Written by Paige Griffith, J.D. of The Legal Paige
Starting your role as an entrepreneur as either a side hustle, extra income stream, or even full-time future in the online space can be a bit overwhelming. When first starting, many business owners wonder HOW and WHAT the process is to form their businesses legally. If you are just starting to explore what starting a business looks like together with The Legal Paige we will get you prepared to succeed in the business world.
How Do I Start My Business Legally?
The first thing you need to do when starting your business is to choose your business structure and register your business. In order to choose the proper business structure, you should consider where you want your business to go. If you want to remain as a one-person business and are not facing liabilities or dealing with larger assets, you may choose to stay as a sole proprietor. This will allow you to not worry about registering with the state, stress over different tax forms, or think about yearly business entity filings. If you want to expand and scale by adding on a couple of employees OR you happen to reach a larger group of customers whereby your liabilities and risks increase, it may be better to form your business as an LLC instead to limit personal liability and separate debt from your personal assets. While we here at The Legal Paige always highly recommend an LLC business structure, it is completely up to you and how you want to proceed. However, make sure you know the positives and negatives and what that means for your small business!
Once you decide what business entity is best for you, you will want to head to the proper authority in your state to register your business. Often this is your state’s Secretary of State website (make sure to look for a “.gov” website!). While not all states have business formation information on the Secretary of State’s website, the majority will have that information located there. (You can also just Google “Register LLC in X state” or “File Business Name in X state”.) On the website, find the “File Your Business” or “File an LLC” or “File Your Articles of Organization Form”, fill out the form, and then submit that form through the proper channels listed on the website. Most states will have an online portal that will walk you through the process of filing online, paying the filing fee, and submitting it.
Get Your Contracts In Place Before Taking On Clients!
Once you have formed your business and registered it you might think you’re ready to take on clients but first, you need to protect yourself legally in writing. A contract for your business saves you from unforeseeable risk and liability. It doesn’t matter if your first client is your best friend or your aunt, having a solid contract can save you from unwanted issues if something goes wrong. Not to mention… oftentimes your closest friends and family are usually the ones that you can have the most issues with. Contracts are the best added safety net for your business and are a MUST before you take any money from a prospective client or perform any services.
If the process of starting and registering your business seems like more than you are willing to take on, don’t worry! The Legal Paige has created state-specific guides to help you register your LLC in your home state. We will walk you through each step of the process for your state and give you additional information related to certain criteria to fill out in the Articles of Organization (such as whether you should be a member-managed LLC or manager-managed LLC, in perpetuity or for a term, and more). Visit The Legal Paige’s DIY LLC Registration Page to purchase the guide for your state! Additionally, The Legal Paige has hundreds of contracts to help get your new business started and legally legit.
A Note from Alyson!
There is no one I trust with my Contract needs more than Paige. Paige’s Black Friday sale runs 11/21/22-11/28/22! Save up to 40% off ALL contracts. Shop here! Use code ‘Alyson10’ to save an additional $10 at checkout!
Alyson Pallanck is a Life & Leadership Coach and host of the 'But, What if You Did?' Podcast - a life & leadership podcast where we normalize what millennials leaders are up against in the messy middle. Alyson is on a mission to build leadership ability within our millennial communities. She does this through personalized one on one life & leadership coaching and through sharing raw conversations with friends, thought leaders in the personal development space, and holistic wellness advocates who have been where you are and are here to show you what is possible!
Thank you for all the tips!