Incorporation as a business isn’t easy when you relocate frequently as part of your family’s commitment to your husband’s military service. I’m writing about my experience trying to incorporate my freelance work into an LLC while living overseas for my husband’s job with the Army. This is the second post in my incorporation series. How many posts will there be? That just depends on how complicate the process ends up being, but you can read Part 1 here.
I’ve considered incorporating as an LLC since I left my full time, traditional job in March 2013. The biggest reason I didn’t jump on things immediately was that I wasn’t entirely sure what my business was going to look like. Would I work with all types of clients, or a niche set of clients? Would my work focus more on digital content creation or on brand development? I had questions to answer before I was ready to give my business a name and legal registration, so I spent the first 18 months dipping my toes in the water as a freelancer.
As business picked up, I began feeling more and more nervous about the legal ramifications of operating as a freelancer and not as a legally incorporated business entity. The biggest difference between the two is that when you’re a freelancer, your personal assets can be attacked in case of a lawsuit against you. As an LLC (or as a number of other business structures), your personal assets are protected. The decision to incorporate is a pretty easy one: I want to protect my personal assets, so I need to incorporate.
- I started my incorporation research on the US Small Business Association’s website. That research helped inform my decision to incorporate as an LLC, rather than as an S Corp, C Corp, or other entity.
- Also on the SBA’s website, I figured out that I needed to choose a name for my LLC and then register it in my state.
This is where things got muddy. “Where is my state” isn’t a difficult question for most people to answer, but I don’t really know what “my state” is. My home state is Missouri, but I had to give up my Missouri residency when I moved to Colorado to marry my husband (who was stationed there). So technically I guess Colorado is my state.
As soon as we move back to the US after our tour in Germany, I’ll have to change my residency to that state. So can I have an LLC that’s registered in Colorado if my residence changes to some other state? Or can I incorporate my LLC in my home state if I can just set up a long-term P.O. box there? I mean, that’s home for me, and I’ll probably have immediate family in Missouri until my husband retires from the Army. Isn’t there a loophole?
The SBA website didn’t solve my riddle, so with these questions in mind, I reached out to the military spouse blogging community.
One of the military spouses in this particular group recommended I contact the Military Spouse Business Association, and another suggested I reach out to In Gear Career Military Spouses. Both organizations are fantastic nonprofits that are dedicated to helping men and women navigate career questions as military spouses.
I immediately contacted both organizations. Find out how those conversations went in my next post on this military spouse entrepreneur’s journey to incorporation.