Follow me through my self employment (autonomo) journey...
As you know from previous posts I came to Spain with a dream of opening a fitness retreat. All I had to do is buy one of the 50 houses I listed from searching over a year online... With all of my trainings and experiences from working in fitness in London where I worked part time for over 20 gyms for the likes of Virgin, Nuffield and Fitness First.... it should have been easy.
But as we quickly found when we came here not all houses can obtain a tourist license and the build quality in Spain is no where near that of UK. You can see my previous post about home buying tips.
Anyway so when I moved to Alicante I came here knowing just one person and that was my landlord. But I knew that if I could give out free fitness classes this would be a great way to meet people. So on my birthday I just sent out a post on one of the expat forums for people to join me for my free birthday dance class which then turned into a weekly event. It was fantastic as from that day I met more and more people and today I think the majority of the expats in my area of Campello and Busot know me and I run a ladies social group of over 400 lovely ladies. This engagement with do many has made me feel so settled, if it wasn't for my braveness and appetite for making and helpping friends I wouldn't have made it this far. My husband and I would have probably returned back to UK. It's been so very hard here! There is nothing that has been simple... the manaña, manaña lifestyle in Spain makes everything a slow and stressful process... actually the easiest thing was actually at the notary office when I finally signed for my house in Busot it just took under an hour. That was a surprise!
Back to my self employment... so I started off giving weekly classes in San Juan Playa for Free (because you need a license for any public places to teach fitness which alot of people don't do 😉) I then found that Campello was a great place for me with lots of expats for me to meet. One of my friends mentioned a great parc in Campello which would be great for my classes, I checked it out and got my license from the townhall which isn't cheap but worthwhile because I do like to make sure I'm always doing everything legally. This then became the start of my business. I found a gestor and who doesn't speak fluent English but his wife does and he's been ever so helpful as hes actually a fiscal tax accountant so hes been great. It costs me 60euros a month for a gestor and I have a excel spreadsheet to fill out every trimester with incomings and expenses, I send the facturers (oh yes, do remember to get a facturer for each item you buy for the business with your nie on) and he then processes the rest, easy! You can expense quite a few things ie. Obviously rent, and electric bills if you have those overheads, equipment, travel - keep your petrol and public transport receipts to expense. But you can also put large purchases down like a house or car then your gestor can take off a percentage every time he sends your tax returns through. Which is probably good for you to know!
The social security also needs to be paid and that's around 60€ a month (which comes out by direct debit,) at the moment for 1 year so that it helps at the start. Then they will double that at one year then increase in another 6 months upto 2 years then I will be paying the max which is currently around 340€ a month which is pretty steep... there were talks that the government was going to change this so I hope they do make it percentage based on our incomes like the UK it would make more sence as this shows you why alot of people chose not to declare their income and unemployment is so high! So that said, its always best to chose your location and offering carefully but also test the waters first by promoting to your friends and seeing if their is a need for your product or service in the area. Perhaps sell your products in other peoples stores first because once you rent a shop out for 12 months your stuck with those monthly payments. And I've already seen so many businsees fold within a year so be clever! I think you can do irregular work for cash in hand but when it becomes regular work then you can then list your company. There are different autonomo levels but as I have no staff I'm on the first level. If you have a shop with staff you can go in as an SL company but that means full wack social security straight away and the only real reason I saw was that you would go SL is that if you go bankrupt your business assets are disconnected from you. So you won't be personally liable for the debt!
Also remember your insurances, public liability is around 60euros a year.
My gestor Martin, he set my autonomo up for me I went with him to the social security office to get my digital signature set up. You will need your nie, Spanish bank account and Spanish phone number for that. Then he processed the paperwork, for me obviously for my business I have to pay for my park license aswell so I do have a few expenses. But I tried to buy equipment that is only essential. So I didn't have too many start up costs. Obviously I can still do my personal training at peoples homes which is good without a license but my outdoor gym is bespoke and there is nothing like this in my area so I'm guessing why it's been so popular! Fitness in the sunshine is fab! It was hard at the beginning i only had 3/4 classes and then 3-5 participants but now i have upto 14 classes with between 6 -12 members per class it's made me really happy that I'm able to do the job I love and people love my innovative workouts #bombalatinoalicante.
I'm actually thankful that I did become autonomo and didn't listen to people telling me not to go legal as everyone does it. As the government have paid me unemployment benefit of just under 700€ which has really helped during lockdown. As opposed to not going legal... and my payments are waivered.
If you do want to stop your autonomo at anytime though, do bare inmind you will go straight to the max security payments when you resume your business. I don't think its going to happen in this pandemic as we were forced to close... well I hope not!🙏
My advice is if you are looking for work in Spain there are a few jobs out there mainly English Teachers and bar or restaurant jobs. But otherwise if you do not speak Spanish you are very limited. You are best off looking at self employment but you need to chose your area well, there are many expat areas like Torrevejca and La Marina in South, Then Campello, Busot, Calpe and Benidorm in the North of Alicante. So do your research... Citizens Advice Spain Facebook page is a very good page to find out when laws change and recently they posted that the social security office has now got a virtual assistant to help you with your queries you can see their post here. The page also has more info about how to become autonomo.
If you have any questions please do feel free to send me a message.
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If you'd like to come try put my classes after lockdown you are welcome to try a class for free. I teach Yoga, Pilates, Pump, Bootcamp, Dancefit & Aquafit. All under my fun outdoor fitness brand BOMBA LATINO ALICANTE all choreographed to fun Latino inspired music... for all ages and all fitness levels. Personal training and nutrition is also available in the comfort of your home.
Next week I will talk about my other sideline jobs and my husbands businesses.