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About Tre

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    Des Moines, Iowa
  1. I subscribe to the "if opportunity knocks, answer the door" philosophy, so I say go for it! What do you have to lose? Your etsy store is not active and you can still make a website, in fact you can focus upon your work as "an artist". You are worthy of whatever price they decide to charge for your work. And, most importantly, it isn't a matter of them accepting you. The question is whether or not you want to have your work at their gallery. Give it a try.
  2. Good suggestion, Stephen. Using the LLC on everything is a good habit for sure. Should have added that to my list! As for the annual meeting, while not having one is not fatal it is certainly still a good idea. Most courts have a list of ten or twelve "factors" that they look out to determine whether or not the LLC is a sham. The more you are missing the worse it is; the more you have, the better. I always recommended annual meetings as a great way for those in charge of the LLC (even if just one) to take some time once a year and think about the company, its future, etc. Certainly take the advice of your lawyer as s/he will be in the best position to give you advice that is relevant to your situation and appropriate for your state.
  3. What I lack in pottery knowledge I make up in knowledge about piercing corporate veils, so if you are going to form an LLC you absolutely must: (1) Have a completely separate bank account for your business that you use for your business expenses and income. The safest way is to have it be in a different bank than your personal account. That makes it easier to keep track of and reduces the temptation to transfer funds from one to the other. Comingling of funds is an easy way to lose your LLC protection. (2) Remember that the only thing the money in your business account is used for is business stuff. Don't be buying groceries or gifts or personal/household stuff out of that account. Personal use of LLC funds is another simple way to lose your LLC. (3) Yes, you actually have to have that corporate annual meeting you say you are having--even if it is just you. Failing to have the meeting and failing to take and keep corporate minutes of the meetings generally means you'll fail to have the protection of the LLC. (4) If you lend money to the LLC or borrow money from the LLC, you'd better get it all down in writing, call a corporate meeting, take a vote, make a record and charge interest. Sounds like a waste of time but that's the way it goes. In the eyes of the law, "corporations are people, too" and if you fail to keep and treat your LLC as a separate entity then don't be surprised to find that someone is going to be claiming your LLC is really just a sham and you, the shareholder, should be personally liable for any damage.
  4. Some thoughts (not NH specific): (1) "Protecting your name of your future business" really is a matter of deciding what name you are going to be using as your business and start using it. Most states allow you use a "d/b/a" (doing business as) designation, so there is no need to incorporate to start using your business name. Many states don't require you to even register the d/b/a but you'd want to check and see what your state requires. The only financial investment that you should consider making at this stage is to obtain the domain name of your business. You can get that pretty cheaply through godaddy or another company--and be sure to look around for discount codes online. Then make a free blog using blogger or wordpress and forward your purchased domain name to the location of your blog. Your domain name provider will have a "help" post on this but it is really quite simple. The end result is when anyone types "mycustompottery.com" into their browser, they will be taken to "mycustompottery.blogspot.com" automatically and very few people will even notice. Another reason you want to start using your business name asap is that you want to establish a sufficient prior use of the name so that no one else can claim the trademark. Anyone can create a company of the same name so that is of no real legal protection. What you want to do (and what the big companies do automatically) is to show that you are the first to be using that name. Then, even if someone else registers the trademark, you have a claim of a superior right due to your first use. Finally, you want to use your business name as much as possible on the web so that "all roads lead to you". If a customer has one of your pieces and types your business name into google, you want to have your site pop up on at least the first results page. No one goes to page 2 of google results so you need to get on page one. That is done primarily by using your business name link as much as possible, having it as the address when you post comments on other sites, having it in your post footer as Mark C and others do in this forum, etc. The more use, the better. (2) Getting involved in the "state" - your main concern should be finding out when you need to declare your sales on your state & federal taxes; and when and if you need to collect sales tax. Your local SBA office will be able to help you with both of these or get to an accountant. Heck, do both! The first is free. The second may charge you for a consult or may not, but a good accountant will help you balance your pottery related income from your pottery related expenses, etc. when possible. The main purpose of an LLC is to provide a limitation of liability (hence the name, Limited Liability Corporation) so that if something bad happens (or you run up a bunch of debts), the responsible entity is the LLC and you and your home and personal finances are protected from lawsuits. There is rarely a tax advantage to having an LLC as the vast majority of LLCs are taxed as "S" corporations, which means you (as the corporate shareholder) and not the corporation will be paying the taxes on your earned income. LLCs are not difficult to set up, but there are some filing costs and you have to do annual reports, might have a separate income tax report to file, etc. Fun paperwork that all potters love! ;-)
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