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How Starting an LLC Is Like Online Dating

A woman with red hair looking at a laptop with interest.

Ready to convert your sole proprietorship into a partnership? Sorry-not-sorry for the business-nerd-dad-joke. While starting an LLC and starting a romantic relationship bring different kinds of fulfillment, this Valentine’s Day, we’re looking at what they have in common.

Expect Regional Variations

Trying to start an LLC in Washington isn’t quite the same as trying to start an LLC in Texas, just like trying to find a date in Washington isn’t the same as trying to find a date in Texas. The governments of each state will have different rules for potential business owners to follow. The forms you have to fill out will vary between states as well.

Now, obviously the government doesn’t control online dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, but there are still regional variations around what’s acceptable. Posting a photo of yourself in a Dallas Cowboys jersey would probably play better in Texas than in Washington, for instance. In Washington, you’re better off posting an image of yourself holding a cup of coffee and wearing either a puffer jacket or Seahawks jersey.

When you’re starting an LLC, do as much research as possible before you start filling out paperwork. Your Secretary of State’s website is a good resource for people looking to start an LLC, although you shouldn’t expect to find many dating tips there.

One more thing: if you date men, you should plan on seeing photos of them posing with dead fish. For whatever reason, those type of photos are popular in all 50 states.

You May Have Privacy Concerns

The Internet is full of wonderful people looking for love, but it’s also full of strange people who might try to steal your Social Security number and/or cat.

Someone starting an LLC can also have valid privacy concerns. Hiring a registered agent can alleviate some of those worries if, for example, you don’t want to put your home address on paperwork that will become part of your state’s public record.

You should not attempt to hire a registered agent to go with you on your date, however, as they exist to serve your business needs, not your personal needs. Ask them to receive legal mail on your behalf, but do not ask them to receive terrible pickup lines like “Do you like my shirt? It’s made of boyfriend material.”

You’ll Have to Answer Lots of Questions

Just like you want to get to know potential dates, the state also wants to get to know potential businesses. You may be asked to answer questions about the type of business you want to run, for instance, so make sure you’ve worked that out in advance. The good news is that the questions the state asks you won’t be as personal as the questions a potential date asks you.

In fact, if you see any questions like “Do you want children?” or “How would you feel about leaving everything behind to raise emus in Idaho?” then you should put down your pen and/or mouse, because you are not looking at an official government document.

Results Will Take Time

You probably aren’t going to meet the love of your life the very first time you agree to meet someone for drinks on a random Tuesday night. Patience is a virtue when it comes to both dating and starting LLCs, because your LLC generally won’t be an overnight success either. You need time for people to discover your brand.

Hard work almost always takes a while to see results. And while going out for coffee with someone because you both like Ted Lasso isn’t the same kind of work as, say, obtaining a business license for your new LLC, it can still be draining.

That leads to one final point: make sure you’re only doing the work that’s worth it to you. If you feel strongly about your business idea, then keep on working until you turn it into the LLC of your dreams. If you feel strongly that online dating is the best way for you to meet someone worth getting to know better, then keep swiping right and left on potential matches until the day you can delete your apps entirely.

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