One Military Spouse Entrepreneur’s Journey to Incorporation: Part 3

Journey-to-Incorporation-Part-3-MilliGFunkThis is Part 3 in a multi-part series about my journey to incorporation as an LLC as a military spouse entrepreneur stationed overseas. I hope that by documenting this journey publicly, I can help other spouses navigate the waters more smoothly, and that I can raise awareness about policies that make entrepreneurship (a concept that is often viewed as the best solution to the military spouse employment conundrum) more challenging for the military spouse than for his or her civilian counterpart. Read Part 1 and Part 2 in this series.

After figuring out the basics of LLC incorporation, I realized I had no idea what state to register my LLC in. My husband and I are legal residents of different states, and I have absolutely no tie (no property, no bank account, etc.) in my current state of residence: Colorado.

As long as we’re stationed in Germany, I keep my Colorado residence, but as soon as we PCS back to the U.S., I’ll have to change my residency to the state where we become stationed. So where should I register my business? I’m not sure.

I’ve contacted three organizations, each of which directly or indirectly support military spouse business owners, searching for answers.

Organization #1: The Military Spouse Business Association

The Military Spouse Business Association “is dedicated to the Military Spouse interested in Financial Readiness, Self Motivation and Business Success” (source). One of the services the MSBA offers is free consulting with a pro bono attorney. I contacted the MSBA with my overseas incorporation question and heard back within a few days.

Organization #2: In Gear Career

“In Gear Career is a nonprofit who believes passionately that “sacrifice” doesn’t have to mean giving up your career. We are here to help you navigate the unique realities faced by the career-minded Military Spouse” (source). I’m in the same Facebook group as the executive director of In Gear Career, and she suggested I contact her directly, via email, with more information about my situation. I sent her my question and am excited to see if she’s able to help.

Organization #3: SCORE

SCORE, which I found as a referral from the MSBA, fosters vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. The SCORE Veterans Fast Launch Initiative is a “combined package of free software and services combined with SCORE’s mentoring program in order to help accelerate the ability of veterans and their families to start and succeed as small business owners” (source).

I leveraged SCORE’s mentorship program by reaching out to an retired-attorney-turned-college-business-instructor. I emailed him my questions, and heard back within 24 hours. I’ll tell you more about his response — and the responses I received from the other two organizations — in future posts.

Come back often for more posts on my journey to incorporation, and be sure to connect with me on Bloglovin‘, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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  1. Melissa! I’m looking forward to reading more about this journey… I need to put my big girl pants on soon and figure this out myself. Hope you are doing well – off to send you an email! 🙂

  2. I’m really interested in the responses you got as well. I tried to do all of this a few years ago while in the UK, and it was extremely difficult. I had registered an LLC, and supposedly there are only a few states that you can register in with physical business addresses outside the U.S. address. You can’t use your APO address for business, so you’d have to use the foreign address. Plus, for the IRS, they needed a physical address. It got so tedious to try to use multiple addresses and wait for mail at our foreign address that I had to scrap it. Of course, I didn’t have a place in the states to claim as my business address and to forward my mail. I eventually just became a sole proprietor in the UK for the time we were there. Now that we’ve PCSed, I’m facing the dilemma of what to do again since I can’t register here in Japan. Registering on-base as a sole-proprietor is an option, but alas the problem of not having the liability coverage remains. I can’t wait to hear how you’re navigating all of this! Thanks for writing the articles!

    • Kristen, thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad to know that documenting my journey is interest (and least) and helpful (at best) to other spouses. I’m trying to get my ducks in a row first, but then I’d like to reach out the Missouri Secretary of State. He’s a former Army Captain, and is the person who overseas business registration there. I’d like to talk with him about the potential benefits Missouri could see if the state changed its LLC laws to make the state more welcoming to military spouse business owners. Maybe they could even change the laws so that once registered, a military spouse (regardless of his or her state residency) could maintain a Missouri-based LLC through their spouse’s active duty (and maybe even retirement?) years. Seems like it could be a good marketing bite for the state, and could even drive extra business tax revenues for the state in the long run. We’ll see how it all goes. It’s definitely a tedious process.

  3. Melissa,
    I stumbled upon your website by accident trying to decide on whether or not to start up my business here (in Germany) or wait until we get back to the States. This gets more difficult the more I dig into it. I want to incorporate and I don’t think I’ll have the same problems as you with the state residency (my husband and I both hold the same as we are both from Missouri), but then getting into the German tax thing has my head spinning. It’s so funny, I am also freelancing until I can take the next step. I love writing, so it works. I hope everything works out for you.


  4. Hi Melissa!

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m a Missouri-born girls and MilSpouse. I have an LLC in SC but we’re currently in AL so I operate as a “Foreign LLC” here. Like you, I don’t fall under the MSRRA. I have a second LLC Partnership with a friend and fellow MilSpouse who currently lives in UT. (Not complicated at all, right?). Now, we’re headed to Germany and I’m at a loss for how it works and can’t find anyone who is in my situation. I’m basically just trying to find out how I continue to legally run my LLCs while we’re stationed at Ramstein the next few years. Did you post a part 4 to this series? It’s worth nothing my business is all online. I’m an author/blogger/graphic designer and all my paying clients are in the states. 🙂 Thank you so much for your Time!

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