Updated: Jan 25
I recently started my own freelance firm, and after many hours of research I thought I'd share what I've found in the hope it saves you some time.
Your first step to starting a business in WI is to determine what type of entity are you. I'll focus on the two most common. There are sole proprietorships (i.e. just you and your own name) and LLCs - a limited liability company. A sole proprietor takes very little to set up- but there is risk. Under this entity your personal assets could be at risk because as a sole proprietor you are personally liable for everything. A LLC - on the other hand has limited liability, your personal assets are protected because they are separated from assets of your business. If you're considering which entity- a LLC will give you the most protection.
How do you set up a LLC in WI? I decided to leverage Incfile. They've been around for more than a decade and lots of new businesses use them to get their initial paperwork completed. I decided to save some money and go with their silver package. This package will set up you LLC. They also have packages that have everything bundled in for those that don't want to worry about managing things going forward.
You'll still need to set up your EIN for tax purposes. The good news is that this is free. You'll do this after your business is officially filed in your state. This usually take a 2-3 business days. You'll see your completed documents in your Incfile dashboard in your Completed Documents section. Once you have this, go to the IRS site and apply for your EIN online. Your EIN is your employer identification number. It shouldn't take any more than 15 min to do, and you'll have your EIN almost immediately.
Next, set up a business checking/debit account. You'll want to set up a business checking/debit account to keep your business finances separate from your personal account. Keep in mind this is the account you'll use to have clients pay you. Having a separate account keeps things clean and easier for tracking expenses, payment, etc.
Now to getting to the fun stuff! Time to create your business web presence. Lots of people are intimidated by this task, but the good news is there are affordable resources. I've spent years creating flexible websites for folks, and I can help you get your site up and running. Get a free website mock-up, by scheduling here and I'll provide a free quote. Many people build a website, but they forget that simply having a website doesn't generate traffic to new customers to you. Marketing does that. If that's something you'd like help with, click here for a quick conversation.