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Starting a business

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  #1  
Old 12-28-2001, 10:31 PM
Jill Jill is offline
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Question Starting a business

I have now moved up from only doing work for family and friends to creating a website portfolio with the intent of a real business....soooo were do I go from here? I will work at home. What do you proffesionals do as far as the business end....small business license? Getting copyrights to I am not sure? How do I protect my business name? ohhhh just were do I start?! Thank you for any help!
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Old 12-28-2001, 11:32 PM
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Paul Rupp Paul Rupp is offline
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Jill,

You'll need a business licence (This will protect your business name) and a resale permit. The resale permits are free in most states, the lic. will cost you. Different fees in different states.

One thing I would suggest, do some research on your states tax requirements. If you state on your form that you'll make over a certain amount, the state will require you to file quarterly or even monthly for your taxes. I think an estimated monthly income of $100.00 is safe in most states. Unless you want to file taxes quarterly?? I know I don't!! If you begain to become successful and pay lots of taxes every year, they will reasses you and have you move to the monthly or quarterly payment plan.

HTH

Paul Rupp
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Old 12-29-2001, 02:26 AM
Jill Jill is offline
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Smile

Exactly what I needed to know, thank you very much Paul! This is getting exciting~scary~fun!
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Old 12-29-2001, 05:49 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Congratulations!
From what I've read, you don't need to do anything more than make a statement on your site, that your work is copyrighted. If you want to protect your name though, you may want to make it a trademark. That is expensive ($400-600), and takes over a year to process.
(I don't believe a license is enough to protect the business name).

Another thing, that I think is important, is a good statement, that protects you from legal issues. Some kind of "hold harmless" policy.

Question for Paul, why a "resale" license?
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Old 12-29-2001, 06:01 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Some states require registration of a 'fictitious name' if you aren't simply using your own name. This also helps if people send you checks made out to your company name (so you can cash it and/or deposit it).

A resale license isn't really necessary unless you plan on buying something for resale, in which case it would allow you to not pay sales tax on those items. But I can't imagine a restorer reselling anything...maybe albums or frames or something. This is not the same as a business license, which will vary from city-to-city and state-to-state (resale license is state).

The most complicated issue is taxes, since you'll have to start filing as 'self employed' which is not all that fun. However, a good bookkeeping software like Quickbooks can do most of that work for you.

One word of caution: many years ago I was running my own business, and wanted to keep everything all businesslike and proper, so I contacted the state tax dept. and asked them what I should do. I was almost immediately audited. I came out fine, and learned a lot, but it wasn't fun.

This all might sound scary and like a pain in the posterior, but it really isn't that bad once you climb the very short learning curve.
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Old 12-29-2001, 08:14 AM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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Jill, It would be worth considering contacting an accountant there and having them set you up with a set of books and giving you a general overview of the tax framework, reporting scheduals etc.. Since there is a sales tax there, a resale certificate wouldnt be a bad idea as, like Doug mentioned, you might want to sell frames, etc. as part of your business...not a bad idea! You will be responsible for collecting and sending in the sales tax you collect on each sale, usually quarterly, so, again, it might be a good idea to contact an accountant and get them to help you set up your business..they would be able to assist you on every thing from license to bookkeeping system. Just a thought...and good luck..you will do great. Dont let the "mechanics" of getting started throw you...its just part of the game. Tom
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Old 12-29-2001, 10:10 AM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Jill, I don't know if this is available where you live, but Colorado has the Colorado Business Resource Guide put out by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), the Colorado Small Business Development Center and the Service Corps of Retired Executives. It has a wealth of information on starting a small business:
Legal Structure & Registration
Taxes
Bookkeeping
Sources of Assistance
Business Plan
Marketing
Liabilities & Insurance
Trademarks, Copyrights & Patents

I'm pretty sure there's a SBA in every state, so you might want to check with them in your state and see if they have anything similar.

Jeanie
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Old 12-29-2001, 10:11 AM
George George is offline
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Not sure of the requirements in your state but in Florida your required to have a State of Florida Sales tax number. In Florida your required to collect sales tax if you provide your customer any item that they can carry away, a retouched photo would require you to collect tax. Have spent a lot of hours going over some of their requirements with my accountants and lawyers when in business. Here in Dade county your also required to get a county license, and if in a city their license also. To protect the name in the state of Florida, you must be incorporated and file the name with the state. They will do a search and if no one has the name, then you can use it and have it filed in the state as yours. Of course all of this will cost money and time. It is interesting that here if you use any name other than your own and someone writes you a check and included that on the check the bank will not cash it unless you have a business account in that name, which of course also cost more. To get the business account you must also provide the bank a copy of your license.

I gave up the business name I had filed with the state as a corporation and went back to just using my own name, was a lot less problems. Even then I had problems, a client wrote me a check and put the word consultant after me name, the bank would not cash it, I did not have a business account, had to get the client to rewrite the check and leave off consultant.

I have now made it much easier, RETIRED.

George
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Old 12-29-2001, 12:06 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Hi Jill,

If you go back through some of the old posts, there is quite a lot about business practices.

Jeanie told you about S.C.O.R.E. (service corps of retired executives). Their services are free of charge, and you can get personalized help from them. I've used the service before, and was very impressed. It would be well worth looking into for anyone starting a business. They have a website with some information on it that you might want to check out. Here's the link: http://www.score.org/
Good luck.

Ed
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Old 12-29-2001, 01:09 PM
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Paul Rupp Paul Rupp is offline
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One of the nice things about have a resale lic. is that you can purchase items that are "consumables" at a reduced rate. If you roll that into your pricing structure it works out very well with the Tax man. It will make it easier for your taxes as well, you can have a tax write-off from your business. Do not use your home as part of your right off. If you write off a portion of your house as a place of business (In Texas anyway) when you sell your home, you will be taxed on the percentage of your home that you wrote off as a business income.

The resale lic. is free in most states. Alows you to join all the warehouse clubs (Sams, Costco etc...)

And as stated above, you should file a fictous name statement, unless you want to add your name to the business name.

I also agree that it looks good for the customers if your business name is used in your e-mail. Most hosts allow you to forward your mail to any account you want. You can chose what e-mail address you use at anytime. I made the mistake a long time ago of using my main e-mail address on a site and I go tso much spam that I had to chance it. I now use a disposable e-mail address when I want to post something at those places known for spamming.

HTH

Paul Rupp
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