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Ultimate Home Business Online  
Getting started with your Home Business
First things first. You need to make sure your business is properly set up. This may take a little extra effort now but it will be well worth it later on when you start making some income.

One resource which I thoroughly recommend is Make Your Site Sell. It covers everything from developing a great product, writing a web site that sells, to attracting targeted customers to your site.

MYSS is written in an easy to read, non-technical format, and at under US$25 it would have to be the best value on the web. If you're new to the world of Internet business then you shouldn't be without this book - it's that good!

Update: Make Your Site Sell 2002 has just been released. MYSS now covers 4 volumes and over 1,500 pages. Click HERE for more info.

Business Set-up
First, a disclaimer. The following information is intended to be a (very) basic introduction to setting up a business. It is by no means a comprehensive guide. It's always a good idea to consult an accountant or attorney before starting any business venture. You should also check with your local authorities as procedures will vary depending on the state/country in which you live.

File your Business Entity
You will need a "business entity." This is simply an official business name that's recognized by the government. You can do this one of two ways.

1) Corporation: You can file a corporation with your State. I believe that all States in the US have a web site where you can download the necessary forms. They will also have instructional forms that detail what goes where, and what everything means on the forms. Once you have completed the forms mail them in with the appropriate fee and you will then become a corporation.

2) Fictitious Name: This is an easier way to register your business, but it does not give you the protections that a corporation does. In some States, this is called a DBA (Doing Business As), and is obtained from your local County Office building for a minimal fee.

If you're not sure which way you want to go, see an attorney or accountant. This is an important decision!

Obtain an EIN number
Once you have registered your business you will need an EIN (Employer Identification Number). For information on how to obtain your EIN see www.irs.gov. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers who are required to file business tax returns.

Obtain a Business License
In some states you will be required to have a Business License issued by the county your business resides in. This takes a couple of hours at the local County Office Building, and costs about $30.

Record Keeping
Whatever business you operate it is essential that you keep accurate records. The choices in accounting software are endless so I won't make any specific recommendation here. There is lots of free simple accounting software to download and try at Cnet.com. A good spreadsheet program (like MS Exel) is essential.

Fire the Boss!

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