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Task: Organizing Your Small Business Or Side Gig

Maybe you sell on eBay or Etsy, baked goods at the weekend flea market, drive for Uber, or rent out a spare room on Airbnb.

You might also freelance or do contract work. It might be a hobby on the side or something that helps you make ends meet. Anything that brings you cash is a plus. But what would happen to it if you weren’t around to do it anymore? Here’s a template to reveal the inner workings of your enterprise so important people in your life know how it operates:

  • Explain your process: What platform do you use? How do people contact you? How do you handle transactions?
  • Is it a “side hustle” or a “side gig?”: Is this something you love to do (crafts, baking, photography) or are you supplementing your income by driving (Uber, Lyft), delivering (Amazon, Grubhub), walking dogs (Rover, Wag), or performing random services (TaskRabbit, Craigslist)?
  • Money Part 1: What are the expenses and how much does it cost? (Be honest.)
  • Money Part 2: How much do you make and where does the money go? Is it a separate business account or your primary checking or savings? (Be even more honest.)
  • Money Part 3: Do you report this income? (Remember, honest!)
  • Papers: Where do you keep any relevant or necessary paperwork, permits, or tax returns?
  • Digital Assistance: What sort of digital services or tools do you use?
    • Is there a separate email?
    • Have you created a site on your own or do you use a service like Squarespace or Wix? (The details, of course, should be included with your passwords.)
    • Do you use a credit card processing system like Square or PayPal Here?
    • If you regularly ship things through the mail, do you have a separate FedEx, UPS, or USPS account? Are there any other services or details involved?
    • What about purchasing packing materials, using a newsletter platform, or financial software?
  • The Future of the Biz: What would you want done with this if you weren’t around to do it? Should it be shut down forever or is there someone else ready to take the reins?

Whoever is tasked with either closing or taking over your venture needs to be careful when money is involved. For example, if you have $2,000 in your eBay or Amazon seller account, they can’t simply take that money as if they found it on the street. Your executor needs to include it with the rest of your accounts or valuable assets and pay taxes if any are due.

Side Businesses

If you have a small or family business include the information mentioned above with some of the other factors that come with being a business owner. This includes obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN), having separate bank accounts and financial tracking methods, renting a location, hiring employees, and spending all your time making it into something sustainable.

A business has a life of its own and requires a plan of its own. If you’ve created a succession plan, the same way we did for Everplans, that document serves as the guide. If you have a business and haven’t created a succession plan, no matter how basic, then your enterprise can fall into chaos if something happens to you. If you’ve created a plan and haven’t told anyone, how would your family know what to do?

We suggest having a conversation with your heirs, keeping your succession plan among your important papers or, if you went the extra mile, on file with your attorney, who we’re hoping will be prominently listed among your contacts.

The Task

Use the information provided above to organize all the information about your side gig or small business in a way that another person in your life can take it over or shut it down.

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