Tarek geht eine Treppe auf einem Dach hinauf
Author: Inge Fuchs
Pictures: Karen Hanne

Setting up something of his own

Tarek Legat recently set up his own business as a roofer. He made the decision to take this step on a construction site in Canada. In this interview, he talks about his motivations and how things are going so far.

Tarek, how did you make the decision to become self-employed?

After I left my stepfather’s company, I first went to Canada to work. I no longer felt comfortable, I needed a new challenge and wanted to go my own way. In Canada, I thought about what I wanted to do next in my career. Somehow, I’ve always thought that I wanted to achieve something by myself or realise myself. And yes, it’s a big challenge for me to become self-employed now. So far it’s going brilliantly, so I think it was the right choice.

Does that mean you’re not taking over an existing company, but building something yourself from the beginning?

I have decided to set up my own company and against a takeover. Simply because I can then use my own impulses or my own way of thinking and don’t have to follow any old patterns, but can really realise my dreams in a new, digitalised way.

Tarek bearbeitet eine Kaminverkleidung mit einem Schieferhammer

How long have you been self-employed and what did you have to do for it?

Yes, at the beginning I underestimated a little what is involved in setting up a business. I actually became self-employed on 23th December. That was because I applied for the start-up grant and you only get it until a certain date, and that was the end of the deadline.

You must deal with all sorts of things, such as insurance. That’s also important so that you’re covered in case something happens. Especially in the roofing trade. There are also legal issues. And all the suppliers you have to deal with. I now know the SEPA direct debit mandates by heart. The same goes for business registration, how many forms you must fill out – there are a lot of processes involved. And of course you also have to make sure you have the perfect equipment, vans, machines… yes, there’s a lot involved.

Did you have help or did you get all the information yourself?

I did a lot of the work myself. But I also had friends who helped me. I also made use of all the organizations that support you, for example the Chamber of Crafts. They offer free help with setting up a business, which you should take advantage of. The same goes for your trusted insurance broker. These are all things that you haven’t dealt with before and don’t have an overview of. You just go to the people, get several opinions, but ultimately you need to decide for yourself what is right.

Tarek arbeitet auf einem Hausdach in Coburg

Three months of self-employment have passed. How does this decision make you feel – are you happy or are you also worried?

Of course you worry when you’re self-employed. It’s unusual that you still must work in the evening or that you can’t fall to sleep at night because you’re simply worried about the big picture. Especially if you have employees. There are fears that something might not work out the way you want it to. But in the end, you can achieve anything with hard work and ambition. That’s why I think it was definitely the right decision. I have orders, there is endless demand – everything is perfect!

Did your experiences in Canada influence this decision?

Definitely. In Canada, I came to rest, had time for myself and that is also an important process, that you think alone about your decisions, your dreams or whatever. I came out of that time stronger and knew that I wanted to do it.

How did those around you – family, friends, colleagues – react to your decision?

There were different opinions. Some were surprised, because taking such a step on your own, especially at my age, is pretty extreme. Others said: You’re doing it just right; it’s the best thing you can do. They always supported me.

You can read more about Tarek’s experiences in Canada in our article “Work trip in Canada.”

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