L06: Weekly Reflection

This week brought in more questions than answers for me. I do have to follow up on last week’s post and say that there are definitely tons of pros to using a template then coding everything yourself. I was able to create my website in less than 48 hours and it is far superior to the sites I’ve coded. While that has a lot to do with the fact that I am a self-taught coder, there are still many things a template can do that I think would take me so much longer to code out, even if I was a pro.

Okay. This week’s reflections come in the form of extensive notes about licenses and taxes involved with starting a web business in the state of Washington. Hopefully this will come in handy to me or someone else in the future. Before I post my notes, though, here is my answer to my weekly question:

“How will this class help those around me to develop?” – I have had the opportunity to finish designing my site for my web business class and that means that I was able to “give” my husband his site to sell his calendars. He was very excited about the site and was motivated to take more pictures for his calendar next year.

Licenses and Taxes

NOTE: all URLs inserted as a hyperlink and underlined.

Licenses, Permits and Special Regulations

  1. Business licenses– A company’s business activity and physical location determines which licenses are needed to operate lawfully. (other determining factors: number of employees and type of business, sole or corporation.) The gov. can fine or close a business operating without the required licenses.
  • License Companies:
    • Business Licenses, LLC – Fortune 500 companies use. Uses Business License Management System (BLMS) to manage large portfolios of business licenses, permits, and tax registrations. Has business license database that covers US and territories.
    • License Shark – offers business licensing and entity formation services (registered agent and license filing as well).
    • Barlap Compliance Corporation – For regional franchise operations and multi-state corporate firms. Liquor license management.
    • LicenseLogix – Provides website badge that shows company’s full compliance to being properly licensed. Geared for: Pharmacy, construction, insurance, debt collection and energy fields.
  • License Determination Tool (LDT) – Used to determine business license requirements in the US for any type of business.
  • How to obtain a business license
    • Get city license – look at Small Business Administration (SBA) and government sites, or google your city’s name + business license. Maple Valley city fee is $10 and paid when state license is filled out and paid for. (425) 413-8800
    • Get WA state license – You can apply for a State business license ($19) and a City business license ($10): Online: Online applications are typically processed within two business days Question, contact Business Licensing Service at 1-800-451-7985. Also see File a Buiness License Application here.
      • In reporting taxes to the State, for work done in Maple Valley, Maple Valley’s location code is 1720 and must be included in the appropriate place on the State tax return.
      • For general business license questions, please contact City of Maple Valley Finance Director Shawn Hunstock at shawn.hunstock@maplevalleywa.gov or (425) 413-8800.
      • The Business License Application is the state business license form and establishes your accounts with multiple Washington state agencies, including the Departments of Revenue, Employment Security and Labor & Industries. Some local and specialtylicenses can be obtained by using the Business License Application. Follow the links above for information on local and specialty license fees.
      • What licensing and forms do I need?

 

  1. Doing Business As (DBA) or Assumed Business Names (ABN) registration.  Usually a requirement for most any size business in the U.S. – Can fill out at the same time I fill out state and city forms.
  2. Permits – None needed
  3. Special Regulations – None needed
  4. Other – None needed

Income Tax

  1. National income taxes (e.g. federal income tax–IRS) – For small businesses: here. Form 1040, Schedules C, E, F or Form 2106 needed to be filled
  2. State income taxes (state or province level taxes) – None in the state of WA
  3. Other

Sales Tax

  1. State sales taxes (state or province level sales taxes) – WA state tax for online sales is based on the shipping address of the customer. Retail tax rates ($13.99 + tax of 0.065 state & 0.021 city = $15.19 total based on Maple Valley shipping address)
  2. National sales taxes.  Some countries have national value added taxes. – Not applicable for my business
  3. Local sales taxes.  Some cities or counties have taxes on purchase amounts. – $0.021 for my product.
  4. Other – Interstate/foreign sales tax taken on products shipped outside WA.
  • A business must register and collect retail sales tax if the business has nexus with Washington. – This would apply to me.

Other Taxes

  • The seller is subject to B&O tax under theretailing classification on the gross proceeds of sales to Washington consumers.

Employee Requirements – Good to know but not needed for my business

  1. Worker’s Compensation
  2. Property taxes
  3. Labor laws

Other important links:

  • WA state business license info

 

References

Business Wizard

Nolo.com Sales Tax on the Internet

Idaho Sales Tax Info

Idaho Sales Tax FAQ

New Tax Deductions for Small Business

 

L05: Weekly Reflection

This has been my favorite week so far. I learned how to create a PayPal button to embed in my site and learned about Checkout by Amazon and a free shopping cart such called Mercantec.

I got to build my site using the Avada – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme to create a fun website that I am truly excited about. I have learned that using a site builder and template has pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Once the theme is installed, it is easy to upload a demo plugin with features already in place for me to use on my site.
  • WordPress makes it easy to fix an error. I needed to edit the main php page to allow for a larger download amount and the tutorial on how to do that was very well written.
  • Your code is all organized for each element right there so that changes to backgrounds, margins, padding, and boarders is right there.
  • I can pick a grouping of text, images, and buttons from the demo and just drag it to where I want it and replace the existing content with my own.

Cons:

  • While I was told that no coding experience is required, there is definitely a benefit to know how to code. I have been stumped a number of times on how to stylize something with the options they give me and I ended up just going into the code to change it.
  • I feel that some of the links are hidden and I have had to hunt down a few.

As you can see that the pros so far outweigh the cons, but I had awesome help setting everything up and I’ve only been playing with the site builder during this week. I’m sure I’ll have more to add to the list once I start embedding codes from Google and PayPal.

The other thing I have noticed is that I keep get sucked into trying to just “finish one more thing”. Six hours later I am still just finishing one more thing. I love coding but hate it too because I always get sucked into fixing every small detail and getting things perfect. Having OCD is not a good thing when you code because nothing will ever be perfect.

“How will this class help those around me to develop?” – I am able to share the knowledge I have gained this week with my son, who is highly interested in to coding and being a computer programer.

L04: Weekly Reflection

Oh what a week! This class is really a “Ready, Fire, Aim” class. I feel that everything is backwards and I am relying heavily of Google to fill in the gaps for me. I wish we had office hours first thing on Monday morning so that I felt a little more prepared for the week ahead of me. I just keep telling myself “fake it till I make it!”

What I have learned this week, you ask. Well, after spending the last two weeks trying to come up with a site builder/hosting plan, I finally thought I had landed on using Weebly for both the site building and hosting. I felt pretty good about it and was excited, until I watched the Office Hours for the week and one of the first things said was that it was a bad idea to use Weebly like this because it could get super pricey. All I could think was, “Ahhh, where was this advice a week ago when I was hashing this all out.” =(

I really wasn’t sure what to do until I was reading the discussion boards and saw that a classmate’s husband was offering to provide a host through cPanel, I could use WordPress as the site builder for free, and I would only have to pay for the domain name to start out. It was an answer to my prayers! And yes… I prayed and half cried from feeling overwhelmed by everything this semester. I’m so close to graduation, but it still seems so far away. I think that’s what is called senioritis.

Anyway, I bought a domain from Namecheap.com and now I’m working on finishing my site map for the site and gathering everything that will go onto it. I have enjoyed brainstorming with my husband about the pictures and such. I’ve also been doing a lot of research on my new chosen site builder and host.

“How will this class help those around me to develop?”I feel that the classmate who offered to help host my website fits into this week’s answer. I don’t know if I’ve helped her develop in the sense of knowledge, but I do feel that the help I needed in the class gave her the opportunity to help someone (me) in need. This develops love and compassion, in my opinion, and it humbles and strengthens my testimony in the power of prayer.

L03: Weekly Reflection

I have talked in depth with my husband, Aaron, about what I’m learning in this class. Not only has it been fun, but I thought it would be a neat idea to have him to join me in the online web business I have to put together this semester. I would do all the work to make the site happen and he would be more of a supplier, per se.

Web business ideas:

1) Digital photography sales: Aaron and I are both into photography and, while I am a newbie compered to him, we have lots of photos that we could sell. He puts together and sells calendars each Christmas and has had many people offer him money for the rights to use his photos on their website or to make a canvas print. I suggested that I could put together a website displaying his photos for people to buy for personal use or pre-order calendars.

  • If we sold digital photos then we wouldn’t have to worry about shipping anything. We could even combine our utility business model with banner advertisements.
  • Selling the calendars would mean that we would have to hold inventory or make this only a seasonal thing during the holidays.
  • Right now Aaron doesn’t make any money on his calendars and often loses money doing it but he really loves making them.

2) An adventures travel blog: Aaron and I have done a lot of travel both inside and outside to US. We have tons of pictures hanging around from each trip that would be really fun to put into a blog. Some of the site would be about places to visit on vacation and some as suggested day or weekend places. We could even have adventure ranking stars or sweat drops that indicate how difficult the adventure would be.

  • To make money, this site would have to have some sort of affiliate or two connected to it. Some of the ideas I have thrown around have been site selling equipment that would need to be purchased to do the adventure or a place to purchase plane tickets. Some sort of banner marketing could work as well.
  • It would be a lot of work to organize all the pictures and write up something to go with each set of pictures, but it would be lots of fun. We thought about narrowing it down to a vacation that we have taking recently that has a lot of daily adventure we could cover and then grow from there, if we decide to upkeep the site.

“How will this class help those around me to develop?” – Getting the chance to work with my husband on the creation of my website will help us grow together as a couple and within our shared passions.

L02: Weekly Reflection

I am currently taking a human resource class and B 250 and this other course seem to go hand-in-hand, so there will be a lot of overlap in my thought process between these two classes. The theme for the week seemed to fall around leadership; whether it was leading a group to come to a unified decision on a product and business model or allowing others to lead me through I-Learn’s new interface.

For this post I would like to reference one of my favorite speakers of all time, Elder David A. Bednar. In February 2010, Elder Bednar sat down with Brother Ralph Christensen to talk about leadership within the work force and our lives. They talked about the six basic types of work that leaders need to do.

  1. Define direction
  2. Organize work
  3. Counsel together
  4. Build capability
  5. Accomplish work
  6. Render an account of the things that we do

I thought about these six steps while I worked on our first project and looked at what each project will have us working on throughout the course:

  1. Project 1 – Choose a product
  2. Project 2 – Create your website
  3. Project 3 – Create a Google AdWords account
  4. Project 4 – Optimize your site
  5. Project 5 – Optimize your site
  6. Project 6 – Install & use Google Analytics

I don’t know about you but I feel that the two lists fall right into place with each other. A great portion of Elder Bednar and Brother Christensen’s conversation circled the concept that leadership is about “both what you do and what you leave [behind, and] the most important thing you can leave are people who have increased in capacity and confidence.”

I started thinking about this class in this manner and asked myself “how will this class help those around me to develop?” I don’t feel as though this is a question that has a final answer to it. I hope that my answer is one that will change and grow from week to week and even year to year. As for now, my answer would be: I hope this class helps me grow in both my leadership practices and principles so that I can stand as a worthy light for those around me to want to follow me when I have a leadership role.