Starting a Startup

So it has now been 2 and a half weeks and things seem to be settling down a little bit.  There are massive amounts of things to do on a development end and I’m starting to try and reach out through social media and what have you, but in many ways things are starting to level out.  For the most part I think (I hope) that all of the legal stuff is out of the way, so now I can focus on the fun part! Also, I am excited to announce that is officially live (WOO!) and even though a lot of the pages are not done and many of the graphics need to be changed to actually reflect RightCall (they’re currently the graphics that were included in the template I’m using), you can start taking a look around and you can SIGN UP to be one of the very first users!  I’m also thinking about hooking up some of my friends and first users with special deals (ie free usage), so keep an eye out for that. Finally, I want to talk a little bit about what things are actually necessary when making a startup (like what the hell was I actually working on the last few weeks?).

  1. Research.  The most important thing was to do things as right as possible the first time and avoid making costly mistakes.  Not being at all versed in all things legal, I spent about a week researching before spending any money.  Maybe I made the right decisions or maybe I didn’t, but hopefully any mistakes I made won’t cost me too much.
  2. Naming.  I already wrote an entire post on this so I won’t rehash it, but you can’t start a business without a name (not exactly true because sole-proprietorships can be run under your name) and it would be a major (read expensive) hassle to change it later.
  3. Registering a business.  In NJ, at least, theres a bunch of paperwork to file to actually create a business and unfortunately its not super cheap ($125 to register a Limited Liability Company (LLC)).  I thought long and hard about the differences between a sole-proprietorship and an LLC, debating back and forth as to which one was better given my situation, or if it was even necessary this early in the game. For those who don’t know, there are two main differences.  Essentially, an LLC allows for multiple owners (or ‘members’) and is treated as a unique legal entity, whereas a sole-proprietorship cannot have multiple owners and is legally considered as part of the owner.  This means that it is hard for the company to scale and the owner is offered no legal protection, being liable for every liability of the company. Ultimately I registered an LLC, because I decided that this would make life much easier down the road and would also make filing tax returns easier.  Along with that I had to draw up an Operating Agreement, for which I used a free trial of LawDepot‘s template, which was extremely helpful and intuitive.
  4. Banking and taxes.  Once I registered RightCall LLC, I had to register for an EIN and make a business bank account.  Getting the EIN proved relatively painless through the IRS website.  As far as banking, PNC offers free banking for small businesses, making it the obvious choice.  This step seemed to be important, especially as an LLC, because separating personal and business expenses makes filing taxes exponentially easier (so I’ve been told).

I guess long story short, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you spend any money.  It would suck to find yourself having spent a lot of money only to realize that you registered for the wrong thing or that your idea is worthless.  So be smart.


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