Step 2: Permits, Licenses and Legalese

Part of starting a business is being sure you have fulfilled all of the legal requirements. This involves a lot of research at the state, county and local level. The first task is to decide what type of business to form. I must admit that this was daunting to me. Should I form a corporation, a limited liability corporation, or a sole proprietorship? Each type requires different forms, different fees, and different insurance requirements. I spent a lot of time on the internet researching the pros and cons of the different paths I could choose. I also conferred with other business owners, an accountant, and an attorney. Eventually I came to the decision that a sole proprietorship was the best fit for what I wanted to accomplish.

Now for the paperwork! I live in California and so needed to get a state-issued reseller’s permit. This was pretty easy. It was done online and only took an hour or so. I also needed to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the county. Yes… This sounded really sketchy to me, too. But it is required if you want to use a name for your business other than your full legal name. This required a trip to the County office to file the paperwork, pay a fee, and provide identification. I also need to post a public notice about the name for four weeks in a local newspaper. This is in progress.

The last piece of paperwork I needed to file was a Business Tax License with the City. This was the biggest hurdle – mostly because the website did not work very well and I had to start over several times. All in all, it was not too arduous once you knew what you had to do.

If any of you have gone through this process I would be interested in hearing about any issues you had. Send me an email or submit a comment.

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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

Originally, I had arranged to borrow a serger sewing machine from a friend until I had enough sales revenue to buy my own. This plan was the first casualty of fate. Once the machine was set up and we began sewing it soon became clear that the machine was in need of servicing. The tension was difficult to get right and the machine kept skipping stitches. Plan B: buy a new serger. Let the research begin!

After hours of online research and consulting with people I had an idea of what I needed and wanted. So off I went to Sewing Machines Plus. I expected to be assisted by grey haired women 50 years or older. I have no idea why – I guess this shows my own age and bias as to who the target market is for sewing machines! I was greeted by a young man – no more than 25 years old. He was quite knowledgeable, but was quick to tell me that he was not the best person to discuss sergers with – his supervisor was far more knowledgeable on these machines. Thinking that I was about to meet the person I expected, I was caught off guard again to be introduced to another young man – with an encyclopedic knowledge of the machines I wanted to test out. I guess sewing isn’t just done by grandmothers anymore!

After spending quite a bit of time discussing the pro’s and con’s of different machines I settled on a Juki 654DE. And wow, does this machine purr! It is a basic work horse of a machine and it does the job very well. The price was very reasonable at $340, but there went my attempt to even out my start up spending curve! But hey, I have a really cool new toy. And I have used it. A lot. Already.