Turning our passion into a business sounds like a lot of fun, but there are many things to learn (oh, we have to pay taxes??) and decide (what shall we call ourselves?). Fairfax County, VA has an online resource for starting a new business, but one of the specific questions we struggled with was whether to establish ourselves as sole proprietors (where we each run our own business, but work together and split the cost of supplies, inventory items, show fees, etc) or a partnership (where everything is owned jointly, and the revenue is split afterwards). We really couldn’t get down to registering our business until we made that decision, so we decided to sign up for some business start-up classes and one-on-one counseling sessions.
Our first stop on Tuesday was a “Small Business Resources” class with the Community Business Partnership (CBP) in Springfield, VA. The most important thing we learned in the class was there is LOTS of free or inexpensive assistance for people starting new businesses. In addition to inexpensive classes (they seem to focus on women-owned businesses and government contracting), they have volunteer CPAs and lawyers who will meet one-on-one to advise business owners.
On Wednesday we met with SCORE volunteer mentor Ronald Paulson at the Fairfax County Economic Development offices. SCORE is a nationwide volunteer association of retired and active professionals who provide free counseling and low-cost business-related workshops. Ronald spent an hour with us going over what SCORE is and how it can help us. We were happy to learn that there are no limits to the amount of counseling sessions we could take advantage of, and SCORE experts in a variety of areas are only a phone call away. Then he helped us reach our decision to establish ourselves as a partnership, rather than sole proprietors. He also suggested we learn Quickbooks Pro to do our accounting and inventory (we knew those Excel spreadsheets would get too unwieldy!!). We left our meeting with Ron carrying lots of paperwork to review, and were very appreciative of his guidance.
Thanks to all those volunteers out there helping small business owners get started!
Now for the fun stuff: Here’s a before picture of a pine buffet table we bought from a neighbor. Our next post will show you how we transformed it using Annie Sloan paint and waxes.
Thanks for joining us on our journey to Lucketts Spring Market – 77 days to go.