The most important part of starting a new business is to clear the decks and get after it! Of course it helps if you have some help when choosing a name and taking the necessary steps to setup your business right, but you can figure all of that out as you go along. Just GET AFTER IT. However, steps 1, 2, and 5 are essential, IMHO.
Mistakes are inevitable… the key is to get used to making “non-fatal” errors, learn your lesson, and move on.
Anyway, here’s Starting A Business – in a Nutshell.
1.) Choose a name
You want to make sure your name is availalble, preferrably as a non-hyphenated “.com”. Don’t get too fancy. Combine common words into uncommon combinations. As of today, Google reports:
No results found for “prairie oak media”. There’s nothing magical about those three words, they just happened to get combined into a new way. Oh, and “prairieoakmedia.com” was available.
2.) Get a EIN
You want to keep your business and personal books separate. Use a separate checkings account, paypal account, email address, and affiliate accounts (including adwords) for your new enterprise. When you start signing up for affiliate programs, you’ll want to sign up in your business name and deposit all affiliate checks into your “business account”. This will greatly simplify tax time. The EIN will allow you to sign up for separate accounts outside of your other business or personal SS#.
3.) Consider forming a LLC
If you’re serious about making money online, you’ll want to hold your properties in a business entity that’s easy to administer, and still has all of the benefits of incorporation. Learn why the LLC is the “ruby on rails” of the business world.
4.) Consider “IRS Form 2553″
This allows your LLC to be treated as a Sub-S for tax purposes. With this filing in place, you still need to pay yourself a reasonable salary, but at least part of your residiual income can be passed through without self-employment tax, which is a 15% whammie on top of ordinary income taxes.
5.) Use Quickbooks
Keep your books straight from the beginning. Balance all of your accounts monthly. Get professional account from a CPA at the beginning if you need it, just make sure you’re keeping track of everything! Trust me… it’s much easier to keep track of everything from the beginning that it is to rebuild your books at the end of the year.
Of course there are a lot of other considerations. I’m assuming you’ll be working from home, but you may need to consider a seprate mailing address for your new business, especially if you are already running one business from home.