Starting a small business. Where to start?

angelak

I have an idea for a small business that I'd like to try.   How does one go about forming an LLC?  I looked at legalzoom online, but maybe there are better options?

Many thanks in advance for ideas and advice!


apple44

Registering as an LLC is easy, you can do it directly and online with the state's treasury department. There's a filing fee. You'll need to have a unique name for the business, even if it is just your given name.

Alternatively, with a service such as Legal Zoom, you still have to pay the filing fee (as well as the service's fees), and you still have to provide them with the information to file for you, so I'm not sure what the advantage is - I think it just creates the perception of being easier and faster, but it isn't.

Generally, an LLC works if you are the sole owner of the business, no partners. If there are partners and other shareholders you might want to consult a lawyer or accountant.

http://www.state.nj.us/treasur...



Jamie

It's cool that you can search business names online now:

https://www.njportal.com/DOR/b...

In the past I had to go to the Hall of Record in Newark and go through books to make sure a name didn't exist.

Legalzoom certainly makes the process easier - but going through the state would be cheaper.  Legalzoom also charges you yearly because they add themselves as a Registered Agent for your business.  

You mainly need to register to get a Tax ID for your business - then you can open a bank account.


angelak

Thanks so much, apple and Jamie.   

Jamie -- I still think MOL is one the best ideas ever. You guys started social media before there was social media.


angelak

The idea I have would involve doing light physical work on other people's property.  Liability insurance probably would be necessary.


Tom


angelak said:

Thanks so much, apple and Jamie.   

Jamie -- I still think MOL is one the best ideas ever. You guys started social media before there was social media.

You realize this is an exaggeration, right? I love MOL, for sure. Heck, I haven't lived in NJ since 2013, but, uh ...


Jamie


Tom_Reingold said:



angelak said:

Thanks so much, apple and Jamie.   

Jamie -- I still think MOL is one the best ideas ever. You guys started social media before there was social media.

You realize this is an exaggeration, right? I love MOL, for sure. Heck, I haven't lived in NJ since 2013, but, uh ...

Thanks Tom!



Jamie


angelak said:

Thanks so much, apple and Jamie.   

Jamie -- I still think MOL is one the best ideas ever. You guys started social media before there was social media.

Thanks Angela - it was one of a a kind 20 years ago.  We're still tweaking our platform and soon will be offering the platform to anyone who was to start their own business doing what I do here.  I believe it will be one of the first community platforms where Community moderators/managers can actually make money.


boomie

"The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today"    When did MOL start again?    Not so far off base Tom R.


Jamie

1997 - we'll be having a 20th anniversary party at some point this year.   smile 


Ridley


jamie said:

1997 - we'll be having a 20th anniversary party at some point this year.   smile 

In 1991 I was talking to writers and goths and role players and movie lovers all over the world on Usenet, and there were bulletin boards before that. 


Not to take anything away from MOL, of course, but social media has been around for a long time.


sprout

Yep... I started on NE-Raves (I guess it was a listserve?) back in the early 90's. That style of communication transitioned easily to this type of board with topic headings instead of subject lines. MOL was hopping when I moved here in the early 2000's - and I like the message board style.

I dislike the electronic management of conversations in most of the newer social media platforms. It seems more high-maintenance: If you miss the post at the time it's posted, it gets sucked downstream, and it's hard to find later on. I don't need to add anything else to my life that requires constant attention.


angelak

You're right of course. I was using chatrooms in the early 90's and bulletin boards as well, but those seemed pretty limited to geeks who had computers.  Not really broadly available to the casual user like social media.  

ridski said:



jamie said:

1997 - we'll be having a 20th anniversary party at some point this year.   smile 

In 1991 I was talking to writers and goths and role players and movie lovers all over the world on Usenet, and there were bulletin boards before that. 




Not to take anything away from MOL, of course, but social media has been around for a long time.



angelak

Yes.

boomie said:

"The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today"    When did MOL start again?    Not so far off base Tom R.



apple44

Am curious what the advantage of Legal Zoom is. They are going to ask you to provide the business name and info such as your Social Security. They'll charge you a fee plus the state fee. It's not like they are arguing for you, and you'll have a higher chance of approval using them. If your business name is unique, and you pay the fee, you'll be registered as an LLC.

By going directly to the state treasury dept. (online), you provide the same info, and just pay the state fee.


Tom

I've been chatting with people online since 1982, and I know I wasn't nearly the first. Six degrees is a bad example. Look at bitnet, usenet, and other old networks.


galileo

If you look at the first page of MOL you will see it says serving the community since 1997. Just googled bitnet - 1981 and usenet established 1980.  So Jamie THANK YOU. Maplewood does appreciate your  work.


angelak

What about sole proprietorship? A friend mentioned that to me today.  Possibly might be a good starting point in case my idea is a flop.


apple44

An LLC is sole proprietorship.


angelak

Hmmmm. Ok, thanks.  I got the impression there was a simpler way to do business that didn't involve forming an LLC.

apple44 said:

An LLC is sole proprietorship.



apple44

You might be able to just do services and bill under your name, but there will be tax benefits under an LLC, particularly given what Trump has been proposing. Also, I think, but am not sure, that if your business is sued or has financial difficulties like debt you can't pay, people can't go after your personal assets. Really, "forming an LLC" is just going to the treasury website that I posted, choosing a unique name and paying a fee.


angelak

Ok.  Here's an article on the difference between the two:


https://www.entrepreneur.com/a...


Maida

How about an Sub S corporation?  I was advised to do this many years ago when I had a business (not what I do now).  Corporations can elect "pass-through" taxation by applying to the IRS for status as a Subchapter S Corporation. The s corp provides the same protection from personal liability as a c corp. However, owners of an s corp can report their share of profit and loss in the company on their individual tax returns.

And, FYI - the first message board or community "bulletin board" originated many years ago in Berkeley, CA in 1973.  My brother, Efrem Lipkin, was involved in this.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


stateguy

Attend a SCORE seminar on starting a business. It's run by retired business owners and they give valuable practical advice. No charge. check it out. It worked for me. 


angelak

Thanks stateguy.  What a great resource.  They have seminars all over the place.  

http://scoremetronj.com/worksh...


Tom

My impression is that the startup costs of an LLC are lower than the other forms. I think it typically costs about $400 or $500 to have a lawyer or accountant set it up. I have an LLC which gave me my own tax ID. It entitled me to open a bank account with the business name. My earnings and expenses end up getting passed through to my individual tax returns filed under my social security number. The downside, I believe, is that there are some types of expenses that are not deductible with an LLC that are with other kinds of businesses. That's OK if the business is simple and doesn't have things like employees.


apple44

The startup cost of an LLC in NJ is the $125 fee if one registers directly with the state. A lawyer or accountant might be useful in explaining the tax benefits, and sifting through which structure to choose. As as angelak mentions, insurance might be needed. But the actual registration cost is low, there is no reason to hire a lawyer to do it.

I'm not sure, but I think with Trump's proposals, the LLC tax rate might be near 15%. At that rate, who needs deductions? grin


Jamie

ridski
said:

Not to take anything away from MOL, of course, but social media has been around for a long time.

True - the first ISPs like Prodigy were big on interaction within groups and hobbies.  MOL was early at interacting at the local community level.  When I start virtually all town sites were informational - there was very little that allowed input from users.  This is what inspired me to begin.  I'm constantly trying to reinvent things a bit - even though it may not look it from the out side - but we have had over 300 tweaks happen in the last few months.  Many not obvious, but hopefully we'll be able to show you what's been happening behind the scenes soon.   smile 



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