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I realize that real legal counsel is needed, but I was curious what recommendations and articles people can share about starting a business where you intend on being the sole founder / owner / employee as long as possible?

I’ve found [stripe atlas][] so far, but curious what experiences people have in bootstrapping a small business where the initial costs need to be super low, thus me talking to a lawyer & tax accountant right now seems like a high bar to throw up a website with some billing infrastructure.


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    There are incorporation services like LegalZoom that churn out basic business registrations cheaply. You should also consider Nolo, which is a great education resource. They’ll help you pick incorporation status (LLC vs C vs S) with pointers to taxes.

    If you’re only making a few thousand dollars, the stakes are low, a mistake isn’t going to be very expensive (assuming you get the liability shield correct). As soon as you’re over that, a good accountant who understands your type of business and goals is very much worth their fee.

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      One thing that I didn’t find discussed much online when setting up my business is how to pick the business address. In the US (though it varies some by state), businesses are required to have a physical address where a representative of the business can be served legal papers – a P.O. Box won’t do. I could put my home address, but then it’d be public record. Some services like MailChimp require this as well.

      The answer is to hire a “Registered Agent,” then use their address. I found one online that charges $100/yr and will scan and email or forward any mail received up to some low limit as well as the aforementioned legal documents that I’ll hopefully never receive.

      Of course, since I’m bootstrapping, this is the single highest recurring business expense I have. Has anyone found a better solution?

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        Just to add to this: I still get spam related to an address I filed an LLC at in 1998. Whatever database it went into has been endlessly resold and I get crappy pitches for local service businesses.

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          This is a great tip! Thank you for mentioning it, I was definitely thinking of just using my own address.. glad I didn’t do that yet.

          EDIT: You can also possibly register something like earth class mail, but that’s 100/mo.. so probably not a good choice for you.

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            You’re welcome :)

            The key difference vs Earth Class Mail is that, for due process, legal papers being served have to be received in person (see: Wikipedia)

            As that article notes, some states (Florida was the example) do not require in-person service, so you’re probably good there with just a P.O. Box.