Planning to live and work in France? Janine Marsh, shares some top tips for how to work as a micro-entrepreneur in France…
When it comes to moving to France, some people retire. Some people continue to work for the same company they did back home – but from France. Fast internet for home working is available in much of France (but if you do rely on this, check the area you’re buying in first – some places still have slow Broadband. Some people work for themselves and set up businesses.
If you want to earn an income in France then one of the most popular ways is to go freelance, and registering as a micro-entrepreneur is one of the most popular ways to do that. Basically it means you are the founder of a micro business, generally a small company with minimal investment. You’re restricted as to how much your business may turnover before needing to register as something else other than micro entrepreneur (currently  it is between €77,700 and €188,700 per year, depending on what type of business it is). And certain types of business are excluded from becoming micro-entrepreneurs, for instance some finance companies, health professionals and accountants.
The benefits of setting up as micro entrepreneur include that dealing with administration, paying taxes and accounting are all deliberately kept simple. And there are jobs which give you flexibility, career progression and a good income.
Becoming a micro entrepreneur
We chat to micro entrepreneur Sophie Green, who is based in the Dordogne. Sophie works for Leggett Immobillier as a sales agent in Dordogne as well as in neighbouring department Haute-Vienne.
How did you come to be living in France?
I lived in Northamptonshire in the UK, trained as a Legal Executive and as a Financial Advisor and Mortgage Advisor working within Solicitor practices. When I became pregnant with our first son Louis in 2008, my husband had an idea to open a sandwich shop in our village so instead of going back to work fulltime for someone else, I could be my own boss. I have to say, I have never worked so hard in my life. Then three years later I became pregnant with our second son, Freddie, and the thought of getting up at 5am to butter sandwiches lost its allure!
We bought a caravan and decided to go on holiday to France. We fell in love with France from the minute we got here and immediately started house hunting. Just before this, my lovely mum had passed away. She had lived in the same village as us and life didn’t feel the same without her. We didn’t know exactly where we wanted to live and spent holidays travelling around Brittany and Dordogne. When we stayed in a very small rural campsite in Dordogne, we both knew this was it, our dream area. We found our house and moved to France in July 2013. My eldest was just about to start school in the UK so it was perfect timing for a move. He went straight into the local school in our village.
How did you become a micro-entrepreneur in France
I was too young to retire, and I wanted a new challenge. In addition to our house, we bought some lakes nearby, run as GoGreen Holidays, and I looked after the rental of the onsite Cabin and Gypsy caravan. But I needed more from a job, I wanted to learn more French, to get out and meet people and explore the area.
I have a love for property, and I love looking around houses. Working as an agent for Leggett Immobillier International seemed a perfect fit.
Leggett offered everything I needed and was flexible, so I could work around looking after the lakes and the children – by then we had another child, Francesca.
What’s it like working as an agent for Leggett Immobillier in France?
Leggett have exceeded my expectations. I joined them in 2018, after meeting with an Area Coordinator and chatting through the role which helped me to decide whether it was right for me. Then I completed a training course at Head Office which is in Dordogne. I really like that you get the benefits of working for a family-run business so you’re not just another number, but it’s also an award-winning, international company so there’s a massive multi-lingual support network available to all agents.
There’s a fantastic Sales Support Team who help organise all my visits. The Marketing Team do a great job promoting all the properties I list for sale. And the IT team have developed a fantastic back-office system to make life easier to manage the admin. There is also a terrific Legal and Contracts team to help with all the admin requirements and we are regularly updated with changes in laws. We have access to a lot of online training which is great and saves time with not having to travel. Plus, we’re assigned admin support. My fabulous assistant Zoe who is a fountain of knowledge, works in the Contracts Team and does all my Compromis de vente work (sales documentation), and helps me manage all my sales.
As an agent, it’s essential to be organised and flexible. You need to be able to manage not only your own time but also that of your vendor’s and clients.
What’s it like being self-employed?
I run everything as a stand-alone business. I set up as a micro entrepreneur and it is quite a simple regime. Cotistations (French National Insurance) are paid monthly, based on what I have earned. And I pay tax in one go at the end of the financial year.
Because it’s a simple way to set up a business I get to spend more time on what I love doing! Going out and finding new properties, exploring them and seeing what is hidden behind the front door! I also love meeting new people and getting out and about in the area.
It’s been a really successful business for me. In fact my husband is just in the process of becoming a Leggett Agent so that he can help with viewings when I get really busy.
There’s also scope for career progression in this job. Actually I have become a Coach and have my own small team now. I love helping new agents and supporting them in running their own successful small business in France.
It never occurred never to me to do this job when I first came to France, but it’s changed my life. I earn a good income, I love what I do. And, I can manage how much I want to do. It’s flexible and there is potential to go further in the role if I want to.
Leggett Immobillier are recruiting agents in all areas: frenchestateagents.com/recruitment
If you’re interested, find out more and contact them at.