U.S based LLC & business license

I’m preparing to register an LLC in the U.S for my online business within the scope of Books & eBooks publishing, and I would like to know if a business license is needed (in press & publishing?) in addition to LLC is needed?

Also, would you recommend an LLC agent for Wyoming or Delaware?

Delaware is much better, are you planning on manufacturing the physical books ? trademarks and copyrights is also something to consider

Probably through outsourcing if the service is requested. Our main niche is in eBooks as technology provider and facilitator.

Delaware vs Wyoming isn’t so clear-cut. Cheapest is Wyoming, but Delaware is the place is you plan something complex or investors. For your run-of-the-mill outsourced business, Wyoming is cheaper and less business requirements. You can google on the nuances between the two.

I strongly recommend Northwest Registered Agents: https://www.northwestregisteredagent.com/

As for business licenses…shouldn’t be necessary. But if you need to ask that question, that’s a flag for me. The US is not a country you should enter if you’re not exceedingly clear about its regulations. So you might want to double-check your plans with a lawyer, especially regarding tax. Tax rules are crazy in the US.

1 Like

Good ideas. But Trademarks ™ are for products, Servicemarks SM are for services, before you publish, you can register your work with the US Copyright office, but you don’t have to and after it is published you can register with the Library of Congress, I believe, but you don’t have to.

1 Like

Why use an agency at all? You can do it yourself very easily, unless you want to remain anonymous?

1 Like

Well, to tell you the truth, I’m working on building a second income based on online services. I could do it in my country but (1) I would need USD 15,000 as you can’t get a business license without renting an office space and then get all of the required permissions and licenses. (2) and then even if I want to pay that amount of money, I would be stuck in selling the service only inside my country as most giant internet services don’t list our banks.

So basically, I need to do it in order to get a U.S bank account and work from home on expanding the business as a second income, with the plan to expand it and make its main income. So it’s international banking and accessibility to global markets.

Actually I don’t want it to be anonymous at all.

Then do it yourself on the state website, it would be cheaper.

Unless your time is worth US$3/hr, doesn’t make sense to do it yourself and you could step into a LOT of mine fields without knowing it. The US is legalistic, loaded with rules, and takes an entirely more invasive and antagonistic approach to international business. Unless you’ve already started a business in the US in the past, approach a US business with extreme caution and don’t cut corners until year 2-3 when you know how it goes.

1 Like

Indeed. In fact, I’m doing my research and reading about the reporting requirements before taking the step of registration as I’m looking for the most headache-free setup, especially with authorities, in order to have enough time to concentrate on setting the business properly.

I understand the allure of the US, but you need to understand that the US is legalistic, crazy complicated, very much against global firms/people, and follows you worldwide. Unless you’ve already started a business in the US before, approach it with extreme caution and get good advice. DO NOT go DIY for year 1-3 until you’ve ironed it all out. Otherwise you could be hit with a massive tax penalty, business falling apart, etc. Don’t even go there with DIY right now.

When you start a business in the US, you’re taking on the opportunity AND LIABILITY of being tied to the US. I’m sure you understand the opportunity part, and it is real. But there’s also a reason that many global US citizens think about renouncing their US citizenship; it sucks to be global and related to the US. This is no less true if you start a US business, even if you are not a US citizen.

Also having to deal with federalism is a HUGE nightmare depending on your business model; a lot of non-US citizens don’t really understand this key headache until after the fact: it isn’t one country, it is like working with many countries in some ways.

So by all means investigate it, but get a US lawyer who understands international issues, and get a good US tax advisor who handles international issues. If you don’t, you’re playing with fire.

In the long-run, it might be cheaper and easier to make a US business. But that’s not a sure thing, and it shouldn’t be cheap from the start or you’re probably missing something that’s going to bite you later (I say this as someone who has started both US and international corporations).

Given your situation, I’d actually suggest going for something like a Singapore company instead. That’s being widely done now among those in your situation. HK also would have been in the conversation until recent developments we’re all aware about.

1 Like

I’m sure you are, and that’s smart. But if you’re not a US citizen, I strongly recommend you find a tax guy and lawyer to at least vet your plans before you pull the trigger.

Also: US rules are wildly in flux at the moment. Everything changed for international US business a couple years ago with some Trump-related law changes, and more are on the way most likely. Especially as it relates to international folks like ourselves. So anything you do right now could be messed with in 1-2 years. Things have been very in flux lately with US rules, more than normal. That shouldn’t abate for at least another decade.

I’m not saying to avoid the US. I’m just saying to do it right and don’t expect it to be anywhere as easy or cheap as you think it will be–don’t listen to the articles and stuff you read online. And you might not even notice the issues until later on, so don’t take a quick “you’ve got an LLC/c-corp” as validation that you’ve done it easy.

FYI: I’m a business owner, not a lawyer or tax guy (although I interface with them a lot). So I’m not selling anything, just trying to help you avoid pain and focus on your biz. This stuff can totally derail building your biz. So give it a week tops, and if you’re stuck in the morass longer than that then you know you need to make an adjustment.

1 Like

I have to tell you that what you shared with me is by far the most honest account.

Indeed, registering an offshore company whether, in the U.S, the UK or any other country that makes the life of eCommerce startups is easy when compared to the business operation itself; and is surely relatively cheap.

Ideally, my advice to anyone considering establishing a business would be registering their legal entity where they are based as they have the access, the network and the language to deal with all challenges. And then if they decide to go global, they can register a foreign branch of their home-country company anywhere in the world to facilitate their territorial or global entry.

As for registration agents, they are marketing it shallowly and not advertising the fine prints. I mean, come on guys, even buying a new SIM card have detailed fine prints; and this is scaring me the most while I’m collecting the “fine print” myself before making the decision.

Thank you, Peter, for your honest account. This is exactly what we are looking for and expecting from the community, is to share their first-hand experiences.

1 Like