By John Meyer
In less than a decade, the concept of blogging has evolved from a creative method of getting one’s opinion out for public consumption to a sizable Internet subculture populated by skilled professionals. Once the term “blogger” entered the lexicon, blogging became a business — big business — contingent upon a given blog’s content and reader traffic.
Those who blog as a revenue-generating business have significantly more vested interest in their blogging endeavors than causal bloggers, and thusly must give thought to protecting themselves and their interests. Two ways to CYA (Cover Your Assets) are through incorporation or forming an LLC. Both offer benefits, both serve as insurance, and both may be viable options if your blogging has reached a high level. Here are some advantages to consider while looking at the incorporation and LLC options.
- If you’re thinking of your blog as a stepping-stone to larger goals, incorporation or formation of an LLC can add credibility. Look at either option as a way of making you a professional in a sea of amateurs. By differentiating your blog with the addition of Inc. or LLC, you will be more marketable (some outsourcers will not deal with individual 1099s as contributors).
- As your blog effort grows into a legitimate business entity, it may become an important generator of revenue and readership traffic. As such, you may lay out a preliminary plan for selling sometime in the future. Through incorporation or formation of an LLC, you will transform your blog into an official asset that can be transferred or sold relatively easily. Also, for tax purposes, there won’t be any gray area as your blog is a legally recognized business, and is treated accordingly by seller, buyer, investor, etc.
- Another important advantage of forming an LLC or corporation has to do with personal asset protection. Once your blog is an Inc. or LLC, the entity you choose will help place a wall between your personal and business assets. This is particularly important for bloggers who maintain ownership of homes, vehicles, boats, or sundry assets with considerable monetary value. While it won’t protect you from copyright infringement (if you copy-and-pasted text from a copyrighted source), it will help the court see your blog as a distinct business separate from your personal assets.
- The benefits of incorporating or forming an LLC are not confined to asset protection, credibility enhancement, etc. Either option can also serve to safeguard your professional focus and help maintain your blog as a business. While it’s easy to conceive of being one’s own boss, the actual start-up and operation of an entrepreneurial venture is not for the faint of heart — nor those lacking 100% commitment. Taking the plunge into incorporation or forming an LLC legitimizes you as a business operator, and your blog as a business entity. Your mindset will need to be businessperson rather than hobbyist, and your efforts will need to be fully targeted to making your blog successful, economically, intellectually, and professionally.
Though these considerations are not all-inclusive of what benefits and protections becoming an Inc. or LLC can offer you, they do present fodder to evaluate as a blogger. Is incorporation the best option? Is forming an LLC? Take stock of your blog business, fairly assess your professional and personal goals, then make an educated decision.
John Meyer is head of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing at The Company Corporation. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and connecting them to resources that help them thrive. He is also a political strategist and art collector in his free time. Follow him at @Company_Corp.