2022 is the year I did four next level business things – details most relevant to my US readers, but concepts applicable worldwide:
- I set up an LLC to be the entity that owns my share of another multi-member LLC partnership I am part of, my strategy & facilitation consulting business. Now that I’m freelance full time in a business I co-own, it makes sense to create an entity to get paid by my other entity to do tax things smart. … nested businesses is … like … rich people shit in my imagination. The only next level is trusts and corporations, but wait – because then…
- I filed that LLC to be an S-Corp. Why? Because generally once you’re making over $100k — strategy work pays well — it makes tax sense to pay yourself some money via payroll as an employee of your own business, and to pay yourself the rest [after accounting for expenses and taxes of course] as an owners draw, also known as distribution. Usually your draw in this case won’t be taxed with Self Employment Tax [15% in the US] because you’re already paying your fair share via your payroll …
- I started running payroll for myself. It was exhilarating, even though I ran payroll for my employee [me] late the first month… BUT I DID IT. TOTAL NEXT LEVEL UNLOCKED. I am impressed with myself. The boss stress is real.
- I committed 1% to remove carbon from the climate. I am ~checks notes~ making enough money to feel ok giving back a % of revenue, and because I use Stripe, I get this bonus: they made it easy for me to reallocate a fraction of payments Ride Free processes through them to carbon sequestration initiatives. BOOM.
In the video below, I talk about things to think about to get your business to the level you want it to – listen up, or read the summary below.
TAKE YOUR BUSINESS SERIOUSLY
1 / Your entity – for the business you’re running TODAY. It took me many years before an S-Corp made sense. You might want to register a business, or not. It’s about what you’re doing today, and want to do. No matter what – you need to check what your state requires from you, since each state is different. Fun!
2/ Separate out the money. Get a different account, even if you don’t “have” to [if you have an LLC, you have to] to save your damn sanity when it comes to tax time.
3 / Have a mental model for how you use the money that comes in: business expenses [including contractors if any], taxes, paying yourself / employees, and putting money into retirement will be the big ones. The simpler you can make it in your mind, the easier it is to execute on.
4 / Have a business model so you understand how you get money, for what, when, and from who.
BE READY TO TWEAK THESE THINGS
At various times, your entity, financial hygiene, mental model and business model might need tweaking. That’s a sign of growth, it’s all good – if you can zoom in and determine which one(s) you need to work on, you’ll have an easier time determining your next steps.
HACKS AND BEST PRACTICES
Get your EIN directly from the IRS – please don’t pay someone to fill in a form that you can fill out yourself in four minutes. You just saved $75!
Do not use LegalZoom. They will charge you for everything they can, and try to charge you annually for it.
DO consider using a service to file registration for your business. It’s about striking the balance between getting overcharged and saving time / getting it done efficiently. I use registered agents for my businesses since I don’t want my address out in public, and in NYS where you have to file in papers when you start a business, I definitely didn’t want my address in that mix. This is who I used in NY, and I like the simplicity, and how I can opt in to services for reasonable annual fees. This is who I used in CO and while they tried to charge
DO see if you can figure out some of the business forms you need on your own. A three minute google search got me to mybiz.colorado.gov and it walked me through setting up employer accounts – took 20 minutes, now I have direct access to my documents, and it saved me $199 when the service tried to charge me to do it. Had it not been easy, I would have considered paying it – BUT: cities and states want it to be easy for you to pay your taxes and be legit. They do try to help!
GET A BETTER BANK because if you’re paying fees to keep minimums in your business account, you can stop now. Neobanks like Mercury or Novo wont charge minimums, offer instant digital debit cards and make transferring money easy. That’s what you’re trying to do!
I teach a weeklong workshop every other month for self-employed folks to audit and deep dive into your business money: systems, financial hygiene, mental models, and business models. Sign up for the next one here.