Forming An LLC in Florida For Bloggers

Forming An LLC in Florida For Bloggers

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Thinking of forming an LLC in Florida as a blogger (or any state)? Learn how to turn your blog into a legal business with these tips and tricks.

Turning your blog into a business from LLC status to how to make money Pinterest pin cover

This post originally published in 2018 and is updated for 2019.

My Baby Qualifications: The Days of Facilitating Business Seminars

My Intro To Business Start-Up And LLC Formation

For 4.5 years, I co-taught business seminars at my public library in collaboration with our Small Business Development Center.  Confident yet equally terrified, here I stood a Smithie English and History double major finishing her MLIS yet discussing Reference USA for key demographics.  I cannot tell you how many times I repeated the phrase “register your fictitious name” and stifled a giggle.  WTF was a fictitious name, really?

I had no idea what I was talking about but it sounded cool–OK, and maybe a little dull.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew I provided correct information as I had guidance, but I never thought I would need to know these business details as a librarian.

One of my former coworkers even recently joked, “Fictitious business names always made me think of detectives in trench coats meeting in dark alleys.”

And now…the benefits of forming an LLC in Florida as a blogger

Get ready for the full circle:  this past week, I found myself reciting that business seminar PowerPoint presentation and applying for, you guessed it, a fictitious name.  Looks like I threw on my trench coat after I picked up my glass of wine.

I recently decided to protect myself–as a lawyer seriously put it: protect my wine fund–and operate my freelancing more professionally to create an LLC.  Turning your blog into a business can be scary, but The Uncorked Librarian is officially an LLC.  Lets just yoga meditate there for a moment.  Christine, The Uncorked Librarian, LLC.  Sounds amazing, right?  I am a small business owner.  Superhero cape, with a bottle of chardonnay on the back, on:

via GIPHY

Forming An LLC in Florida 

Do I need to register my blog as a business?

First, let me preface by reminding you that I am not a lawyer.  I am librarian gone rogue, now gone small business owner.  I cannot offer legal advice and below are just a few of my suggestions for turning your blog into a business.

Please conduct equally thorough research before starting your own endeavor.  Seeking professional advice, especially from an accountant or lawyer, is also a smart idea.  Remember to reach out to your fellow small business owners and bloggers as well.

I am in many business-related Facebook Forums, like the Think Creative Collective, where I ask for advice.  If you are lucky, lawyers and freelancers will chip in and help guide you.

Where I am qualified:

  • I am a hardcore blogger who has decided to write and freelance full-time
  • I helped co-teach business seminars for 4.5 years, specifically Business Start-Up and Business Plans, and although I joke, I learned and know more than your average person
  • As an MLIS-degreed rogue library chick, my glasses game is strong right now, and my research skills are out of this world
  • I recently went through the small business process to successfully become an LLC

Work hard placard with white mouse and pink notepad

FYI: Forming an LLC is slightly different in each state

One other key: I live in Florida.  Forming an LLC in Florida is different than Deleware.  We do not have a state income tax.  Each state has different rules and regulations so be sure to check out your state and local government pages.

Your local library may have also compiled a list of resources.

I will list Florida sites below, and for FL know that you may be required to register with the city and county, depending on where you live.  You may also need additional steps.

What is an LLC vs just blogging my heart out?

I actually grew to enjoy teaching library business seminars even though I felt removed from the topic.  With that said, I will not go through the many different types of businesses you can choose to register your blog under, like a partnership or S Corp.  Like ‘fictitious name’ they sound fun but are currently out of my league.  For this post, I am focusing on the two most relevant to newbie bloggers, sole proprietorship vs LLC.


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Sole Proprietorship:

The Pros: Most bloggers earning money start out as sole proprietors.  You are self-employed and do not need any further steps to legally establish yourself as a business.  This is how I started as an affiliate marketer.  I blogged, earned a little side income, and picked up odd freelancing jobs.

The Cons: You are the business.  Imagine accidentally using an image or a book cover that you thought had free commercial use privileges.  A photographer or publisher is outraged and instead of settling one-on-one decides to sue.  Guess who is getting sued including all of your personal assets: You.  You have no protection.  This includes your car, house, bank accounts, and WINE FUND to name a few jaw-dropping assets.

Limited Liability Company (LLC):

The Benefits Of Forming an LLC in Florida: An LLC is a newer concept in the United States.  The model is like a corporation with much looser restrictions.  I am no longer the business entity. The Uncorked Librarian becomes the business. 

You can obtain an EIN (Employment Identification Number), open a business banking account, and conduct all business under that entity.  For me, I don’t have to pass around my S.S. number to big companies like an appetizer anymore. 

LLCs also still have the tax benefits of a sole proprietor; you will not file corporate taxes. My main reason for choosing an LLC is that I have more legal protection and technically my personal assets are now separate from my business.  One more important piece: I am the only ’employee’ for my LLC.  If you are taking on employees, you have more to consider here.

The Cons: I will have to find out to tell you, but I know that I have to be on the lookout for quarterly self-employment taxes–they are not low either.


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Initial Steps To Becoming An LLC in Florida

1. Register Your Fictitious Name

Trench coat time, baby.  Register your fictitious name–AKA your business name.  For Florida, head over to the State Division of Corporations at Sunbiz.org.  Make sure no one else is operating under your name and then register.  I paid $125 to register my business, and don’t forget you have to renew each year.  If you are late, you face up to $400 in penalty fees.

2. Obtain Your EIN Number After Your Fictitious Name Has Been Approved

Once your fictitious name is processed, you can apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS.  Even saying ‘IRS’ scares me, but the process takes maybe 10 minutes if you are slow like me and terrified of typing your ‘i’ dots wrong.

3. Florida Specific: Business Tax Receipt Via The County (and sometimes city)

For my city and county, I had to apply for a business tax receipt (formerly known as occupational tax).  Just head over to your local county tax collector website.  They should have links for new business owners.  I entered through the Revenue Division but Google is your friend.  My county has home occupation clauses as well.  I guess the people who live on my street have a right not to get disturbed.

There may be a few details, more or less, that you still need to look into.  Those three registrations should get you off to a solid start.

To summarize turning your blog into a business and forming an LLC in Florida:

  • Do your research
  • Make a plan and determine your legal structure like an LLC
  • Register appropriately on all government levels
  • Check for additional licensing
  • Seek professional advice where needed
  • You can also check out these books on Amazon.

People start up businesses every day having no idea what they are doing, but usually, we all survive the process.  That’s what I told myself to sleep well those scary first days.  My mantra worked.

Turning your blog into a business: do your research, make a plan, determine your legal structure, register appropriately on all government levels, check for licensing, & seek professional advice where needed. Click To Tweet


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Turning Your Blog Into A Business: How Bloggers Make Money 

Besides the stress of legal repercussions, you might be saying: Hold up, girlfriend?!  You can make money blogging?  Yup.  You most definitely can.  While I will not go into much detail, a few ways that bloggers currently make money are:

  • Affiliate Marketing: Think about your favorite places to shop and sites that you always use.  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Awin.com, and Book Depository are a few companies where you can apply for their Affiliate Programs.  Other bloggers use ShareASale or promote services like SiteGround and MailChimp.  For each sale you make, you earn a small commission.  Be aware that some affiliates have extremely strict guidelines and policies, and you must always disclose posted affiliate links.

 

  • Ads: Right now, I have one somewhat obscure Google Adsense ad scrolling on the bottom of my site.  I receive passive income for each visitor and more money if the ad is clicked and used.  Other bloggers load their sites with these little ads (there are higher paying ad companies too) or are paid by a specific company to create a sponsored ad.  You need a decent amount of traffic for ads to payout.

 

  • Sponsorships and Influencing: Companies and brands such as hotels may ask you to write a review or discuss a product on your site.  They might ask you to write content for using their service. On Instagram, brands may ask you to advertise a product.  Avoid scammy offers.

 

  • Freelancing: You can offer other services such as editing, PR help, or any marketable skill that you have.

 

  • Offering Courses and selling ebooks: Skilled bloggers teach courses on how to increase traffic and use Tailwind for Pinterest.  P.S. Tailwind is my number one source for blog traffic, and I swear by it. I recently purchased an ebook to up my Instagram game.  You can sell any product, ebook, and course that you create.


Small Ways You Can Support The Blogger In Your Life

Lastly, there are small ways to help support the blogger in your life. We have all received the comments: “Ohhhh, you blog?”  “Wait, that’s a real job?”  “Well, more power to you if you can find meaning in that…”  Insert eye roll here. Blogging is a riskier business as your income is never set or guaranteed.  Overall, blogging is hard work and many spend more time working on their blog than they would at a 9-5 job.

Personally, I spend hours upon hours reading how-to guides, researching websites, and determining how to improve my business.  The rest of my time is spent writing, promoting, and working together with my blogging communities.

I love the work I do, and I currently spend anywhere from 4-14 hours a day working on my business.  While I take time off, sleep in until 7 AM, and make time to workout, I rarely go a single day without putting in a couple hours of work.  I don’t mind, though, because I love it.


Along with direct traffic and ranking in Google, my number one traffic source is Pinterest.  I schedule all of my pins with Tailwind, which saves me time and pins during my peak Pinterest traffic times.  A viral pin can explode your blog traffic.


Easy actions to support the blogger in your life:

  • Use their affiliate links for your purchases.  Even if you aren’t buying that particular product or book, you can use any blog post links to buy whatever you need from a site.  Sites hold the cookies and affiliate codes for a few hours.  Example: Say you clicked on my “Find a copy of A Long Goodbye” link but then decided you wanted to buy cat food from that same generic vendor instead.  As long as you entered through my site, I will get a small commission on that product.

 

  • Comment and engage with posts.  Content writing is hard and takes passion and time.  If you take the time to read a post, let the blogger know how much you enjoyed their work or found it helpful.

 

  • Share posts on social media, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus. Do I need to say it?  Sharing is caring, y’all.

 

  • Be kind and supportive.  We have to deal with a lot of backlashes, trolling, and those who snub noses at our work. Someone’s 9-5 job is not more significant; in fact, most jobs are rarely comparable. Luckily for The Uncorked Librarian, friends and family have been extremely supportive and kind.  Kindness is motivating and always welcome.

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Thank You

Thank you so much for supporting me and following along.  Turning your blog into a business is both a HUGE and small deal.  The Uncorked Librarian LLC (see what I did there?) would not be successful without you.  You are my cheerleaders and my audience. Thank you!

Want To Help Others Form An LLC With Their Blog? Pin It!

Looking to protect yourself and register your blog as an LLC? Read this post of turning your blog into a business.

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9 Comments

  1. July 17, 2018 / 11:06 pm

    Wow! First, I want to say congratulations, and I’m super excited for you! This is amazing. Wishing tons of luck and good fortune.

    This post was so enlightening for so many reasons. Not only for the LLC part, but other parts of the blogging world from afflicted to static homepages. What a great post. I learned so much. Thank you for posting your experience.

    • Christine
      Author
      July 18, 2018 / 1:21 pm

      Thank you!! I always appreciate your support! 💕💕

      If you ever need help or suggestions with any part, let me know. I’m definitely not an expert but I have learned a ton.

      I just posted my static homepage. It’s not amazing but I’m hoping it at least helps a little with my bounce rate.

  2. July 18, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Congrats on taking this step, I am so excited for you Christine!!!

    This post is super helpful so thank you for putting it together, thanks for sharing your experience and advice!

    • Christine
      Author
      July 18, 2018 / 1:19 pm

      Thank you so much!! I figured I needed to write it out just so I remembered what I did too 😂😂 Glad it was helpful, and thank you for reading 💕📚 I’m so excited!

  3. November 8, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    I never thought about LLCing my blog! This post has me thinking about now especially because of legal issues that might spring up and to keep my personal assets separate, especially my SSN!

    • Christine
      Author
      November 8, 2018 / 3:23 pm

      I hadn’t seriously thought about LLC status either until offered a paid opportunity fairly early on. I spoke with a few female entrepreneurs–one of whom was a lawyer. She had so many articulate points about protecting myself. It is extremely easy to register as an LLC, and while I always suggest seeking professional and legal advice (some big bloggers go S-Corps), it is definitely a start to not leave your personal assets vulnerable.

  4. Megan
    December 30, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Thanks!! I’m entering the blogging world, so I’m devouring all of the tips and advice I can get my hands on. This is a great nugget to tuck away for when my blog becomes more than a side game. 🙂 Signed up for your email list — can’t wait to see what you come up with for your email goal!

    • Christine
      Author
      December 31, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Thank you SO much; I saw you on my email list this AM! Thank you! Thank you! Fair lame warning, as you know: Right now my email list is just a RSS feed (meaning you will get my blog posts as I publish them). Not that having the RSS setting is the worst option… BUT, in the New Year, I might switch to a monthly newsletter with a bit more fun to it.

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