I pursued my education plan as described in Becoming a Professional Genealogist: My Journey – Part 2, moving closer to my retirement. It was now time to proceed to the next step in launching my small business–I needed to build a support team.
But first and foremost, I needed a name for my company. I wanted a name that people would remember but not one that was too cute. I complained to my husband that I could not come up with a name for my company (I am very bad at naming things). He looked at me and said, “Old Bones”. I said, “No. It’s too cute.” Days later, it was still in my head and I realized that this was a memorable name. I checked to see what companies might already be using it and found several named Old Bones (none genealogy-related), so I added Genealogy and Old Bones Genealogy was born.
First, I selected a local accountant. I was lucky here because an accountant from an excellent firm decided to work from home at least one day a week and they lived less than a mile from my home. My small business classes helped me arrive at a preliminary decision to incorporate my company as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Some of my questions for my accountant were:
1. Should I form an LLC?
2. What are the financial pros and cons of this decision?
3. If I go with an LLC, what else do I need to consider at the federal, state and county levels?
4. Would any of these considerations be the same if I did not form an LLC?
As an LLC, I found that I would have the option of filing my taxes as either a sole proprietor or a corporation. If I filed as a corporation, I would be an employee of the corporation and therefore, need to do a payroll.
I have used Quicken Deluxe for many years for my personal finances. If I needed to do a payroll, I would have to transition to and learn QuickBooks. If I selected the sole proprietor, I would just need to update my current Quicken to Quicken Home and Business, greatly reducing both my costs and learning curve. A no-brainer.
After a very productive meeting with my new accountant, I was firmer in my decision to form an LLC but I still wanted to learn about the legal implications. It was time to find a lawyer. I did not in my personal ignorance desire to incorporate online or by using any of the other “quickie” methods open to me. If you go to a company whose service is incorporating businesses, what do you think their recommendation would be?
I wanted a lawyer whose specialty was business law, primarily Maryland business law. I found one in my county, who seemed to fit the bill. That visit ended up generating a lot of documents with my signature on them. It was so scary, I almost chickened out at the last minute. I did form an LLC and I also protected my company name within Maryland. Protecting it nation-wide would have been much too expensive.
So I now had the first two members of my startup team: an accountant and a lawyer.
The final member of my startup team was unexpected. During one of my instructor appointments at NIGS, my instructor and I started chatting about my new business startup. My instructor, Sharon Murphy, mentioned that she just started a mentoring service. She planned to mentor professional genealogists who were building a new business or growing their existing company. Last year I was interviewed about my business and the second post “Entrepreneur Connection: Interview with Eileen Souza of Old Bones Genealogy – Part 2”, focused on the topic of mentoring and how it has helped me with my business. The addition of Sharon as my mentor completed my startup team.
Accountant, lawyer, mentor—great partners to support the launch of my business.
In Part 4, I will discuss my struggles with business planning.