Whenever we speak at conferences about legal issues for bloggers, the first question we are typically asked is “But do I REALLY have to incorporate?”
We answer with this question: “Do you want to make money through your blog?”
If you do, then our answer is always a resounding YES. Yes, you do.
We know. It's one more thing that you have to add to your already overwhelming to-do list and it may not seem important. We understand.
Since it's something that might not seem like a priority, we want to give you five reasons why incorporating can benefit your blogging business.
Limitation of Liability
This benefit is huge. In a nutshell, if you correctly incorporate and maintain the proper corporate formalities, you should not be personally liable for the debts of your business.
Wait. What does that mean?
It means that a business creditor cannot collect on an unpaid debt with any of your personal assets. Your house, personal bank accounts, cars, etc. are all protected. Without a proper corporate form, all of your personal assets are potentially at risk.
Aids in Legitimacy of your Business
We all started out small, right?
You may have started with that first blog post where you didn't know if your only reader was your mom. Small businesses frequently start out of someone's garage (Amazon anyone?).
No matter where you start, one thing that is a great equalizer is incorporating. Prospective clients and partners instantly give more credence to your business. It is well worth the effort to give yourself that extra edge.
Incorporating starts the process of protecting your brand. Once you register your company name, you are the only person who can register that name in the state where you incorporate. Although we also recommend trademarking any name you plan to use in connection with your business, trademarks are a longer and more expensive process. By incorporating, you are protected in the state where you do business.
Incorporated businesses last in perpetuity. This means that even if you can no longer run your business, it won't cease to exist. The operating agreement that dictates your business should give contingency plans about the future of your business should you no longer be involved.
Ability to sell and/or partner
Your operating agreement will also enable you to sell your business or accept partners or investors. It is much easier and cleaner to sell your business because the terms of the operating agreement will provide for all contingencies you have not thought about, like how to value your business or what do you if you and your partners don't agree. Rather than fighting about those issues in court, you can refer to your operating agreement and hopefully head off potential litigation.
Next up: let's talk about the different types of corporate format to help you decide which is the best fit for your business.