Bucket List Item Complete! – Start a business

By | March 20, 2017

I’ve been doing some research on publishing the book I’m writing and several sources suggested starting my own publishing company. Since “start a business” is item #11 on my life bucket list, I decided to knock that one out now. Thinking of starting your own? Here are my occasionally U.S.-centric steps for doing so.

Come up with a good reason to start a company.


Publishing a book under a distinct company name and not just an author name gives a more assertive air about the thing, a sniff of credibilityIt signals to the market that people invested money and time in this endeavor. It’s professional.

I also really like the idea of approaching distributors and printers as a company and not as an individual. I’m not an author begging you to take my books. I’m a serious business selling books. See? I’m wearing a different hat.

Wearing my publisher hat.

Switching hats makes it easier to brag. For instance, the “press kit” is something you send to distributors and buyers who are interested in your book/story. Most of the this kit is supposed to be in the third person, which I love. It doesn’t feel as gross that way.

Here’s the draft press kit my publisher (me) put together if you’re bored and looking for more crap to read on the internet.

Credit card points

Another big bonus – when you make a company, you can obtain a corporate credit card to exploit those perks. And you can open a checking account. The business can pay for the expenses of the business.

Tax stuff maybe?

Maybe there is some shield of liability and tax benefits of operating under a company name. Your business is separate from you. You have a social security number while your company has a federal employer identification number. Different numbers so the government treats you like you’re different entities.

For this to actually matter, you need to jump through the hoops, pay yourself a salary and differentiate between that and profit from the business. Probably only worth the hassle if you’re making a meaningful amount of money first.

After you’ve convinced yourself of the why, you have to figure out the how.

Decide what type of company you want to create. 

A limited liability company? A partnership? An S-Corporation? A conglomerate? A cabal? Some of those aren’t officially recognized by the government.

I used to be a lawyer. Emphasis on used to. I’m not giving you any type of legal advice. Do your own research. This is what I decided works for me at this particular time.

I chose an LLC.

Decide where you want to start your company.

It’s all very state specific. You can set up a “virtual office” in a state if you want to maximize your taxable benefits. Everyone recommends the state of Wyoming for its low fees and business taxes. I chose the state on my driver’s license. I may regret that choice later, but I can change it if it becomes necessary.

Spoon and cherry in Minneapolis. It’s really hard finding pictures for posts.

Fill out a lot of paperwork, understand and comply with all the bureaucracy.

You’ll need to register with the state of your choice and pay some filing fees. You’ll maybe need articles of organization, an operating agreement, minutes, meetings or resolutions for opening bank accounts and such and you’ll need to make a capital contribution to fund the company. The details depend on the type of company you chose.

I used to corporate lawyer and did this kind of stuff regularly, but I still took a shortcut and paid someone to do some of this for me — mynewcompany.com*. I may drop it in the future, but the checklists, prompts, customer service and agent for service of process made this worth the money for me.

Total: $260.20.

Design a logo for your company.

I haven’t done this yet, but it’s on my to-do list. Artsy stuff is not my forte, so I’ll probably hire someone to do it for me.

Set up a company website.

I just added it to my existing website account and bought the domain and privacy protection. It’s a real company. I call it The Power of Publishing LLC.

Cost: $23.87

Apply for a federal taxpayer number.

Go to IRS.gov and apply for a federal EIN. Super simple.

*Shrugs* I like egg salad.

Open a business credit card and get some of those miles you were so excited about when contemplating this venture.

I just googled until I found a corporate credit card that offered a good cash back amount and no annual fee. No affiliate link. Do your own googling.

Open a bank account.

Go to a bank and tell them you want to open a corporate bank account. You’ll need the company’s federal tax number and you may need written resolutions from the company authorizing the opening.

Get some accounting software and keep track of your expenses and income for the business.

This was my accountant’s suggestion. I went with something called Gnucash because it’s free and ideal for small businesses with only one person. I don’t love it, but I think that’s because I hate tracking my expenses in general.

Put your business expenses on your credit card and funnel any profits to your business bank account. Update regularly.

My best godfather impression.

Cross off bucket list item and cheer.


*Affiliate link. I used it before I realized I could recommend it. Hopefully that makes it less icky.

22 thoughts on “Bucket List Item Complete! – Start a business

  1. joes4u

    Congratulations. I hope you are very proud of your accomplishment and learning lots.

    Do you have getting an employee on your bucket list?

    I live in the U.K. so will need to work remotely. I’m also a CFO but I already do that 8hrs a day so want to do something more challenging in my new role.

    Sourcing pictures for your posts can now be done by me. Of course I’ve got a British sense of humour so that won’t really work very well and you will need to do it again yourself, but you get to develop your leadership skills and have a subordinate to try and kiss at the office party. Is defending yourself in a harassment suit also on your bucket list?

  2. Seo Kang-sik

    Your story is getting interesting. Running my own business is everyone’s dream. Next story might be thepowerofheroffice? Lol

    Good luck.

  3. tt

    a bucket list item @ a bargain. way cool.

    “cabal” would look awesome on a business card but would be misleading…

    if you feel the need to get into the weeds, the IRS publication site (pdfs) offers remarkable detail.

    re: godfather impression- alluring without the implied fear of the original.

      1. tt

        Cabal (“Cabal”) A conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers; a small group of people who work together secretly…

        “This is a one gal operation”

        Hoisted on your own petard!

        On a serious note, your writings scream sole proprietorship… the former lawyer dictates the protections of the llc.

        With any luck tho, you’ve got another… 75 years? Potential abounds. Cabal perhaps, by 2032? You certainly engage in sufficient travel to inform intrigue!

        I have made room on the kindle.


  4. Thriftygal Post author

    Whoops! I did not mean to post this article already. I was in the middle of the Guatemalan nowhere with no internet for the past few days so it might have been an accidental schedule. I’m still waiting on approval and haven’t done all these steps yet, so maybe I’ll update it when it does happen. Sorry guys!

  5. John ph

    Great post. Was it a financial decision to establish your own publishing company, an autonomy decision or for the enjoyment of having a company? I’m guessing a mixture

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks! I’m guessing it won’t be a good financial decision for a while, depending on how long (if ever) my book becomes profitable. It was more an opportunity to cross off a bucket list item.

  6. Laszlo

    Guatemala is awesome! To borrow from Milton, it’s ‘nature’s lap’ . Plus, I was really impressed there by all the Toyota trucks, which I have myself stateside. Whether you are going to do it or not, you have shown the grit and process creativity that are so much part of your personal brand. At times I am wondering if you have guest writers up here, but this piece was certainly written by you.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Every word of every post was written by me! I get offers for guest writers, but always turn them down. 🙂 Love the term “process creativity”!

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Too early to tell! I’ve now received approval from my chosen state and have my EIN, so the ball is rolling. 🙂


Say something!