Opening a business should be simple, frictionless, and straightforward —and that’s always been the aim of Xolo Leap. We have helped over 4 thousand customers from around the world do just that, since we started in 2015.
But because of the promise of that simple idea, we get hundreds of questions every day, from people who need to know if Xolo Leap is for them. What does it offer, what does your monthly subscription include, and is it right for you at this stage in your professional career…?
Here’s a round-up of some of our most important questions and answers, to help you decide if you are ready to ‘take the Leap’ with Xolo.
We got started back in 2015, in the early days of the Estonian e-Residency programme. In those days we were called LeapIn, and focused exclusively on the formation of limited companies for solo e-residents.
Since that time however we have diversified, and now offer additional tools, including Xolo Go —which offers an alternative to company formation, while giving freelancers access to the same slick tech stack for managing their money, that Leap customers enjoy.
Perhaps you’re a part-time or temporary freelancer, need to start right now, or for any other reason you don’t want a business entity of your own, that’s great —because we can now rent you a slice of ours! Check out Xolo Go, and you’ll be invoicing like a pro in moments.
But many freelancers do seek their own limited company, to establish a professional brand identity and location-independent trading business. Xolo Leap is a specialized service designed to support those Xolopreneurs —from all over the world, offering a huge range of business products and services.
First, let's say it loudly and clearly —freelancing rocks, and we totally salute and respect anybody who wants to remain in that status for years, perhaps forever!
What opening a business with Xolo Leap offers, is simply a way to step your freelancing up a gear, from a legal, regulatory, and public perception point of view.
While the costs and obligations are of course more demanding than simply freelancing or consulting, the benefits of being a Leap Xolopreneur include:
So if you’re a freelancer who wants to increase your level of professionalism and get taken seriously by potential collaborators all over the world, then Xolo Leap could be the perfect next step for you.
There are many different kinds of entrepreneurs that we help, from all over the world (while a few categories which we cannot, see below.) But if we had to describe the typical ‘xolopreneur’, they’d be someone seeking long-term sole operation and a single ownership/shareholder setup, for a service-based or creative business.
They might be operating in any country, industry, niche, or activity, though they will probably do it sat at a keyboard somewhere. Typical xolopreneur success stories include:
Xolo Leap is a solopreneur business portal that works with Estonian e-Residency —the leading global solution in digital identity for business creation. Therefore, the first stage in your journey with Xolo Leap is to become an Estonian e-Resident.
This is the one part of the process that might take a few weeks to happen, because it involves the creation of a physical ID card and software kit. You must collect this from a pickup point near you —with over 45 possibilities to choose from and more every year, now in almost every continent (sorry, Antarctica… Maybe one day!)
So you don’t need to come to Estonia to do it, but you do need to submit the application and collect the digital ID kit in person. After that point, everything can be done online. But this is an essential part of the due diligence of the scheme, to scan your fingerprints, and have a human being compare your face with the ID you present. So, you can’t use a representative of power of attorney.
Sounds intense? Don’t worry.
Xolo has your back, as always, and will take you step by step through the procedure to apply for your Estonian e-Residency. You will need to name Xolo as your local business representative in Estonia once you are accepted, and after that, we can deal with everything on your behalf.
Everything includes your company formation and onboarding to the Leap platform, all of which typically takes less than one day —so you will be up and running in no time, with your own private limited company.
A full business plan is a complex document often required by funders and investors, to demonstrate to them how carefully you have anticipated the need your business will fill, and also how it will grow and make (back) some money for them.
While Xolo is your partner in operations, we’re not investing in your business. We hope you will be wildly successful, of course, and provide great content and tools to support you in doing just that. But we’re not performing financial due diligence on your anticipated profits, when we ask you all about your business intentions.
Instead, we need clarity about exactly what your activity involves, and you will need that kind of information for onboarding with Xolo Leap. We really want to know all about your business and how you’re going to run it, and we’ll ask about things like:
Remember that the whole concept of e-Residency is about transparency and ease of doing business, so much of this company data will ultimately be publicly available in the business register. There are also strict money laundering regulations for everyone running a business, so you can't hide behind your company, or hide things in it, in any way.
Your business description also helps us to figure out if Xolo is a good fit for you, and if your business can be supported by us. It is submitted to the Estonian business registry, and the Estonian tax board. And we can even send it to our partner bank LHV if you need an account there. Everyone involved will assess it diligently, so you need to consider this as well, when completing your description.
It might turn out that Xolo, or even e-Residency, is not a good fit for you and your business after all. However, with more than 35 providers now in the e-Residency marketplace, it’s highly likely that any legal business idea will find its best home somewhere, and this means that providers like ourselves can specialize and differentiate. As such you should know up front the major business types we can't support here at Xolo:
We will be glad to refer you to a more suitable provider, if Xolo Leap is not a fit for your plans.
Once your business is established (and as indicated above, that’s pretty fast), you will be able to log in to your self-service business console at Xolo.
This is a unique, integrated technology stack developed and created especially for Leap Xolopreneurs, and is designed to give you quick access to everything you need to run your business with minimum hassle.
You log in using your digital ID and the smart card reader provided in your e-Residency starter pack, which is easy to connect to your computer. You will also need to install some software provided by the Estonian government to apply your digital signatures in this way, but that is self-updating so largely a do-once operation —we’ll help.
And if you prefer not to fiddle with cables, or you’re operating your business on the move? No problem. You will have to set it all up once with the ID card and reader, but after that, you can simply install Smart-ID, and you can lock that ID card away in a drawer for most day-to-day uses. Smart-ID is fully integrated with the Xolo Leap platform.
When you log in, you will see a comprehensive dashboard, designed to give a snapshot overview of all your key business metrics at a glance.
In the dashboard you can get an instant idea of your total sales and expenses, all linked accounts, and any ‘to do’ items for you like missing receipts. You can even see a data visualization of your income and outgoings, to reinforce the overview of those all-important metrics.
If you have banking and financial services integrated with Xolo, you can see a snapshot of your cash position —vital for any business-of-one (or one million) to be across at all times. This is updated every 24 hours, so it’s not real time, but at this level it's the overview that counts.
The dashboard is designed for intuitive use, with great attention to the continually-refined user experience. But if anything is unclear, then every item has contextual help a tap away, which will hover right there for you as you clarify any point. And if you need more depth, there’s also a comprehensive knowledge base of detailed help articles, accessible via a flip-out right menu (just look for the ‘?’ in the bottom-right corner.)
On the left menu, you’ll see quick access to drill down and use the different tools, such as invoicing. It’s straightforward to add a new customer to your address book the first time you invoice them, and include all the necessary information, from their currency details to their live VAT registration status. After that, you will find you can make and send a new invoice by duplicating the previous one, in literally moments (though you should add in another moment to check carefully, as the automated sending is extremely fast!)
You can check your expenses, too, and make sure you have filed a supporting document (like a receipt or invoice), before the end of the accounting period. There are so many easy ways to get an invoice into the system, from a dedicated email forwarding address to bulk upload, so you will have no problem complying. But you can count on a polite nudge from Xolo’s lovely human support team as well, if anything is getting close to a deadline and needs your urgent attention!
Business trips have their own tab for adding details, so you can account for all your allowed expenses while you’re on the road. Many Xolo Leap customers are regular business travelers or even full-time digital nomads, so this is a great way to keep track of event-based trips and all related costs and activities. Indeed, why not hit the road, when your entire business can be run from a single portable laptop, even pretty much all by phone!
In this side menu, you can also access a range of tabs you might use less frequently —referral payments, collaborations, add-on services, your integrated banking services, and information and financial reports.
You should check these from time to time, just to make sure that information is correct and not out of date, and familiarize yourself with your balance sheet and income statements. If you have questions about any of these, just ask your advisor, but you don’t need to worry about them, and you don’t need to understand the intricacies of management accounting. It’s all part of the carefully created Xolo Leap experience, which puts the vital daily changing data into clear visual form, while ensuring all the backend functionality is never more than two taps away.
Your Xolo Leap dashboard is designed as a one-stop-shop for ALL your business administration. So, everything you need is there, including the functionality account for payments out of your business.
Your Xolo Leap subscription covers a lot more than automated services, however, and you’ll find the Xolo customer support team proactively assisting you at all times, especially payments and when they are due. You can also familiarize yourself with our detailed guide to everybody’s favorite business subject, paying taxes for your Estonian company.
While the Leap self-service dashboard integrates with your accounts and payment services like LHV, Wise, and PayPal, you cannot actually make payments inside of Leap —you will of course need to log in to the relevant service to create and sign this off. But you will be advised of anything you owe to statutory authorities in Estonia in good time.
NB the only thing that Xolo can NOT help you with, is paying taxes in your home country /where you are personally tax resident. Remember that is it your business that is tax resident in Estonia, not you —and while you therefore may not pay any personal taxes to the Estonian government, you can bet that your local one will want their share. So, get qualified professional advice where you live, and if you need to, then ask your Xolo Leap customer support contact for assistance in generating payslips or dividend certificates to account for that income.
Being the director of a limited company does come with certain legal responsibilities, but don’t worry. The Estonian commercial code is one of the most straightforward and transparent in the world, and it’s not designed to catch anybody out. It has been created to regulate businesses in Estonia and for the 100k+ e-resident community, with openness and clarity. Many Xolo Leap customers find it refreshingly accessible, compared to what they are used to in their own countries.
Almost all of your day-to-day business administration is conducted directly in your Leap dashboard anyway. Many Xolo Leap customers will enter the government business register once a year, to sign off their annual report! When that time comes, not only will Xolo have prepared this report for you (within the subscription fee, no additional cost), you will receive a detailed procedural walk-through taking you step-by-step through the exact stages, one click at a time. Oh, and the business register is available in native English version as well as Estonian and Russian, so you’re not reliant on iffy translation in browser.
Most importantly, you’re not on your own with it! You might be an independent operator within your business, and have to make all decisions about that every day, from strategic to operational choices — But when it comes to business operation, Xolo has your back every step of the way. And while your e-Resident company is 100% your baby from a statutory and legal perspective, Xolo acts as your (legally mandated) ‘virtual office’ in Estonia.
As such, we are named in the business register as your partner, and first point of contact for all things to do with your business operations and statutory notifications. This includes those things that still require receipt of actual paperwork to a physical address (rare in Estonia, but they do exist!)
We also manage the accounting cycle for you, according to the schedule of activities we stay thoroughly on top of —whether it’s time to pay your VAT, or file your annual report, you will be advised well ahead of deadline, and given precise and actionable instructions about what you need to do.
So, if you are an experienced company director or board member, or you have a string of business degrees under your belt —then you are most welcome at Xolo Leap. Many of our customers could easily do all of this themselves, especially for a company of one. But equally, if you want to ‘take a Leap’ into owning a proper company for the first time, we’ll guide you through each step of the process as you go along.
With Xolo Leap, the objective is to simplify and minimize the time and attention you spend on the admin and compliance aspects of business operation, so that you can ensure maximum focus on your core business activities, the ones that bring in the money!
Whether you’re planning to scale the next Unicorn startup, or to demonstrate your professionalism and rectitude in your chosen consulting niche, a private limited e-resident Estonian company with Xolo Leap could be the perfect next step for you.
Maya Middlemiss is a freelance journalist and author, excited about the future of work, business, money, and technology. She operates her e-resident business through Xolo Leap, so that she can work frictionlessly with brands and publications all over the world, and she is the host of the Future is Freelance podcast. Exploring the social impact of technology on our changing world, and bringing those stories to life in an accessible and inclusive way, is her passion — because all of this is far too exciting to leave it to the geeks. Maya is a 'digital slowmad', originally from London, presently living with her family in Eastern Spain.
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