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How to Register a Business in The US - The Right Way!

Are you sick of wearing suits, commuting to work and having to deal with a boss every single day?

If the answer is yes, then it sounds like you're ready to ditch the 9-5! 

The world is adapting more and more to remote work, and there’s never been a better time for entrepreneurship.

But then it hits you…

If you're going to start your own business, you have to actually start your own business

There is SO much conflicting, confusing, and downright bad information about this online, that it can be discouraging. 

But don't worry. I've got you! It is time to get legit.

Watch on YouTube

Let’s go through the three basic steps that you need to follow in order to set your business up the right way. 

But first, I want to talk to you about why you want to start an online business. Because if we can get that figured out first, then the next three steps will not only be easier, but they'll make a lot more sense.

Why do I need to set up a legit business?

You might be thinking to yourself - why do I need to get legit? Why can't I just find clients and then use Venmo to get paid? 

Great question. Multiple reasons: 

1. You're supposed to

Check with your state, your country, your tax man, check all those places. 

But if you're providing a service that someone is paying for, then officially you should get it all set up the legit, right way.

2. Clients will take you more seriously

That's a really, really important reason. 

If you have a legit business, you are more credible by default. Clients will feel safer and more likely to do business with you.

2. You will take yourself more seriously

Now you might think - Oh, that's very fluffy. However, just think…

If you set your business up legit:

  • You will believe that you are running a business.
  • You will take on the identity of a business owner. 
  • You’ll be a legit business owner providing services, and adding value to clients. 
  • You will take yourself more seriously. 
  • You will make decisions as a business owner. 

And again, clients will take you seriously because you got everything set up all legit and professional. 

Disclaimer: I'm not an attorney. I'm not a tax professional. So please take my advice as someone who has been through it, has experienced it, and wishes that I had known these things years and years ago when I first got started. 

Three basic steps to set up a business the right way

1. Decide on a business name 

A lot of people can get hung up on this, so let's see if I can simplify it and give you some ideas.

  • You could use your first name, your last name or your first and last name initials - More than likely, that won’t change. 
  • You could use the word digital - That's a really good, all encompassing word that will grow with you regardless of really what you're offering.
  • You could use the word media -  Again, all encompassing, another great word that you could put into your business name. 
  • You could use a word that means a lot to you - So maybe a particular place or a thing or a memory, a cat's name, a kid's name, lots of different options.

For example, my official LLC business name is JT Digital Media.

JT for my initials + the two words that I thought worked well together.

And they have worked pretty well, from then until now.

Now, before you 100% decide on a business name, there are two things you need to check. 

Check if it’s available in your state.

For this, all you have to do is Google. 

Type in:  ‘your state’ + ‘LLC name search’

You’ll find the right website to look it up, depending on your state. 

Look up your business name, because if there's someone else in the state who already has that business name, you got to start back over and go with something else.

Check with the U.S. Trademark Office 

Make sure that the name that you have chosen is not already trademarked because if you use it, someone will get in touch. 

Probably a lawyer with a cease and desist letter asking you telling you not to use that name. 

So be sure to check those two things before you do all your branding, business cards and all that sort of stuff.

2. Claim it online 

The next thing you should do is claim it in all the places online. 

Get a domain

You can easily look it up on a domain registrar website and see if it's available. (I like to use Google Domains or NameCheap for this)

For example, jtdigitalmedia dot com or geekpack dot com. Whatever your business is, check if the domain is available and grap it asap.

Domains are usually super cheap (10-20 bucks a year). So it's not too much. 

Set up your social media profiles

The next thing you should do is check on all your social media profiles. 

Check and see if it's available on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • YouTube

And wherever else you're going to be in the social media world.

Claim that business name on all those different accounts and platforms and then you're good to go. 

3. Decide on a business structure 

Next step in setting up your business and getting legit is deciding what you want your business structure to be.

You have a couple of options, some of the most common:

  1. LLC
  2. Corporation
  3. Sole Proprietor

If you want to be a bit more formal, you could get an LLC or you could set up a corporation. If you want to be a little bit less formal you could go with a sole proprietor. 

Now, this is entirely a personal decision or a decision you make with an attorney.

If you have a lot of assets that you want to protect, then going the LLC route might be best.

My personal opinion and personal advice that I would give to someone else would be to go the LLC route.

However, please consult with experts who know more about your individual situation and can advise you in a lot better ways.

4. Apply for an EIN

Next, you should apply for an Employer Identification Number. 

This is completely free and it's very, very easy to do. Make sure you have the official IRS website.

There are a lot of ads where they try to get you to pay them to do all this for you. 

That is completely unnecessary as it's super easy and it's free. 

You should also check with your city, your county and your state to see if there are any other licenses that you need to operate your business where you live. 

4. How to get paid 

Next, you're going to use those two things you’ve just set up (registration for the business structure you decided on and your EIN) in order to - best part:

Get paid the legit way. 

With these documents, you can set up a business bank account.

From there you can create a business PayPal Account, a Stripe Account or any other payment gateway payment processor that you want to go with business. 

PayPal and Stripe are the two most popular and the easiest to set up.

Going back to what we said earlier, why not just use Venmo or a personal PayPal account?

Well, if you do that and there is some sort of dispute or issue it's going to be almost impossible to resolve. 

However, if you have a business PayPal account or a Stripe account, there is a way to have a dispute resolution. You have buyer protection, seller protection and all that comes with it. 

Now, keep in mind, there are so many other things that you could do, that you might need to do and that you will need to be aware of for the future as your business grows.

But these are the basics to get you up and running and to be legit!

Join us for a FREE 4-day online event featuring 50+ Online Business Experts who will show you how to start (and grow) your online business!

If you are ready to take things to the next level, scale your online business, find clients, and market your business, then check out our FREE online event - Geekapalooza

This FREE 4-day online event is designed to help you start and grow your online business with secrets and hacks from other successful online business owners who know all the tricks of the trade!

About the Author:
Some people look at the sky and see stars; others see constellations. Some people look at lines of code and see a website; Julia saw a path to empower women in building their dreams. As a (former) military wife, self-taught web developer, and lover of location independence, Julia has taught over 3,600 women to say “YES” to any WordPress request, but not only that, “YES” to themselves, and “YES” to creating life on their own terms. Empowering women and seeing others succeed is the biggest motivator for Julia. And so, she created a program to teach others the skills that allowed her to take back control of her life and start living on her own terms.
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