Make a Business

A week ago, I began the process of registering a business with the State of Utah.  The process is not terribly complex, but can be a bit confusing if you don’t know what to do.  I’m going to tell you about my process with it, I imagine most states have a similar process, though I don’t have experience with them.  And finally, I would point out that you should not take financial or legal advice from bloggers.

1 – Get a Federal EIN

I started on the State of Utah’s website, but immediately discovered I needed a Federal EIN, so I’d recommend you start there first.  You get this from the IRS website at:

First read the intructions, decide if you need an EIN and if so, begin the application.  Next step is to choose the type.  I want to run a business that has separate finances from my personal finances in order to protect my personal assets from business liabilities.  Based on my understanding, Sole Proprietor and Partnerships were not going to meet my needs, and I chose a Limited Liability Company or LLC.

The rest of the process is pretty self-explanatory.  There’s a part where you can choose to file extra paperwork in order to have your LLC move to Corporation or S-Corp status.  I chose neither.  You fill in some personal information, and then get a PDF document that contains your EIN.

2 – Register with the State

Utah’s starts with the OneStop Online Business Registration.  You’ll have to create an account if you don’t already have one.  This is the same account for all Utah State stuff, so if you’ve registered your car online, you’ll use this same account.

Choose to register a business, and you’ll be guided through a step-by-step process.

You’ll have to name your business.  There can’t be any name conflicts with other existing businesses, and I was shocked at how many businesses were already registered and how many different things I had to try to get something unique.  Once you find something and submit it, it goes off to the State, and I assume somebody manually checks it somewhere, but the process may take a few days.

How you answer the rest of the questions will depend on how you want your business setup, and again, I’d recommend you talk to somebody who knows business and who knows law before you get too far.  But I can tell you what I chose.

Under Declare the Business Entity, I chose LLC as the type, and Domestic as the sub-type.  I chose for it to be managed by a single member that was an individual.

When I got to the Define the Ownership and Management section, I entered myself as the Member and the Registered Agent.

Finally under Existing Account Information for this Business section, I put in the EIN that I got from step 1.

3 – Get a bank account

You’ll need the EIN you got from step 1 when you go to your bank to open a business account as well.  I’d recommend that you put some money in that account up front, then take your business expenses out of this account.  Keeping separate bank accounts for your personal and business finances is a good idea.

You’ll want to get a credit card for your business as well, but don’t be too surprised if you can’t get one right away.  Since your business has no history or credit history, credit institutions understandably have a bit of trepidation about giving you a credit card.  But I’ll try again in a year or so.  It would certainly make things a lot easier for me.



A Change of Pace

The Look-At-My-Shiny-My-Shiny-New-Blog Phase

My first post on this blog was in January of 2007, over 7 years ago.  At the time, I was in my final semester of graduate school, finishing up my Master’s degree.  I had a Professor (thanks Dr. Liddle) who for a class assignment told us to setup a blog and provide him the URL to the RSS feed so he could subscribe to it.  He would give us our homework assignments and we would finish them by finishing whatever research task he had set for us and writing a mini research paper of sorts as a blog post.

So my first posts were about information architecture topics, web analytics topics, with some programming stuff mixed in.  But I found that I liked writing, so I wrote about stuff that was happening in my life as well and continued to do so after graduation.  At the time, I was also becoming familiar with Linux and liked doing web development as a (admittedly strange) hobby, and when I figured out something new after scouring the dark corners of the internet, I would post about it here, in the hopes that my research would save other people hours of effort some day.

To this day, most of the modest amounts of traffic to my site are to these old posts – things like how to connect with root access to a MySQL database on a remote development machine, how to start subversion at boot on an Ubuntu server, and other geek stuff like that.

The I’ve-Lost-My-Passion Phase

Also known as the I’ve-Lost-My-Passion-But-Think-I-Should-Force-Myself-To-Blog-Because-It’s-Good-For-My-Career Phase.  As I got into my career, I had less and less time to do play around with this kind of stuff, and the intervals between posts got much longer.  I started to write more about Analytics and Marketing in an attempt to build my “personal brand”, but I was never really passionate about building a brand around that stuff, my heart wasn’t really in it.  Looking back, that particular effort seemed doomed from the start.

One thing that remained constant all this time in the back of my mind was my desire to do something on the side, to build a business that would generate some passive income.  I listened to and read Pat Flynn, James Altucher, Jason Cohen, and others.  I had a couple ideas that I thought were good ones and on a few occasions, attempted to bring groups of people together to pursue them, but either through fate, business, or laziness, none of them ever really got off the ground (my best idea you can see at Can I Stream It, it just wasn’t me that built it).

Throughout this period, most of my posts were about ideas that I had or technology related topics that I thought were interesting, but posts were sporadic at best.

The I-Think-I’ve-Got-My-Blog-Mojo-Back Phase

Which brings us to today.  The Internet has changed humanity in a fundamental way that anyone with an idea or something to say is almost guaranteed to find a way to to say it and find somebody to listen.  Sure, that means there’s a lot of noise, but it also means that spectacular ideas, inspirational tales, and deeply moving stories – all of which have the power to change the world – can come from anywhere.  What if one of those could be mine?  What if the things I know, the things I learn, or the things I do, have the power to impact other people in a positive way?

I was listening to Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast Episode 124 where Steve Scott was talking about his business of writing books.  A spark was lit within me.  I’ve always loved writing.  This was actually something I could do.

Holy Crap, I’m Going To Write A Book!

So holy crap, I’m going to write a book!  This site is going to be about my journey to do it.  I have no experience writing books or selling books, so I’ll be figuring it out as I go along.  I’ve got some ideas about how to do it, but no idea if they’ll work.  Or how well they’ll work.  Or how well they won’t work.  But I’ve got a spark.

Choose the path at the fork where your heart goes on fire. Go down that path.

I want to use this site as an outlet to describe the process.  How will I find my topic?  How will I write a book?  What skills do I need and tools and resources can help me develop them?  What challenges will I face?  How hard will I have to work? What sacrifices will need to be made?  How do I promote and market a book?

Speaking about how to go out at the top, James Altucher said, “Choose the path at the fork where your heart goes on fire. Go down that path.”  That’s what I’m doing now.  I’ve spent a lot of time in my life telling people that I’m not creative, but don’t think that is true anymore.  I just always thought of creative people as artists that could draw or paint or sculpt.  I can’t do any of those things.

But writing is art too, and I can write.  So I invite you to come on this journey with me.  Because I think you can write too.  I think you have a story to tell.  And I want to hear it.

NZ woman drives 185 miles while asleep

Source: Autoblog

How is this even possible?  In a daze maybe?  Spaced out?  High?  She was clearly incoherent, but she wasn’t sleeping.  She was found in her driveway.  That means she was making turns, speeding up, braking, etc.  She was sending texts.  Stupid, but not asleep.

Solar Charging Concept Car

Source: Autoblog.

The design of this is wildly impractical for a post-apocalyptic world, but if I survive the robot uprising, the zombie apocalypse, and the nuclear winter, this is the kind of vehicle I want.  Not the Volvo Wagon, but something that has an enormous/efficient solar array to charge itself, then folds up when on the move.  Take the solar pavilion and put it on an electric, water-proof Wrangler Rubicon for example.  That’s your apocalyptic getaway car.