Monday, February 11, 2013

Having a Small Business in NYC

So many people flock to New York City - the city of opportunity & lights - to come visit, to come live, or to come try to make their lively hood. I've lived in New York my whole life, born and raised on the south shore of Long Island and then moving to Queens (part of NYC) three years ago when my husband and I bought our condo. Buying a home was the first time I realized how much of a struggle it is to live in this part of the country (world). Everything is so beyond expensive that it actually disgusts me. When we were buying our 925sqft in Queens, I had a friend that was buying a 2,300sqft home in upstate NY for less than we were paying. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous, and I'd be lying again if I said my husband and I haven't thought about leaving NY. But at the end of the day, this is where our family and friends are, and I think that if I ever left the smell of low tide and ocean, I'd be heartbroken.

Not only are the costs of living in New York ridiculously expensive,  but starting a business is no small chunk of change either. If you live within the 5 boros of NYC, you are required to publish your business in a reputable publication in order to validate the business. If you don't publish, you're business and Tax ID number will become void. There's a good chance that technically I'm a void business right now, because I haven't yet published. I've been dragging my feet because I think it's the stupidest thing in the world, it's super expensive (between $1,000-$2,500) and it seems like a way for NYC to take a crap on small businesses and milk start-ups for whatever money they've saved or borrowed. Regardless of how much I hate the rule, we all still need to do it, and I do plan on having my business published within the next few weeks, even if it puts me in debt.

While each county is every so slightly different, the following steps seem to be the same everywhere. So, if you live anywhere within NYC, plan on doing the following: To have your business published you need to call your county clerk to let them know you started a business, then send/fax them a copy of your article of organization and then they'll tell you what two publications you must publish with. I think that's the part that bothers me the most - that they dictate where you have to publish, and you really have no choice (at least that's how it works in Queens). Anyway, you have to then go and publish an announcement stating that your company is open for business. The cost depends on the publication, some are very inexpensive and some are extremely expensive - but again, you have no choice because it's dictated by the county clerk's office. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my publications aren't more than $1,500 because any more than that and I won't be able to do it until I have more dough saved up. Also, I do plan on begging the clerk to please show mercy and not give me expensive publications. I am not above begging.

Since I'm on the topic of expenses, and money, and living in NYC, I thought I would open up about something else that has been very much on my mind lately.

It's almost impossible to live in this area without two incomes, and they need to be two good incomes. Luckily, my husband and I are very comfortable right now because we both work full time, however, my ultimate goal in life is to grow Believe Notes into my full time job. I'm not saying I want to leave my full time jobe right now, because I happen to love what I do, but I also know that when the time comes to have children (and not any time soon, btw), I want to be present to raise those children. While I have a ton of respect for successful working moms, I don't know that it'll be the right thing for me. I want to be a kick-ass mom that is home to raise children and also bring in an income. It's an absolutely terrifying future goal because I have no idea if I'll be able to ever bring in the type of income that we'd need to live off of and have the type of life I want to have. To be honest, sometimes I feel a little bitter, because if I were living anywhere else right now (except for the other top 5 most expensive cities in the US) I would be able to comfortably call my current income from Believe Notes a true income that I could maybe live off of. Here in NY, I need to make at least 4 times what I'm currently making in order to be able to move back to Long Island and even contemplate leaving corporate America.

Not being one to shy away from a challenge, I am giving myself 2013 to really push every limit that exists. I'm just curious to see what type of potential is in my little business, and how much more efficient and profitable I can make it. I have to start thinking like a business person that is strategic about the future and try to figure out where I want to be and if I can actually get there. While I love my job, and I really don't want to leave, I also adore stationery, and stationery will give me the flexibility to someday have a better work/life balance situation. And of course, the fact that I live in such an expensive area just compounds my anxiety about the future - but I'll continue to work my butt off (in all jobs) until I know I can confidently go in the direction I need to.


  1. Hi Jackie! I too have dreams of ditching the corporate life and thriving with only my shop's income (tough to do in Chicago too). I can't wait to hear about your accomplishments in 2013 that will make this dream a reality for you! Best of luck!

  2. Thank you, Andrea!! And good luck to you as well :)

  3. Hey girl! I just did my publications and they weren't THAT bad. It still sucks! But I think mine were less than $800. It's awful because you are literally just giving money away...actually, it's are publishing your contact info so that other businesses (aka SPAM) can reach you. I hope you signed up for a registered agent when you did your LLC, otherwise I've heard you will start getting junk mail from everyone under the sun! Also, good luck sweet talking the county clerk lady...she's pure evil! I'm practically southern I'm so sweet on the phone, but this woman (the one for Kings County) hates her life and everyone elses. Don't even think about asking any questions about how the process works...talking to her should be a new torture method!! Ugh!

    1. Ha! Cassi you have me laughing out loud! I actually got out of this completely - I'm changing my business name and upgrading to an S-Corp, which doesn't need to be published! So I don't need to lay on the sweets with the grumpy clerks!


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