Category Archives: Art Business

Setting Up A Small Business In San Jose

Now I have my work visa I can reopen my etsy business… So heres how I did that. This is just advice and a good starting point, but please check for yourself as rules and laws change. In California setting up a business is a little more complicated as they have more rules than most of the states in the USA.

So Where Do You Go First?

Step 1. Advice

If your a complete beginner then a great starting point is Score They are brilliant they have lots of courses to get you started and your learn everything about different types of business entities, business planning, marketing and more. You can also arrange to have a mentor with them too.

Before I could reopen my etsy shop, my first port of call was the local town hall for advice and mine was San Jose City Hall. They will tell you to obtain a sellers licenses and a Fictious Business Name. Once you have that then you can register your business for tax with City Hall. There are quiet a few other steps and it can be confusing so heres a breakdown of things you will need to do, depending on your business. I work from home and sell on line so this is what I did.

Step 2. Register Business Name: County Clerk Recorder 

Address: 70 W. Hedding Street, San Jose, CA 95110

When registering your business name it all depends on a few things…. If you use your name for your business you do not need to register that. The best advice I can offer is to go direct to Small Business Ally, I got this information from San Jose Town, but your advised to email them first, you just can’t go in and expect to see him or her. For City of San Jose, its:

Juan F. Borrelli, AICP he is there Small Business Ally.

www.sanjoseca.gov/businesscoach

Step 3. Sellers License – Sales & Use Permit (Seller’s Permit) FREE

All businesses selling or leasing tangible property must obtain a Seller’s Permit. I got that from the “State Board of Equalization”

Address: 250 S. 2nd Street, San Jose, CA 95113,

When applying for your sellers licence you will need

1. Bank Address:

2. Suppliers Address: e.g. I used Michaels for some of my supplies so I used them.

3. Fictitious Business Name which lasts 5 years or if you use your own name you don’t need to apply for a Fictitious Name (but please check for yourself as rules change and every city has its own set of rules.

4. Tax ID also known as EIN – I don’t use this atm as its just me, but I might change later.

A Heads up currently the Sales Tax rate in San Jose is 9.25%

Step 4. Registering for Business Tax

You obtain this from your local Town Hall. Mine was San Jose City Hall.

In the reception they will send you to counters 1 and 2 (they may change this in the future but its a heads up) The guys and girls there are very helpful  and they will give you a form to fill in. Registering your business costs $250 a year. You only have to register once, but this fee is payable every year. There do offer a waiver if you earn less than $23,000 a year, and theres a form for that too.

Step 5. Learn More About How Sales Tax/ Use Tax Works.

Go back to the “State Board of Equalization” they have a few free courses on sales tax and more and will help you with everything you need to know for filing sales taxes and Use Tax.

Step 6. Setting up a Business Bank account.

As I run a small home creative business my best advice in the early stages is to find a business account that charges you no fees or low fees to start up. I personally would use a credit union. I use Keypoint Credit Union, they offer a FREE Business account with no fees.

When setting up your account take all your business documents with you, they will need to check over all your credentials.

Sellers License.

Business Registration

Work Permit EAD

Social Security 

Home address, Business address if different

Step 7. Find A Good Accountant.

At the end of you need to file your schedule C for business, I was referred to my accountant and he is brilliant. As a newbie to the USA and filing taxes here, its a must to start off with your right foot forward…

Once I contacted my accountant he called me and talked me through my taxes. He gave me a list of items he required on the form filling so he could fill in my forms, and do my books for me at the end of the year.  My first year completing my tax was painless.

Never be frightened to ask questions every step of the way when dealing with your business and as a newbie in the US everything is run differently here its not like your home.

Step 8. Keep Great Book Keeping…

Moving to San Jose, Silicon Valley, California USA & Closing Down My Business for 90 days.

I’ve been living in the San Jose since May 2016, I’m all settled in now sort of 😉 This is my first blog in a very long time. Its not been the easy moving to the other side of the pond and settling into a new country, but it has been made a little easier as we relocated with Apple and they have helped us every step of the way. Relocating to another country permanently is not like being a full time tourist. Its a lot of paperwork (mountains of it) and waiting its taken over two years to get our green cards. Taxes are hIgh here and learning an alien tax system is mind boggling you definitely need an accountant to make any sense of it. 

We had two options of moving to the USA with a company and one is with a H1B Visa or an L1/L2 visa. We came in under L1 and L2 spouse visa, this was great for me as I only had to wait 90 days to work, while I applied and waited for my Work Visa.

H-1B Visas means the spouse of the partner who comes into the USA cannot work for 2 years. This is pretty terrible in many ways for families moving here. Silicon Valley, California is a very expensive place to live, despite the good wages in the Tech industry, you do need two incomes coming in to help pay for the high prices here for everything. Another issue which is hard for the spouse is they have to give up there job or business… Having to close the door to your much loved business and all the hard work and love you put into it can be devastating. so I’m glad we did not come in on the H-1B Visa. More info on H-1B Visa

L-1 Visa is a another option of moving to the USA as an employee who has worked for company for at least 1 year.  More on L-1 Visa.

Tools of My Trade

queenstownlake

We arrived in New Zealand just 10 days ago, so its been all go since we got here, today we our settled in our lovely new home just outside of Queenstown, and without doubt this is one of the most beautiful places I have lived, its breath taking here. Our first few days we stayed with friends in Auckland before we flew into Queenstown flying in over Lake Wakatipu.

As a traveling artist, with the fact that I fly from country to country, I really do have to think about my weight allowance, the normal allowance is  23kg’s checked and 7kgs carry on. I’m often quiet shocked at the lack of personal items I can have in my luggage due to my artistic endeavours. As we just recently left Thailand for 6 months to explore New Zealand. I know that this time the tools of my trade in my check allowance was 10kgs, leaving 13 for everything else, this is not an ideal situation but its just bearable at the moment, I bought more than I needed this time as I was unsure whether I could get everything I needed here to start with, so I came well prepared. We have a base in Thailand, so its easier to leave a few items behind, and the country is so affordable that rent is really cheap. Apart from our base we rent fully furnished places where ever we can. Heres a list of my items that I bought with so that I can carry on creating where ever I go.

My essential items

Laptop

Scanner

Wacom Tablet

Camera

Phone

Items that I can pick up everywhere.

Art paper

Drawing pencils

Colored pencils

Acrylic paints

Jewellery Supplies

My laptop is my number one item that I can’t live without, without it I could not keep in touch with family, friends, and run my online business. These days we have so many programs that we can use on the computer that its almost limitless. It can be easy to take it for advantage when you use it every day, but lets think about it for a minute. What do you use your computer/laptop for?

Sending & receiving emails

Social networking.

Online banking

Buying

Selling

Book keeping

Account Setting

Data Storing – writing, creating, singing

Music Making

Online business

telephone, face time chatting

google, bing for worldwide learning without leaving your chair.

Latest around the world news

weather

photo sharing

whats going on event planning

and so much more, our laptops are quiet remarkable and I’m sure you can add more to this list too. What else will our computers be able to in the near future? So Data protection and secure internet using is a must.

I’m still a traditional artist at heart and I do love creating on paper, and its a great way for me to spend some time unplugged from the computer screen and get some balance back into my life creating with raw materials. So for this I need a scanner so that I copy my art and put it online.

I also have wacom tablet, I use it for adding special effects, touch ups and enhancing certain areas of my art. I’m not really a digital artist, but I am inspired by some of and you what some of you can create, theres so many amazing special effects its awe inspiring and I would really love to develop that area more.

My camera and phone, are also essential items, because without them then I could not take great photos or videos of my products and share my experiences with you.

Finally all my pencils and paints and paper a blank canvas to show a story of inspiration within creation, cause we humans do love to be inspired and inspire. My travels give me so much inspiration.

Someone Is Using My Art – How To Address It & Look At The Positive.

stolen

When you first read the headline to this blog post, the first thing you think of is, how positive is it when someone takes your artwork and uses it for themselves When your the one, who put all your hard work into the painting?

This is a fair statement to make, and I have thought of this myself, but my husband made me realise this. The first thing to think of is your artwork has reached a stage when someone else considers that your art is worthy of taking, and in my mind thats a positive thing. Why? I here you ask? Advertising is my first answer, first of all someone else is promoting your art and they love it so much to take it in the first place. Now I’m not condoning the fact that they stole the right of my or your artwork, but I’m trying to tell you to look at the positive rather than the negative first.

I know your first reaction what if what there selling your art as poor quality as they stole is from the internet. As most of us use poor quality jpg’s and pngs on the internet, which normally has a watermark on it. So somehow will have to try and remove the watermark, and badly before they use the image. So what are you going to do about it, it has already happened and you cannot do anything to change the fact, except take proper control to first contact them and then contact the platform they were selling your work from, in my case Etsy. Most people who do that will normally take your art down and the Etsy  could shut the seller down.

So lets move in the Positives.

The first one is your art loved enough by someone who feels they can make money, this is great not only because they have the confidence to put your artwork onto there product they feel they can make money out of it. So try and find out what they did and how they used it and maybe you can offer a similar service in your business model.

The next one is FREE ADVERTISING… that means someone put money into there business hense marketing your art, that you never had too, this is a sign of success even though it came from a negative. You might be getting frustrated by now, because you might not be making a living from your artwork yet, just like me, but never the less its a sign of a first green shoot, a seed that you sowed and is growing. That in itself is priceless, its a confirmation that your heading in the right direction and your work is getting seen.

9 times out of 10 the way you found out about this is by a FAN or SOMEONE IN YOUR COMMUNITY… After a few or many years you start to realise your dream that you want to become a artist and try to make money from the things that you love to do. Because of the person you are, you naturally want to share your experience and help others to grow too, so here comes the fans of your art along with a thriving community that is there to support you and its these amazing folk who notice when something is astray and tell you about it. I can say a whole lot more than Wowsa folks. Thank you very much to all of you. Now you have found caring folk who want to help you and that is far beyond priceless its touching to the Soul. The main point here I want to make is no matter who we are and what we do in life most of us believe in the experience. The moments in time when you are present. If your like me we live for all the moments in our lives and we appreciate every second, so its great to turn as much as we can into a positive. Without my fans and my community I would not be able to do what I do, because you are the ones that enjoy what I do and add the real value in my life and that is creating. Hopefully inspiring you to follow in my footsteps. Some of you reading this will be the inspiration that inspired me and to you I carry on this message of positive thought, emotion and confirmation that your dreams are worth reaching for.

The least I can do is send a thank you gift to those who helped me find out and report the person or business. Which leads me on to “that person may be shut down and they will be known for stealing art”. They will have valuable lesson to learn here. Do not steal from others in order to be in business. You must be fair with your customers because they are huge part of your life. Most of us who buy from you want you to be honest and trust worthing more than the product itself, so have us in your heart when you do business.

As for the business concerned I received an apology email for them today which is the first I have ever received. I really appreciate  that, if it was up to me I would not want there business shut down, but unfortunately its out of my control. Etsy has its own rules on copyright so were see what happens next. At the end of the day they did something wrong and will have to take responsibility for there actions.

Lastly networking, share your story because the chances are that there are other artists like you that have had a similar problem and you may be able to offer advice to help them. We all want to live in a world where we can help each other.

Negatives

1. Someone stole your art work.

2. They are selling it and making money.

3. They are not using good quality images, therefore showing your art in bad quality.

I guess you may find other  negatives, but these are the main ones that I can think of at the moment.

Positive.

1. You art is loved enough by someone who feels they can make money.

2. Free Advertising

3. This is a sign of success.

4. 9 times out of 10 the way you found out about it, is by a FAN or SOMEONE IN YOUR COMMUNITY…

5. That person  may be shut down and they will be known for stealing art.

6. Networking.

 

Different Ways To Earn A Living Online

pac

On my last post about traveling-a-total-rethink-of-how-to-do-business I spoke a little about different ways to earn a living on line. So heres a quick refresher.

  • Commissions
  • Website design
  • Sales
  • Tattoo Flash
  • Competitions, always brings in commissions too ;)
  • Logos
  • Book Illustrations
  • Royalties from sites like Zazzle and licensing my art
  • Affiliates although I don’t earn to much from this, but every little helps.

Website, Gallery, Shop

If your an artist like me, then I’d start with your own website, this is your portfolio a showcase of your work and products. Make it professional. Over the years I have taught myself to build my own website, which allows me complete control on what I want to do and show. I’m not a programmer but there are plenty of websites that have basic websites you can use and customise. I use rapid weaver for macs and I’m happy  with them. Doing it yourself can save a lot of money to begin with especially if you don’t have alot of money. If you have the money then you can pay someone to do it for you, which will free up your time to create.

Now you are thinking of your website, you want to think about what you want from it. Your website can be your portfolio, shop, blog and connection tool. People want to connect to you and trust you, if they are parting with there cash for services and goods then they need to know you. To be honest this is the same for anywhere online or in this world.

Shopping Sites

I use Etsy as its especially for artists. Its free to open a shop all you need is a paypal account and a bank visa card. Etsy makes its money when you list an item and that costs $.20 per item and they make 3% on a sale,  I love it. Its simple to set up and use, with online community and help every step of the way. A lot of folks use this as there main website. As an Etsy store holder you get regular emails on all kinds of advice too.

Etsy I love this place and this is where I sell most of my products

Ebay – I personally don’t use, but other artists have made a success with it so its worth mentioning.

Zazzle – A free shop where you can upload your art and put it onto all kinds of goods and make money when an item sells as Royalties

Deviant Art – upload artwork to sell prints

Society6 – upload artwork to sell prints, iphone cases, pillows and more

Online Free lance jobs

When I started out I got work through people I met, but this was difficult as I was always moving on, eventually I found Elance, a site a lot like a job center where you could find work and bid for it, this was really great for me as it was free to start up. When I gained the courage I would pay $10 a month for 20 credits which would allow me bid for 20 jobs worth up to $500 a job. Through elance I found another site called createmytattoo, which is where I mainly get a lot of work today designing tattoos, my bread and butter money. Greats sites to look at to start are…

Elance

Freelancer

Freelance Switch.

There are so many sites out there now that you can almost find anything that suits your needs. More and more people are getting online and our technology is changing fast. And the internet has given us new opportunities that were never there before.

Competitions

Designs By Humans – Competions for designing t-shirts.

Create My Tattoo – Design tattoos

This sums up some of the sites I use to do business and help my business grow, and this is just the beginning. There are many other websites out there that do similar things that I have not come across  as yet, one thing I can be sure of is change and how you buy your goods today can change tomorrow, but one things remains to be the most important in this world and that is trust within business, so always go above and beyond when you deal with your future customer. When the put there trust in you and you give it back they will come back for life.

Past Posts On Traveling Artist:

Part 1    Introduction To Becoming A Traveling Artist

Part 2    Why did I leave the Uk? Sun, Sand and Beaches

Part 3  Traveling A Total Rethink Of How To Do Business