I posted a while back about the "Startup Checklist" that I had, and wanted to revisit it now that hindsight is 20/20.
Register Business and Licensing/Permits
I was able to register my business with the city for licensing and permits without actually registering the business name officially, although its always a good idea to do it in that order. I was fuzzy on which departments did what, so when I went to the city and got my license and permit paid for, they told me it was a different branch of the provincial government (not the city) that dealt with that. So here's how it goes:
- Check if your name is available
- Register your name once you have confirmation its available
- Check to see what type of license/permits you require
- Go to the department office to submit the info requested and pay for any license/permit
Lawyers and Accountants
As a sole proprietorship, you don't need a lawyer. I was able to set everything up without needing any information or advice from one. However, if you are going to be handling your own contracts (as in writing up your own contracts), you'll probably want to have one available. I'm going through a head-hunting firm, so they take care of all that stuff for me.
You also, surprisingly, don't need an accountant either...well, not in the same capacity as if you were incorporated maybe. I met with a great accountant who gave me a tonne of free advice, and basically told me that as a sole proprietorship I just need to keep track of receipts and come see them at tax time.
I don't have to worry about this because the head-hunting company provides the liability coverage, which is great! Apparantly its crazy expensive to get it for yourself.
You obviously need to have good hardware to develop off of. Even if you are going to be provided with a computer at your contract location, you need to be brushing up on your skills at home and playing with the latest and greatest. I'm still toying with what I really need...Lenovo, Mac Book Pro, or just an HP model...not sure...
For software, its REALLY important as an independent that you go to as many community-based events as possible, as the handouts are as good as gold. Over the last few years, I've built up free licenses for Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 Developer, Office 2007, and some control suites...which all come in handy when you're on your own and on a budget. Otherwise, you're paying quite a bit in startup costs for getting all that through an MSDN subscription or another means.
I still haven't looked into this too much...I probably should though.