Jesus said:

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
Matthew 22:21 (NIV) 

Jesus wanted us to live in peace with the ruling authorities as long as they were not asking us to go against God's will. That means following the laws of the land--including those having to do with business licensing and sales taxes.

Oh oh . . .

Many of us artsy/craftsy Etsians sort of fell into selling when people started asking us to sell the things we just naturally like to make. I know I did. All of the sudden I have a business and, oops . . . 

Do I need a license?  
Isn't it horribly difficult to get one?  
Don't I need a lawyer? 
Don't I need an accountant?
Isn't it expensive?
How do I even start?

Well, I won't pretend to be an expert and, yes, you should ask professional advice. But, it's not nearly as difficult or expensive as you might think. I just want to give you a few tips to get you started down the path if you haven't already made the move to legitimize your business. And I want to tell you a little of my experiences along the way to demonstrate how the process works. I've held business licenses in Texas, Alaska, Nevada and now Utah. I have no idea of how you go about getting one in other countries (sorry, worldwide team members).

Let's take baby steps.

Today I'm just giving you  STEP #1

The very first thing you should do is to go on-line to the IRS website and spend 10 minutes getting your EIN# also called FEIN#. 

What in the world is that?

It's your Federal Employer Identification Number

Why do I need that, you ask? I'm not hiring any employees!

It's simple really. You get it so that you can use it on all your business forms so that you aren't handing out your own personal Social Security number to every agency out there that you might have to deal with--state business license agency, state sales tax agency, your bank business account, county, city, neighborhood association, etc.  

OK. Wait. Don't panic. You probably won't have to deal with ALL those agencies and you won't have to deal with them all at once. Remember, we're taking baby steps.

Take a deep breath and we'll go on . . .

Like I said, it's just takes a few minutes on-line to get your EIN#.  Here's the IRS website page with info on EINs. It will also link you to the on-line application page. 

WARNING: There are companies out there that will charge you for this service. Be sure that you are on the official site and not some other site. It's free and easy to do this yourself and you really don't want to give these third party services your Social Security (or credit card) number either.

Once you have your EIN number you have a vital piece of info that you will need to use from here on out in the process.

See, that's not so difficult.

We'll talk a little more next time.

Baby steps.

That's it for this week.  Next time we'll talk about how to get legit within your own neighborhood.

Comments (6)

On September 14, 2010 at 10:29 AM , Lina said...

Thanks so much for this post!! I already took the first step, but that's as far as I've gotten. It all just seems so confusing. I'm looking forward to the next baby step. I'm sure that will make it easier that trying to do it all at once :p

Also thanks for featuring my pouch! :p

On September 14, 2010 at 12:17 PM , Stephanie said...

So excited for this series! Thanks so much for writing it!
Baby steps.
i can do this.

On September 14, 2010 at 3:15 PM , MYSAVIOR said...

Great advise!

Thanks so much, Sue.

I love the pictures also.


On September 14, 2010 at 10:10 PM , pfd said...

Sue great post. I have had small (very small) businesses before and stumbled along the way... great to have advice for our team! Plus the item choices are so cute!

On September 18, 2010 at 12:05 PM , watercolors said...

VERY talented artist - Vanda. Enjoyed checking out her shop.

Would love that giveaway!

On September 21, 2010 at 10:17 PM , Joy@WhenDoesDaddyComeHome said...

Perfect! Unfortunately this is the ONLY step I've done so far. I need to do step #2 and I'm excited to hear what the next steps are after that.