Online Business Update – Just Over One Week In

Since my last post talked about my New Year Goals progress, I figure it makes sense to talk about the progress I’ve made in starting my own business.  I figured out most of the worries I had with starting up a brand new business.  I decided not to go with a CPA, but found a better alternative in a bookkeeper and tax service provider.  I met with this person on Saturday, and she gave a lot of good information.

I am going to start up as a sole proprietorship, which basically means I won’t need to formally register my business name as a company or LLC.  I will probably move to an LLC someday in the future (assuming this whole business thing takes off), but I’ll save the cost until the time I need it and can afford it.

As far as the tax portion goes, she gave me some good advice.  Since I don’t plan on making any income for the next year, I don’t need to make any estimated tax payments throughout the year.  She said that if I do end up making some profits through the year (hey, it could happen), then give her a call, and she can let me know how to handle it.

As I mentioned earlier, I also found a really good online shopping cart provider, BigCommerce.  I’ve started setting up some products, along with getting some starter information included for shipping and tax.

I will be working with an awesome ecommerce designer, Greentree Designs, who also happens to be a good friend of mine.  I worked with the owner of Greentree Designs (Mark) at MonsterCommerce, where his job was to design e-commerce storefronts the entire 6 years I worked with him (I’ve known him since 2003).  During that timeframe, I’ve seen him crank out some amazing designs that make stores look both professional and offer a good usability aspect to it as well.  MonsterCommerce went through lots of designers while I worked there, but Mark was the constant force always designing.  Everyone that designed e-commerce websites there looked up to him, and for great reason.

Mark has also operated under the Greentree Designs company for as long as I’ve known him.  He designs regular websites and printing as well.  If you want someone who is very detailed about his work while producing professional results, I highly recommend him.

As far as my site goes though, I haven’t gotten to the design phase.  I put some product information out there, but no pictures.  You can’t purchase products yet, because I don’t have a payment provider set up yet.  But I have started with some basic stuff on the site.  I’m going to give you a link, but don’t judge it based on the looks yet.  It is in it’s infancy stage right now.  The site will eventually look like a good site, but now it looks pretty bland.  It’s called Archway Home Theater Accessories, and the URL is http://www.archwayhometheateraccessories.com.

I’ve got a lot of ideas for it, but they all take time.  Right now, I gotta focus on the basics: getting products set up, getting a payment provider, getting the design improved, etc., while still taking care of a lot of the background stuff for opening a new business (like getting a business registered, getting a Tax ID, setting up a business checking account, etc.).

I’ve also ordered about half of my product line, and they are on their way to my house as I type this.  I ordered one of everything I plan on selling (I will be drop shipping initially) so I can take pictures to include on the site.  I’ve got some really good ideas on taking some cool pictures.  I need to set up a light box though, so it’s all on a white background.  Discussing how to set up a light box is worthy of it’s own post though.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of stuff to do to get my store up and running, but I’m making some progress.  I’ll keep you informed as the process goes along.

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