How to Form Your Own LLC

You would think that art school would have some business classes thrown in there to help teach artists how to manage their own business….yah because that’s what professional artists do, run businesses! Most of what I have learned and accomplished as a professional artists has come from research, asking questions and trying things out on my own. And what I have learned, is that art school does little to prepare students to walk out into the art world and live and work as a professional. Business skills are essential. The legalities of being an artists are your responsibility to know. I decided to form my own LLC or Limited Liability Company for my arts career.

There are a variety of reasons why you can start your own LLC. I started mine for legal protection. Having a company verses a sole proprietorship also adds a notion of business professionalism. You can do transactions through a business account when you own an LLC too. Here are the basic steps on how to build your own LLC business. All of these images come directly from the Minnesota Secretary of State website and demonstrate the visual steps for completing the LLC business set up process. The purpose of this post is to aid artists in forming their own LLC companies.

Step 1. Go to the MN Secretary of State Website

MN Secretary of State

If you Google search MN Secretary of State this is the first search result that pops up. You can click directly to “Starting a Business or Nonprofit.”

Step 2: This is the part that I got lost at and needed help. There is a full page of Steps and options to click on, all you need to do here is find Step 3 and click the link “Next Steps” to continue ahead.


Step 3: This is the next page that comes up. From here you want to click on the left hand bar where it says file online which is under the Business & Nonprofit tab.

Page after Next Steps

Step 4: Once you click on File Online, a new page will load. Scroll to the bottom half of the page to see this chart:

LLC Fees

Step 5: To file for a basic Domestic (within the USA) LLC for Minnesota, the cost is $155.00. The Limited Liability Company option I chose is highlighted in purple above on the chart. Click the option that you want to have for your business.

Step 6: Once you choose which LLC you want to have, you will be asked to answer two questions. The first question is if your LLC is a non-profit. A non-profit uses the funds they receive for the organizations mission and goals rather than for profit or income. If you are an arts gallery or an arts organization, you maybe a non-profit. If you an artist selling art work to make a profit and pay your business bills and to pay yourself, you are for profit.

Questions LLC

The second question is asking if your business needs to operate with personal whom are licensed. For example as listed above people in the accounting or medicine need licenses to practice as a professional under the Minnesota Status. For artists, this means you click no. Then click on “next” to continue the process.

Business Name

Step 7: Choose your LLC’s business name. There are some parameters to the name requirements as listed in the blue box above. The system will search your desired name and make sure there is not already an existing company with the same name. When it determines that your name is available, a button will pop up that says File For Limited Liability Company. Click that to continue to the application.

Step 8: At this point you will continue through the formal application. This process is easy. Most of the information provided is your name and address of your company.

Step 9: Near the end of the process of forming your LLC you will need to pay the fee. For the LLC domestic, it costs $155 and they allow you to pay this online. If there are any desired changes to your LLC company after you have filied, there are additional fees to change that information. You can also determine if you want your LLC certificate mailed to you which can take numerous weeks or if you want a digital certificate which is emailed to you directly once you have filed.

Step 10: Once you have completed filing your LLC you need to file a FEIN number and a MN State Tax ID number. Once you have those two additional pieces of information you are able to head to the bank to open your own business account.  I will blog about the FEIN Numbers and State Tax ID numbers in an additional blog post!

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