You Know You Have an Online Retail Business When ...

It's the most commonly asked question eBay and Amazon sellers ask me: "I've been selling on eBay/Amazon/Etsy/wherever for a while, but I don't know if I should treat it as a hobby or a business." Sooner or later, every online seller has to make the fateful decision: Should I do this only occasionally for the fun of it, or should I consider ...Read more

Can I Sell This Stuff on EBay?

"What are the rules when it comes to selling trademarked or branded items, such as Gucci handbags or Tiffany & Co. jewelry, on eBay?"

EBay's rules about trademarked items are simple to state but difficult as the Dickens to apply in practice. Even experienced eBay sellers make mistakes in this area. The rules are basically these:

--You cannot...Read more

Registering Your Nonprofit for Tax-Exempt Status the E-Z Way: Part 2 of 2

In July 2014, the IRS adopted Form 1023-EZ, a simplified application process for nonprofit organizations that wish to obtain tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Your organization is not eligible to use Form 1023-EZ if:

--It has more than $250,000 in total assets.

--It has gross receipts of more than $50,...Read more

Registering Your Nonprofit for Tax-Exempt Status The E-Z Way: Part 1 of 2

Getting a nonprofit organization off the ground has always involved three steps:

--Forming a nonstock corporation or limited liability company (LLC) under your state's business organization laws.

--Registering the corporation or LLC for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code.

--...Read more

The 6 C's That Should Be in Every Business Plan

There are at least 1,000 books in print telling people how to write a business plan. The problem with most of them is: They're wrong. Or at least they're not practical for the vast majority of business startups.

Unless you are a hi-tech startup looking for venture capital, you do not need a 50-page book with dividers and index tabs to start a...Read more

4 Secrets to Getting Deals Done

"My partner and I own a service business we've been trying to sell for some time. We finally found a buyer, but the process just seems to be taking forever. The buyer's attorney seems to be taking a long time to review our attorney's draft documents, and our attorney doesn't seem to want to push things as fast as we want him to. We've ...Read more

A Laughing Jury Never Convicts: Part 2 of 2

These days, we live in a world of infotainment, marketainment and edutainment.

It isn't enough anymore to just give out information. Your listeners need to have their emotions manipulated -- to laugh, cry or get angry -- even though you're talking about recent developments in sales taxation.

It isn't enough anymore to just sell something. ...Read more

A Laughing Jury Never Convicts: Part 1 of 2

"I had the privilege of hearing you speak recently at a SCORE presentation in southern Connecticut, and I've become a big fan of your small business lecture series on YouTube.

"You seem like a pretty smart lawyer, and you've got lots of good information, but the best thing about you is your ability to make the audience laugh. Seriously, until...Read more

It May Be a Classic Movie, but It Isn't Public Yet

"We have a client with a legal question that I was hoping you might be able to answer. He owns a high-end electronics business doing home theaters, security, sound systems and the like. For his website, he wants to Photoshop an image taken from a famous movie scene and place it on the black screen he photographed in a room he designed. Would ...Read more

Starting a Business on EBay and Amazon

As my readers know, I travel the country talking to people who make a living selling stuff on eBay, Amazon and the other online e-commerce platforms.

As a lawyer and business consultant, I'm not always able to answer the more technical questions people have about starting and maintaining their online accounts. But as we used to say in the ...Read more

Minority Owners Don't Get Mad. They (Sometimes) Get Even

"I formed a business with two partners a couple of years ago. We set up a corporation and divided the stock three ways. Me and my brother each had 40% of the company, and a good friend of ours had the remaining 20%.

"Things went well for a while, but then our friend with the 20% developed other interests and began withdrawing from the ...Read more

Keeping Client Attrition Low When Selling a Professional Practice

"I am a podiatrist with a fairly large practice in a large Midwestern city. My wife and I have decided to move south to Florida to be closer to our grandchildren. I have found a younger podiatrist who wants to take over my practice, but I'm not sure exactly how to put the deal together with him. Any suggestions?"

You have obviously worked ...Read more

Getting Started in Off-Broadway Theater

"I've been a struggling actor in New York for several years, but right now I've got the chance of a lifetime. I have written, directed and produced a satirical off-Broadway play based on the life of a famous former politician. I have a couple of investors -- really all the money I need -- but I'm not sure what, if anything, I need to do ...Read more


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