How to Be A Multi-Owner Business (not a Fake Collective)

Throwing Shade in the Heat series: when you say your group is a collective…but actually one person owns and profits. 🙁 #justno

To recap: cooperatives, collectives, and such share Risk, Responsibility, and Reward.

If you do not share in these things, you may be an employee of a regular business (which should NOT be calling itself a collective). Other words that might be accurate are: company, organization, business.

If you find yourself in a fake collective, what do you do!?

Well, you can accept that you work for someone who gaslights all the employees. Sadly this is all too common in the work world. 

You might choose to just be an employee and let them do the hard decision-making and not let it get passed off to you because you’re a “collective”…

Or, when you’ve watched and learned from them, lined up clients, and are ready – you might choose to start your own damn business, and make it whatever kind you want! 

Business Types: one personBusiness Types: multiple people
Freelancer / aka Sole proprietor / aka Self-employed – one person and you get paid directly; you file a Schedule C on your personal taxes. Your bank account.Registered Partnership – multiple people, with an EIN, DBA, and partnership paperwork; you’ll file separate biz taxes for this entity. It’s own bank account.
Registered freelancer/sole proprieter-– register a DBA with your city, get an EIN from the IRS, and still file a Schedule C on your personal taxes. Your or its own bank account.LLC – multi-member (many people) – LLC paperwork, an EIN and files it’s own biz taxes. Has it’s own bank account
LLC – single member (one-person) – LLC paperwork, an EIN, and you still file on your own personal taxes with a Schedule C form. Has its own bank account.S-Corp, C-Corp (unlikely you’ll choose a C), B-corp – do the LLC stuff above, *and* more expensive corporate biz taxes and formal management structure *and* if you’re a B-corp get certified to be mission-driven. It’s own bank account.

You can see: this annoys me greatly. It’s 100% possible to have a co-op, collective, or other horizontal organization.

We’re in a powerful moment of work transition from top down to other models — and when people exploit that because others don’t understand how business works… Shame on them.

Look: your name is on the paperwork and you can make decisions that financially impact you — or it’s not really collective, people.

Learn more about how to be a collective, social enterprise, or non-extrative business!

Learn more on Ride Free about being a business: