Monthly Archives: June 2014

Super Secret turns into Project of Doom

So that Super Secret Business that I did want to name? It’s live!

Golden Fleece Press

We signed the first author today and I am utterly thrilled. She’s going to be doing an illustrated children’s series, so we need to get it into the stream pretty quickly.

We’ve got most of our ducks in a row. I’m going to finish up some banking details tomorrow morning, but for the most part, we’re ready to get going and it’s not a moment too soon.

JM is in charge of the organizational schedule and the day to day operations. I’m in charge of the money. It’s a good split that plays to our strengths. Of course, that means all hands on deck for marketing and social media and all of the other little details, like sourcing authors and illustrators.

Strangely, it’s taken this project to remind me just how far the net of my acquaintances runs. There’s artists, writers, computer programmers, and media photographers. I don’t think about what people “do” in their lives. To me they’re just people. That’s a good thing, but it can really hamper you when you’re talking about getting things done.

I’ve always run as far away from networking as I could, even though intellectually I know how it’s done properly. “Networking” is a scary word that elicits ideas of smug salesmen and multi-level marketing schemes.

But that’s not what it is. (What it can be, true enough.) Networks are community. And when you are building a community, or a family, you don’t think in terms of what can you do for me. A good networker shouldn’t think about what they want, but rather what they have in common with the person they’re reaching out to. Isn’t that the squishiest definition of networking you’ve ever heard?

Networking theory says that if I build friendships with people, when I need someone, they’ll be there for me in the future. Well, yeah, that’s what friendship means.

I have always separated building friendships and professional relationships as unrelated to networking and that is one of my stupid moments. This particular enterprise has reminded me that friendships, professional relationships, and networks are all interconnected.

But I’ve been burned by a “professional networker”. She stopped being a friend and started being all about what she could get from me. Don’t be that person, okay?

I promise I won’t be. I’m just a little taciturn.

How did you build a community? How do you navigate between relationships and networking? Where is the line?

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Super-Secret New Business Project

Yeah, so, this won’t be super secret very much longer.

I’m starting a business with one of my friends. Have started actually. At this point we’re just trying to get all of our ducks in a row before our grand opening/press opening/three cheers for social media opening. That means making sure all of our i’s are cross and our t’s are dotted…. erm something like that.

The name started as a joke, but now sounds wildly formal. It’s a neat trick.

I don’t know how manic I’m going to be about this, but I’ve already put in several long nights and I know they’re just going to get longer until we get staffed and organized.

Businesses are a tricky little critters. There’s a lot of local laws, so your mileage may vary, but I’m going to talk a bit about nuts and bolts here. I’m based in Virginia – as you may have guessed. We have different laws than say, Rhode Island. The tax codes are different and such.

The first thing to understand is that it is disturbingly easy to start a business. To make it successful is a pain the ass, but to start it? No worries. I’ve started three now. My father had his own business too. I started this latest one (number 3) on the basis of a snowballing conversation and a handshake.

Come to think of it, I started number two that same way. Scary. Different partners though and completely different businesses.

First thing is to come up with a name and make sure that no one else has it. Google is your friend, but you’ll need to check with your county/state as well. People may have registered a business and done nothing with it. The name still belongs to them.

Once you have your name, you should probably do this in the right order as I did not – get a trade name document. This is an “also known as” or a “doing business as” or a “fictitious name” document. In my county, it costs around $10 and takes about ten minutes to do. (Remember to fill out the paperwork ahead of time.) Then, get an FEIN from irs.gov. That takes about ten minutes – longer if you need to fax in the paperwork, but that only happens in specific instances. Most people won’t have that issue.

Once you have the all important FEIN (trust me, it’s more than just giving the government dosh, this can save you big bucks in the long run), you have to register with your local state authorities. Say, another 10-20 minutes in Virginia.

There we go. The business is started.

Business license you say? Check your local codes. I didn’t need to file until I started making over 10K gross. That’s not going to happen this year on my newest business, so I’m not worried about it.

Well, wow, I’d forgotten that I love business. How did I forget that? I got so focused on what I wasn’t going to blog about that I forgot that I’ve got 1, no 2 very interesting things I can talk about on a regular basis.

Viva la new businesses!

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