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BRAND NEW--Form Your Own Wisconsin Single Member LLC Video Tutorial Package

I have created a single member startup LLC package which contains a series of four educational videos whereby I walk the viewer through the key steps necessary to:

  1. Form and file articles of organization for their LLC with the state of Wisconsin

  2. File and obtain an employee identification number (EIN) number from the IRS, and

  3. Complete and adopt a simple single member LLC operating agreement for their new LLC, and

  4. Watch and learn about the steps necessary to operate and maintain the liability protection of their LLC after it has been formed and filed with the State of Wisconsin.

Click the the image below or click here to view this package in my online shop. Read my blog post below for my full explanation of how I hope this new package will be a valuable resource to solo entrepreneurs across the state of Wisconsin.

Form Your Own Single Member LLC Video Package by

Attorney Thomas B. Burton

I have struggled for years with the idea of how to bring a simple lower cost solution to entrepreneurs and startup for their need for cost effective legal education and support in the startup phase. One situation I have frequently encountered is a budding solo entrepreneur who wants to form a single member LLC to protect themselves from liability as they embark on a new business venture. The struggle in this situation is often the business is trying to bootstrap their startup costs with their own funds and they do not have a large budget for legal representation or advice. In this situation, many young entrepreneurs start their business as a sole proprietorship with no formal business entity in place to separate their personal liability from their business assets and liabilities. On the one hand, this is the cheapest option for getting your new business going, but on the other hand, it exposes you to unlimited personal liability for the liabilities of the business. Depending on your situation in life, and the assets you have accumulated for you and your family, risking all of your personal assets on a business that may or may not work out, is not always a good idea.

In addition, many new businesses are best served by getting a formal business entity in place right from the start because they can deduct the cost of forming that entity as part of their business startup expenses on their first tax return. In addition, I often advise businesses to disclaim the fact that they are in LLC in their business signs, advertising, letterhead, contracts, and business cards. In order to do so the business is often best served by picking a name that is the same as their LLC name and using it right from the get-go. This avoids the business having to spend valuable marketing dollars twice, once when they form an entity as a sole proprietorship and then months or years later when they decide to incorporate as an LLC.

I often encounter situations where an entrepreneur has set up a banking account purchased business cards and perhaps bought letterhead and signs for their business as a sole proprietorship before them come to meet with me to talk about setting up an LLC. Then I frequently feel bad when after I help them form an LLC I advise them that they should change all their advertising and public displays to include the name of the LLC in order to protect themselves from liability and notify the public that they are operating as a limited liability company. I see them calculating the costs in their head of re-printing signs, business cards, and letterhead and as a business owner myself, I understand all of the time and costs that go into branding a business. Dropping that brand and those various signs, business cards, and letterhead accumulated throughout the years can often add up to real costs in terms of dollars. Thus this issue has been one that I have puzzled over for many years, the conundrum of how to provide a low-cost but effective solution to help young entrepreneurs and business people that would take less of my time in order that I could provide it at a lower cost than my traditional full legal representation.

Just a few weeks ago I attended an event at the Brewing Projekt put on as part of the annual Startup Week in Eau Claire. Startup Week is a new event that brings together successful entrepreneurs, and budding entrepreneurs in a series of events throughout the week to encourage entrepreneurship in the Chippewa Valley. At the event, Will Glass, the owner of the Brewing Projekt talked about the many legal and regulatory hurdles he faced when he launched his own brewing company. He mentioned this aspect as one thing he wished he had known more about before launching his brewery. Because the alcohol industry is highly regulated at both the state and federal level, compliance with all of the laws is a major time-consuming part of his business. But even if you are not in the brewing industry, his mention of the legal aspects of starting a new business caused me to once upon think about this problem of how to provide cost effective legal solutions to budding entrepreneurs during the startup phase of their business.

Today I have come up with an idea that I hope will be successful and very useful to the many creative and hardworking entrepreneurs I meet who are coming up with new business ideas every day. These folks often have an idea that they want to try out in the marketplace, but they are often not sure if it will be a success until they enter the stream of commerce and test their business model. For many entrepreneurs, operating a lean business and keeping startup costs low is essential to their survival in the early years. I understand this as a business owner and as someone who started my own law office from scratch, with no money and no clients. I bootstrapped everything with my own resources and talents and purchased the initial equipment I needed to open my law office with my own personal funds, just like many entrepreneurs do every day. The solution to this quandary is one I hope will be very helpful to budding entrepreneurs no matter where they are located in the state of Wisconsin.

I have created a single member startup LLC package which contains a series of four educational videos whereby I walk the viewer through the key steps necessary to:

  1. Form and file articles of organization for their LLC with the state of Wisconsin

  2. File and obtain an employee identification number (EIN) number from the IRS, and

  3. Complete and adopt a simple single member LLC operating agreement for their new LLC, and

  4. Watch and learn about the steps necessary to operate and maintain the liability protection of their LLC after it has been formed and filed with the State of Wisconsin.

In this series of videos, I share my screen and allow the viewer to watch as I perform the above tasks on websites with the state of Wisconsin the Internal Revenue Service and inside Microsoft Word as I draft the operating agreement. The viewer can watch and listen with me and watch my screen as I move the mouse and type to see what I am doing. The viewer can pause the video and complete the same screen with either the state of Wisconsin or the IRS at the same time and then resume the video as I move to the next screen. In this way the viewer can take as little time or as much time as they wish moving through each step.

In about one hour I can walk the viewer through the state of Wisconsin website the IRS website and the custom form I have created in Microsoft word. I realize that most people will not be able to complete these tasks in under an hour but because I am familiar with each website and the form and have done this dozens of time I am able to do it all in under one hour. By using videos, the viewer can pause the video to take as much time as they need on each screen to complete the task, and then resume playing the video when they are done and ready to move on to the next section. In exchange for less than I would charge for one hour of my time the viewer can now obtain this video tutorial package and attempt to form their own single member LLC themselves.

I am aware that many entrepreneurs are go-getters in the type of people who by choice and sometimes necessity must do everything themselves in order to get their business going and make it successful. I respect and admire these people because I am one of them. I started my law firm from scratch as a sole proprietor and in the beginning, I scraped together my own money in order to put together about $3,000 to buy the hardware, software and equipment necessary get my law firm off the ground. I now spend thousands every year in terms of rent, practice insurance, state buyers, continuing education, software, internet, answering services and related office expenses in order to provide the highest quality legal services and advice to my clients.

I have found in my law practice, for me to meet with someone, obtain the necessary facts file and form all the requisite paperwork, compile the paper forms and return to the client it often takes me anywhere from five to eight hours (on average) to file and form a single member LLC with full service legal representation. Due to my cost to operate a full-service law firm I am unable to provide this service which takes me from 5 to 8 hours in exchange for 1 hour of pay (I currently bill at $250/hour for corporate business matters). I have a flat fee LLC package designed for entrepreneurs through my firm where I offer a complete startup package for just under $1,000 flat fee, but it still remains a challenge to complete all of the tasks needed for the client in less than 5 hours.

However, using this new Form Your Own Single Member LLC Video Package, if you choose to do it yourself you can take as much time as you need to complete these forms correctly. In addition, the opportunity cost to you to spend 5 or 8 or 10 hours forming your own LLC is lower than it is for me to take time away from other paying clients to do it for you. I typed this blog post today to try to explain my reasoning of how I am attempting to bring lower cost civil legal services to the public, to people who are go-getters and the type of person who wants to attempt to do this themselves. I feel that this new video package can help fill a void between people who are willing to pay for some guidance and advice, and people who need or desire full legal representation.

If you are a multi-member LLC or a business that is in a complicated or regulated industry or you have other special needs, I continue to advise you to obtain the services of a full-service law firm and lawyer. However I feel this new package can be a great resource for budding entrepreneurs who otherwise might start their business as a sole proprietorship, or who might seek out some sort of online legal website which provides them simply with forms and some filing instructions, but does not actually provide them with step by step guidance as they go through the websites necessary to file and form their LLC, and obtain an EIN.

Furthermore, when I recently tried to use one of the popular “Do It Yourself” legal websites to form and LLC, I found the price they advertise quickly escalates as they seek to sell you add-on services, many of which you do not need, throughout every step of the process. Since I am a lawyer, and familiar with the laws of the State of Wisconsin, I realized that many of the add-on services they were selling were either not needed by a Single Member LLC or even if they might be needed, were an unnecessary luxury in the startup stage of most businesses. However, for someone encountering these terms for the first time, the way this website marketed these services could be described as misleading.

For example, the website I mentioned above attempted to sell me a service whereby some company would serve as the Registered Agent for my new LLC for an annual fee. While this is certainly an acceptable business, and is perhaps more common in other states, what they do not tell you is that many people simply serve as their own Registered Agent for their new business, and many sole members LLCs serve as the Registered Agent of their business forever. Some businesses as they grow and become larger, may choose to hire a third party to serve simply as Registered Agent, for the receipt of legal summons, and other legal paperwork, but in my experience this is rare for most sole member LLCs in the state of Wisconsin. In fact, if you are a single member LLC it often behooves you to serve as the initial Registered Agent to make sure you get the annual registration statement from the State of Wisconsin, whereby you certify each year that your LLC remains active and in good standing. It is only by returning this postcard to the state of Wisconsin, that contains your annual report, and paying the annual filing fee (currently $25) that you can keep your LLC in good standing in the state of Wisconsin. If you fail to file this postcard and pay the fee each year, your LLC will be suspended (or what they call “administratively dissolved” by the State of Wisconsin)

That I just one example of an add-on service the a company attempted to sell me as I tried to form my own single member LLC online with them. Throughout the process, if you were not careful, they could quickly double or triple the initial cost quoted to you through the sale of these add on services. Additionally, I feel it can cause a new entrepreneur to question if they are doing things right because it takes more work to “opt out” of buying the additional add-on services than to just add them to your package out of an abundance of caution. With my video package, I tell you exactly which fees you need to pay, and what you need to do to file your Articles of Organization with the state of Wisconsin, pay your filing fee of $130 online, and file and obtain (for free) your EIN number from the IRS.

It is my hope that this new package is a valuable resource to many budding entrepreneurs. I plan to tweak and adjust this package as necessary as we go forward and I hope to find other areas of law where I can offer a similar educational package in the future. Please see the package itself for all the terms of what is included with your purchase. Please be aware that purchasing this package is designed for someone who wants education on how to do these tasks themselves, and is not legal advice or full service legal representation from my office. In fact, if you purchase the package, I will not even know you have purchased it until I get a receipt from my website, because the package will be sent to you instantly upon payment, whether it is a weekend or a weekday and whether I am in the office or not at the time of your purchase. If you have any questions or comments or have a suggestion on some sort of legal service you feel you could do yourself but you would like some added educational component from a licensed lawyer before attempting it yourself I would welcome your comments at my office email. In today's changing world, where YouTube is often the first place people go for advice on home improvements, plumbing, car repairs, and many other do-it-yourself endeavors, I hope that these videos are one small step in I can take in helping to provide legal educational materials to many entrepreneurs across the state of Wisconsin.

© 2019 Law Office of Thomas B. Burton. All Rights Reserved.

For questions about this package, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact my office.

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