How to Make Your Art Business Professional – with Francie Klopotic

How to Make Your Art Business Professional – with Francie Klopotic

by Francie Klopotic

April 2024


Fellow artist, are you ready to take the next big step toward creating your own art business?

Not sure what to do or where to turn?

I didn’t, either. However, a friend sat me down and explained all the steps I would need to accomplish to make myself official with an LLC. Not just any old LLC, mind you, but a single-member LLC. Me, myself and I. Just the thought of everything I needed to do to get my LLC made my head spin, but I took a deep breath, wrote everything out on a to-do list, then got started.

For years I have operated as a sole proprietor. As my work gained traction and I began showing more, I knew I needed to step it up and become a bonafide business in the State of Georgia and in Richmond County where I reside. In this article I hope to help you find your way through the maze of permits and registrations necessary to start a business.

First thing’s first. You must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. The EIN is free and is yours forever. The link to accomplish this is:

Next, with EIN in hand, you need to register your business with the State. I visited the Secretary of State’s website where I registered my domestic entity. I chose to form an LLC and signed up here to get started:

The LLC registration with the State cost me $100 and my entity was approved the next day.

Step number three saw me going to the State’s Department of Revenue’s Georgia Tax Center website where I set up an account and registered myself as a single-member LLC: I applied for a required Sales and Use Tax account which is where small businesses collect sales tax and turn them to the State once a month via the website. This step was approved almost immediately.

A little-known law for small businesses popped up, something I’d never heard before, so I registered my little LLC with the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network at They require annual registration for Beneficial Ownership Information. Don’t forget to do this. I’ve marked my calendar to take care of it after the first of each year going forward. This doesn’t cost anything but your time.

Once everything was squared away with the State and the Fed, I needed to obtain a business license. This part of the fun required an in-person visit. From experience, I suggest you allow yourself at least an hour at your county’s Planning & Development department.

Since I live in Richmond County, I went downtown. On the 3rd floor of the Marble Palace you will find Planning & Development. If you, like me, will be selling your artwork via online website sales and fairs or festivals, you will need to apply for and pay for a Special Use Permit allowing you to establish your business at your house. I was not aware of this permit and was shocked when I had to stand there and complete an application. I couldn’t turn in my business license application until I obtained the permit.

There is a 25% limit to the amount of house you will be using. And, you cannot have anyone over to shop your studio nor can you keep your materials in a garage or carport. They seem to be very strict on where you make your art, so if you don’t have a dedicated space, go ahead and start preparing one now.

This permit set me back an unexpected $150, so have your credit card ready when you go.

Next, once that was out of the way, I went in to see someone about my business license. The City of Augusta has a link to the paperwork you’ll need to fill out. Be sure to have every page completed because they need the entire package. The link to paperwork is here:

I handed the application to the clerk. She asked for my drivers license, to make a copy for the file. When she gave it back to me, she said the notary will sign the forms and I should hear from the office once my license is approved. It took less than a week. Once I paid the $116 fee, I became official.

It’s not terribly expensive to form a business, but it’s not cheap, either. The process to get started cost me $366. However, knowing that I have all my ducks in a row and can begin collecting sales taxes and paying them to the State is a relief.

The State will send you your Tax Certificate, and the City will send you your license. It’s required that these be displayed at all times. I’ve framed mine and put them on the wall behind my painting table, just in case I get a random and unexpected visit from the City.

The final thing you need to do is open a business checking account. It is very important to separate your business money from your personal money. A Google search will land you several good options for this. Personally, I opened an account with American Express. Their small business checking doesn’t cost a dime and doesn’t require a minimum deposit to start using it. I received my debit card in the mail a week after I was approved.

Monthly sales taxes need to be paid by the 20th of the month for the State of Georgia. Even if you do not make a sale, you need to report, so don’t forget to do this!

Also, each year going forward you will need to renew your State registration between January 1 and April 1. The Augusta business license needs to be renewed each year by October 31.

Don’t forget your annual report to the FinCEN office. Just remember to do this after the first of the year each year and you’ll be fine.

All of this sounds like a headache, but it really isn’t. Just take a deep breath, grab your credit card, and knock each step out one at the time. Once you’re done and official, you will be so happy.

I know I am!