Sunday, December 12, 2010

Business 101 and Moving Out

Alright, I've done a bunch of research into my business plans. Basically I've discovered that I don't need to have the business set up in order to be hired as an independent contractor to costume a show. I do know more about having to charge more to cover taxes and other usual with holdings employers usually keep but until I meet with a theater, that's not a huge pressing issue.

As for the rest of the business, I have decided that its name will be Deibert Designs. Partially, because it has my surname included, I don't have to pay any fees to register a fictitious name, nor will I ever have to worry about copyright issues because it is my name. Also, the domain name is still available for it. I do still have a slight concern in that because I'm using "design" instead of fashion or other appropriate word, that I am not focusing enough for the purpose of the business nor does the name actually lend to think of costumes and garments. But, I have little intention of doing any current or future fashion, plus I am fully capable of doing other designs including scenic, props, and lighting so using "design" would enable me to expand in my contract work if I later opt to.

I also know that because I have almost no capital, save whatever I can save up, to invest in the start-up of my business, I will have to make sure I have all the financial aspects planned out well in advance. It will be a self-supporting company, that way all of my profits can be invested back into the company as savings to eventually provide a backbone that I can use to expand later. Unless I am able to get a grant for the business (which I haven't yet looked at), I also will not seek out outside financing. But because I won't have much start-up capital, it'll be tricky to get started.

Basically, here is the basic next steps to getting started:
1. Find a place to set up my shop and office. (Two options - will address below!)
2. Register business name at federal and state level to get an EID (Employer Identification Number), as well as get all paperwork needed to file taxes correctly.
3. Double check if I need to have any local permits and file for them.
4. Set up ledger books and all paperwork to keep track of all cash flow.
5. Purchase domain for website (also will have to purchase misspellings and possibly plurals of Deibert Design)
6. File paperwork for sales license and any associated paperwork for tax purposes.
7. Get insurance coverage for business (the business is unable to fall under basic home owner's and rental insurances)
8. Create shop on
9. Work on developing a permanent line and label (long-term goal)
10. Find work to do!

Alright, so it's actually quite a lot to do, but won't take long to accomplish the first couple steps. However, I've hit a slight problem right off the bat with step 1 - finding a place to set up my shop and office. Right now I live at home with my parents, which is a problem on many levels. But in regards to my business, I'm up a creek because there is absolutely nowhere I can set up a shop to work. I was sewing on the kitchen table, but I was kicked out so my mother could set up her Christmas dishes! Also, as of now I don't pay any, or even a portion, of the mortgage and utilities so nothing would be able for a legitimate deduction as business expenses. So I've got two options open to me: 1 - Move out and get my own place, while making sure I have enough room to set up my office and shop or 2 - Rent a commercial space to set up my shop and office there.

Option 2 would be nice, except from the financial viewpoint. I have no capital to start my business and any office space will require rent, utilities and more - a good couple months in advance! I simply don't have that money right now and don't wish to borrow it either. Nor is it wise as far as the business goes. I have to have a self-supporting business in order to survive in today's economy (which is actually great for starting a business as long as it's self-supporting!). So, a separate shop and office will greatly up my overhead costs. In order to compensate, I will either have to increase my output or raise my fees - neither of which is an option right after I start. I also can't price myself out of business! With a home-based business, I'm effectively already paying the utilities and rent already so those aren't additional expenses. I can include a portion of those as business expenses though, as well as deduct that same percentage in regards to my taxes. I will be able to keep my overhead low, and be able to price accordingly and still earn profits to invest back into the company. Plus, moving into my own place is really going to help everything else fall into place!

Unfortunately, I can't move out tomorrow - as much as I'd like. I am working hard on a monthly budget to first off make sure I can afford to move out (though I will be regardless!) but also to see where I can cut costs and thus up my available budget to make sure I can afford the rent and utilities. I'll also have to start paying my car insurance and phone bills, which will be extra expenses. I looked at my insurances - I can't save a great deal with my car insurance yet, but was told that I will need renter's insurance so I can now budget that in. And I will stay on my parent's phone plan because it's much cheaper than my own. I know my hours at work will be steady and I can easily get more (as long as I don't go over 40.) I'm filing the paperwork (finally!) to defer my student loans due to financial hardships, so that will not only alleviate a huge debt in order that I can move out but stop them from bugging me. [Basically, I've been trying to defer them since July but keep getting a run-around and haven't gotten the papers I need to file, etc, etc. so they're at risk soon of defaulting- not good!]

The only area I can cut is my car payments. They're not that bad right now, however its taking up a huge portion of my income - more than they should! I will be re-finanicng my car, but until I get my loans taken care of, I've got bad records on my credit record. Unless I find a place to rent that I can afford without refinancing my car loan, I can't move out fully until I do so.

So that's where things stand. The plans are laid out, actions are in motion, and it'll be interesting to see what happens next!

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