No-Risk Entrepreneurship: mission impossible

No-Risk Entrepreneurship: mission possible !

New entrepreneurs start businesses every day, begin to manage their professional life in a secure and simplified environment. However, very few thought that they would one day become their own boss, either because of their family culture or fear. What enabled them to take the decisive step?

In a world undergoing perpetual change which leads to stress and burnout, where only 10% of staff is positively committed (Gallup study), there are professional oases which deserve to be better known.

New entrepreneurs start businesses every day, begin to manage their professional life in a secure and simplified environment.

Whether a first experience, a new direction, to recover from a dismissal or burnout, what brings the entrepreneurs together is often a passion, enjoyment and meaning. However, very few thought that they would one day become their own boss, either because of their family culture or fear.

What enabled them to take the decisive step?


The business cooperative allows anyone who wants to, and who meets the conditions[1] to develop and test an entrepreneurial project for 18 months (the maximum allowed by law) without losing their status or any allowances.

The candidates are initially monitored, trained and coached to clarify, structure, calculate, argument and target their project. A team of trainers and coaches is available to help them. Once this preparatory phase is completed, they have everything they need to test their business.

Next, the future entrepreneur will test their project under real working conditions. Based on what they have built, the cooperative will enable them to concentrate on developing the business, based on tools and personalised support provided by a coach. The candidate will have the opportunity to work with customers, develop their management skills and make all the improvements needed to their product in a secure environment.

This isn't a gamble. You don’t have to pay to see. The candidate always wins because they either understand that they aren’t cut out for the business or that their project isn’t viable and they return to their starting status, or they learn to fly on their own making beginner errors in a secure, managed and supportive environment.

The variety of candidate entrepreneurs and the 400 projects that have been hatched over the past 10 years thanks to the Brussels business cooperative JobYourself demonstrate how really relevant this self-creation method is. The Backstage business cooperative specialises in the cultural and creative industries.


An entrepreneur working alone must be good at everything and know how to do everything. Being excellent at their job isn’t enough; they also have to deal with a multitude of administrative and legal obligations. And, they have to sell themselves, be on the Internet and build their network even though they don’t get any more hours in the day. This is the reason why some entrepreneurs decided to get together and create an employment cooperative to pool a number of indispensable but time-consuming tasks. 

Started in 2005, the purpose of DiES  is to facilitate job creation in a sustainable development framework which places the economy at the service of people and solidarity. DiES is a not-for-profit “pooled enterprise” which provides entrepreneurs with an innovative and secure solution to develop durable businesses, in a cooperative and supportive environment.

Today, nearly 150 entrepreneurs are active in DiES group cooperatives, under the status best-suited to their situation (employee or self-employed). They benefit from the support of a dynamic team of six people, accounting and invoicing tools, visibility on the Internet and, especially, the assurance that their administration (accounting, INASTI or ONSS, VAT, insurance, etc.) is taken care of. 

The icing on the cake: the solidarity mechanisms between the cooperative members. The organisation defends the entrepreneur in the courts and helps them through a cash shortage. The organisation also represents them before legal bodies and provides professional support and networking, etc.

The last benefit is that, given that management qualification is provided by the cooperative, the entrepreneur doesn’t need to obtain it. On the other hand, the system has some limitations, which means that some businesses are not currently accepted, such as construction companies (decennial warranty), doctors, businesses that require significant inventory management, etc. 

Created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs: those who want to can be co-operators and, as a result, take part in managing the cooperative. 


Cléo Duponcheel: in test phase at JobYourself | Funeral home entrepreneur

Céline Rose David: in test phase at JobYourself | expert gemmologist (precious stones)

Jean-Philippe Boucq: at Dies & tested at JobYourself | woodworking & construction of tiny houses

Thomas Jeukens: at Dies & tested at JobYourself | motorcycle customisin


Of course, service and comfort come at a price: a percentage of the entrepreneur’s gross margin or of their revenue. In addition, pooling requires setting up a more rigid structure than required by a single, autonomous self-employed person. On the other hand, the entrepreneur benefits from personalised support and the solidarity of a pooled organisation. In a way, the entrepreneur gets the benefits of both employee and self-employed!

The growing success of cooperatives shows how well they meet current needs of both the new generation and of those who are looking to go in a new direction.

What are you waiting for to make a move and change your career?

Author: Emmanuel Everarts de Velp,
Co-President of Jobyourself and consultant,
Solidarity entrepreneur of the Brussels-based employment cooperative BRUCOOP scrlfs

AN 1819 TIP:

Execute your temporary missions as an intermittent salaried employee

For occasional and regular entrepreneurs who are looking for temporary status, contact organisations like SMartTentoo and Merveille which allow entrepreneurs to provide occasional services as salaried employees (occasional contracts) by playing the part of an administrative and financial intermediary. If you have a customer, the organisation will invoice them directly and pay you a salary. Of course, you have to pay taxes and social contributions on the amounts you earn. But, if you don’t earn anything, there is nothing to pay. If you are unemployed, you simply have to fill in the boxes on your control card on the days you work and you will receive your unemployment on the other days.

[1] Except salaried employees working more than part-time. Priority for the target group: jobseekers and welfare recipients

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