Episodes

No one ever told me that you have to do all these things before you start your business... well you don't have to at first. Some people like to make a small investment, test their product with real customers and make some money to prove they have a viable business before incorporating.

When you are ready, I outlined my COMPLETE dummy proof process on how I got started. Even though these links are specific to California (where I live now), the steps and process to which you go about incorporating are typically the same, but please note that your state might have a different terminology for the same thing.  For example, some states call the Articles of Incorporation, the Certificate of Formation. Also, different state office can be called something different, ie Secretary of State, State Department of Taxation or Corporation Commission. Before I start, read my disclaimer below.

Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any action.

Check out this podcast where I interviewed Nellie Akalp from Corpnet where she shared some of her experience with incorporation.

 

 

Here is what I'm going over, step by step and the specific order you need to do them in because there are instances where you need to wait for one organization to approve and provide you an id before you can continue to the next.

  1. Find your Secretary of State
  2. Search for Company Name
  3. Prepare Articles of Incorporation or Organization
  4. File for DBA (optional)
  5. Obtain EIN
  6. File for an S-Election with the IRS
  7. Seller's Permit
  8. Business License
  9. Annual Filings

Steps for Incorporating or Organization Your Entity

Find Your Secretary of State

If you have any questions on incorporating in the state of California, go to http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/contact. Every state should have their own Secretary of State website for you to find more information on entities and incorporating. If you need help, just give them a call and ask away, they are usually very helpful.

Name Search

Search For Company Name, make sure it's not taken, https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/.  You don't want to fill out all the paperwork to have it returned because you didn't take 2 minutes to make sure the name is not taken.

Prepare Articles of Incorporation or Organization

Prepare Articles of Organization with your Secretary of State. Based on your entity, you'll need to select the appropriate forms, http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/forms. Please note that when you speak to different state/city entities, the proper terms to use with a LLC is organization and forming. For corporations, it's called incorporating. Just a little FYI here to help facilitate your conversation.  I confused the heck out of them when I say I want to incorporate a LLC.

Entities you can choose:

Click here for more entity and structure information from the IRS.

  1. Corporations
  2. Limited Liability Companies
  3. Limited Partnerships
  4. General Partnerships
  5. Limited Liability Partnerships
  6. Other Business Filings

Since most small businesses start off as a single-member LLC, you will initially be classified as a disregarded entity for the purposes of filing a federal tax return.

  • If the only member of the LLC is an individual, the LLC income and expenses are reported on Form 1040 - U.S. Individual Income Tax Return), Schedule C, E, or F.
  • If the only member of the LLC is not an individual, the LLC income and expenses are reported on the owner/member's tax return.
  • If you do not wish to accept the default classification of disregarded entity, you can:

After you receive your confirmation of your state registration letter, for LLC, you are required to keep your public record updated by filing (within 90 days of filing the Articles of Organization) a Statement of Information with the State of California Secretary of State.  Here's a link to the LLC-12 form, http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/llc/forms/llc-12.pdf

One thing to note, you might have heard of Resident Agents (RA). The term registered agent or statutory agent is defined as any individual or business that is assigned to receive service of process during which such an individual or business is part of a summons, lawsuit or similar legal action. Also, some people uses an RA to add an additional layer of privacy to hide the owner information, but in my opinion, if you really want to know who owns a business, it's not that much harder to find.

File for FBN/DBA

**[Optional] File for a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) or Doing Business As (DBA)** statement is required when the business name does not include the surname of the individual owner(s) and each of the partners; or the business name suggests the existence of additional owners; or the nature of the business in not clearly evident by the name of the business.

If your business is already set up and you want to do business under a name other than your existing corporation or LLC name, you will need to register a DBA. Here's a clear example, if you own a couple of brands selling on Amazon and would like to keep them separate, you can have one incorporation/entity with two DBA's. Or you can always have two corporations, which would mean two separate books and returns at year end.

Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located. There are a few states that do not require the registering of fictitious business names.

If you need to FBN or DBA in San Diego, go to https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/Pages/all-forms.aspx#fbn, otherwise, you can skip this step.

After receiving a written confirmation on registering your DBA, you'll need to put a newspaper publication.  State laws generally require a business to publish a fictitious name statement to connect the business name and the owner. The statement allows consumers to get information about the owner of the company.  The published notice must run at a certain frequency and for a number of weeks, 4-weeks in San Diego.  This usually runs about $25 to $65.  You can call around based on an approved list of publications included from the DBA registration.

Obtain EIN

Obtain EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service (Federal Tax Identification Number). ** This number is used to set up bank account and is your businesses id, just like a Social Security Number to a person.

Click here to get your EIN 

Seller's Permit

Next thing is to get your **Seller's permit and/or resale certificate**. You have to wait for your LLC ID from Secretary of State before you can submit your application online.

What is the difference between a sellers permit and a resale certificate?

Seller's Permit - required for all persons selling tangible property. You will need this to sell your products, apply for your Seller's Permit by clicking here, http://www.boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/ereg/. Here are some additional information on Seller's Permit, http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub73.pdf. Again, you can check your states respectable organization to obtain your seller's permit.

Resale Certificate - called BOE230 General Resale Certificate in California. If you purchase tangible personal property for resale, the transaction is not subject to sales or use tax provided the sale is properly documented. As a result, your supplier will ask you to provide a resale certificate as proof that the property was purchased for resale. You normally get your Seller's Permit first then your Resale Certificate if you need one. You can fill out this form and provide it to your supplier upon request, http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/boe230.pdf.

Contact the California State Board of Equalization:
Address: 15015 Avenue of Science, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92128
Phone: (800) 400-7115 (tel:8004007115) http://www.boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/ereg/index.html 
Some additional information, http://www.boe.ca.gov/formspubs/pub103/index.html

Business License

The jurisdiction where your home is located is likely to require a general business license. This license serves a two-fold purpose. First, licensing protects the residents of the city or county by identifying businesses operating in its jurisdiction. 

Second, licensing raises revenue for the local government. For this reason, most general business licenses must be renewed annually. My local fee is about $20 a year.

Annual Filings

California law requires all corporations and limited liability companies to update the records of the California Secretary of State either every year or every two years based on year of registration by filing a statement. Annual Report or Statement of Information (for CA) Click here http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/statements and see which forms you need.

Employment Forms

Obtain an EDD number from the Employment Development Department, which is required if you employ and pay anyone (including yourself). When you first start out, you might not immediately need this because you're probably not going to necessarily make a profit your first few months or year. Ask your CPA for advice on when to start filing. 

So here you go, a complete "How to incorporate your business guide" for dummies.  If you have any questions, please contact your lawyer and accountant and hopefully, you can find someone knowledgable in your area of focus.

 

See how Mark DiMuzio help co-found Vestige by using his contacts in wholesale with about a dozen graphic t-shirt designs and start selling to retail shops like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales.

Tweet this Listen to Mark DiMuzio as he shares his journey of realizing his graphic t-shirt apparel company, click to listen.

Key Points Discussed:

  • How Vestige Brand got started
  • Why did Mark choose graphic t-shirts as his niche?
  • How to get into retail stores?
  • Which platform do they use?
  • Sourcing T-shirts started in Los Angeles and then moved Colombia and China
  • I love Mark's strategy on finding good screen printers (or any vendors for your market)
    • If your product requires some sort of machine to produce or customize, call the manufacturer and see who they have sold to
    • Visit the shops that have those machines and pick the ones you want to work with
  • Warehouse and wholesale fulfillment

Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.
  • Ecommerce Launch Formula to learn how to start an online business

Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses. Sujan has over 13 years of internet marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Sales Force, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

Check out these simple but valuable growth strategies for your Ecommerce business. If you're stuck or simply out of ideas to grow your online business, take a listen and try one of these now.

Tweet this Sujan Patel shares his Ecommerce growth hacks to grow your online business, click to listen.

Key Points Discussed:

  • What is one of the most common problems that Ecommerce business are doing
  • In the next 30 days, what can you do to grow your business
    • Let's be realistic, you cannot optimize and rewrite all your product descriptions.  Selecting your main products and rewrite those instead.
    • Take your own product pictures if you sell the same thing that other sellers are doing and ask them to send in their own images as reviews and testimonies.
    • Capture emails with an incentive optin offering coupons and a VIP list
    • Setup remarketing campaigns
    • Optimize your checkout page, try using a 2 step checkout to capture their name and email first
  • We spoke about Facebook chats and automation
  • Recommendation for new sellers to get sales

Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.
  • Ecommerce Launch Formula to learn how to start an online business

Listen to our guest, Shaun Buck as he talks about why this method is the single easiest and most effective way to increase retention rates, increase referrals and instantly build long-lasting relationships with your clients.

Tweet this Shaun Buck shares his incredible offline strategy to using newsletters and direct mail, click to listen.

  • Who newsletter is good for?
  • What type of online retailers are sending newsletters 
  • Which industries does this work for? High ticket or product value and frequent repeat visits, ie pet grooming or grocery stores
  • Types of offline marketing, ie when to use postcards, catalogs, subscriptions ... for retail and Ecommerce stores
  • Direct mail vs. Email response, average American receives about 160 emails a day and on average, each household receives about 4 pieces of mail a day.
  • How to sell through direct mail
    • Follow up with an email and offer with post card for warm leads.
    • For cold leads, re-engage with another product related to the subject to get users back on your website
  • When should you start using newsletter in your business
  • How do you measure the success of your offline campaign
  • Cost of direct mail usually $0.70 to $1.00, postcards about $0.45, newsletter about $1.00, this is cheaper than some of your Facebook ads.

If you want to get started with direct mail and newsletter, how do you get your feet wet?

Strategy 1 for warm leads: Use an existing email campaign and follow up using direct mail to customers who did not buy

Strategy 2 for cold leads: Buy a list with both emails and address and run Facebook campaigns in parallel with your offline marketing so that they can see both ads.  This will keep you top of mind and allow the users to take action.

Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

Checkout Newsletterpro with this special link that introduces some strategies, tactics and download a copy of his book.

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.
  • Ecommerce Launch Formula to learn how to start an online business

Pat, if you can pick only one business model, knowing everything you know today to move forward with for the rest of your entrepreneur life, WHAT WOULD IT BE?  

Listen to what Pat says here...

Tweet this #patflynn on starting a passive income today. Click to listen http://podcast.estorecoaching.com/48 #ecommerce

Key Points Discussed:

  • His experience at the Marketing Impact Academy conference (hosted by Chalene Johnson).  How he created the Power Up Podcast course in 2.5 weeks for MIA.

Perfection stops people in their tracks.  

Creating an Online Course

  • When we're creating an online course, we're faced with a daunting task of delivering a high-value course with lots of modules, videos, and downloads.
  • Start with an online class that has enough information that will allow your members to get started with.
  • Launch with a small number of beta members using the "create as you go" technique to provide valuable content only.
  • A small audience will allow for a more intimate community when you first launch to allow you to address any issues with the course and to fix or enhance based on feedback.
  • After purchase, make sure you have a welcome video to keep the engagement and motivation high.
  • Get engaged by answering questions.
  • Automate email by creating triggers for certain milestone of starting and completing the different modules.
  • Add a community to keep each 

Smart from Scratch Launch Strategy

Using Convertkit, Pat segmented his launch using these 3 types of audiences.  By segmenting your audience, you can get specific and write emails that pertain to where the subscriber originated from.

  • If your course is not yet ready to launch or closed for enrollment create a landing page to collect emails for a wait list
  • Opt-ins from the companion course, "Will It Fly" book
  • Current email list of subscribers who has previously indicated that they have not started their business yet, either through email survey or gated content on your blog post on topics. 

What's stopping some people from starting their own business? Pat used the analogy of skydiving.

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Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.
  • Ecommerce Launch Formula to learn how to start an online business

Just get started...

Laura Petersen has taken lessons learned from a successful tutoring and test prep company to grow her businesses in a new passion: podcasting. [And an old one too: writing!]

With Podtent Marketing, she helps mid-sized businesses with a high-touch, done-for-you service to launch a podcast and power a content marketing strategy. (PodtentMarketing.com)

She is the Executive Producer of Brandon T. Adams’ podcast Live to Grind, an award-winning, twice-weekly podcast for entrepreneurs. And his business partner in Accelerant Media Group that contains the Live to Grind brand under its umbrella as well as full-service branding, crowdfunding, and marketing for elite clients.

Her own podcast is called Copy That Pops and her #1 Amazon Best-Selling book Copywriting for Podcasters: How to Grow Your Podcast, Brand, and Business with Compelling Copy is available on Amazon (CopyThatPops.com/book).

She created an effective course to help solopreneurs and entrepreneurs with small teams to earn the “#1 Amazon Best-Seller” title without the need for an email list or marketing budget.

In addition to teaching, learning, and all things podcasting, Laura loves international travel (40 countries and counting!) with her husband and their dog Tuck, lots of garlic, and re-runs of the I.T. Crowd.

 

Tweet this @LaptopLaura shares her incredible Amazon Best Seller strategy on @eStoreCoaching podcast today! 

 Key Points Discussed:

  • Three components to getting on Amazon's Best-Seller List

    • Selecting the category
    • Timing the release and pricing of the book
    • Marketing
  • Laura's process of creating her Kindle copy and then developing her physical paperback book using Create Space
  • Laura's strategy is to price your Kindle book at $0.99 for the first three days (it's the cheapest you can have it in order to count as a best seller on Amazon in the paid category) from Monday to Wednesday.
  • How many books did Laura have to sell in order to get on Amazon's best seller list?  Listen to the podcast to find out!
  • Presale vs. sale
  • Are there rules on for hitting the best seller list? 
  • What format is the best to launch with? ie EPUB, pdf, physical book?
  • Are there certain categories that are easier than others?
  • Marketing plan
  • Reviews may not help in getting your book listed on the best-seller list, but it does help in maintaining your position on the top seller list (in addition to sales)
  • Book cover designs?
  • Why should you price your Kindle book as paid instead of free?

Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.
  • Ecommerce Launch Formula to learn how to start an online business

 

 

Ben is the Blog Manager at CoSchedule. His specialties include blogging, content strategy, SEO, social media, email marketing, and more. When he's not hard at work helping people create better content, he can be found playing bass guitar, drinking fine beer, and chasing his dog around the house.

Tweet this Ben Sailer shares the incredible Content Strategy that helped Coschedule build 180K.  Click to listen.

 

Key Points Discussed:

Content Creation Strategy for Solopreneurs

As a single operating entrepreneur, you wear many hats and managing your time is always a challenge.  Here's a simple process of you follow.

Here's a simple process of you follow.

Step 1

Many times were under the impression that we must deliver long 4,000 to 5,000 word blog post that can take days to write and deliver.  Instead of taking a deep dive, write 1,000 word post focusing on a specific topic or section of the bigger post and break that down into a series of post.

Use free or freemium image editing software to create the images and graphics for the post.

Step 2

If you spend a lot of time and energy on your content, you need to repurpose your content.  Don't write it and hope it will go viral.  Write a simple introduction to the post to your list of subscribers and a link to your post for them to continue reading.

Step 3

Here's the key to growing your subscribers - create a downloadable pdf or bundle of template specific to your post that people would want (just like I'm doing here, click here to download it) in exchange for their email, this is called gated content.  

Some other stuff we created

  • How to decide on the type of resources and templates to create your gated material?

  • What type of material converts well, ie how to checklist, templates?

  • What is your marketing funnel for promoting your content?

Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

  • CoSchedule
  • Medium to syndicate your content
  • Canva
  • Infogram for making infographics
  • Piktochart for making graphics
  • Grammarly for grammar and spelling checker, this link go to a their "Best Plagiarism Checker & Proofreader" tool.
  • Hemmingway App haven't tried it myself but looks like a neat tool for writing

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.
  • Ecommerce Launch Formula to learn how to start an online business

 

 

After AJ Wilcox began advertising on LinkedIn in 2011, he quickly discovered its powerful potential for business to business (B2B) advertisers. AJ was so passionate about the results he was seeing, he left his job to start B2Linked in 2014 and today's he shares his LinkedIn strategies so that you can get started!

Tweet this AJ Wilcox shares his incredible LinkedIn advertising strategy on eStoreCoaching podcast today! Click to listen.

 

 Key Points Discussed:

  • Difference between LinkedIn vs. other social media ads?

    • Expect to spend $6 to $8 per click, great for larger deals or sales of approximately $15,000, making this great of SaaS and consulting services.  B2B on Facebook, expect to spend about $0.80 to $1.00 per click.
  • Split testing between Linkedin vs Facebook on the same ads

    • Better conversion (8-30%) on Linkedin, higher cost
    • Lower conversion (5-15%) on Facebook, lower cost
  • How do you actually set up an account, do use your personal account or up a separate business account?

  • Discussed a basic LinkedIn advertising funnel for any beginners to start with.

    • Audience - narrow your audience with these 4 criteria's! Job title, job function, skill set, and groups.
    • Content - what type of content do you want to show to your audience
    • Messaging 
  • What types of ads does LinkedIn support?

  • Can you drive traffic to your LI page, actually is there such thing as a business page similar to FB or is it only your personal profile?

  • LinkedIn tracking pixel

  • Retargeting ads

  • LinkedIn InMail ads

  • Who is LinkedIn advertising good for?
  • Shares his "why" on starting your own business, GOLD!

Ecommerce Resources Mentioned:

Sponsors:

  • Get Drip.co to manage your email automation with a powerful rule-driven engine.  If you sign up with my partner link, I'll give you a $10 Amazon gift card for any paying plan.  If you're learning more about email marketing and automation for Ecommerce, click here.
  • Do you currently run an online business but struggling to get sales? Click here to learn about getting actionable strategies to boost sales and sustain it.

 

 

Checkout today's episode to see how Michael Laluna transformed his fathers business on selling imprinted apparel to a membership website, http://www.crownprintsclub.com/

If you're interested in setting your online store in 30 days, sign up here at www.estorecoaching.com/build 

Today's sponsor is 3dcart and Convertkit, both with free 30 day trial.

The art of writing engaging email is no longer a "simple" task that you can just check off.  It involves planning out your campaign sequence, writing out the message specific to your segment, delivering your email and following up.  Today on the show, we have Brendan Dubbles from Ontraport to talk to us about everything we need to know about getting our emails delivered to the inbox of our customers or prospects.  You work hard on setting it up, listen to how we can increase the chances it delivered.

In this show, we talk about:

  1. What deliverability is?
  2. Why it matters & the cost of ignorance**
  3. The different types of issues inbox v spam box v promotions folder v blocked out right
  4. How anyone can tell if they have a problem (most don't know)
  5. Fixing an issue
  6. Setting up systems so that the issue never returns
  7. The outlook of deliverability for the next 5 years and the impact it will have on anyone selling online
  8. Diversifying communication methods here - the importance of email, SMS, and social in a cohesive strategy)

SPONSORS:

3dcart - use this link to get 1 month free on one of the best all in one Ecommerce platform.

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

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