Legal Structure, Business License, and Taxes
This week’s lessons and activities took a lot of effort and time to research and study, but I feel so much more confident knowing what I need to do to set up a business in Washington. I have already applied for my business license and have figured out who I have to contact for information on paying the B&O (Business and Operations) tax as well as how to handle the sales tax for my state. Once I figured out where to find the all this information, I had to sift through it to determine which things applied to me. After I figured out which license I needed, and that I needed to register my trade name, it was not very difficult or time consuming to fill out the forms online. This was a nice surprise. It was also very nice to learn that I only have to worry about my own state’s sales taxes. Thanks to a very helpful Supreme Court ruling, I do not have to collect taxes outside of the state I am located in. It also was not very expensive to pay for the application fees and trade name registration, only $24. I was thankful it was so reasonable.
At first it was a challenge to learn how to set up my website and I didn’t like the fact that I could not call anyone and speak to a real person. But I was so happy to discover that it really was not as hard as I was thinking it was. I have figured out how to design pages and how to add some style elements. I picked out some fonts and sizes, and colors, though I opted to keep the background white and very simple. This is because I don’t want to have the art competing with the background color.
I also added many images of the artwork and jewelry created by my disabled artists on my home page. I also added photos of them and wrote up a bio for each of them on my “Artists” page (Emily wrote her own). I added a shopping page with most of the items we will sell. I need to wait for the printing to be done for the rest. I added a blog with titles, but I am waiting for my friends to write them up. One of them has a small art museum for special needs artists, and the other has started a group to support arts and crafts for disabled persons. I want to help promote them, so I am offering them the opportunity to write a blog and include links so more people can find them. It was fairly time consuming, but it was much more fun that researching taxes and licenses. Once I figure it out, I really enjoyed the process.
I enabled my payment system through Stripe, which allows purchases using a credit card. I tried it out all the way until you hit purchase, and it seemed to work perfectly. The next thing I need to know is how to manage the payments. I also need to check into shipping. I set a flat rate for now, but I want to find out how much it will actually cost and base the shipping charges on weight so my customers will only have to pay the actually shipping costs. There is always more to do!