Starting a business is SCARY! I get it — I was once there, in March 2018 when I started my website design studio, Be Bold Design.
One factor that often stops budding entrepreneurs from starting their business is the intimidation of starting the legal process. Having started one myself, I can assure you – it’s not as bad as it seems at first glance.
Each state will vary but here are some general steps you will take to start a business:
Before you get started, build a website, order business cards and in general get pumped up about your business, make sure someone else doesn’t have it! For Florida, www.sunbiz.org is a great place to start. If you’re outside of Florida, just Google “look up legal business name” for your state.
A sole proprietorship is a great place to start (and where I initially started mine) because it can be a very easy way to start and report taxes (a sole proprietorship is tied to your social security number and requires a simple form come tax time). That being said, the right business type will depend heavily on what type of business you’re starting and the level of liability, partners, employees, etc you may have. Seek advice from your local Small Business Administration or a local trusted tax attorney if you’re not sure. I started with a sole proprietorship and later created S Corporation as my business grew.
Quick Tip – consulting with an accountant is a wise move here! If you are bringing in money with your new venture, you will need to report that to the IRS. And, I don’t know about you but tax law and accounting is pretty foreign to me. I hired an accountant to help me set up my S Corp, check my books quarterly and give me advice for my growing small business. I suggest finding someone local so you can visit them in person as needed.
Florida requires a legal notice in a local paper before registering a sole proprietorship. This process costs about $50 (check out Penny Saver) and took a little more than a week. Once completed, back to www.sunbiz.org and to quickly file!
An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is not required for a sole proprietorship but it is helpful because most banks require it. I found this out the hard way when I received my first big check – in my business name of course – and couldn’t cash it! Fortunately, the online process at www.irs.gov takes about three minutes to complete. You can view and save a pdf document with your number immediately.
I share this experience not to serve as a checklist for you — because your circumstances and state requirements will vary — but to encourage you not to let the legal process discourage you from getting started! Once you have these steps behind you, you’ll be ready to conquer the world with your new *LEGALLY OFFICIAL* business!
With a background in marketing and graphic design, Macey brings her website and branding design expertise to the Be Bold Design Studio. Macey left her stable 9-5 corporate marketing job when she realized she was more passionate about creating than the corporate world. Three years later, and she’s served 75+ female business owners. Her goal with her studio is to provide beautiful, professional and timeless branding and design for small businesses.
Macey calls Lake Nona home with her husband Blake and rescue beagle, Goose.
You can find Macey on Instagram at @Macey_miller.
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