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Entrepreneurship

LLC-5 and the California Foreign Limited Liability Company


What is an LLC-5?

The LLC-5 is a California State form used when a domestic limited liability company formed in another state (or country) wishes to become a foreign limited liability company in California.  The official name of Form LLC-5 is “Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company.” Approval to operate as a foreign LLC is known as “foreign qualification.”

As a business owner, learning more about the LLC-5 and the process of becoming a foreign LLC in California will serve you well if you’re thinking about expanding your company. If you have registered a limited liability company (LLC) in another state and want to conduct intrastate business in California, you must submit Form LLC-5 with the California Secretary of State office. And all of you professional services providers—especially those of you enrolled in CorpNet’s Partner Program—can benefit from getting better acquainted with the LLC-5 and what is required to register as a California limited liability company.

For legal and accounting guidance related to Form LLC-5 and foreign qualifying in California, it’s crucial to talk with an attorney and accountant or tax advisor. After you’ve gotten that expert advice and if you’ve decided to move forward with registering as a foreign LLC in California, my team at CorpNet is here to prepare your LLC-5 and file it on your behalf.

Benefits of the LLC Business Structure

First things first, let’s take a moment to review the potential advantages of the LLC business entity type.

  • Administrative simplicity
  • Protection of business owners’ personal assets

I like to describe the limited liability company entity as “a hybrid structure that provides the operational flexibility of a sole proprietorship or partnership with the legal and financial protections of a corporation.”

Why You May Need to File a Form LLC-5

Signs that an LLC may need to file an LLC-5 to become foreign qualified in California include:

  • Does the LLC have a physical presence (such as a retail store, factory, distribution facility, or an office) anywhere in California?
  • Does anyone working for the LLC regularly conduct in-person meetings with customers in California?
  • Does the LLC sell its products in California through an agent, distributor, or a manufacturing representative?
  • Do any of the LLC’s employees work in California?
  • Does the LLC have a business bank account in California?
  • Does the LLC own physical property in California?

If an out-of-state LLC considered to be doing business in California fails to file a tax return or pay the required taxes and fees, the state might impose $2,000 penalty per taxable year.

Per the California Franchise Tax Board:

“We impose a $2,000 penalty on entities who fail to file a tax return within 60 days after we send a demand to file. This penalty applies to the following entities doing business in California:

  • “Nonqualified, suspended, or forfeited corporations.
  • “Nonregistered, suspended, or forfeited limited liability companies.”

Ouch! So, you can see why it’s important to register as a foreign LLC in California and pay taxes there if you’re obligated to do so.

How to Register a Foreign LLC in California

Here are the basic steps to register a foreign LLC in California:

  1. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from your LLC’s home state.
  2. Verify that your LLC’s name conforms with the law in California and is available for use in the State.
  3. File Form LLC-5, along with your current Certificate of Good standing, and pay associated filing fees.
  4.  File a Statement of Information.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what you can expect when filing Form LLC-5.

Required information Needed to File

To file as a foreign LLC in California, an LLC must provide the following pieces of information on Form LLC-5

  • Company name used in the state or country where the LLC is formed. (The name must match the name listed on the Certificate of Good Standing that’s submitted with Form LLC-5)
  • Date the LLC was formed in its home state or country
  • Principal business address and mailing address of the LLC
  • Registered agent’s name and address in California (CorpNet provides registered agent services in all 50 states, so contact us about covering you in California.)
  • Signature of an authorized person

According to the California Secretary of State website, “File an Application to Register (Form LLC–5) and attach to the completed form a valid certificate of good standing by an authorized public official of the foreign jurisdiction under which the foreign limited liability company is organized.”

There’s also a “Mail Submission Cover Sheet” that must accompany the filing. It asks for the LLC’s contact person’s name and phone number, entity name and number (if applicable), and return address.

Note that the Certificate of Good Standing must be current (obtained no more than six months prior) and certify that the LLC is inactive status and in good standing in its home state.

In the state’s instructions for completing Form LLC-5, it also advises that business owners consult with an attorney for advice about their specific business needs and whether additional provisions for the LLC will be needed.

LLC-5 Filing Costs

The filing fee for Form LLC-5 is $70 fee, which should be paid by check or money order. Instructions on the LLC-5 state that completed forms along with the applicable fees can be mailed to:

Secretary of State, Business Entities Filings Unit
P.O. Box 944260
Sacramento, CA 94244-2600

Alternatively, the LLC-5 may be dropped off in person at the California Secretary of State office in Sacramento. The mailing address is:

1500 11th Street
3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

The LLC must pay an additional $15 handling fee if someone drops off the form at the Sacramento office. The state will accept payment by credit card when the LLC-5 is submitted in person.

The Secretary of State will return one uncertified copy of the filed document for free. A certified copy will be provided upon request for $5. Additional uncertified copies can be requested at the cost of $1 for the first page and $0.50 each additional page. If the LLC wants additional certified copies, add another $5.00 per copy.

To ensure that all of the paperwork gets completed accurately and efficiently, consider asking CorpNet to prepare and file your LLC-5. We have extensive experience in registering foreign LLCs in California and can save you lots of time and headaches!

LLC-5 Processing Times

According to information provided in the instructions for the Mail Submission Cover Sheet that needs to accompany Form LLC-5, standard processing is approximately five business days from when the Secretary of State receives the paperwork. California offers options for expediting the process if you need a faster turnaround.

Additional LLC-5 FAQs

What happens after a foreign LLC’s LLC-5 is approved?

The state will issue a Certificate of Registration, which officially acknowledges that the foreign LLC may do business in California.

After the foreign limited liability company gains the approval to operate in California, it must submit a Statement of Information (Form LLC-12) with the California Secretary of State within 90 days after filing the LLC-5 and every two years after that.

What state taxes does a California foreign limited liability company have to pay?

Typically, foreign limited liability companies must pay an annual minimum annual tax of $800 to the California Franchise Tax Board. The California Franchise Tax Board’s website and the California Legislative Information website provide additional information about LLCs’ tax responsibilities.

What other ongoing business compliance responsibilities must a California foreign limited liability company complete?

In addition to filing a Statement of Information every two years and paying required taxes by their deadlines, a foreign LLC in California must maintain a registered agent in the state at all times. As I mentioned earlier, CorpNet can serve as your registered agent in California and any other state in the United States. Other compliance requirements may include obtaining and retaining business licenses and permits in the jurisdiction(s) where you do business. Check with the Secretary of State and local government offices to determine what you’ll need. To save you precious time, CorpNet can help you identify and obtain the required licenses and permits.

Are there restrictions on what types of businesses can become a foreign limited liability company in California?

Yes! Foreign limited liability companies that provide certain services may not register to operate in California. According to Form LLC-5 instructions, the restriction applies to professional services that “may be lawfully rendered pursuant to a license, certification, or registration authorized by the Business and Professions Code, the Chiropractic Act, the Osteopathic Act or the Yacht and Ship Brokers Act.”

It’s wise for any business that must be licensed, certified, or registered in California to check with the relevant licensing or certification authority to confirm or deny whether its services are considered professional and restricted from being a foreign LLC. Doing that before completing and submitting the LLC-5 will ensure you don’t waste time and money submitting for foreign qualification if your LLC is ineligible. Another helpful resource you can check for information licenses in the state is the California Department of Consumer Affairs website.

The Smart Way to Register

As you can see, there’s a lot to pay attention to when registering a foreign LLC in California. It’s critical to complete Form LLC-5 accurately and follow the state’s process to a tee so that your request gets approved.

Fortunately, CorpNet is here to help you! Contact us and ask us to handle all of your important filings so that you can move forward with doing business in California.



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Entrepreneurship

Has Amazon Been Trying To Charm Socially Conscious Shoppers In The U.K. In Advance Of Christmas?


Over the last couple of months, Amazon has been running TV advertisements promoting the fact that the public can book a tour at one of eight of their fulfillment centers here in the U.K.

Now, I’d never heard of this initiative before, so I wondered how long it had been going on.

As it turns out that they have been running tours of their fulfillment centres for about four years now although while the number of centers covered has expanded the tours only include eight out of sixteen of their locations in the U.K. Moreover, their site suggests that the tours started up again in February 2019 after some unspecified hiatus.

What is new, it seems, is that they are now advertising this capability and have started doing so in the run up to the Christmas period.

Is this a transparency and charm initiative on the back of a bunch of bad press that they have received over the last few years relating to working conditions and the treatment of workers at some of their fulfilment centres here in the U.K.?

Is it meant to assuage any concerns that some shoppers may have about spending their money with Amazon?

Now, while their campaign makes no mention of any of those reports or allegations, you can’t ignore the timing of the advertisement campaign. It started airing in October just before the start of the usual Christmas shopping advertisement wave in early November.

The advert now seems to have been pulled as we get deeper into the Christmas advertising period, and Amazon approaches one of their busiest periods of the year. In line with this, Amazon has also stopped taking new tour bookings for this year and says it will start retaking new bookings in January.

Some people dismiss the rising trend of conscious consumerism as nothing but hot air saying that when it comes down to it only price, quality, convenience and service really matter when it comes to making a purchase.

However, I believe it shows that Amazon is acutely aware of the reputational damage that some of these reports may have had and how they may affect the spending decisions of conscious consumers.

Also, recent research from the U.K. and the U.S. suggests that the impact of their purchasing decisions is a rising concern among consumers and is starting to play a more significant role in their decision-making process. Both pieces of research suggest that around 40% of consumers are now likely to base part of their purchase decision-making depending on how environmentally friendly the company or brand is or how aligned the product or brand fits with the beliefs and values that are important to them.

Regardless of what you believe, it seems that Amazon, one of the largest and most competitive retailers in the world, is paying attention to what customers think and feel about how it conducts its business. And, how that could affect both their propensity to purchase and their overall experience.

Are you?



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Entrepreneurship

Is It Burnout or Boredom? The Answer Matters.


Use these three tactics to banish that sense of ennui..


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Entrepreneurs have a habit of blaming their lack of enthusiasm or increased fatigue on burnout. While burnout certainly isn’t uncommon among founders, the condition is often self-misdiagnosed, which can derail attempts to address the real problem. As psychiatrist Richard Friedman points out in the New York Times, overgeneralizing burnout diminishes the credibility of the syndrome (which has been defined by the World Health Organization). When everyday stress, disengagement or fatigue are interpreted as burnout, every working professional is likely subject to the diagnosis at some point. Rather, Friedman argues, the capacity to “feel anxious, overwhelmed at times and exhausted” can in fact be “evidence you are alive and engaged in your work” and should not be treated as burnout.

What could possibly feel akin to burnout without actually being burnout? One answer is so commonplace that it seems almost impossible, and that’s pure, unadulterated boredom. After all, plenty of boredom indicators mimic burnout symptoms, including a lack of motivation, exhaustion and unhappiness. It’s therefore easy to see how someone could claim burnout and not notice boredom’s red flags.

Related: 7 Ways to Get From Burnout to Balance

Here’s the seldom-voiced truth: Boredom and entrepreneurship often go hand in hand. In an article discussing the real-life habits of self-made millionaires, author Thomas C. Corley admits that many successful entrepreneurs he studied found the experience “intensely boring” at times. That’s hardly the emotion most people would expect from founders who had made it and were living the entrepreneurial dream.

Of course, burnout can be authentic, requiring conscious intervention or help from a trained mental-health professional. When it’s real, it eats away at productivity, morale and individual confidence, and it should always be taken seriously. Yet entrepreneurs who feel uninterested and unmotivated may want to do a bit of soul-searching before jumping to a burnout diagnosis. Those who realize their cynical postures stem from mere boredom can take it upon themselves to make these few key changes in their lives.

1. Fuel a new work challenge.

Boredom can stem from doing the same thing day after day. Getting bored is going to happen occasionally, particularly if you’ve already conquered your current role and need to find a way to stay interested. “Maybe you’re feeling bored because you have become too much of an expert at your job and need to challenge yourself in a new way,” notes fellow Entrepreneur contributor Mike Kalis, CEO of Marketplace Homes.

If this sounds far too familiar, it’s time to make some changes. For instance, take on different tasks, or train someone else to handle the responsibilities that no longer stoke your fire. Go after a project that seems a bit beyond your current reach. You may even want to start a side hustle. Who knows? That gig could turn into a whole new entrepreneurial path, smashing your boredom into a million pieces.

2. Change your dull-as-butter-knife routine.

Feel like you can’t move forward because you’re stuck in a rut? Plodding through daily rituals can weigh down your spirit. “If it’s not a challenge you’re after but a different kind of workday, it could be that your business life has settled into a routine that doesn’t vary much from day to day,” suggests digital media consultant and Entrepreneur contributor John Boitnott.

What can you do to mix it up and make every day an unexpectedly fresh adventure? Getting a change of scenery by working somewhere else can be a good start. Depending upon how hands-on your role is, you could potentially rent an exotic Airbnb for a few weeks and remotely check off your to-do list. Other ideas for banishing routine-based boredom include taking time for off-campus lunches, learning something that has nothing to do with your current business and reading just for fun.

Related: The Biggest Hidden Cause of Burnout (and What to Do About It)

3. Marry your mission all over again.

Over time, entrepreneurs occasionally lose sight of the reason they started their companies. If you’re having trouble connecting to your mission, you may need to revise it or at least get to know it again. See whether your original mission still matters to you, and rework it if it doesn’t. That way, you’ll feel more in tune with your company’s output, which should help energize your work.

Re-examine your initial business plans, and revisit the places or memories that inspired you to open shop. Returning to your original passion will help you gain perspective on why it might not be a good fit any longer or how you lost your connection to it. Journaling and speaking with trusted mentors are two activities that can give you a sense of perspective, enabling you to rediscover your spark.

The next time you slump in your easy chair after a long day, ask yourself whether you’re feeling burnout or boredom. While they can feel similar, the latter is simpler to address by switching up your focus.

 



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Entrepreneurship

Top Tips For New Entrepreneurs


Every entrepreneur has to start somewhere and launching your first business venture can be an exciting time. It can also be daunting as you will be desperate for the company to succeed but not yet have any experience under your belt. You are sure to learn many lessons along the way but it is important to be aware of a few tips so that you can avoid common mistakes and, hopefully, find success early on with your business venture. So, if you are a young entrepreneur planning their first business, then read on for a few handy tips which should help you to launch your brand.

Work Out How Much Funding You Need

One of the most common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make is not securing enough funding for their business which means that they will struggle to run an efficient company from the get-go. Therefore, you will need to sit down and work out exactly how much you need and then go to a variety of sources until you have secured this amount.

Develop A Strong Business Plan

A strong business plan is important for securing funding but it will also act as a blueprint for success. Running a business can be incredibly stressful and feel out of control at times but a strong business plan can keep you grounded and allow you to steer the way to success.

Find A Mentor

One of the smartest steps to take when starting your first business venture is to find a mentor. As mentioned, new entrepreneurs tend to make similar mistakes but you can sidestep these when you have an experienced mentor providing you with guidance and support each step of the way.

Create A Strong Online Presence

In today’s day and age, no matter what industry you are in, you need to have a strong online presence. You need to have a reliable web hosting company like Krystal along with a professionally designed website as this is how you portray your brand to the world. Without a good host behind you, your website will struggle to cope when it starts to experience big volumes of traffic. This cannot happen. So be sure that this one of the first things you sort. You must also be active across various social media channels and create a stream of engaging content. You can then increase your visibility online with the use of social media.

Hire Cautiously

When the time comes to hire staff, it is important that you are cautious and take the time to find the right person for the job. A business cannot succeed with people who are not a good fit and it can create a host of workplace issues. You could also consider outsourcing work initially to keep costs down.

Look After Your Wellbeing

Another common mistake that entrepreneurs make when first starting out is neglecting their wellbeing and overworking. This can lead to burnout, mistakes and also take the enjoyment out of your work. It is for this reason why you must make sure that you are looking after your wellbeing by taking time off, pursuing your hobbies, socialising, finding ways to relax and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Starting your first business venture is a thrilling time but you must also take your time and be strategic. These tips should help you to do this and lay the foundation for what will hopefully be a successful business.





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Entrepreneurship

Work collaboration startup Notion Labs cozies up to Silicon Valley’s top accelerators – TechCrunch


Startups building work software for other startups have been a huge focus of investment in Silicon Valley as eager VCs hope to grab a piece of the next Slack. Notion Labs, a profitable work tools startup that recently hit a reported $800 million valuation, isn’t making it easy for VC firms to give them money, but they are partnering with some of them alongside top accelerators like Y Combinator in an effort to become another household name in work software.

Notion has north of 1 million users and has attracted thousands of young startups to its platform, which combines notes, wikis and databases into a versatile tool that can help small teams cut down on the number of enterprise software subscriptions they’re paying for. Notion charges startups $8 per employee (when billed annually) to use the service.

More than half of the startups from Y Combinator’s most recent batch are Notion customers, the company tells TechCrunch, and the startup seems intent to accelerate their adoption among small teams. They have approached and partnered with dozens of accelerators around the globe, including Y Combinator, 500 Startups and Techstars, to bring their portfolio startups onto Notion’s platform, offering admitted startups $1,000 in free services each.

The new program is part of the company’s efforts to embed their platform as an “operating system” for startups early-on and then scale as their customers do.

“I think we find ourselves in a really interesting spot where I think YC startups know about us and start with it,” COO Akshay Kothari says. “Our goal with the new program is getting to the point where if you’re a new company, you don’t even think about it, you just start with Notion.”

Notion COO Akshay Kothari

Notion COO Akshay Kothari

Kothari says their platform seems to work best for startups in the sub-50 and sub-100 employee range, but they do have larger customers like U.K. banking startup Monzo, which has organized their 1,300+ employees around the platform. Notion itself is unsurprisingly a power user of its product, running everything but internal and external communications on its own software.

The company offers a couple of pricing tiers depending on size, but individuals can also use the software for $5 per month, something that Kothari believes offers it advantages over other tools in driving adoption inside companies. “There are a lot of similarities between us and the early stages of Slack in terms of engineering and product design people loving it, tech and media loving it, but one unique thing about us is that you can use Notion alone. Slack alone would be a bit lonely.”

The company is pitching customers a vision of consolidated workplace services that are built so end-users can customize them to their needs. Notion’s pitch contrasts pretty heavily with the overarching enterprise SaaS trends, which has seen a wealth of specialized software tools hitting the market.

Notion is working on tools to help it court larger enterprise customers as well, including offline access, better permission systems and an API that can help developers connect their services to the platform. Notion has been iterating its product rather quickly for a company that has nine engineers and no PMs, but Kothari says they don’t believe piling more money or doubling employees is going to be the key to scaling more quickly.

“We definitely want to create a large company, a company that could eventually go public or whatever is the right — you know it’s too early for a lot of that stuff. Our preference is to stay small,” he says. “[Notion] doesn’t have a board, it doesn’t have a whole lot of external voices, pretty much everyone in this office decides what we’re doing next.”

Notion has raised millions in funding from investors like First Round Capital, Ron and Ronny Conway, Elad Gil and, most recently, Daniel Gross. The Information‘s Amir Efrati reported earlier this year that Notion had raised a $10 million “angel round” at an $800 million valuation. The round was less about raising more cash than it was about closing convertible notes, Korthari tells TechCrunch, noting that Notion has been profitable for the last 12-18 months.

“I guess we were profitable before profitability became cool. I think profitability helps you to control destiny a lot better because you’re not out fundraising every year or 18 months,” Kothari says. “Interestingly now, I think it’s cool to be profitable again. When I joined Notion I would tell VCs or investors ‘Oh, we’re profitable,’ and they would be like ‘Oh, so you’re building a lifestyle company.’ ”

Kothari himself was an investor who dumped money into Notion founders Ivan Zhao and Simon Last’s idea to create a platform that would help non-engineers build software. That was six years ago, after Kothari sold his previous startup to LinkedIn; he joined about a year ago as COO.

Some VCs may have been skeptical early-on, but the story of Notion over the past year has been VCs fighting to score a spot on their cap table. In January, The New York Times‘s Erin Griffith reported that VCs had “dug up Notion’s office address and sent its founders cookie dough, dog treats and physical letters” to court their interest. The unrequited VC yearning has earned Notion the reputation for being venture averse, something Kothari pushed back on a few times.

“So, again, for the record, we don’t hate venture capitalists.”



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Entrepreneurship

Can I Use My LLC for More Than One Business?


There may come a time when you decide to expand your business into an additional area of focus or take an online business to a storefront (or vice versa). Can you run both businesses under your existing LLC? The short answer is, “Yes, you can.” However, you have other options to consider before jumping in and handling things that way. The route you choose can impact you in several ways (including your liability and tax obligations), so it’s critical to do your homework and weigh the pros and cons.

I recommend talking with an accountant and attorney about your situation so that you get expert advice and direction on the legal and tax implications.

How to Structure Multiple Businesses Under One Roof

Let’s take a look at three popular ways to structure multiple businesses and explore how each scenario works.

1. Use One LLC to Run Both Businesses

One common approach involves having one LLC (usually named for the original/primary business)and then setting up a DBA or multiple DBAs (“Doing Business As,” also known as “fictitious name”) for the new venture(s).

As a hypothetical example:

Jonah has an LLC for his auto repair shop, “Jonah’s Vehicle Repair and Restoration, LLC.” He now wants to branch out and sell antique car parts online. He might opt to keep both business lines under his existing business entity but differentiate the new venture by filing the DBA “Back in Time Antique Car Parts and Accessories.”

In this scenario, the businesses can be run as though they are separate companies (with the ability to accept checks made out to their specific name). All the while, the business owner enjoys simplified business compliance requirements because there’s only one business entity (and one EIN) to maintain.  Tax time remains relatively straightforward, too. The business owner reports income from the LLC and any DBAs that are part of it through a single tax filing under the main LLC.

The business owner has personal liability protection for both the original LLC and any DBAs filed for it. Using our hypothetical friend Jonah as an example, Jonah’s personal assets will be shielded (under most circumstances) if either his LLC or DBA business is sued or cannot pay its business debts. Note, however, that the LLC and DBA are considered one entity. Therefore, both business lines’ assets are at risk if one or the other runs into legal or financial distress.

2.  Create Independent LLCs for Each Business

Many business owners choose to form a new LLC for each of their business ventures. In most states, there are no restrictions on how many LLCs an entrepreneur may create. For example, our friend Jonah may decide to form an independent LLC for his online antique car parts business while running his vehicle repair shop LLC separately.

What’s the advantage of separate LLCs? It isolates the risk for each individual business. So, if someone sues Jonah’s auto repair LLC, his online antique car parts LLC’s assets will be protected, and vice versa.

What’s the downside of this approach? It comes with additional compliance fees and paperwork. For example, creating separate LLCs requires filing Articles of Organization for each company, maintaining separate operating agreements, and filing whatever ongoing reports and fees are required for each LLC. Each LLC must also obtain its own EIN and business licenses and permits, and each must maintain its own records and bank accounts.

3. Create an LLC Holding Company With Individual LLCs Under It

Another option for running multiple businesses is to create individual LLCs for each of the businesses and then put them under one parent LLC that acts as a holding company. Typically, a holding LLC will have administrative significance, but no direct operations tied to it. Rather, it will own the assets required to operate the LLCs beneath it.

This scenario may be attractive when a business owner is looking to sell a business line or spin-off one of their businesses. It may also be beneficial for an established company that wants to fund starting a new business.

Using Jonah as our example again, in a holding company with LLCs structure, he might form “Jonah Enterprises, LLC” as a parent LLC, which then owns “Jonah’s Vehicle Repair and Restoration, LLC” and “Back in Time Antique Car Parts and Accessories, LLC.”

Essentially, structuring multiple businesses this way offers protection for the individual LLCs against the lawsuits and debts of the other LLCs and liability protection for parent LLC owners.

The tax and legal impacts of this option can get a little complex, so it’s advisable to consult with a tax advisor or attorney when structuring businesses as a parent company and subsidiaries. Creating and running multiple LLCs involves filing Articles of Organization for each company and having separate LLC operating agreements. Each LLC must maintain its own records, bank account, payroll, and tax documents.

Can an LLC Own Another LLC?

Yes, as I described in option three above, one LLC can own another. LLC members (owners) may be individuals or business entities, such as an LLC or corporation. Structuring multiple business ventures this way is common among real estate investors and developers who wish to keep the liability risks of individual properties from affecting the assets of the other properties they own.

Realize that having a parent LLC and subsidiaries doesn’t completely insulate business owners from liability. When a parent LLC is sued, all of that LLC’s assets, including those of its subsidiary LLCs, are at risk. Also, a business owner’s personal assets will be at risk if someone sues the owner for personal negligence or because that owner personally guaranteed a business loan that the LLC has defaulted on.

How to add a DBA to an LLC?

As I mentioned earlier, one option for running multiple businesses under a single LLC is to set up DBAs (fictitious names) for additional lines of business or locations.

Different government agencies have different names for their form to file a DBA. For example:

  • “Registration of Fictitious Name” in the state of Pennsylvania
  • “Fictitious Business Name Statement” in Los Angeles County, California
  • “DBA -Business Name” registration in the state of South Dakota
  • “Certificate of Assumed Name” in the state of New York

In addition to submitting the DBA registration form and paying the initial filing fee, usually, businesses must also place a notice in local publications (as required by the issuing authority) to announce its use of the DBA.

Many states and counties require that DBAs be renewed after a period of time. Several examples include:

  • Florida – Every five years
  • Texas – Every ten years
  • New York – No renewal required

CorpNet is here to make filing a DBA simple and hassle-free by:

  1. Doing a preliminary name search to ensure the fictitious name you want to use is available.
  2. Preparing and filing the DBA form with your state or county.

How Many DBAs Can an LLC Have?

Typically, states and counties do not restrict the number of DBAs an LLC may have. The LLC must register, pay for, and publish a notice separately for each individual DBA it wishes to use.

Can Two Businesses Have the Same Name?

It depends.

  • An LLC’s registered business name is protected within the state, thus preventing entities with the same (or confusingly similar) name from using the name.
  • If a business name is a registered trademark, the name is protected in all 50 states.
  • Filing a DBA does not legally protect the name, but it may deter other businesses from using the name.

Generally, two businesses may have the same or similar name if they don’t participate in delivering the same types of products or services or serve the same channel of commerce.

CorpNet’s corporate name search and trademark search tools can help identify whether a business name is available or already legally spoken for by another company.

Final Thoughts on Multiple Businesses Under One LLC

While running multiple business ventures under the umbrella of an existing LLC offers a degree of simplicity and avoids multiple business formation fees, the matter of liability risk to the business and business owners is something to think about carefully. To recap:

  • Using a single LLC to run other businesses (distinguished by DBAs) is simple and low-cost to set up administratively. However, it means that the LLC is liable for any lawsuits or debts of the DBA businesses.
  • Creating separate LLCs for each business requires the time and cost to register individual business entities. This route insulates each company from the lawsuits and debts of the other LLCs.
  • Creating a parent LLC with multiple LLCs is more complex administratively and requires registering multiple entities. However, it may have advantages from liability protection and tax standpoints, depending on the situation.

I know there’s much to think about! That is why I encourage you to seek the advice of an attorney, accountant, and tax advisor so that you make an informed decision about which route to travel when starting multiple businesses. And remember, no matter which method of structuring multiple businesses that you choose, CorpNet’s team of filing experts can save you time and money when starting your new ventures.

Ready to start a new LLC or file a DBA–fast and affordably? Contact us today!



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Entrepreneurship

How This Millennial Musician-Entrepreneur Built A Thriving Business (And Great Life) Playing Piano On Cruise Ships


Sarah Angel is a musical prodigy from a musical family in a lovely corner of Washington State. She has five siblings, all musicians (two of them professionals), plus a violin teacher mother and a mandolin-playing dad. “I knew from a young age that music was going to be at the center of my life, professionally as well as personally,” she tells me, yet as she entered adulthood, Angel found herself consigned, as so many other musical talents are, to eking out a noble but subsistence-level living based on teaching paired with odd non-musical jobs.  That situation, she tried to convince herself, was to be expected; a non-lucrative lifestyle was the price of pursuing the arts.

But unlike some creative types, Angel has a killer mercantile instinct, which soon coalesced into a philosophy. “I began to feel that the old saying, ‘money talks,’ is actually a valid way of seeing the world: If I’m good at music, I should be able to make good money at it. If I’m always broke, maybe I need to find another line of work.”   

More and more, this “money talks” philosophy guided her days. She got more resourceful and creative about where she looked for professional work, first by adding local piano bar gigs to the mix. “Playing in piano bars can pay quite well, believe it or not; they generally pay the performers a decent base, so when you add in tips, it can be a worthwhile venture.”  Angel also started to travel professionally,  picking up freelance piano jobs that involved travel to Alaska, Canada, and a few spots in the Midwest and the South. 

The more Angel flourished at these performing gigs, however, the more conflict arose with her teaching practice. “It became clear to me that I would need to give up teaching, in part to be fair to my students–I couldn’t always be cancelling lessons–and partly to  intentionally make a clear division with the past.”

Making that precipitous break lit a financial fire under Angel. as she found it wasn’t going to cut it to try to replace that lost, steady income exclusively with one-off appearances  Soon, she got it in her head that the answer was to perform for long stretches on cruise lines, and serendipitously connected with a fellow pianist who was already taking this route. “Going absolutely above and beyond, my friend Diane arranged an audition for me with her music manager from Holland America, convincing him to come to a piano bar in Seattle where he could hear me play a short set.”  

Although this proved to be a turning point, the turning involved happened in excruciating slow motion. It was half a year–and felt longer–before Angel heard back definitively from Holland America:

I followed up on my application, re-followed up, and re-re-followed up, and finally they said that first, life-changing, “yes.” And getting that first “yes” was what it took to get all the other “yeses” that followed. In part, this is because I’m a woman: these solo piano rooms are men’s rooms, booked by men, worked by men, so until I got that first booking and could give bookers a level of familiarity with the concept of a woman at the piano, this wasn’t going to move forward.  And believe me, they weren’t prepared for me at first. Here’s some actual dialogue I recall from those early days: “Our evenings have traditionally been billed as ‘featuring the Piano Man.’ Do you want to be billed as the Piano Man too?’” “—uh, no.”  “How about ‘the piano entertainer?’”  “Well, okay.”

Since then, Angel has worked more than two dozen ship engagements on various cruise lines. Along with cruise ship work, she’s also started taking month-long engagements in piano bars around the world, including Piano Bar Maxim in Amsterdam and the Red Piano at both its Santa Barbara and St. Maarten locations. And she’s gone on to take the step that provides the clearest delineation between artisan and entrepreneur: she’s created an events entertainment company, Posh Piano, through which she markets and books the services of other musicians for weddings, corporate events, and private parties. 

I wanted to learn some things from Angel, and I expect you do too. Like: Do you have the best life on the planet–or my eyes deceiving me somehow? What is a day like on ship? On shore? Is everyone cut out for this work?

How can someone (assuming they can play piano and sing) get to do what you do? Are there lessons you can share that are applicable for those of us in other entrepreneurial corners of the world? 

Here are some of the answers she gave me.

You appear to have thrived living the lifestyle of a traveling performer. But is it a good fit for anyone who’s musically inclined? Or does it take a certain type? 

A lot of people find out the hard way that they’re not a good fit for ship life. You’re under a microscope as a performer on a ship, Passengers and crew members are going to recognize you constantly; they’ll approach you in the middle of a meal you were trying to quietly have by yourself on board–and even when you’re off the ship getting a drink or shopping. If you’re a rude person or have limited social skills–or if you have a problem with alcohol–it will be evident to everyone.  

On the positive side, I’ve found this lifestyle is a great fit for someone like me, but I want to caveat that: it’s important to factor in how much I enjoy music and performing. It makes all of this seem fun and easy, almost like a game. But If you changed the thing I was doing [on board], I’d most likely be miserable.

What’s a typical schedule look like for you when you’re sailing?

Sea days have always been my favorite days; there’s no pressure to get off the ship or do anything.  I sleep in, maybe watch a movie on my TV, grab coffee and come back to my room and practice piano and write songs, work out in the afternoon, and then take a nap before getting ready for that night’s show. 

Around 7:40 [for an 8:00 show] I’ll head to the green room [the waiting room reserved for performers when they’re not onstage], grab some hot water, and start mentally preparing for the audience and the energy needed to make it a fun night. I tell myself “Energy! Enthusiasm!” over and over, with a smile on my face. I find this helps put me in the mindset needed to face the audience that’ll be out there, waiting to be entertained. 

How’s the routine different when you’re in port?

When I can, I’ll make a point of finding something interesting to do onshore. When I feel I can afford it (it’s not cheap), I’ll go scuba diving, which I love, or go bar-hopping with the crew to some of the famous crew bars that are in a lot of the ports we visit. 

However, it can’t be like this for me every day we’re in port.  The reality is that I have to treat at least some of my shore time as work time. It’s there that I have access to affordable wi-fi is super expensive onboard), so I’ll work on my websites, post Instagram pics, edit videos to put online, answer emails and even print out documents or contracts to be signed and sent back to my agents via a FedEx office. Port days can seem way too short if you have pressure to get things done! 

You must be quite the celebrity on board. Is that a blast? Is it exhausting? Is it both? 

Obviously if you’re not a people person (which I admit I am, and then some!) this job could be a drag. What does help is that as a guest entertainer, I have unique privileges that differentiate me from other people working on the ship. My favorite perk is that I’m not required to wear a name tag in guest areas. This, plus wearing civilian clothes, helps me blend in and avoid being noticed at least some of the time. 

Could you spill the beans about the different kinds of cruises you’ve worked?   

 The Olivia Charter with Holland America will forever stay in my memory as the most fun week ever, because of all the women that I met who were so fun and so enthusiastic, and who took the time to show that they appreciated me and my music. Also that week, Sara McLaughlin was their main performer. I had the chance to watch her show and meet her, which has become a fond memory. 

And then there were the professional Elvis impersonators on board for the Malt Shop Memories–nine of them, if you can believe that. Each night they took over our piano bar and sang Elvis songs to the guests. When their prerecorded backing tracks malfunctioned, I had the chance to save the show by offering to accompany them on piano. What a blast: “Sarah, can you play Blue Suede shoes in G?” “Sarah, take a solo!” “Sarah, give us some of those keys!” 

As you know, my expertise and work are as a customer service consultant.  I know you have some thoughts on how customer service pays a role in your work. 

Customer service plays a huge role in my work. I have to make several hundred people happy every night. Everyone who walks in is a customer, and the cruise line is also my customer. My philosophy is pretty simple, and I find it works reliably. I think of all of my “customers” as new friends. I have to be warm towards them at all times. When I joke I don’t do it in a crass or rude way (which isn’t to say we don’t include blue language and humor in our shows—we definitely do, especially as the night wears on). When people feel you’re being genuine with them, they let their guard down, and they start to enjoy the experience.

Any more tips that you want to share with other entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs, or creative types? 

When it comes to my agents, piano bar owners, or entertainment department-heads, I look for feedback and then I listento what they have to say.  So often, I find people are not truly listening, or they hear what they want to hear, or what their ego allows them to hear. But also, I believe that if we’re in tune with our instincts and intuition, and if our ego is in check, we should know about most problems before we’re ever told. When everything is coming as a surprise to someone all the time, perhaps they’re not living in the same reality as others are living. 

Another thing I want to share is my philosophy of giving back. Living this way is important to me. I was given my first shot, as I told you, thanks to a fellow musician who could, if she had a different mindset, have considered me a competitor. Now, I give other piano players a chance whenever they ask for advice, or help, rather than getting competitive about the situation.   I remind myself to look at the world through the lens of abundance, not shortage. There is no shortage of jobs for people who work hard and who are generous. Me giving someone a helping recommendation does not take away anything from me.



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Edibles Sales Up In At Least Four States As Marijuana Industry Deals With Vape Health Crisis


In the midst of the vaping crisis, marijuana consumers are finding new alternatives like edibles to use instead.


4 min read


This story originally appeared on MJBizDaily

The vaping health crisis apparently has been good for the marijuana edibles sector, a sign that consumers are funneling more money into infused products instead of vaporizers.

Since the first vape-related death was reported in August, retail sales of edibles have climbed steadily in four states while those of vaping products have declined, though the vaporizer market appears to be stabilizing — and even rising — in all but Washington.

And while edibles manufacturers say they’re not seeing a dramatic impact on sales yet, marijuana retailers are reporting that sales of infused products are up since the beginning of the vaping health scare that has sickened more than 1,600 people and killed about three dozen in 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

RELATED: Mysterious Vaping Illnesses Have Industy On Edge

According to data provided by Seattle-based Headset, the share of cannabis sales captured by edibles has increased steadily through Oct. 6 since the first vaping death was reported Aug. 23:

  • Colorado: 15 percent, up from 12.7 percent
  • Nevada: 14.9 percent, up from 10.9 percent
  • California: 13.6 percent, up from 10.9 percent
  • Washington: 10.6 percent, up from 8.9 percent

New Accounts For Edibles Makers

During the week of Oct. 13 alone, Manzanita Naturals landed six new retail accounts, which will bump monthly sales up by about $30,000, said Andrew Amend, CEO of the San Francisco-based maker of all-natural, THC-infused craft sodas.

“People are starting to wake up and ask questions about what’s in their product,” Amend said. “Stores in San Francisco are dumping their vape cartridges and preparing for a ban and talking to me about beverages now.”

Denver-based Binske, which makes both edibles and vape pens, is ramping up production of its edibles products — even though it hasn’t yet noticed an increase in demand.

“Customers are starting to ask more questions and be more concerned about the products,” said Alex Pasternack, Binske’s executive vice president. “But the trickle-down effect hasn’t gotten to the brands yet.”

RELATED: 8 Cannabis-Infused Treats To Try For Halloween

Vape Sales Decline

Meanwhile, sales of vape products in the same four markets have shown a marked decline since Aug. 23, though they appear to be back on the rise in California and Nevada.

In Colorado, vape products accounted for 19.4 percent of marijuana sales on Aug. 23 but had dropped to 12.4 percent of sales by the week of Sept. 23. By Oct. 6, vape sales had climbed back to 13.9 percent.

Sales of Coda Signature’s edibles have risen, but it’s difficult to say whether that is tied to the vaping health scare because the company’s sales have increased every month since it launched in 2015.

The company, based in Denver and Trinidad, Colorado, recently launched in California, where 105 dispensaries signed up to sell its products within 45 days of entering the market Sept. 9 — just 18 days after the first vape death was reported. Coda products are available at 630 Colorado retailers.

“In our concentrates, we’re seeing a little flattening,” said Mark Grindeland, co-founder and CEO of Coda Signature, which makes edibles, concentrates used in vape products and topical items. “Fortunately, we’re not just a vape company.”

Grindeland worries that the vape health scare will perpetuate the stigma the cannabis industry is striving to overcome as people further question the safety of marijuana products.

“As we look at vapes, everybody in the industry should be concerned,” Grindeland said.

RELATED: What Top Cannabis Brands Are Saying About Counterfeit Products

Education Is Key

Andy Singh, founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based vaporizer company Nuvata, said sales have been stagnant in the roughly 20 stores where the company’s pens are sold.

Still, the company is striving to increase its footprint and anticipates its products being sold by at least 40 retailers by the end of the year.

“We’ve gotten into about 10 stores — maybe more — since the vape crisis started,” Singh said.

“We continue to educate consumers and not allow them to associate the regulated cannabis vape brands with the brands they’re seeing on the news.”

To stay up to date on the latest marijuana-related news make sure to like Marijuana Business Daily on Facebook



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Entrepreneurship

25 Ways to Be a Kind Entrepreneur with Acts of Random Kindness


Acts of Random Kindness (ARC). These four words can expand your social circle, uplift the downtrodden, and prove to be beneficial to self, at school, home or even as a “future” business owner. Whether you are a sole trader, sell stuff to friends on Facebook or like to try out at your school’s entrepreneurial day; there is always something you can do to spread the message of working together for the greater good.

In case you’re thinking what’s the big deal about tolerance, kindness and humanity, then you’d better buckle up for this one. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared “International Day for Tolerance” in 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. It is observed annually on 16 November.

May this International Tolerance Day inspire us to embrace cultural diversity and diversity in general. May it instigate a lifestyle change and foster sustainable progress that outlasts special holidays. Whether or not you are technology inclined or old-school, here are 25 random, but precious acts that can advance you as an individual, rising entrepreneur and teen boss.

25  Acts of Random kindness

1. Give out “free hug” coupons
2. Smile at everyone you see
3. Say hello to peeps, including strangers
4. Leave behind your change in the vending machine
5. Collect toys for your favourite charity
6. Compliment the people checking out your entrepreneur day stall
7. Plant something and share the seeds, fruits or flowers with others
8. Write a thank you post or comment to everyone who makes a purchase from your Facebook store
9. Fill a kindness jar with thank you notes or sweets and give it to a kiddie shelter
10. Send birthday notes
11. Give something, anything to children in hospital and shelters for the elderly
12. Donate a portion of your sales or pocket money to the needy
13. Set a day apart where you and your friends or team of aspiring entrepreneurs go to visit the elderly
14. Approach local businesses around your school to ask for product samples that you can send to shelters or charities
15. Randomly stand at your school’s teacher parking area with a sign “free window wash”
16. Donate unused food items to the needy
17. Help out at a soup kitchen
18. Pay for a small packet of sweets or cool drink at the tuck-shop and ask them to give it to another student
19. Start an uplifting blog
20. Listen without asking
21. Have recycling bins
22. Organise teams to participate in community charity walks and cycling tours to help raise funds
23. Paint kids’ faces while parents scout your stall
24. Pray
25. Feel free to recommend products and services from other businesses

You are never helpless, and the world can do with more tolerance, compassion and kindness.

Kindness teaches us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It makes us look inwards to count our blessings and do our bit. It teaches us that we are enough and that even the smallest actions matter. May your one, or many Acts of Random Kindness ignite another and another, until our community, country, and planet is transformed. Until then, sow your act of kindness even more.





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Uber’s losses top $1 billion, trumping better than expected revenues – TechCrunch


Better than expected revenues couldn’t divert investor attention from the fact that Uber still managed to lose more than $1 billion in the most recent quarter as the company’s stock fell in after-hours trading.

There are bright spots in the latest earnings report, not least that the company managed to stanch the bleeding that had cost the company over $5 billion in the previous quarter.

Revenue grew to $3.8 billion, up from $2.9 billion in the year-ago period, representing a 30% boost. But even as Uber’s core business shows signs of stabilizing and its core markets continue to show growth, its other business units appear to be hemorrhaging cash at increasingly high rates.

“Our results this quarter decisively demonstrate the growing profitability of our Rides segment,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s chief executive, in a statement. “Rides Adjusted EBITDA is up 52% year-over-year and now more than covers our corporate overhead. Revenue growth and take rates in our Eats business also accelerated nicely. We’re pleased to see the impact that continued category leadership, greater financial discipline, and an industry-wide shift towards healthier growth are already having on our financial performance.”

Losses in earnings at the company’s Uber Eats business grew 67% to $316 million from $189 million in the year-ago period. And performance in the company’s freight division looks even worse. Losses in freight ballooned by 161%, growing to $81 million from $31 million in the same quarter of 2018.

Also contributing to the company’s losses for the quarter were stock-based compensation expenses, which added another $401 million to the tallies against the company.

Given that the lock-up period is about to end for institutional investors, that could spell even more trouble for the company — as institutional investors who bought into the company before its public offering may look to sell.

That said, Uber has taken a number of steps to correct its course and put the company on a path to profitability, which Khosrowshahi says should happen in the next two years.

In October, the company announced the last of three rounds of sweeping layoffs at the company that saw 1,185 staffers lose their jobs. Khosrowshahi called the layoffs a chance to ensure that the company was “structured for success for the next few years.” In an email to staff, he wrote, “This has resulted in difficult but necessary changes to ensure we have the right people in the right roles in the right locations, and that we’re always holding ourselves accountable to top performance.”

With the layoffs behind it, Uber can now focus on some of the big operational challenges it had set for itself through the reorganization that the company has announced. That includes adding new features and technologies to its Uber Eats delivery program (despite what recent losses at GrubHub may imply about the food delivery business) and pressing forward with another darling of the tech set these days — the company’s financial services platform.

The launch of this new platform, coupled with a slew of announcements from the company in September, show that Uber may have dialed back on its ambitions, but not by much. As Khosrowshahi said at the event, “We want to be the operating system for your everyday life…. A one-click gateway to everything that Uber can offer you.”



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