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As a business owner, you need to protect yourself from personal liability. If your client sues you for any reason, you could be found at fault. If this happens, they can come after you home, car, as well as any money saved for retirement. One of the ways to prevent this is to structure your business so your personal business is not affected.

1. Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

The EIN (also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number) is used to identify a business entity.  Your business entity will need to be a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation in order to avoid liability.

2. Open a Business Bank Account

It is important not to mix personal and business finances. When you pay for business expenses from your personal bank account, this opens your personal assets up to liability. The same goes for the money you earn.

3. Pay Yourself from your Business Account

If you plan to pay yourself from the money earned through your business, you should do it through your business bank account. Write a check from the business account to yourself then deposit it into your personal account. Make sure your write “personal wages” in the memo line.

4. Sign Documents as Owner

When you sign documents in behalf of your business make sure your write, “owner” next to the subject line. It is important to specify your position in the business.