Category Archives: Legal Entity

Ready to start an online store?

With all the news about people making a ton of money online, many aspiring entrepreneurs are excited at the prospect of starting an ecommerce store. However, many people don’t think through all the things that they need to consider before they even start the process of building an ecommerce site.

Here are eight things to consider before starting an online store.

1. What Products Are You Going to Sell?

One of the most important decisions is determining which products you will sell on your online store. Your best bet is to start small – with a few select products that are based around a specific niche, i.e. breastfeeding products, scuba diving gear, hiking products, travel gadgets, hemp products, etc. Start with a handful of products in that niche – you can always add more products to your store as you grow. Check out your competition and see who you’re up against.

Be sure to pick a niche that you’re personally interested in. If you’re not interested in what you’re selling, you will quickly lose your passion.

Also, look for unique products that can’t be bought at Target, Walmart or other big brand stores — you will never be able to compete with them on price or promotion.

For instance, when I had an ecommerce site, I searched for mom- or parent-invented products that weren’t available through mass market stores. Plus, these types of product manufacturers are typically more willing to work with you on terms and drop shipping (which we will talk about in a little bit.) You can also look for innovative products to sell on crowdfunding sources like Indiegogo or Kickstarter.

When you determine which niche products you’re going to sell, see if there are industry associations, trade websites or magazines. If so, join, follow and subscribe. Also, if there are product tradeshows around your product niche, attend these trade shows to discover new products, speak with the manufacturer reps directly and learn more about the industry in general. Often at the tradeshows you will be able to negotiate better pricing or drop shipping arrangements – especially if the manufacturer is launching a new product and they’re looking for new distributors.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How are pass-through entities affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?

2018 tax lawsThe passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought renewed focus upon pass-through entities (PTEs). In spite of their widespread popularity, PTEs are commonly misunderstood. While thought of primarily as small businesses with few employees that generate a fraction of overall business profits, the truth about PTEs tells a very different story.

As it turns out, pass-through entities are the most popular structure in the US, employing millions of workers and churning out billions of dollars in annual revenues.

This article will demystify many of the misconceptions about PTEs and explain how the TCJA will affect these companies—and the US economy—in the future.  Continue reading

Is it time to change your business structure?

The process to change a business structure (for example, change from a sole proprietorship to a corporation) is the same as starting a new business.

Use the Business Licensing Wizard to get information and links that will help you do the following:

  1. Create your business structure with the Washington Secretary of State. (Skip this step if you are changing to a sole proprietor or general partnership.)
  2. Submit a new Business License Application to apply for a new Business License. You will be given a new Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number to be used on tax returns and other documents.
  3. Reapply for any applicable specialty, and/or city endorsements (for example, Nursery endorsements).

Note: You will probably need to re-apply for all of the licenses you currently have. For example, if you are a building contractor, you will need to reapply for your contractor’s license with the Department of Labor and Industries.


This information has been borrowed from the Washington State Business Licensing Service website. (link)

LLCs for Freelancers: Understanding Liability Protection

Nearly every professional freelancer eventually faces the question of whether to remain a sole proprietor or form an LLC. The question becomes more taxing as business grows and the potential for liability increases.

As a freelancer, you may have heard that forming an LLC provides liability protection. While this is true, it is not an impenetrable shield.

Understanding how liability works is crucial for protecting you and your freelance business.

The most important difference between a sole proprietorship and an LLC is that the limited liability company is a legal entity separate from you, the freelancer. If your LLC is sued while pursuing its business, the company’s assets are at risk, but your personal assets are not.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How do I get a business license?

Kitsap County does not require business licenses but the cities of Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and Bremerton each have business license requirements.

NOTE: Businesses NOT physically located in the city, but still doing work there, are required to obtain a license for the city. Business should check to make sure their use is compliant with land use and zoning.

All business must apply for a Master Business License from the Washington State Department of Licensing, which registers the business with the state departments of Revenue, Licensing, Labor and Industries, Employment Security, Secretary of State, and the Washington State Department of Commerce.

A new corporation locating in the State of Washington must file for Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State‘s office, which will issue a UBI (Unified Business Identifier) number.

To make sense of it all, we suggest that you visit our state’s Business Licensing Wizard. It asks a few questions that gives you a personalized list of licensing agencies based on your type of business.

Thinking About Starting a Non-profit?

Washington-Nonprofit-HandbookThis will help. It’s the WASHINGTON NONPROFIT HANDBOOK: How to Form and Maintain a Nonprofit Corporation in Washington State, published by the Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations and the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Click the image to download a PDF copy of the handbook.