A common question I get is,
Can I have all of my brands, projects, or businesses in the same LLC?
By the end of this video and post, you’ll know:
- How to decide if you should have multiple businesses under an LLC
- When it’s a bad idea to combine multiple projects, brands, or businesses in the same LLC.
Watch the short version
- Curious about the 13-questions I talk about in the video? You can read them all in this massive resource about if an LLC is right for your business.
- Want to hire an attorney to create your LLC instead of DIY’ing it? Then watch this episode of Ask Kiff to learn how to find the right attorney.
- Think that you might use LegalZoom rather than hiring an attorney? Then read this blog post about why you should do so carefully.
- Learn more about the artist’s Courtyard membership community here.
Are you overwhelmed by the legal jargon associated with creating an LLC for your creative business?
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(If you use the above Amazon affiliate link, I’ll make a small commission, but it doesn’t change the price you pay.)
Should you have multiple businesses under an LLC?
The short answer is that you can have multiple businesses under one LLC umbrella if you are okay with them impacting each other.
The longer answer is there are many times when it’s perfectly fine to have multiple brands or projects in the same LLC. But there are other times when it can be a bad decision.
How do you know which one you fall into?
When you put multiple brands, projects, or businesses in the same LLC, there is no fence between those businesses. Everything in one LLC is the same “legal person”. And so everything in the LLC is one and the same.
This means if something goes wrong with one brand, it impacts all the other brands in that same LLC umbrella. The fence will still stand between things that happen in your business and your personal life, but there won’t be any distinction between your businesses impacting each other.
When I’m wearing my “Kiff the Lawyer” hat, I represent a lot of jewelry brands. And many of my clients have multiple brands. They have a high-end line, that maybe is customs, one-of-a-kind, or bridal jewelry. And they have a production line at a more accessible price point. Often one of these is under their own name and the other is under a brand/trade name.
And for these clients, we often put both of these brands into the same LLC. Because they are fine with one of these brands impacting the other.
I also have a lot of clients that have a handmade business but also coach handmade business owners about how to run their businesses. These clients often want these businesses in different LLCs. Because they don’t want to risk having the coaching business impact their steady, stable handmade business income that they are using to live on while they build up their coaching business.
Got legal overwhelm? Learn how to protect your ass(ets) without legal confusion
Deciding if an LLC is right for your creative business is just one of the action items I help you complete as part of the Legal Roadmap. It’s a straightforward strategy to get all your legal ducks in a row.
When you buy the Legal Roadmap for just $20, you’ll get the easiest way to build your business on a solid legal foundation. And you’ll have access to a private 24/7 community of creatives and a library of 20+ checklists, templates, and quick videos helping you run your creative business professionally + legally.
How to decide what’s right
The reality is that I walk clients through the same questions I go through with clients when we are trying to decide to become an LLC. These same questions help them decide if they are comfortable with having multiple brands or businesses in the same LLC.
Ultimately I’m trying to get them to answer this question, “Is it going to give me peace of mind to have a fence between the two of these?”
If the answer is yes, then we need multiple LLCs.
If the answer is no, then they can go under the same LLC.
If your LLC has multiple businesses, you’ll need a DBA
If you do decide to have multiple brands or businesses in the same LLC umbrella then you likely will need a DBA.
And that’s because a DBA is required anytime your business name isn’t the same as your LLC name
For example, Courtney has a California LLC and this LLC’s name is CC Coach LLC.
However, she has two brands:
- Coaching by Courtney
- CC Career Coach
Because her brand names are not the same as her LLC name she will need a DBA.
Now if one of her brand names were CC Coach and the other was Coaching by Courtney, she would only need to obtain the DBA for the Coaching by Courtney brand name.
(This is why if you have multiple brands or businesses under one LLC, I always recommend naming your LLC the same as one of your businesses!)
Does your business have the required permits and licenses?
Did you know that a dba is only one of the government permits and licenses your creative business might need?
Inside my book, I’ll guide you step-by-step to feel confident that your business has the correct permits and licenses. The book also gives you a straightforward strategy to protect your ass(ets) without legal confusion. It’s the go-to guide you need to get all your legal ducks in a row.
Hi! I’m Kiff! I’m your friendly legal eagle (and licensed attorney).
My goal is to add ease to the legalese. And because I think basic legal resources should be available to every creative, I create a lot of free content.
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