Self-employed in a secondary or principal occupation? The right choice for digital creators.

March 5, 2024
min read

Self-employed in a secondary or principal occupation? The right choice for digital creators.
Are you a vlogger, blogger, podcaster, illustrator, influencer, streamer, photographer, videographer ... and your store as a digital creator is starting to quietly take off? Then it's time for the next step: apply for a VAT number so you can invoice as a self-employed person. But which status is most interesting for digital creators: self-employed as a secondary or principal occupation? We are happy to explain the advantages of both statuses.

Self-employment in a secondary occupation (part-time): what are the benefits?

The best of both worlds

The name 'part-time' says it all: in this status, you combine your activities as a digital creator with another, 'permanent' job. You keep the benefits of your salaried job, such as paid vacations or pension accrual. 

Springboard + safety net

By starting as a self-employed person in a secondary occupation, you can carefully test and develop your online projects without major financial risks. Ideal as a springboard for getting started, because you keep the safety net of your permanent job.

Flexibility to grow

As you get more work as a creator, you may be able to scale back your regular job a bit. If your employer agrees, you can work part-time, for example, so that you have more space for your side business. To remain self-employed in a secondary occupation (part-time), you must still remain employed at least half-time (i.e., 50%).

Lower social contributions

As a self-employed person in a secondary occupation, you do pay "social contributions" but they are lower than for self-employed people in a main occupation. If your income from your secondary occupation is really low, you pay nothing at all. 

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Self-employed in main occupation (full-time): what are the advantages?

Focus on growth 

If you opt for principal occupation, you give yourself the space to devote yourself entirely to your digital creations. That focus allows you to be on top of your game and grow your business faster.

Full dedication

As a full-time creator, you can devote more time and energy to perfecting your skills and building your online community. A must for those who really want to shine.

Business opportunities

Main profession opens the door to business opportunities and partnerships that may not be available to secondary professionals. This can take your creative career to new heights.

Want to grow even faster?

TIP: join our Chase Community, the hub for Flemish and Brussels creators. You can always go there for free workshops or advice on digital creativity.

Disadvantages and obligations as a self-employed person in main or secondary occupation

So both statuses as self-employed in a secondary occupation and as a main occupation have their own advantages, and sometimes disadvantages. For example, as a self-employed person in a main occupation, you are really completely dependent on yourself for your income. And as a self-employed person in a secondary occupation, you do not normally build up any additional social rights, even if you pay social security contributions. 

In either case, you need to get a few things in order anyway when you start your activities:

  • Partnership or sole proprietorship: first of all, you have to choose whether to place your activities in a sole proprietorship or a partnership. Usually, you will opt for a sole proprietorship. You can also change to a partnership later. Be sure to get advice on this.
  • Apply for a VAT number or company number: in order to make invoices, you need a VAT number. This entails obligations (the VAT declaration) but also benefits because you can recover the VAT on your professional purchases.
  • Joining a social secretariat: this is an obligation. The social secretariat can help and advise you during your start-up and beyond. You pay your social contributions to them.
  • Be sure to keep good records and set aside some of your income for taxes, for example. Would you like help or financial advice? Then an accountant is definitely recommended. Check with fellow creators to know who they go to. It is always helpful to choose an accountant who understands your business.

Side occupation or main occupation: which status suits you?