So you have this great idea, and all your friends swear it’s a good idea, even the brutally honest ones you know would tell you that you look fat in those pants. If you think you’re really onto something, chase that rainbow until you get to that pot of gold. Then you remembered: I don’t have a company name, a company bank account, and… I also have no idea what else I need to have to get started.
The lesson begins. No matter what you plan to sell, there’s something to understand immediately about how businesses are organized. For example, there’s absolutely no shame in starting off as a sole proprietor using a DBA (Doing Business As) company name attached to your social security number. In addition to your social security, your DBA will also have its own EIN (Employer Identification Number) so you can accept checks in your company name as well as your personal name. Obtaining a DBA is super easy, and can be done right from IRS.gov in less than 10 minutes. And with that DBA and its EIN number in tow, head on down to the local bank or credit union and set up your very first business account. Heed these words of warning: set up your DBA now because making money under the table and thinking the IRS won’t catch up eventually is frankly crazy, and the IRS is kind of big on penalizing—and once they’ve seen one slip, prepare to be audited constantly.