Was one of your 2014 resolutions to finally get your business started, launch your Kickstarter campaign, or quit that mindless job in order to freelance full time? The holidays might be in full swing, but that doesn't mean it's too late. In fact, you actually still have time to start some type of business before the year ends. It depends on what you have in mind, which state you live in, and how far along you are (if at all) in the prep stage.
Don't think you can swing it before the ball drops January 1? Think again--starting a business isn't always as time consuming, red tape riddled, or costly as you think. Here's why there's still time in 2014, and why you should make the most of it.
1. Sole Proprietorships Require No Paperwork
The type of business easiest to start, sole proprietorships don't need to file any special paperwork at all. They simply need to report their earnings (often under a 1099 agreement with clients) to the IRS, and voila! You're a small-business owner. There are many types of business structures, and sole proprietorships don't have the kind of limited liability that others have (in other words, if your business gets sued, your personal possessions aren't protected).
2. Think of Those Tax Breaks!
Business owners and entities have an entire smorgasbord of tax credits, deductions, and write-offs at their disposal that others don't. You can deduct a portion of your mortgage or rent if you have a home office. You can also deduct office expenses, as the IRS allows you to buy new smartphones, laptops, and other necessities for business use and write them off. You can also deduct travel. You can purchase items to make your office as nice as possible with holiday deals and score a deduction at the same time.
3. It's When You File a Business--Not When It's Approved
"When" you start your business depends on when the paperwork is filed (unless you're a sole proprietor, of course), not when you get final approval. The actual process depends on the state where you'll do business, but it's often quicker and simpler than you think. The government wants small businesses to thrive, so it usually makes the procedure as straightforward as possible.
4. Now's the Time to Hire Holiday Workers
Right now, people are hungry for fast cash, college students are home for the holidays, and it's the absolute best time to get short-term workers and labor if need be. If you wait until January, things slow down again and people are in lazy mode from the rush of the holidays. Capitalize on people's need to drum up cash in December, and you just might get some affordable labor to help start your business.
5. File Online
It's true--in many instances, you can file your new business online, pay online, and get it all done in the time it takes to watch a Game of Thrones episode. You'd think it would be more challenging to become a business owner, but it's not. Dedicate a sliver of time you have carved out for online holiday shopping, and get it taken care of.
Make 2014 the year you started a business--and 2015 the year you ensure it thrives. Who says there isn't time for one more holiday miracle? If you get the grunt work taken care of now, you can focus 100 percent on growing your business next year. That's a resolution worth keeping.