NellieAkalp_2_0As solopreneurs we all make a ton of decisions, after all we are the boss! But when it comes to incorporating your business, how do you know what needs to be done? How do you properly cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s? There are lots of avenues to explore and options to consider when choosing your business entity. Here to fill us in on all the necessary details is Nellie Akalp, the mastermind behind Corpnet.

Listen to this episode and hear Nellie and I discuss what it was like to grow up in an entrepreneurial family, how she manages her own family of a husband and four kids, and the six steps to starting and the six steps to starting a business from your home.

More About This Show

Nellie’s first exposure to business began at an early age. After her parents emigrated from the Middle East, they opened an antique gallery in Studio City, California where they settled. After that business, they opened a kabob restaurant and then an ice cream franchise. Nellie became acquainted with a variety of businesses as a child.

It’s not a surprise then that she considers herself an unemployable solopreneur. She did work in some retail settings, but she always knew she wasn’t meant to work for anyone else. And she believed in herself enough to strike out on her own, which is exactly what she did.

Today she is a small business advocate and a busy mother of four who has found the time to write for Mashable, Forbes, Entrepreneur and many other notable publications. When she’s not doing that, she’s building out her flourishing company, Corpnet. Corpnet is a business filing service that handles as much of the business incorporation process as you want. If you simply want someone to trademark your business name, they will do that. If you want someone to handle every step of the filing process for you, Corpnet will. It’s up to you.

It’s that flexibility and attention to customer service that has allowed Corpnet to become so successful under Nellie’s watch. Another key to her success in both Corpnet and her other endeavors is her willingness and openness to grow. She believes in the power of change and the necessity of being uncomfortable. If you want anything in your life to change, YOU must change according to Nellie. And she has changed and evolved with Corpnet, with her family and with the other businesses she runs.

You’ll also discover things like:

  • The necessity of believing in yourself.
  • Why being uncomfortable is GOOD!
  • When to say yes and when to say no.
  • The low-down on incorporating: when and why you should or shouldn’t.
  • Nellie is a lawyer: true or false?
  • And lots more!

On today’s show, Nellie and I also discuss her six steps to starting a business of your own at home. These six steps are based on a popular article she wrote for Mashable.com and you can find the full story in Resources section. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Select your business name.
    Choose your name, this is how you’re going to move on to the next five steps. If you don’t have a name, you don’t have a business!
  2. Register your name.
    After you choose your name, you’ll want to register it. Do this so your business is separate from you. The main reason? To protect and separate your personal property from  your business holdings in the event of a lawsuit.
  3. Get an EIN.
    This is like your business’ social security number. Corpnet can help you get this number or you can do so on the IRS web site. But you’ll need this number to file any additional paperwork and to open a business checking account for your company.
  4. Registered agent.
    If you go this route, your registered agent will be someone who is available during normal business hours. Often business owners will choose someone else to be their registered agent so they don’t have to deal with the necessary paperwork. Services like Corpnet can set you up with your own agent, or you can be your own if your business is operating in your home state.
  5. Check if you need local permits.
    Some businesses need local permits to operate, others need few to none. If you’re selling insurance, even if you are home-based, you need plenty of permits. But for most home-based operations there are few if any local permits needed. Be sure to check even if you think you fall in the “few to none” category. Again you can do this yourself or you can let a service like Corpnet do it for you.
  6. Know your home office deductions.
    As a home-based business you are entitled to certain deductions on your income taxes. If you have a room devoted solely to your business, that is a write-off. As are business meals, office supplies, etc. There are certain criteria you must meet to use these deductions but if you do, they are available for you and definitely help come tax time!

Please join me in thanking Nellie for being here and giving us the low-down on starting a home-based business and incorporating as a solopreneur. Nellie was a wealth of knowledge and a fun guest to have on the 161st episode of The Solopreneur Hour. I hope you enjoyed the show, thanks for being here! Leave a comment or send a Tweet and let us know. See you next time.

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Episode Resources

Corpnet
Nellie on Twitter
6 Steps to Starting a Business From Home
McLaughlin Woods
Nameboxer
Proudly Unemployable, the Facebook group

SoloLab: A Unique Mastermind
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