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Setting up a business (mainly e-commerce) - a couple of questions

(6 Posts)
HolidaysQueen Thu 24-Jul-08 10:07:08

DH and I want to set up our own business selling his photographs. He is a very good amateur photographer, and would love to do it as a career one day so we want to stick our toes in the water. Our plan is to start by selling his photographs (as photos, but also on cards, diaries, calendars etc) mainly online but also through local art shops, and then maybe expand to selling his photography services at a later date.

We don't know whether to set up our own company straight away or whether to just run things on an ad hoc basis at first to see whether it works before making a proper company out of it. We don't have to make any big investments up front so we could easily fund initial print runs of cards and an ecommerce site from our own cash to see how it goes.

My concerns with the former are that it could be a lot of time and effort and money for something that doesn't work, but my concerns with the latter are around the tax implications and around how we transfer something we've just done on an ad hoc basis into a legal entity at a later date.

Any quick answers, or good books/references about doing this?

Thank you!!

jofeb04 Thu 24-Jul-08 20:06:12


I've got my own business (birth supporter etc), but also sell on ebay.

I informed the inland rev, as that is a legal requirement. Took ten minutes on the phone!

I don't earn alot (at all really!), but still complete tax forms etc.


pickie Thu 24-Jul-08 20:17:12

I have an online business as well and Businesslink has been very good for me. Give them a call as they run (free) workshops on how to set up businesses plus have good grants as well, i.e I received an £500 grant towards my website and also a free web review which was very helpful.

Have an account manager with them and when I started it was all very small time but they really helped me focus and grow the business.

Again on the businesslink website there are questionnaires about what would be the best business structure for you, i.e self employed or limited and as Jofeb says do register with the IR from day one. They also run free workshop which are good.

re a website I wish I used a web designer from day one and not have done my own (lots of time and not very flexible and good looking). if you need his details let me know.
hope that helps

HolidaysQueen Sat 26-Jul-08 19:35:18

Thank you - that's really helpful! This is meant to be my maternity leave project (on top of having a baby of course...) and knew people on mumsnet would be able to help me out. I'm now able to tell DH I've started

Eddas Mon 28-Jul-08 06:32:45

there's no reason you can't set up as a sole trader or partnership and then create a limited company further down the line. You could always set up a company now in whatever name you want so that in the future you already have the name. It would involve doing dormant accounts whilst you aren't using it, which would cost a few hundred pounds a year.

You could contact an accountant for an initial meeting which are normally free. But you may be better off sticking with business link.

Be careful working whilst on ml though. If you are being paid statutory ml then it may mean you aren't actually entitled to it if you start off a self employed business.

sarkin Tue 29-Jul-08 15:12:47

I would set the business up and start making money worry about the tax after you have made the money. Its a nice headache to have, large tax bill lots of money made small tax bill close the business IYSWIM. If you nee to raise finance "Click here" they can organise commercial finance.

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