that Ahlskog gives to start-up companies is to be careful with the finances immediately from the first month – then it will be easier to keep track of the finances also later. Ahlskog is aware that the companies that takes the step to hire the first employee have many things to think about, for instance issues related to the collective agreements.
“It is good to know that you as an entrepreneur do not have to be alone. You can buy services from agencies that offer expert help for example regarding the statutory requirements, accounting and questions about what makes a company attractive to employees.”
Sebastian Widjeskog, a former priest who ,together with his wife, runs the company, Nordic School of Entrepreneurship focused on digital marketing, points out that there are also many other types of services that companies can outsource.
“As entrepreneurs we have to ask what our weaknesses are and what we cannot do ourselves, but also what we do not want to do, and therefore prefer to delegate. You can always outsource services – you do not always have to hire, says Widjeskog.