Working from home can be a liberating feeling, especially when you are your own boss. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of responsibility that comes with this sort of job.
Like, getting a business license.
And a fictitious business name.
And also getting tons of papers signed and running around the city.
When I first got into blogging, I didn’t know how much business would be running in the background. It never occurred to me that things like business licenses would be necessary. After doing so much research on the things I needed to file for, I got so intimidated and even scared that Big Brother would lock me up in jail for things I had no idea were wrong.
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Although blogging might seem like a new career, it’s been around for years now and has the potential to make thousands, even millions. It may not be as traditional as, say, opening up a brick-and-mortar clothing store, so not very many city employees may know what type of business to categorize you as. Here are some tips to make this process much easier and less complicated.
#1: Call Your Local City Hall
Before you do anything, I highly suggest to give your local City Hall a call and ask them about the necessary steps to legally running an online blog. Every city is different, so you should follow your city’s rules accordingly.
#2: Explain Your Occupation in Explicit Detail
I definitely encountered several issues with obtaining my license just because I did not know how to explain what it is that a blogger does (besides, you know, everything)! I called my local City Hall and County Assessor’s office several times and got different answers from several employees, which confused me more than helped me.
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Make sure to mention:
- Your various avenues of income, whether it’s affiliate income, sponsored posts, or ad revenue
- That you are paid to endorse or review products and services
- What your necessary tools are (a computer, Internet, etc.)
- Items you will be purchasing for your blog (clothes, shoes, beauty products)
Based on the information you give them, you will be instructed to pursue a specific direction. If you don’t feel confident in the answers you receive, try calling several times and seeing what different employees say.
#3: Prepare Yourself For Fees
You will not only have to purchase a business license, but you will also have to choose between a license as a sole proprietor or a limited liability corporation (LLC). Do your research and determine which type of business license you will need depending on your business goals and budget. Typically, forming an LLC is more expensive than registering a business as a sole proprietor, but it does have its benefits.
If you register as a sole proprietor, you may also have to register a Fictitious Business Name (also known as a DBA – “Doing Business As”) if your business has a catchy name that isn’t just your first and last name.
On top of this, you will have to issue a public notice of your business in a local news publication, which you will also have to pay for.
#4: Brace Yourself For the Impending Footwork
More than likely, you will have to make several trips back-and-forth between your home and City Hall as well as the County Assessor’s office, so don’t expect to have your business license handled in a single day. This is an extensive process and depending on your schedule may take a week or two to finish.
#5: Be Extra Nice
It doesn’t help that most employees at City Hall and the County Assessor’s office aren’t really inclined to be polite to you. I can’t even remember the number of times I’d received the side-eye or scrutinizing squint when I told them I was trying to build a business through my blog. It seemed like every receptionist and teller had no inkling of what it was I was trying to do.
Even though you might get judged, remember to be polite to all the employees because they might just veer you off in a different direction with the assumption that you’ll be doing x business or y business or x business. I definitely stumbled across several employees whom I swear up and down were trying to scare me with fear tactics by telling me about the outrageous fees and how I wouldn’t even make money as a blogger. You are aiming for zero hassle and complications here. Just do as you’re told, smile, and don’t open up a can of worms.
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