Hello and welcome back to my blog! Today I’m writing about starting a small business. I’m going to talk a little about taking an idea in your notes app or written down on a napkin to being an official LLC as well as the next steps to take after you become officially registered. I recently just started two LLCs in the state of North Carolina. LLC stands for limited liability corporation. I think that’s the easiest way to get registered. This makes it so you’re not a corporation and you don’t have a board of directors or stakeholders, but you do have protection for your assets and against liability. It also gives you the ability to hire employees and file taxes. So I would say it’s the first official step in becoming a business if you want to be legally recognized and you want to make money in a legal way as well as protect your own assets.
So I have two, the first one is Nicole LLC., and this actually is my entire social media brand slash company. This falls into the e-commerce space and allows me to use any money that I make off of YouTube to come into my company and then any business expenses I have are able to operate under this umbrella. My second company is called Imperio Apps LLC., and the motto is just we build cool stuff. It is an app development company that builds iOS apps to rapidly prototype new ideas applications and just really cool things. So I have two separate ones and the reason I separated these is because one is very much about my social media and e-commerce while the other one is very clearly a software development company. I think there is a world in which I could have just had one but because of the nature of both of them, I just found that it would be easier to divide them into two.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is actually figure out what your business is about
you need to figure out the kind of industry your business is going to be in and what kind of operations your business will do. This leads into the next step, which is developing your business model, which is how you make money. It’s really important to nail this down when you’re searching for loans or investors as well as if you hire a company to incorporate your company. I would also take this time to create a mission statement, a set of ethics or morals for your company or a directive. Basically, just the things that you want your company to be based on so that every single step of the way after this you have something to look back on for guidance.
The next step was naming both companies. I was shocked Nicole wasn’t taken. I registered in my state of North Carolina and I used LegalZoom, which was a super easy process. It’s important to make sure not only is your company name available but also is your website name (or something similar) available. For Imperio, I loved the word and I knew I wanted to name it Imperio. This kind of goes back to when I was working at NASA, I actually named a piece of software Imperio. Unfortunately, imperio.com was taken as well as Imperio LLC., so I went with imperioapps.com and Imperio Apps LLC. After I figured out the names, I used the Gold Tier packages at LegalZoom, which ended up being around $800 for each company. The process was so easy; you just put in what your company’s name is and what it does as well as if you’re filing with anyone else (to determine if it’s a single proprietorship, s corp, or c corp).
Once you have your paperwork, that’s it! You’re a LLC. So after you legally create your company, the first thing you want to do is get your EIN, which is an employment identification number. It’s used for taxes and to hire employees. I again used LegalZoom for this, it was apart of an upgrade package that I bought for a little extra. I wanted to be able to do this to hire my first employee, my assistant, Erin. I knew i wanted to hire Erin, I interviewed a couple people and I knew that Erin really fit what I was looking for in a company.
The next step was setting up banking. I used Bank of America because it was an option to integrate from LegalZoom, and I really loved the seamlessness of it. I used all of these tools because I’ve always had a huge fear of accidentally committing tax fraud and going to jail! More about the banking, I set up a savings and checking account for both Imperio and Nicole, installing my investments for the first year in it. I wanted enough money so that if we didn’t turn a profit the first year, we’d be able to work throughout the year. I recommend for banking, you either use a bookkeeper (I used Mazuma because they do taxes and bookkeeping) or go the QuickBooks route. Originally, I was looking at QuickBooks, which is a software that does accounting, and it is a little bit cheaper but QuickBooks doesn’t give you tax information and it really is just a software whereas I would rather have a live person balancing my books. Then when it comes time for tax season, they’re also the ones preparing my taxes and they’ve done everything up until that point to prepare for my taxes.
Those were all the steps of creating your business as a legal entity, but this next step is creating your brand identity, which I’ll cover in my next blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading this!