My client Anna registered for the Complete French Business Incubator during the summer of 2018. An avid traveler, she had developed skills in web design and development, and wanted to move to France and start her own web design business.

She already worked with a few clients in the US, but didn’t have standardised packages, or a summary of what services she could provide on an ongoing basis.

She had some friends in France, but didn’t have any clients here yet – something she felt was crucial if she wanted to start a successful business here.

Anna already had an idea of what she wanted to charge for her services, and took advantage of our individual calls and FrancoFiles office hours to discuss research into market rates in France and the US for the services she wanted to offer, which we researched together. 

We identified the types of clients she wanted to work with, and what her ideal clients needed most from an independent web developer. Then, I helped her go from outlining various services she could perform for them at an hourly rate, to identifying which services could be sold together as a package, and how many hours each service would take.

Then, we used the information about her ideal clients’ needs to craft several sample packages and put together several sample proposals of what she could offer a small business owner. Not all of her clients would have the same needs, and her packages and quotes would be customised for each individual client, but she had a jumping-off point for what she could show the prefecture and a prediction for what the potential income from different projects could be.

Using the Business Blueprint and Business Plan Sections Workbooks from the Complete French Business Incubator, Anna put together an a-freaking-mazing 40 page business page for her activity, including the sample proposals we created, an analysis of other small web design businesses in the market, and her income projections, and submitted a very thorough profession liberal visa application to the VFS office in Chicago, not long after the visa submission process had changed. (Of course, VFS had no clue what visa type she was applying for or what documents she needed – but fortunately, she knew!)

One problem arose as she waited for her passport to be returned with her visa. She had referred to the business not by her own name, but by a “Studio” name. Because her business looked SO GOOD on paper, the consulate mistook her business for being *much larger* than she intended. A few weeks after she submitted her project (longer than it usually takes for my clients to get their visas back), the consulate sent her an additional form to fill out, about the space she was leasing, her investments, and the employees she was hiring! They had assumed, based on her level of detail and income, she was applying for a “passport talents” visa and submitted her application to DIRECCTE to evaluate the plan – something that only happens for brick-and-morter businesses or businesses requiring large investments.

We jumped on a call and I explained the misunderstanding, and together, we completed the form and wrote an additional letter to the consulate to clarify her business and status as an independent / auto entrepreneur, and to explain that she would be working from her laptop by herself, without any employees.

She FINALLY got her visa nearly 13 weeks after she submitted her application, and arrived in France soon after, ready to set up shop.

I’m happy to report that she is now successfully running her web design business with clients from all over.

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