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“Should I incorporate my daycare? (Or, any other type of business?)”



Marion asked me in my Facebook Group Glass City Side Gig Pros:

 “Should I incorporate my daycare?”

My answer:

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

And in case I was not 100% clear, yes you definitely want to incorporate your childcare business. This answer would be true no matter what industry you were asking about, but because of the fact that any kind of childcare facility can be hit with very substantial lawsuits, you definitely need to incorporate.

A “corporation” is what is known as a fictional entity, or legal entity. What that means is in the eyes of the law, your company is viewed as being a distinct and separate entity from yourself. The reason why this is important is because of the fact that if you are ever sued, a corporation allows you to shield your personal assets from the lawsuit. Let me give you a very brief (and generalized) example of how this operates:

Unincorporated: Your brand-new childcare company has a total of $10,000 in assets. On your first day of business one of your employees decides to share her homemade sushi with some of the kids under your care. Several of them contract life-threatening parasites which require $893,000 worth of medical care to cure them. Lawyers representing the children step in using the legal system, take the $10,000 in assets, and you – personally – are on the hook for the remaining $883,000. Your house, vacation house, boat, and other personal belongings are auctioned off, reducing your remaining debt down to $317,000—and you are bankrupt.

Incorporated: Your brand-new childcare company has a total of $10,000 in assets. On your first day of business one of your employees decides to share her homemade sushi with some of the kids under your care. Several of them contract life-threatening parasites which require $893,000 worth of medical care to cure them. Lawyers representing the children step in using the legal system, take the $10,000 in assets, and… And that is the end of the process. Your company, and not you, is what harmed the children and therefore your own personal assets cannot be attached to pay off the corporate debt. You get to keep your house, vacation house, boat, all other personal assets, and you have precisely $0 you owe on your failed endeavor.

Most states make it very easy to incorporate. In fact, most states that I have looked at have their articles of incorporation online in PDF form for you to fill out, as well as most of them allowing you to fill out the forms online, pay with your credit card, and—TA-DA—you are incorporated. The fees I have seen for this are usually between $100 and $150, although I am confident some states such as New York, Florida, and California probably charge a heftier amount. But in terms of protecting your personal assets from being attached because of your business venture, incorporating – and following the rules of running a corporation – is the cheapest insurance you will ever purchase.

This may sound unfair to people you might harm, but as I was taught in my Corporations and English Legal History Classes in Law School (as well as the Continuing Legal Education classes that I took back when I was a licensed attorney), this protection is put in place to encourage people to start businesses. We know that if this “corporate shield” does not exist, far fewer people are willing to start their own business, and thus our economy overall would suffer greatly. Because government wants a healthy economy, and the tax revenue it generates, we have created the legal concept of corporations as being separate and apart from the people who create the corporation.

The next magic question is whether you want to incorporate as a “normal” corporation or as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). These are also known as a “C Corporation” (normal) and an “S Corporation” (LLC). These designations come from the IRS tax code that defines them that way. You will find material online that says S Corporations require fewer formalities, and argue they are geared for smaller businesses. In many states, that distinction is no longer true and many states have gotten rid of many of the formalities which used to be required of C Corporations. Thus, in terms of formalities, for many people there are no differences between a C and an S corporation.

But there is one major difference between a C Corporation and an S Corporation – taxes.

C Corporations are subject to the infamous “double taxation” where S Corporations are not.

Here is how that works:

C Corporation: Your childcare business (or any other business) makes $100,000 in profits in the year 2022. That means your company owes Uncle Sam $21,000 in taxes (and a tax return which can be a nightmare to fill out requiring an accountant). The remaining $79,000 flow to you as profits—which now get taxed again at a price tag of $10,442.  (The actual number would probably vary based upon specific deductions, but these are just “ballpark” numbers.) Your actual take-home pay from your C Corporation is $68,558.

S Corporation: Your childcare business (or, again, any other business) makes $100,000 in profits in the year 2022. ALL of that income flows directly to you, and thus you owe the IRS $15,103. Your take-home money is $84,897.

Difference: S Corp saves you $16,339 in taxes.

Add in the fact that your state and local taxes are usually based off of your federal income taxes, and your company, if it is a C Corporation, might also need to file state and local taxes, and the tax savings for the vast majority of businesses of filing as an S corporation become readily apparent.

Again, I am speaking in broad terms here.  There could be reasons why a person might in fact choose a C Corporation over an S Corporation, or a Limited Liability Partnership, or some of the other company forms which are out there. Probably the vast majority of people would be well served if they incorporated their business as an LLC. Doing a Google search for incorporation in your location is a good starting point, and will probably give you most of the answers you would need. Also, running a corporation does require certain formalities be followed, such as a separate bank account in the full name of your corporation using its IRS EIN (Employee Identification Number). You also need to operate under your CORPORATE name, and there are other nuances, but that is where your homework comes in. Get a good book such as “LLC or Corporation” by Anthony Mancuso, or “Inc. Yourself” by Judith McQuown and read every word.  

As always, the advice I am giving here is not legal advice. If you have any specific legal questions, you should seek out a licensed attorney who is skilled in this area of law.

Why you NEED to know about WordPress

Word Press

by Darrell Crosgrove

Simply put, WordPress is easily the most popular website building platform in the world. It is free. It has tens of thousands of modules you can add, most of them free. It is fairly simple to use to set up a decent basic web page. It is likely that your first real business website is going to be a WordPress website.

But, I am NOT suggesting you LEARN WordPress and build your own professional WordPress site. Rather, the articles I have saved on WordPress are ones I consider valuable for you to know exist. For example, if a new module will synchronize your Facebook ads AND your Website ads better than others will, it is important for you to at least know this is possible when you are paying someone to build your website. If you don’t know about this ability when you are ordering your website, the person who is selling you their services of building it might not think to even ask if you want it. And if you don’t know about it, and they don’t think to offer it, guess what you will be doing forever–manually copying your ads from FB to your website, or vice versa.

Doing a price drop on 10 items?

Unless you knew to have that module installed, you get to do 20 listing modifications–10 per site.

And if you miss one in the process…

WordPress at the basic level is easy. ANYONE can set up a basic page. But, getting WordPress to hum along and sell your product–best to leave that to a professional.

But, you need to know that a car HAS an overdrive before you can put it into overdrive, right?

My suggestion is that every new entrepreneur SHOULD set up their first basic website using online tutorials. And from that point on, they should stay aware of what advancements have been made in WordPress so they can request those changes be added if they will help move more product, or otherwise fill a business need.

And why should you build that first website yourself? So you understand the language being used in the articles about new WordPress features. You spend 2-3 hours getting familiar with the very basics of WordPress, and from that point on, when you read about module updating you understand why it is best to leave that as an automatic process. Or when changes are made to the Elementor system to improve interface functionality, you understand WHAT The Elementor system is.

Your website WILL be using WordPress in all likelihood.

So, the articles are there because it is important for anyone with a WordPress site to understand what is going on with WordPress so you can have someone make the changes and updates to suit your needs.

So You Want To Open A Bakery? (And good advice no matter WHAT you want to do as your business!)


by Darrell Crosgrove

Recently, in a Facebook small business group, someone posted a query asking for advice on what the should do to open their first bakery. Naturally, they received a slew of one-sentence suggestions, and the typical “Hey! Contact me so *I* can make YOU rich!” spam.

I decided to write him a reply that I am presenting below:

  1. Get a good website that allows YOU to modify the offerings and prices on a whim. You do NOT want to have a crappy website that requires you to pay your “designer” $100.00 every time you want something modified.
  2. Get a logo. (Fiverr)
  3. Learn how to photograph your food products. You don’t want to, or need to, pay a professional. (Here is a link to an article I wrote on the subject.)
  4. Business plans are… OK. Some people swear by them, but in today’s digital and Social media age, I think they are secondary to being adaptable. Have an idea of what you want to achieve, and move towards it. As situations and opportunities change–adapt quickly.
  5. YOU decide WHAT your market is. No, it is NOT everyone who eats bread. (Imagine trying to market to parents who want healthy organic wheat products right next to kids who want creamy sugar-laden donuts–If you generalize, and market to everyone, you are more likely to fail.) Figure out WHO who you want for customers, and build everything from your company name to you your logo to your prices to your menu to them.
  6. Copy others who have been successful in your field. For your reference, I refer you to Papa Moose’s Donuts–a local baker. They post lots of pics of their delicious treats in the “Toledo To Go” group, and they have a cult following. I would STRONGLY suggest you study everything they have done, because in my opinion, they are getting it right.
  7. And, don’t spend a lot on a web page. You will get lots of offers of 50% off their usual $5,000 web page package. Those web pages take maybe an hour to build and are little better than you could build yourself on Wix.
  8. Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. Too many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of being an employee to their business. YOU. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. DO. THAT! Your goal is to get your company up and running to the point where you can employ other people to do the work, while YOU promote, grow, and manage your business. (Actually, here are 8 books I recommend ALL Entrepreneurs to read, and how to get them all digitally from your local library IF it subscribes to the HOOPLA service .)
  9. Post pictures–good pictures–of EVERYTHING you make. Your entire menu should be online, and you should be posting 1-2 pics of fresh creations all across the social media platforms every day.
  10. Focus into LOCAL groups if possible. You share business questions here, but you MARKET your bakery products in LOCAL groups and pages! Focus on ones that serve YOUR town!

And if you have any more questions, please DM me 🙂

PS. YOUR picture goes on the website too. No, no one cares what you look like, but posting your pic tells everyone that you stand behind your product, and are proud to do so. That is something sorely lacking in most marketing by solopreneurs and small businesses. If you will stand up in the public square and proudly proclaim that you bake the best bread… People are a lot more likely to believe you care about your wares, and are more likely to try them.

While this reply was tailored specifically to a bakery, NONE of what I suggested is exclusive to bakeries. All ten pointers ally equally to almost any business most people are likely to open. Beautician? Tree trimmer? Child care? Today they ALL follow the same rules–get onto social media and build a following by impressing them with steady and RELEVANT posts showing them WHY your service or product is the one they need.

Already, I can hear objections:

“Darrell, what if I am an auto mechanic? My pictures would suck–no one wants to see them.”

I disagree. You should show pictures of the cars your have repaired. The sports cars and the sedans. The mini-vans and the “junkers”. Post pictures of some of the worst case problems brought in by customers, what you did to fix the problem, and how sharp the car looked when it left your shop. Post pics of the time someone brought in the family care with a strange rattle and weird smoking smell, and it turned out to be their daughter’s Barbie melting on the manifold.

Remember Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe? NINE seasons and 173 episodes of him doing dirty and smelly and hard jobs that most people are thankful they NEVER have to do themselves. Mike made us like watching how things get cleaned and repaired. He did it with a smile and made us like and respect the people who had those jobs.

The reason why they are taking your car to you is because they CAN’T, or don’t WANT TO do the work themselves.

Your pics help show them that you are the mechanic to come to.

Whatever your profession is, you need to impress upon people that you are a professional, you take pride in your work, and that whatever they throw your way, you are the person who can fix their problem.

And you do that with pictures and posts in your local groups if your products or services are local in nature, and national groups if they are national in nature.

Yes, it takes some planning–but it is your marketing. Educate your customers. Entertain them. And make them want to come in and purchase goods or services from you.

And if you do it right, it doesn’t cost anything–remember, posting on Facebook is free.

Restaurants, diners, and food trucks–you probably NEED better pictures of your food!

by Darrell Crosgrove

I’ve seen a lot of food merchants with web pages that do NOT show off their food products very well. If your product is food, and you can’t sell a “dining experience atmosphere” (food trucks, diners, hint!) as a major selling point, you need to impress upon your online viewers that your food is the best there is, and you have two, and only two ways of doing that:

  1. Reviews.
  2. Pictures of your food.

Reviews are difficult to generate, because a customer must do them on their own.

But pictures? You can do those all day. Most cell phones now take pictures that are professional enough for high quality food photography. You could post an image of every food item you have and generate a lot of interest. As an example of someone who does it well, I refer you to:

Their menu shows their donuts, including specialty donuts, party tray, donut cakes, and prices for each. As I am dieting right now, that website, and PM’s posts on the groups I am in, are sheer torture. I can look at those fresh cake donuts loaded with flavorful toppings and know, with 100% certainty, the songs of joy my tastebuds would sing upon biting into one of those.

And that is how it should be—those images make me want to go and eat now, so that when I have an open slot for a meal, I will go there and eat.  

Now, make no mistake, I would advise more than just pictures on your site—you also want certain types of videos to bring in customers, but that is another subject for another day. For right now, you need to get good images of your food that look professionally done and make people want to come in and order your “Anti-Hero Hero” or “Blazin’ Hot Steak Fry Nachos”. You want them to look at the picture, see the elements, and imagine how wonderful it would be to sit down and eat those delicious dishes that you serve!

And I’ll let you in on a little secret—if they walk in expecting to eat the very best meal they have ever had—they probably will feel that is the meal they got. People have the quality of thinking something is great just because they thought it would be great. If the experience gets to within… 80% of what they want, they will fill in the remaining 20% themselves.

That means more tips, more good reviews, and more repeat customers.

Again, you do NOT need a professional photographer. Photographing food is easy if you follow a few basic steps. I am including two good articles that will teach you how to easily make professional quality food images that shout out the flavors and textures of your dishes. Once you have made them, you simply post them on your webpage. Then on your social media sites, you link to that item’s menu listing and you have a sales funnel, taking someone from your Facebook post to looking at your menu on your website, thinking how good EVERYTHING looks…

More customers will appear at your restaurant door or food truck!

Here are the articles:

5 Tips to Seriously Improve Your Food Photography Techniques

99 Food Photography Tips To Blow Your Mind

As always, send me a message if you have any questions!


Eight Books Every New Entrepreneur Should Read

by Darrell Crosgrove

I see people asking on Facebook and Reddit what kinds of business they should start. Immediately, like wolves seeing a new stumbly fawn without its mother near, scammers charge in. Offers of how the budding entrepreneur can join this particular program and make $2,000 to $5,000 a week easy, working from home (SCAM!!!) or how this helpful web guru can create for your business a new a wonderful website set up for a mere $3,000. (Which works out to about $3,000 an hour for the setup fee, because setting up a basic WordPress site and customizing it takes about an hour.) 

These people want to do something–their own side gig. Something to earn money and be flexible and they can feel good about doing. But they have no idea on WHAT to do, or how to do it. In short, they want, but have no idea how to fill that want.

If you are at that point–wanting to get your own gig, but having no idea on how to actually do it–here are 8 books you should read. Each one will help educate about an aspect of being an entrepreneur so you have the information you need that will allow you to decide on what to do, start it on the cheap, and make it grow.

Yes, all these books are on Amazon. Most in both print and audiobook format. Or, if you are on limited funds, try your local library. Also, don’t dismay if your local library doesn’t have them in stock. Most libraries subscribe to a service known as Hoolpa. Hoopla has GOBS of digital titles and your library card gets you a free Hoolpa account. My Hoopla account allows me to download 10 titles a month in the format of E-books, Audiobooks, Movies, Graphic Novels, CDs, etc, etc…

And I did a check–6 of the 8 are sitting there on Hoopla, waiting for you to download them to your phone, laptop, or tablet. (The titles followed by (H) are available on Hoopla.  The $100 Startup has a summary available on Hoopla. 100 Ways to Make a Living by Courier Magazine you may be forced to purchase.) 

Yeah, will take some time to read these. But, in fairness, I put them in the order they are needed by new entrepreneurs, and by #3 or #4, you might be ready to start. Read (or listen to) all 8 if you can, but you don’t need all 8 before you begin.

In order:

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (H-Summary)
Teaches you that you CAN start a business on the super-cheap, and how to do it. A must read to get you past the fear of it takes tens of thousands of dollars to start a business. That is BS. You can start a side-gig business for under $100.00, and this book shows you how.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (H)
One of the better books on how to present your material in a way that speaks to the needs and wants of the customer. The focus is you must first identify the needs and desires your customer has and then fit your message and product into delivering that product so that they receive their truly desired internal results. This is a focus on HOW to identify what your customers really desire in their own minds, and tailor your message and product to provide that desired end result.

100 Ways to Make a Living by Courier Magazine
100 business ideas to start your creativity flowing. I don’t expect you to use any of these suggestions, as much as this book teaches you how to think about the limitless possibilities of starting you own business, and how to grow it.

Start Your Own Corporation by Garrett Sutton, Esq. (H)
(Part of the Rich Dad’s Advisor Series)
Demystifies what a corporation is, and how to create and maintain one. Also points out the incredibly great legal and tax benefits of running your business under the corporate banner. (And, no, you do NOT need an attorney to create one. In my state all you need is $125 and to fill out some boilerplate 3-page form.)

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber (H)
Explains, in simple terms and analogies, WHY being an Entrepreneur requires you to quickly move your mindset from doing it all yourself to the task of creating instructions for your employees to do, while you build and expand the business. There are a lot of people out there running their own businesses doing 60-70 hour work weeks because they have never made the leap from “chief employee” to actual CEO. This book helps you move past that.

Sales Dogs by Blair Singer (H)
(Part of the Rich Dad’s Advisor Series)
Teaches you the various styles of selling that there are–from Doberman to Collie. The point isn’t to change you into the “best one”, because they are all equally efficient, as much as to teach you HOW to operate within your own natural style, and thus make more sales. BTW: If you are an entrepreneur, you WILL be doing a lot of selling if you are successful.

Influence by Robert Cialdini (H)
There are six methods that you can use to influence a person to do what you want, whether that is which restaurant to go to, or convince them to purchase the more expensive car from you. Cialdini breaks them down and presents them not as tools to use in selling (although, of course, a lot of people do use it for that purpose…) as much as how to defend yourself against these techniques. Once you have read it, you see through marketing and advertising, and salespeople, almost automatically, and their ability to subtly pressure you ceases to exist.

How to Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. (H)
(Also known as HTWFAIP.)
Carnegie published this book in October of 1936, and it remains the pinnacle of the subject of how the make people like you. Not with slick snake-oil mannerisms. No speech tricks. No psychological maneuvers. HTWFAIP teaches you how to grow your personality to where people naturally like you because you are the kind of person that people naturally like. Think back to the people you know who are upbeat and positive. They are a joy to be around in group and are always invited to events and parties. Those people were naturally pleasant to be around. They probably worked to achieve that kind of positive personality, but it paid off in a large circle of friends. You can be that person. And while it might not sound this is an entrepreneur book, think about it–would you rather do business with someone you naturally like, or someone you don’t like quite so much? Get this one and learn how to be more naturally likable.