August 12, 2016
Here's a good sniff test for whether you would really enjoy striking out on your own: Would you be willing to learn how to file your own LLC rather than pay an online service an overpriced amount to do it for you?
The LLC, for limited liability company, refers to the a corporate structure that lets the members of the company avoid being held personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. It's easy to set up, though the process varies by state, and registering your own LLC is a simple way to create a business out of your blog, online store, or app.
Just Avoid the Services
In a hard-hitting critique, one reddit user has spoken out against the services that will file your LLC for you. Writing on r/entreprenuer, Sim_Strategy says:
“I hear lots of entrepreneurs/independent workers suggest sites like Legal Zoom or NOLO for things like LLC formation. I can't speak for all of them…but in my experience these are complete ripoffs for basic business formation in most cases, unless you're doing something particularly complicated. You'll end up paying $300-$700+ dollars for something you could have done fairly easily for free + your state filing fee. […]
For example: on top of the base service rate, LZ tries to charge you $80 for “EIN number obtainment”…which is something that takes ~2 minutes to obtain for free through the IRS site. They try to charge you $150 per year to serve as a registered agent. However, you can put anybody in your filing state as a registered agent…including yourself.”
Instead, you can file your own by googling your state's free online registration portal, which can likely walk you through the process in minutes.
Sure, it's not a huge amount of money either way, but getting into the habit of exploring a problem until the best solution is clear is an important part of running your own business, and will come up again and again. Registering your own LLC is a litmus test for the sort of person who would enjoy the rough business of striking out on their own.
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