You would think that art school would have some business classes thrown in there to help teach artists how to manage their own business….yes because that’s what professional artists do, run businesses! Art schools do little to prepare students to walk out into the art world and live and work as a professional. Business skills are essential. The legalities of being an artists are your responsibility to know.
There are a variety of reasons why you can start your own LLC. I started mine for legal protection. Having a company verses a sole proprietorship also adds a notion of business professionalism and reduces liability.
Here are the basic steps on how to build your own LLC business. All of these steps and directions come from the MN Secretary of State website. The purpose of this post is to aid artists in forming their own LLC companies. However, this information is not legal or professional advice, always refer to the official MN legal directions on registering as laws and process may change annually. Call the MN Secretary of State if you have questions or issues or consult a lawyer if you need additional help with establishing a business.
Step 1. Go to the MN Secretary of State Website and click on How to Register Your Business. This page will outline the directions. Read through this information.
This is also good time to check to see if your business name exists, there is a business name search engine available on the website to use. The system will search your desired name and make sure there is not already an existing company with the same name. Research your possible business name here,
Step 2: To file for a basic Domestic (within the USA) LLC for Minnesota, the cost is $155.00. The Limited Liability Company. Any changes (or amendments to your filed business will cost $30-$55). You will need to be able to pay this fee upon filing, you will actually pay later within the business formation process.
When you are ready to begin filing click here, to File a New Business or Non-Profit
Step 3: You will need to make an online account, obviously you need to choose a username and password that is safe and secure, to open your account and start your business.
Step 4: Once you choose which LLC you want to have, you will be asked to answer two questions.
The first question is if your LLC is a non-profit.
A non-profit uses the funds they receive for the organizations mission and goals rather than for profit or income. If you are an arts gallery or an arts organization, you maybe a non-profit.
If you an artist selling art work to make a profit and pay your business bills and to pay yourself, you are for profit (not non-profit).
The second question is asking if your business needs to operate with personal whom are licensed.
For example as listed above people in the accounting or medicine need licenses to practice as a professional under the Minnesota Status. For artists, this means you click no. Then click on “next” to continue the process.
Step 5: Choose your LLC’s business name, (by now you should have a name in mind and should have researched if the name is available). There are some parameters to the name requirements, but make sure this is the name you will use and stick with.
Step 6: At this point you will continue through the formal application. This process is easy. Most of the information provided is your name and address of your company.
Step 7: Near the end of the process of forming your LLC you will need to pay the fee. For the LLC domestic, it costs $155 and they allow you to pay this online. You can also determine if you want your LLC certificate mailed to you which can take numerous weeks or if you want a digital certificate which is emailed to you directly once you have filed.
Step 8: Once you have completed filing your LLC you need to file 2 additional things:
- FEIN number
- MN State Tax ID number
Once you have those two additional pieces of information you are able to head to the bank to open your own business account. Following these additional steps, you are an official business!
This blog post was updated in 2018 to reflect any changes in the formal business formation process.
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