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Liorah's picture
318 pencils

Independent Design... "Company"??

Hi All,

How's it goin'? Just want to start by saying that it's days like this that I'm really glad I found CB (and yes, the caffeine is kicking in). Moving on...

I was working for a company until a month ago, and have since been trying to 'go it on my own' - doing design and website work as a contractor/consultant. I have thankfully been somewhat successful, and am interested in becoming an 'official' business, so I don't piss of the IRS, govt, etc.

I realize I should probably be talking to an accountant or a lawyer, and I'm not trying to abuse the privilege of the boundless stores of wisdom accessible through this forum (yes, I do believe that flattery gets me everywhere), but the truth is that I can't afford to 'waste' money getting council from anyone that I don't absolutely need to, right now.

SO. My question is - where do I start? What do I NEED to do, vs. what 'should' I do? I know things work differently in different states, but also that some things are universal, and others are probably just a 'good idea' even if they're not legally required in a given state. I just want to be able to operate a little one-person business out of my home without spending days and weeks and money on forms / taxes / etc that are unnecessary. And yes, I keep scrupulous records regarding my billing and income.

NOTE: I am sure there's probably previous forum posts covering this info and am happy to just go read them, if someone can refer me to them.

Thanks in advance, as always!

From success to failure is one step. From failure to success is a long road.

Commenting on this Forum topic will be automatically closed on October 31, 2011.

YoungZM's picture
444 pencils

Register your business, keep books and file business taxes (may want a tax-expert to help you start your record book and then file), be insured for possible mishaps.

That's basically all I know to owning a small business, you won't have to worry about payroll or anything like that. Registering your business to my understanding in the US is under $500, after that it's just about making money and protecting yourself from reprisal from the government or clients trying to pump you for money.

Art D. Rector's picture
2455 pencils

Are you in Florida? I remember you posted some work for a Keys religious thingy. If you're in South Florida, I suggest you look into FAU's business classes. When I started out, they had a little class that was about 4 hours each on 2 nights that gave you all the basics of starting out - a crash course in how to get started. They covered a LOT of info in those two nights - everything from how much money you should have on hand to how to find a good location. At the end they handed out a pamphlet that had all the necessary info on how to register your name, set up a corporation, collect sales tax, etc... with all the addresses and phone numbers and everything for the city, county and state. The class was only $40 or so and WELL worth it. If you're not in Fla... perhaps some local college in your area has a similar thing going.

Wait until you're up and running and making a little coin before you get an accountant. Lawyers - imhe - are not necessary unless you're getting involved in huge projects that require expansive contracts.

Liorah's picture
318 pencils

I'm not in FL (I wish), I'm in Boston, but I do know some Adult Ed programs. That's a great idea to check it out - thanks! On a side note, I'm having a bit of a Quark crisis, and it seems that their whole tech dept took Labor Day off... would you mind terribly if I emailed you to see if you know an easy answer to my problem? You seem to be the most avid Quark user I know. (Clearly I have no shame when it comes to asking for help, even from relative strangers!) :)

From success to failure is one step. From failure to success is a long road.

Art D. Rector's picture
2455 pencils

Email away. Keep in mind however, I'm still using Q6.5 - not sure if I'm going to update or switch to InDesign (since I already own that one).

Liorah's picture
318 pencils

Hm, wondering if my email got lost in the vastness of cyberspace... wouldn't be surprised. Basically, here's the thing:

I have a 32 page Quark file (a calendar) with background images, as well as various layers containing text that will be imprinted on top of that. I also have a 32 page PDF with text in the exact place where it needs to be on every page of the Quark file. What I'm trying to figure out is how to import the whole PDF doc at once (into one of the layers?) and have it 'place' the text in the right locations on matching pages?

I am shamefully one of those people that has only learned Quark enough to do that which I need to do, so tricks like this are well beyond the scope of my knowledge. I don't want to start a whole forum topic on this if at all possible, b/c I don't need a bunch of options - just the right answer :).

Thanks in advance!!

From success to failure is one step. From failure to success is a long road.

Art D. Rector's picture
2455 pencils

Don't know how to merge all 32 pages at once (or if that's even possible) - if that's what you mean. But you can separate the pdf file into individual pages, then add a new layer with a photo box and import each page individually into the photo box on the correct page. If the pdf file is the same size as the Q file (let's say they're both letter size) you can simply import the pdf page and center the image using the keyboard command which would put the text right where it's supposed to be if the pdfs are accurate as you say. Shouldn't take too long - most of the work would be splitting the pdf into individual pages.

Might take a while to print though - depending on what's in the two docs.

Liorah's picture
318 pencils

Sorry, I fell down a hole... yea, turns out there's no good way to do what I was trying to do. Thanks for your help!

From success to failure is one step. From failure to success is a long road.

Alex's picture
351 pencils

I'm UK-based so my advice may not be useful to you, but I got in touch with the tax people (HMRC in my case) and just asked them what they needed me to do. I also spoke with my bank partly to check what implications an irregular paycheque may have, but also to see what they could offer.

Between them they put me in touch with several groups and courses that talked me through everything from book keeping to networking.

Getting in touch with a good accountant (interview them and really quiz them) is definitely of benefit - they can usually save you more money than they cost (and can often save you headaches along with it).

Liorah's picture
318 pencils

Awesome - sounds like pretty universally useful advice. Thanks!

My only remaining major concern is figuring out how soon I have to do this. I'd much prefer to do it staring at the beginning of 2012, but am not sure I won't get in trouble for that...

From success to failure is one step. From failure to success is a long road.

jgdesigns's picture
209 pencils

Go to the Small Business Administrations website. From there you can learn all about local laws, and get a step by step guide of what you need to do in order to become legit. I just had to do this myself not too long ago.

Visit me at Huemor Designs
www.huemordesigns.com

Visit me at JGDesigns
www.jeffreygapinski.com

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