My name is Christine Springer, and I'm a paralegal and a marketer.
I recently decided to offer a hybrid startup package for small businesses, which includes an LLC or other new business entity and a website setup package.
Years ago when I started my business, I knew I was a good paralegal and could do a great job for clients, but I didn't know anything about marketing.
I certainly didn't know anything about how to manage my own website. I made several very expensive mistakes with my business website.
The first one was depending on a "business partner" who owned the website where I blogged. This was a WordPress website, which at the time was pretty much the industry standard for blogging. I could install the WordPress platform on my website but I had no idea how to make it look pretty on the front end of the website.
There was a red button at the top of the screen on the WordPress dashboard that you were supposed to click to update the security settings. I never clicked that button because I knew it would completely mess up the front end of the website and I wouldn't know how to fix it.
As time went on, the "business partner" disappeared and stopped responding to my messages for tech support. And guess what? The site got hacked and my content disappeared. A $45,000 mistake. OUCH.
The second mistake was depending upon my family member who rebuilt my website. He flaked too, and his server got hacked. It took my website down, and I didn't even know it. He didn't even tell me. It was just gone. Another expensive mistake.
I realized that if I was going to prevent these more of these kinds of expensive mistakes from happening again, I needed to find a blogging/website platform that I could manage myself.
It was just too expensive to rely on others to keep my website maintained. I'm not talking about monthly maintenance fees, either! Just keeping the site up seemed to be a challenge.
In 2014, the Ghost blog platform launched on Kickstarter. I am not an affiliate but they have been the best thing to happen to websites. Ghost is awesome because you can manage your website yourself.
You can read more about how I solved my technical challenges to blogging here.
I learned about setting up LLCs and other business entities working in law firms as a paralegal. I've set up hundreds of entities for new business owners, and I offer a unique package to get you off to a new start.
Here's what you get:
1) New LLC or other entity formation that includes:
A consultation, usually by phone or video call, where we'll discuss your business name, organization structure, domicile and other important information needed for setup
Check for name availability for your desired name; reserve name if requested
Preparation and submission of the Articles of Organization to form your new LLC
Arrange for publication, if necessary
Obtain your IRS tax identification number
Prepare Organizational Minutes and Resolutions for your first year in operation
Provide a basic Operating Agreement for a Sole Member LLC. Please note that if there are multiple members of the LLC, each of you should obtain your own legal counsel and negotiate the terms of your operating agreement.
Assemble and deliver your new company's corporate minute book
Post-organizational meeting by phone or video call to discuss your new legal entity and how to keep it in good standing
2) Website setup with the Ghost package
I actually like to get the branding nailed down for my own businesses before I start the LLC. If you don't have a domain name picked out yet, we can discuss a branding strategy for your new website, purchase the domain name, and then tie it together with the name of your LLC.
We will set you up with a Ghost hosting account (free for 14 days) and I'll install the Ghost.org platform on your site with a basic theme. There are free and paid themes you can use to change the front end of your website and many to choose from, so don't worry about spending money on a paid theme unless you just want to do that.
We also run your site through Cloudflare which helps prevent DDOS attacks and DNS spoofing. If you don't know what this is, no worries. It basically makes your website more secure and harder to hack. (It's not hosted on your brother's web server in his basement, which is what led to my website getting taken down the second time!)
Cloudflare distributes your web traffic across multiple servers so that if you do get attacked by hackers, your website is less likely to get completely shut down. And, it's free to use.
From there, I'll teach you how to manage your own website and how to customize your site with images and media that you choose. You won't need to pay someone every month to make updates to your website for you. You'll be able to do this yourself.
Of course, this assumes you are reasonably computer savvy and are up to the challenge of managing your own web assets. If not, no problem! We can discuss working together on an as-needed basis to manage your website for you.
The overall goal is to free you from expensive and low quality website services and save money for your startup.
Note that you will need to pay your own hosting fees directly to Ghost. It's a fully managed hosting solution so you don't need to worry about pushing the red button of death and messing up your site. They handle the updates for you.
Since I started using them ten years ago, my website has a 100% uptime.
Also note that filing and publication fees vary from state to state, and depend on the turnaround time you select. These are in addition to the cost for this package.
The total package price for these services is $1500. You'll be doing business with a real person who has been through starting a business and helped others through the process.
If you've read this far, you already read about my super expensive website mistakes, and I'll help you avoid those too, so you can focus on running your business instead of spending a lot of time figuring out how to do all of these things.