Back in February, I created an LLC to run Ch1Con through. So many people own small businesses in the United States, I figured it couldn’t be too complicated to get everything started and running properly.
Register the business with the state? Check.
Open a business banking account? Check.
What else could I possibly need to do? (As you’ve probably guessed by now: a freaking ton.)
The past few months have been a whirlwind of forms I didn’t know I needed to fill out until it was almost too late and awkward back-and-forths with Very Official Business People, all much older than me and used to not spewing words like “freaking” in the middle of a sentence.
I have a CPA, a banker, and a lawyer. I have to keep track of a thousand and one numbers and licenses and forms.
Yesterday, my aunt dropped by and mentioned that I have to charge the conference attendees sales tax.
“Really? I asked. “I figured I could just pull it from the amount they’re already paying us.”
She shook her head and laughed. “That’s illegal. You have to get a license from the state to charge sales tax and you have to collect it directly from the customers. With their knowledge.”
Sure enough, a Google search after she’d left proved her right. Which then meant researching how sales tax even works, what to do about use tax, applying for the license, figuring out how to add it to our conference order forms, and not dying from a heart attack. All as quickly as possible.
Three and a half hours I’d meant to spend revising a novel? Gone.
Basically, while I’ve always respected small business owners, I am now in awe of how they handle everything. They are superheroes. And I am never taking my local bookshops and restaurants for granted again.