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When I first started researching how to form an LLC, the articles I read made it seem like a super difficult process that required a fancy lawyer or expensive service. Even LegalZoom charges a whopping $149 for the most basic business formation service.
Thankfully, it really isn’t that hard for a normal person to form an LLC on their own.
I formed my LLC in August (yay!) and I’m proud to say that now I’m officially a business owner. #ADULTING so hard right now.
Hopefully, this article will give you some insight into the process of forming an LLC without a lawyer!
Why Should You Form an LLC?
Let me preface this by saying that I am not offering you legal advice, I’m only sharing my personal experience.
If you’re an independent blogger who’s starting to make bank, then you should absolutely consider registering your business legally somewhere as soon as possible! There are quite a few options for doing that including such as Sole Proprietorship, LLC, and Corporation.
The majority of bloggers who have started to make money but aren’t rolling in the dough will probably be best off forming an LLC, especially if they don’t plan on taking on investors in the near future.
Forming an LLC has a ton of benefits including the ability to write off your business expenses on your tax forms, and protection of your personal assets if you are sued. These are the two main reasons why I chose to form an LLC for my business.
Related: Start a Blogging Business Today
Where Should You Form Your LLC?
I am American, so this article will pertain to US-based LLCs. I did a ton of research on which state to form my LLC before I did it. I always heard that Delaware was the most favorable state to open a business in, so I was leaning towards that state, even though my official residence is in Virginia.
After reading many articles which only dropped links to some expensive LLC service in Delaware, I finally came across useful information. Forming an LLC outside of your residential state – even if you run a digital, non-location-dependent business – is not a good idea. Essentially, from what I understand: if you register an LLC outside your home state, you need to register another LLC in your state, claim the first one, and then file two different state tax forms.
No, thank you!
I decided to form an LLC in my state of residence (Virginia), but I recommend you do your own research and come to your own conclusion. This is what worked for me.
Each state has its own set of requirements for opening a business. Some allow you do it online (holla!) and others make you do it by mail. The Small Business Administration can direct you to the proper website for your state.
Form an LLC Online
If you’re filing an LLC in Virginia, you’re in luck and can do everything online. Head to this website.
You’ll need to create an account to proceed.
After you’ve created your account, you have to check and see if your company name is already taken or not. If it isn’t, then you can go ahead and register the name.
I decided to be my own Registered Agent (I still don’t know what this is, but whoever it is needs to live in the state, that’s why I decided to do it for myself!)
For the Registered Address, I used my home address in Virginia. I may look into paying a Registered Agent service in my state to take on this responsibility and avoid having my home address publicly accessible on the internet. Unfortunately, these babies are expensive so for the moment, I am my own registered agent and address!
Sign your name electronically and then click “Pay and File”
Next, you have to pay the fee to file your LLC. In Virginia, the cost is $100 plus a $2.35 service fee.
After you fill in your credit card and address info, you should get to the “eFile Express Confirmation” page, confirming you’ve successfully paid to register your LLC!
Using Your LLC
That process was NOT as bad as everyone made it seem. In fact, opening up a business banking account was WAY more of a pain, in a way I didn’t expect it to be.
At this point, I had to start transferring all my “assets” (fancy!) into the name of the LLC.
This means, my LLC now owns everything and receives payments for all the work I do. Of course, since I am the owner of the LLC, everything is still technically “mine.” My LLC is me, and I am my LLC. We are one. (Except if I get sued, then my LLC is me, and I am not my LLC!)
In all seriousness, after my LLC was formed, I began to transfer everything business-related into the name of my company.
- My hosting account (I use DigitalOcean but recommend Bluehost for new bloggers)
- All my domains registered at Namecheap
- Google AdSense
- Any other affiliate programs I may earn money from
That part was kind of annoying but I guess that’s the price you pay for being a #GIRLBOSS!
It really wasn’t too difficult and pretty much all of these companies will have a slot for my business name so I didn’t have to remove my name completely. Since then, anytime I register for a new affiliate program, I register under my business name.
There it is! That’s how I formed my LLC in an easy and painless way.
I hope your state allows electronic LLC filing like mine so you can be a business owner as quickly as possible. Let me know how it goes for you.