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I shared a bit on my instagram stories recently about the process of getting a business license. This is not glamorous, but a necessary part of the job as “entreprenuer.”

Who needs a business license?

If you sell anything under a business name you created (other than your own) OR you do work under you own legal name and would like to make it official, you need a business license.

Where do you start?

Check out the state licensing under the Department of Revenue in your state. Mine is Washington, so here the link!

In Washington, they have a “wizard” where you can enter in information and they will create the forms you need. All of this can be done online and really, it’s pretty quick if you have all of your information ready to go. You will also need to file any necessary additional paperwork for your particular type of license and business structure and register locally in the towns you plan to do business in.

What info do I need?

You need to know your business structure! For my business, I chose to go with a Sole Proprietorship. This is the simplest structure. It is essentially me associating my Social Security number with a business name. We are now one. Any money my business makes is considered my personal income.

There are other structures such as a General Partnership, an LLC, or a Corporation. Each step up that ladder requires a bit more legal documentation and it creates some additional separation between you and the business as an entity. I suggest talking to a lawyer or a CPA to help guide you through this process and make sure you’ve got the best set up for your particular situation.

You’ll also need to have a business name! I’ll write a post on naming your business asap, but you can always use a more formal corporate sounding name and then create a DBA (Doing Business As) name later for a small additional fee.

You’ll need to know an address and a list of your products or services. Also, know if you need a reseller’s permit (so you can buy items at wholesale to resell at retail) or if you plan to hire employees within the first 6 months.

It’s a fairly simple step, but an important hurtle to get over! Once you’ve got that license, you’ll get a UBI number that you can use to set up bank accounts and other business accounts that will help you move forward with determining the funding and operations for your future.