Today we’re tackling a question I’ve seen quite a lot, most recently from our listener, Deborah, who asked: Is it possible to place multiple different ventures under a single LLC? While the short answer is yes, it might not be the most practical or beneficial strategy due to the legal risks involved. If you’re wondering what this looks like, then stick with me as we dig deeper into this topic.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- The risks of keeping multiple ventures under one LLC
- Offering multiple services under one LLC
- Does your podcast need to be under its own LLC?
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The Risks of Merging Different Ventures Under a Single LLC
Imagine this: you run a pet sitting business, an online coaching business, and an Etsy store, all under one LLC. It sounds like a pretty neat package, right? But here’s where the legal tangle starts. If your pet sitting business faces any legal trouble, guess what? Your coaching business and Etsy store, although entirely unrelated, could be at risk too. Why? Because they’re all under that same LLC umbrella. It’s like having all your eggs in one basket, and if one cracks, the rest might get splattered.
Separate Ventures vs. Multiple Services
Now, you might be wondering, “What about a business that offers different services or products? Do they need separate LLCs?” Absolutely not. Having a range of services or products under one business is different from running separate business ventures. Think of a store like Target—it offers everything from groceries to furniture to clothing, all under a single business entity.
The Benefits of Legal Separation
So why would we want to separate our business ventures? Well, aside from shielding each venture from the potential legal troubles of the others, it also helps to keep things tidy and organized. Trust me, your accountant will thank you for it!
Your Marketing Channels are Not Separate Businesses
A misconception I’ve seen floating around is that if you’ve got different marketing channels—for instance, a podcast or a YouTube channel—you need separate businesses for each. That’s not the case! These platforms should be seen as extensions or tools of your existing business, not as separate businesses in and of themselves.
Before we wrap up, I’d like to share a handy resource to help you start an online business. If you’re starting an online business and want to make sure you follow the legal steps to do so, we’ve put together this handy Spotify playlist of the exact On Your Terms podcast episodes you should listen to!
Remember, folks, keeping your ventures legally separate isn’t just about avoiding headaches—it’s about ensuring each venture has the space to grow and thrive on its own terms. So here’s to building businesses that are protected, organized, and ready to shine!
Sam Vander Wielen: Hey there. It’s your host, Sam Vander Wielen. And welcome back to another episode of On Your Terms. Each week, every single Thursday, I answer an essential legal question that you submit, one of our listeners, about how to start or grow a legally protected online business.
So, this week, somebody asked me all about whether or not you could put multiple different businesses or projects or whatever under one business or one LLC. And I’m really excited to answer this because I get this question a lot.
Before I dive into this question, though, I just want to say, well, it’s not really welcome back to you because, hopefully, you’ve been here the whole time, but I guess welcome back to myself. This is the first episode I’m recording after losing my mom, so you might be hearing these out of order. Sometimes we record things in batches. You know, we pull all kinds of magic behind the scenes. But the truth of the matter is that this is the first episode that I recorded after my mom passed away.
So, I’ll dedicate a different episode to kind of like a life update and how everything’s going. But I’ll be honest with you, as always, I’m just still not myself. I don’t have a lot of energy. That seems to be the same thing that happened to me when my dad passed away. Like, I just initially got very, very tired, especially with things with my mom, there were many bad months leading up to it, a lot of drama, and a lot of things that happened, and so it’s just really taken a lot out of me.
So, I am admittedly not myself. I’m also admittedly not working very much right now. Just kind of taking care of customers, taking care of some big ticket items, but that’s really it. Obviously, the Ultimate Bundle is always available. And my legal templates can always be purchased and downloaded. And you can always fill that stuff in. You don’t need me for that.
But with that being said, I’m just grateful to be here and to be chatting with you today, and I’m looking forward to diving in on a little bit more of a catch up episode with you. So, keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Okay. So, I want to answer Deborah’s question. It was a really good one. So, Deborah asked, "Can I tuck a variety of different ventures even if they’re not related under the same LLC?"
So, yes, you can, technically speaking, but there’s a pretty big catch. So, let’s say that you’re starting a business and you’ve decided you want to register it as an LLC, because that’s what you’ve learned is best for you legally, or that’s what a lawyer’s told you, or whatever.
If you’re just as excited as you are, though, about starting your online coaching business, you’re also like, "But what if I start selling some stuff on Etsy? Or what if I also like to pet sit?" Or even when people just start a coaching business, they’ll be like, "Well, I’m going to have services, but I’m also going to have a course."
What we’re talking about today is not that. So, when you have one business, it’s all about the same topic. Like, you’re a coach and you’re going to offer coaching, and a course, and a mastermind, and – I don’t know – sell a digital downloadable product, that’s just one business selling different products. Think of it like Target. You go into Target, they sell a million different things, right?
But what Deborah’s kind of getting at is when you have different ventures. That’s what I was talking about with you have an online coaching business and an Etsy business. Totally separate.
So, should all of those kinds of businesses like your coaching business, your Etsy business, and your pet sitting business be under one business umbrella? They could, but that’s not really a good idea. That’s because when you do that, when you put businesses under one umbrella, they’re all legally exposed to one another, especially if they are under the same LLC.
So, in this silly example that I’m giving you, if your pet sitting business got sued, then your coaching business and your Etsy business are at risk too. Like, the assets of those business might have to pay for the lawsuit against your pet sitting business. Or any number of combination, if your Etsy business got sued, then your pet sitting and your coaching business are at risk.
So, the big benefit to separating businesses, besides just keeping things a lot clearer and much more organized, is legally insulating all of your different business ventures from one another.
There’s also a big difference, though, between the three business example that I gave you and what I was referring to earlier that you might be doing, where maybe you’re starting a coaching or some sort of service providing business and you just have different offers, like you have one-to-one private coaching, a course, membership, group program, or a mastermind, you sell digital products. All of those are just different services or products that your one business offers. So, you wouldn’t create a different business for every single offer that you have.
Just like a lot of times people will say to me, too, "I’m starting a podcast. Do I need a separate business for that?" If your podcast is for your business, like if you already have a business, like I had Sam Vander Wielen LLC and then I started a podcast for legal stuff, the podcast is just a marketing tool of my business. It’s not a business in and of itself.
So, you don’t start different businesses for different marketing channels for your business either. And so, if you started something, like I said, like a podcast or a YouTube channel, those are just marketing channels for your business. They’re not businesses unto themselves.
So, if you’re starting an online business and you want to make sure that you follow the legal steps to do so, I have a Spotify playlist that I put together for you below. If you don’t have Spotify, you could just peek at the playlist below so that you could see what episode numbers there are. And I give you the exact On Your Terms podcast episodes that you should listen to in what order, so you can check that out in the show notes below.
If you like today’s episode, please do me a favor and like or rate or follow, subscribe, whatever, wherever you listen to the show. It would be really, really helpful to me. And if you have any questions, of course, just send me a DM on Instagram, @samvanderwielen. I’m happy to help. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll chat with you later.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms Podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.
Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.
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Resources Discussed in This Episode
- How to Start an Online Business (the legally legit™ way!) Spotify Playlist
- Submit your legal question for an upcoming episode of On Your Terms right here.
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DISCLAIMER: Although Sam is an attorney she doesn’t practice law and can’t give you legal advice. All episodes of On Your Terms are educational and informational only. The information discussed here isn’t legal advice and does not intend to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.
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