If you’re anything like me, you have plenty of dreams & aspirations floating in your head but the only thing providing a mental block is not knowing how to get started. For me, starting a legal business was the most confusing part of becoming a REAL photographer. I had the knowledge of how to take photos, already created the website, the nice looking business cards, and even had a business phone number. I always had this feeling of wanting to be sure I was doing things “by the book.”
In the midst of my confusion, I tried to find a website that would just “do it all for me.” But I quickly retracted that thought when I saw how much they charged…*insert cringe & side eyes here* There is a cheaper way- you can do this yourself! I BELIEVE IN YOU! FOLLOW THESE NEXT STEPS FOR STREAMLINING BECOMING A PHOTOGRAPHER IN WASHINGTON STATE:
Decide what type of entity you’d like to register as. I decided on an LLC, however this is a personal decision that must be made only by yourself after researching what is going to work best for you.
GET A UBI
Apply for a UBI number with the Secretary of State
· Navigate here: https://www.sos.wa.gov/
· Select Corporations
· Create an account
· Log in
· Navigation tab > “Create or Register a Business” Depending on the type of business you select, you will have varying costs associated. · You can expect your UBI number to be sent to you within a few days.
APPLY FOR BUSINESS LICENSE
· Navigate here: https://bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx
· Create an account with the Business Licensing Service
· Apply for business license (This will be your Washington State Business license & your City Business License). The City Business license ended up being a minimal additional fee around $10 for me.
GET AN EIN NUMBER
· If you have chosen an LLC as your entity type, it is imperative you apply for an EIN number here: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online. This is so you can keep all business monetary assets separate from your personal assets. Once you have your UBI & EIN numbers, you’re ready to create a Business Checking account.
· I received my EIN number instantly via email.
CREATE A BUSINESS CHECKING ACCOUNT
· Head to your favorite bank or credit union to open a business checking account. You should be prepared with your UBI, EIN, and Driver’s License.
· You will likely receive a “WA Certificate Service” bill in the mail. It is important to note this is an elective fee.
· Trademarking is something you could also look into, if you so choose.
· Choosing insurance is the next step, I suggest checking with your current insurance provider to see what they can offer! SHOPPING AROUND NEVER HURT ANYBODY!
I found that facing these hurdles weren’t so cut and dry & were also not as bad as I once thought they were. I hope I’ve been able to assist you with streamlining registering your business! If at all possible, always stick to government websites & avoid .coms when filling out secure information. I’d love to know if you found this to be helpful!
Disclaimer: I am not here to provide legal advice, rather take it as a guide for navigating the new business world.