Is there something that keeps you up at night because you just can’t stop thinking about it? Is it your dream to get paid to do this one amazing thing that brings happiness and beauty to people’s lives? If you’re reading this, chances are you probably thought of starting a business… so what’s stopping you? Here’s some tips and tricks I learned along the way…
An accountant I inquired with quoted me $1,000 to file the paperwork for me – and no, it didn’t include the filing fees. For those of you who are looking to start a business of your own, this is the first of potentially MANY charges you could rack up. I recommend doing your research, asking other small businesses, and even consulting with an accountant (or two… or three), and an attorney depending on what kind of business you’ll be getting into.
Get a quick and dirty version here…
First step – RESEARCH. That’s right ladies and gents. Research the pros… who has made it? how did they start? what do you need to get there? Then research the market… who will buy your product/services? why should someone hire you? And when you’re done, go back and research more colleagues/competition. Because seriously, if you get tired at this step you probably won’t see your business dream to fruition.
Second step – Create a business plan (i.e. will you sell a product or service, at what price levels, how often can you expect to make a sale, etc.). There’s lots of help and advice on Google on how to create a business plan. This probably involves more research (see first step). You will also need to decide what kind of business you’ll want to set up – a limited liability corporation (LLC)? a partnership? a corporation? Each has it’s own set of pros and cons an you’ll need to figure out which one best suits the needs of your company. The clearer your vision, the easier to create steps towards your goal.
Third step – Set goals. Where do you want to be in 5 years? And if that vision of a 5 year goal is clear enough, you’ll have an easier time knowing what you need to do by 3 years… and 1 year… and 6 months… and the end of the month.
Fourth step – Research some more. Yes! This time, you’ll need to research just how much money you’ll need to start your business. Do you require special tools? a new computer? an actual store front? product? You’ll also have to think about whether you will need a license, proof of liability insurance, or a butt-load of assets. Start up costs in Hawaii also include filing fees to start your business, accounting fees (unless you’re tackling this on by yourself), domain fees (if you want your own personal website – and come on… who doesn’t?!), as well as employment fees if you’ll be hiring staff (not to mention unemployment tax).
Are you still pumped?! I hope so, because this world needs dreamers and small businesses. People who are passionate about what they do. People who want to help others and are in it not just for the money, but for the personal satisfaction of it all. If that’s you, read on… disclaimer – this is by all means not exhaustive, but this is what I did.
In the state of Hawaii, you’ll need to register your business name with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and get a General Excise (GE) tax license to do business. Luckily, you can go to the Business Registration (BREG) site here and get that done in one nice and easy registration. Make sure you search the business name catalog first to make sure the name you want is available. You might as well go check Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and well, Google (for your domain name) to make sure the name you want to use are available on those platforms as well. Filing fee with the state was $98.50 with expedited service. If you need a DBA, that’s a separate filing after this initial one is complete.
What your accountant may tell you… you will need a Registered Agent to accept process of service (in case someone wants to serve you with a legal document i.e. sue you) that is not the business entity itself. He/she probably offers this service for a fee. What your accountant may not tell you is that YOU can be a registered agent for you company. I’m not recommending this if you’re not home a lot, but this is what I did to save cost initially. 🙂
Now that that’s done, you’ll have to register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Our governments LOVE acronyms. If you’re a business, you’ll sign up for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) here and yes, even if you do not have any employees you need this number. I do not recommend going to one of the advertised sites who charge you to do this for you… just go directly to the IRS. Fill in all of the same information as your HI State information and pop! – you’ll be issued a EIN in seconds upon completion. There was no filing fee… I’m guessing they’ll just get it from you in your taxes. Ha!
And voila! You officially have a business!! Do NOT forget to pay your GE, state, federal taxes… it is the price you pay for having a business in this wonderful free land we call America.
Have any tips and tricks of your own? What was the biggest fear/problem you encountered? I would love to hear from you, so please comment below!