Statup Online Business- LLC? Trademark? Where to start

5 replies
Hey guys, long time member but first time "contributor." Want to start off by saying that WF is awesome and I am appreciative that there is a site where so many like minded marketers and entrepreneurs can meet up to exchange helpful information. My apologies if this is in the wrong section....

With that being said, I need some help. I am starting an online business (sales) and have a product and brand (created by me) in place. I am looking to sell throughout my local market, through the website and through online sales (Amazon, Ebay, website sales, and other avenues of marketing) and was wondering from a legal standpoint, where should I start?

Do I hop over to Legal Zoom and a) get an LLC to be able to take payments and plan for taxes accordingly and b) Trademark my brand. I have read past discussions and know that you can get lost in this process and focus too much on this area rather than getting out there and selling but I want to get my ducks in a row before running with this thing. I am ordering 5000 units so it will be a pretty large campaign and I am planning on a long term strategy. Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks,
The Newb Diesel
#business #llc #online #start #statup #trademark
  • Profile picture of the author NicoleBeckett
    Congrats on your first post!

    If I were in your shoes (and I was once!), I would sit down and talk to a tax lawyer. Lay out the details of what you're planning to do, and he can tell you what makes the most sense for your specific situation. (For example, he may suggest an S-corp over an LLC, etc.)

    Yes, you'll have to pay this lawyer for his time, but you should be able to get all of your questions answered in an hour or two. (And, remember, his hourly fee is going to be a whole lot cheaper than the tax penalties and legal issues you could run into without his advice!) You shouldn't have to pay him to physically set up the corporation for you. Once you know what kind you're dealing with, it's easy to fill out and file the paperwork yourself.

    Good luck!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Gretchenr
    I'd validate the market first, then do all that. You're exactly right that people get caught up in legalities and fail to validate whether the business will fly, in which case you've spent time on LLCing and other stuff and then have to deal with it all.

    However, if you want to do it anyway, I'd do Legalzoom or something, yes. You can actually refile later as an S-corp as an LLC if you get to the point where that makes sense (and if that happens, you should have a tax guy by this point because you'll be rocking it).

    My last business, I engaged a service and filed in Wyoming, where there are no business taxes. It was a great strategy. They send my mail for $99/year and file everything for me. Registered Agents of Wyoming LLC - form your Wyoming corporation or LLC today!

    Please note that I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Business Structure

    You are already in business. Your business could be Joe dba Newb Diesel.

    If you want to start with a separate entity, such as a corporation or LLC, you can do that. Or, you can wait to see how your business does and then move to an entity structure for tax and/or liability reasons as it grows.

    From a legal standpoint, though, you do not need an entity to start a business.


    Trademark

    Once you start using your brand you automatically have a trademark. It is called a common law trademark.

    You can register it with the USPTO. That is expensive. The benefit is it gives you additional legal rights, and ability to pursue more damages, if the trademark is later infringed.

    The vast majority of trademarks, however, are never registered. Even the Pillsbury Doughboy character on many food products has just a "TM" next to it, indicating a trademark is claimed, but not a "R" indicating it has been registered.


    Bottom line: you don't need to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars just to start.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author ecudiesel
    Thanks for help guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    I'd avoid legal zoom and talk to a qualified lawyer in your state. It'll cost more but the advice they can give will be invaluable. Also, find a good licensed accountant. They can save you a lot of money in the long run.

    Don't worry about getting a trademark. They can be hard to get and can distract you from running your business. Again, talk to a lawyer to see if it's worth the time and money to get a trademark so early on.

    Good luck!
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