Leave the Inner Renegade Behind + Become a Law Abiding Entrepreneur
We live in a fantastic world don’t we?
We can conjure up an idea.
Sit at our computers.
We can have a new business venture, practically overnight.
(Yea, yea...I know it’s not quite that simple).
My point, however, is that between the world.wide.web, social media, and other technology, it’s pretty damn easy to set up a business and go. We have a gateway to potential customers and clients, that hasn’t always been at our fingertips. Because of this, we see new businesses pop up, literally every minute. Throw up a Facebook page and BAM you have a business. Oh, and if you went the extra step and hired a graphic designer to do a logo, then you are on your way.
If you have recently started a business, one of the first questions you need to seriously ask yourself is, “Is this a business or a hobby?”
The reality is that, while there are some true business owners a.k.a entrepreneurs, there are others who are merely Keeping Up With the Joneses. They want a “business” because everyone else has one.
This post is for Entrepreneurs.
If you are still reading, then that means you are indeed an entrepreneur. You've probably introduced yourself to the world and now it's time to...
Make sure your business is legal.
Some of the things you have to do, are merely to stay in the good graces of the government. But, others are for your benefit as well. Either way, I cannot say it loudly enough...
This is not the time to go against the grain.
Penalties and fines are not pretty.
Let go of your inner renegade, for now at least.
If you are in Chicago, where I am, lucky you. I am going to point you to the exact place to get the job done. If you are St. Elsewhere (my fellow Cee-lo/Gnarls Barkley fans will get it), then you may need to research a bit on your own.
Here's a quick soundtrack as you pull out your paper, pen or iPads to take notes:
Okay, are you ready now? Here goes...
Register your business name with local or state authorities (this is not the same as a trademark, which we will cover at a later time). Assuming that you already have a business name, now you need the right to actually use that name to do business.
This step applies to sole proprietors, general partnerships, or professional service corporations, whose business name is different than their own. For example, my birth name is Patrice. My business name is Lifestyle Zen. If I were a sole proprietor, I would need to register Lifestyle Zen with the County where I am doing business. If I skip this step, guess what? I don’t really have a business called Lifestyle Zen. Nor can I have checks written out to Lifestyle Zen.
Your listening now, aren’t you?
In Cook County, this process is called an Assumed Business Name. Start that process here.
Review the business license requirements for your city and determine what is needed for your business. In Chicago, some businesses are not required to have a business license. Take a look at the list here. Most home-based businesses even require a license, and details on that are available here.
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. The EIN is necessary if you have an employee. I also recommend it for biz owners who do not have employees. No, I am not making you do extra work just because I feel like it.
As a business owner, you may need to provide your Social Security Number in a number of circumstances, mainly involving paying out and receiving money for your hard work. If you have an EIN, you can use that instead and guess what- now everybody doesn’t have access to your SSN. Now, you’ve reduced your risk of identity theft. You can get your EIN in an insta-second here.
Do you have employees on board? (secretly envying all the show-offs). Make sure you register with the appropriate state department and the IRS. If you are in Illinois, then report your new staff with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Last but not least, you must also register with your state for business taxes. Click here to register in Illinois.
If you’ve taken all of these steps, congrats you are on the right track. Virtual high fives for all.
If you think it's time for a free consultation with me, attorney for creative entrepreneurs, then by all means...let's do it. Email me here.
Note: Reading this blog does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, peeps. I simply believe that
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