This month I’ve been helping you get your business off the ground. We’ve talked about how to find your idea, identify the problem you’re solving, and go for it. We’ve even talked about what to do if someone else is already doing it. And now it’s time: you’re going to start your business.
Whether you’re starting your business from scratch or starting to charge for something that was previously just a hobby, you might be wondering how to make your business official. Becoming an “official” business sounds like a really big deal. You probably have to file a bunch of paperwork, pay a bunch of fees, jump through tons of legal hoops, climb through a maze of red tape, and wait months and months for the Judge of All Things Business to approve you. Actually, nope! You don’t have to do any of that. You just need to do two things:
- Help people
- Get paid for it
That’s it! Great news, right? And I’d be willing to bet that if you’re asking this question, there’s a very good chance you are already helping people and getting paid for it. If so, congratulations! You’re an official business!
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See? It’s not as big of a deal or difficult as you might think. The big deal is simply getting paid for your work. If you’ve overcome that hurdle, not only do you have validation from the marketplace, but you also have proof you’ve crossed the milestone of becoming an official business. That’s why many new business owners frame their first dollar and hang it up to commemorate what a special moment and big accomplishment that is!
Now, once you’ve been paid for your work, you’re an official business. However, there are two other things that you want to look into when you become a business. These don’t make you an “official” business, but they are a very good idea to do in your first month or two.
- Get a business license. You may not need a business license, but if you do, you can usually get one at your county clerk for between $8-$15. It’s quick and easy and cheap. In most cases, this is just for tax purposes so that the IRS knows what’s going on. To see what the laws are in your state, you can go here.
- Open a separate business checking and savings account. This just helps you keep your money separate, which makes life much easier on you.
Sometime within the first month or two of operating, you probably need to get a business license and business bank accounts. However, that doesn’t make you an official business any more than having a college degree in Public Relations makes you a Publicist. Sure, you have a piece of paper that says you can do something, but what makes it real is having paying customers.
So don’t let your ideas about becoming an “official business” overwhelm you. It’s like when someone says they want to be a writer. My friend Jeff Goins has the best answer for this: “You don’t want to be a writer. You are a writer.” And the same is true for you. Friends, you don’t want to be in business. You are in business. So start acting like it!