Monthly Archives: January 2008

How To Register A Trademark And What’s The Difference Between TM and ®

If you are coming out with a new company, or product, or tag line you are going to bring to the market place, and want you own the name. You should look into getting a trademark; they can be easily registered online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

We have just filed the Trademark on our company name, trademarking is generally around $275-350 depending on what exactly you need to trademark. In order to trademark you do not have to have a business entity, ie a corporation or LLC for instance. You can own the trademark in your own name if you like, and of course, what we did, was register the trademark in the corporations name.

You only need to trademark something if you want to protect its name, just because you might have a business does not mean you need to trademark the name of it. IE: I have a real estate holding LLC, that all the entity does is hold real estate. There is no need to file a trademark on the entity name because I could care less if someone steals the name, my entity; my LLC is just a holding company and nothing I want to trademark.

To register a trademark just go here: http://www.uspto.gov/, and hit trademarks on the left to get started. You do not need an attorney to file a trademark for you, you can do it yourself and make payment online with a VISA card, or any other major credit card.

There’s many things you could trademark, not just the company name, but one of your products name, or even a method of doing something, trademark to own the name. Once you register a trademark it has to get approved and can take quite some time, there is two symbols to denote the differences.

What is the difference between TM and ®

  • The TM stands for a Trademark which is pending.
  • The ® stands for a Trademark which is registered, and complete.

So on a big company like Coca Cola, you’ll see the ® because it is a registered trademark, they own that, it is there, registered. On a newer company who just filed their trademark they can denote it with a TM, which is a pending trademark. And they may or may not get that trademark; it is pending and can be denied. Trademarks can take years to be finally registered completely.

Trademarks, TM and ® now you know!

The Crunchies, and Meeting Shoemoney!

Yesterday my best friend, Cam Boehmer from Palo Alto came with me to go to the Crunchies awards; it was an amazing an event.  The best part was just seeing all of the successful people in the industry in person.  Also I had a chance to meet Shoemoney, which was very cool, especially even more so because he is the industry expert in the web 2.0 product I’ve been working on for awhile now.   It was truly great to see all the big names in person at the awards ceremony.

 Shoemoney and Wes Mahler at the Crunchies

Wes Mahler and the Crunchies 

How To Register Your Business With The State – It’s Easy

Registering a corporation legally is easy

I just filed our new company’s entity, a California Domestic Stock Corporation, also referred to as a C Corporation.  (aka, I just registered a C Corporation).

A lot of people seem to get very overwhelmed with everything you have to do to open a new business.  It is actually quite easy to simply just open up an entity, ie: LLC or a Corporation you really just need to file 1 piece of paper with the state.

All you need to do is file one document; the Articles of Incorporation, this document will register your company with your state.  You can find this document from your State’s Secretary of the State.  You can just search it online and you will find the articles of incorporation document you need to register. 

All entities have their own articles of incorporation that you need to file to register. LLC articles of incorporation, a C Corporation (domestic stock corporation), and S Corporation (domestic closed corporation), General Partnership, Non-For Profit, they all have their own articles of incorporation.  So to register your business you just need to find the articles of incorporation for the type of business you are going to register, fill it out, and send it in with payment.

So to officially start you business just go to your State’s Secretary of the State website, find the articles of incorporation that you need.  You will just simply fill out the name of your business, your address, and then you just need to send it in via fax, mail, or hand it in typically with a check or a visa.  This one document will register your entity; in a few days you will receive confirmation that you have officially registered an entity with the state.

Once you have received confirmation that your entity has been register, you are now ready to get your companies Tax ID number, also referred to as an EIN (Employer Identification Number).  All you need to do to get this is simply go to the IRS.gov website, click apply for an EIN and do a 2 minute application and instantly online they will give you a EIN number. 

Your now officially in business! 

What is an EIN, or a Tax ID number? (Their the same thing), I’ll try to explain it a little bit. 

First the EIN stands for Employer Identification Number don’t worry if you don’t have employees, it doesn’t matter, it’s just called that, basically the EIN is your companies TAX ID number with the IRS.  And at the end of the year this EIN needs to report its earnings to the IRS, this is the company’s identification number with the IRS.

Your EIN is basically a separate entity; you personally have an SSN, which is your Tax ID number.  You with your SSN can go out a get a drivers license, buy a car, buy a house, and the government attaches all theses things to you, they attach it to your SSN.  When you have credit score report checked, you are seeing your own personal credit score; it is your SSN’s credit score.

Think of an EIN as another person, an EIN will have its own credit score.  The EIN can own stuff in its name, the EIN can have its own bank accounts. 

See for instance when you make money at a job, you are recording income under your own personal SSN.  That is why at the end of the year you file income for your SSN.

See when you have a business, when you take in money you record that income under the EIN, and the at the end of the year the EIN files its own taxes.

Now with your tax id number, whenever you make money, you record the money earned under your company’s EIN, its tax id number.  So then at the end of the year when your company files its taxes (when your company’s tax id files its taxes) you simply just file the profit/loss/net gain for your EIN.

So remember, the EIN is just a separate entity, it will have its own credit score, just like your SSN has a credit score.  The EIN can own stuff, just like you can own stuff.  The EIN can make money online and then at the end of the year the EIN must pay taxes on that, and like you if you make money online and record income under your SSN you have to pay taxes on that by filing a personal tax return.

Once you have an EIN you can open up your companies’ bank accounts, its really quite simple. Your EIN will make money, and then you will have your EIN file its own tax returns at the end of the year.

  • #1. Register with the secretary of state your articles of incorporation
  • #2. Get your EIN from the IRS.gov

This is on a basic level, how to legally register your company, it’s really quite simple. Questions or comments, feel free to ask.  Start a business today!

Vesting Ownership/Shares, The Golden Handcuffs?

As your company grows bigger it will require more manpower to keep it going.  When you start having more tasks than you can complete alone, you either need to hire employees, outsource the work, or bring on additional partners for a percentage of your company.   

If you choose to bring in partners into your company there is a way of distributing equity that you might not have heard of.  I was not aware of it until about a year ago and it was an interesting concept, a very simple one and an extremely powerful one.  Sometimes venture capitals will refer this as placing the  “Golden Handcuffs,” on the owners.  It is called vesting owernship, or vesting shares in a corporation.  

Instead of bringing on a new partner into your corporation and giving them their full percentage, say 20% upfront.  You can now vest the shares overtime over a specific period of time.  For instance you may choose to vest to your partner 20% equity in your company but it is vested over a five year period. 

So the partner now will only receive their full 20% equity after the five years of work are put in accordingly.  You can see how this can become very powerful, and it is just good business.  When venture capitalists invest millions of dollars into a startup company they will sometimes vest the shares to the people running the company to make sure they stay in, they put the “golden handcuffs” on and make sure their people are doing the job right.

This concept isn’t because you do not trust your partners; it is just that as a world class entrepreneur you and your team have to have tremendous dedication and focus to do one million dollars a year in sales.  Vesting ownership makes partners earn their equity in the company.  If you had a partner who agreed that they would get their shares vested overtime and they left a month later, they would not receive their full share because they left early. 

I bring this up because I’m going to be currently vesting ownership to other partners to help build a company to one million dollars a year in sales.  If you were to take a look at my specific situation, I have invested thousands of dollars into my startup, and over 6 months of time, I work on it full time.  For me to bring on another partnership and just give away the percentage up front is to risky, because I’ve already put in 6 months I will vest the ownership to the other partners overtime to make sure everything goes accordingly. 

The last thing we want when trying to build a world class company is to loose your partners, and then even worse to loose your partners when they still own a large percentage of the company and are no longer working on it.  This is why vesting is important, and this is why Venture Capitalists use it.  Now you know of vesting ownership, a powerful concept you can leverage in your business, for when you shoot for one million dollars a year in sales. 

Be At The Right Place ALL Of The Time!

While reading the Millionaire Real Estate Investor book I found a good piece of philosophy I’d like to share with you now. Instead of saying, “he was lucky because he was at the right place at the time right,” we should say instead, “it is not about being luckily at the right place sometime, it is about being at the right place all of the time.”

Let me repeat that again, It is about being at the right place ALL of the time.”

You want to get good at positioning yourself in growth oriented environments, in order to succeed at a world class level you need to be at the right place all of the time. For building a web 2.0 company the right place is to be in Silicon Valley, that is where I’m. The right place to be in Silicon Valley when building a web 2.0 company is to be at the various internet entrepreneur meetups, the PHP/MySQL developer meetups, joining the silicon valley email groups and being aware of the Web 2.0 news by following tech blogs. If there is a web 2.0 meetup, I need to be there, we need to be at the right place all of the time.

I write this post because today I was absolutely at the right place at the right time and it is not by accident. I attended my first Silicon Valley meet up today after moving down here, it was the San Francisco PHP Meetup group. Although the event was very informal it turned out to have extremely good information. As I wrote this blog post, our company is currently running into scalability problems. I will not get to technical here, but there were some simple concepts the speaker mentioned to not use overloaded development frameworks in every website we develop. Although he mentioned frameworks can be good in certain instances, for me personally I learned that using a framework can potentially be more detrimental than productive in our current situtation. New information I did not know which I needed to hear. Pictures below.

PHP San Francisco Meetup Group

PHP San Francisco Meetup Group

What was interesting is I come down to the PHP Developer’s meet up and the some people in the audience personally know the big players in the industry, for instance one of the guy personally knows the authors of several PHP books I’ve read. It is interesting to read a book or two, and then there is people sitting next to you that know the authors personally. It is exciting because I know that I’m in the real serious PHP development game now, working with the experts in the field. They live down in Silicon Valley and I’m surrounding myself with people that know how to build scalable websites.  They know how to do what I want to do, and I’m going to learn from them.

I found out during the meetup that there is another event happening next week from a different group of developers, it is called the Geek Sessions located out of Silicon Valley. Yes it is really called Geek Sessions, aren’t we geeky? Anyways the next gathering is an event about PHP Performance and building Scalable Systems. One of the speakers is the Lead Engineer of Facebook, and another is the Lead Engineer of Flickr. For only $25 I can attend this session, I will absolutely be at this event. Theses sessions can exponentially increase my learning curve.  In order for me to succeed I need to be better positioned than the competition’s programmers. If there not here, I’am, and me being there gives me an edge over my competition. 

I’m going to learn about how to scale a website from the Lead Developer of Facebook.  Facebok is pretty much the largest PHP and MySQL development in the world.  So one of the biggest experts in scaling the coding language I use is going to be here, also the author of the O’Reily Building Scalable Websites will be there too.  You know I will be at the right place at the right time, and for me that is being downtown San Francisco at Geek Sessions on Jan 15th at 6pm. 

So remember, “we want to be at the right place all of the time.”  Are there entrepreneur meetups in your area that you know about and for whatever reason not going to? Or even worse, are there meetups in your area that you aren’t even aware of because you have never even searched for any? Be at the right place all of the time.

Are you at the right place all of the time? If your are not, your are loosing to someone who is.

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Generic Zetia is a high-quality medication which is taken in treatment of heart disease and stroke. It also prevents clogged arteries and decreases triglyceride and cholesterol rate. Generic Zetia acts by reducing the general amount of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and protein which is used to create cholesterol.

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Do not take double dose. If you miss a dose you should take it as soon as you remember about your missing. If it is the time for the next dose you should continue your regular dosing schedule.

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If you overdose Generic Zetia and you don’t feel good you should visit your doctor or health care provider immediately.

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Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F) away from moisture and heat. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date. Keep out of the reach of children.

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Generic Zetia is a perfect remedy in struggle against heart disease and stroke. It also prevents clogged arteries and decreases triglyceride and cholesterol rate. Generic Zetia acts by reducing the general amount of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and protein which is used to create cholesterol. It is cholesterol-lowering drug. Zetia is also known as Ezetimibe, Ezetrol. Generic name of Generic Zetia is Ezetimibe. Brand name of Generic Zetia is Zetia.

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Wes 2.008, a new image

Hey thanks for bearing with me, everything is fixed now, WordPress is working like a charm now and I’ve switched laptops. I apologize for some of my posts; they were so badly written it just makes me look bad when people read them. I know this because I’ve had many comments over the months saying how bad my posts were typed and all sorts of stuff. That’s all going to change.

The reason it is going to change because every bad post hurts your personal image, people do not take you as seriously as they should. This hurts when I’m in the process of trying to build serious strategic partnerships with others because if they read my blog they might think I’m not a serious entrepreneur because I do not proof read my sentences.

Here is a good quote by Jim Rohn, “Every let down affects the rest of your performance. He said every time you let yourself down, performing not the best you could it affects the rest of your performance. Every let down affects the rest, but the good thing is, every improvement affects the rest. So I do not want to have something so small like my blog affecting my personal pysche for everything is, when I let down my performance on my blog I’m letting down my performance on everything. So from now I’m going to improve my blog’s image, because every improvement is another step towards improving my personal brand.

You can still probably tell however, I’am honestly not a world class writer yet, and not sure if I ever will. But I you will see that there is more effort into the blog posts to make reading more understandable. I will do my best to communicate effectively to the world, communication is so important. A skill I need to study and improve.

You may have noticed my blog has changed it is a new theme; I decided to choose a single column because I personally prefer websites now with the top header navigation. Most of the time if a website has a right bar it is normally used at the top like, having a top right navigation, but as you scroll down its just used up space. So I have a new theme to reflect a new image, the old blog is gone; we are evolving into a higher caliber entrepreneur.

I felt the single column was good because I don’t plan on having advertising on my blog, this blog isn’t to make money but itself. Although, by building personal brand image the money will follow just by becoming a more valuable person to the market place. I’m going to make my money building a company to one million dollars a year in sales and that is my 100% focus.

My mission has also changed, it is no long “Great Wes, now what the heck are you doing,” which shows a confused entrepreneur who doesn’t have any focus on doing one thing. It is now, 100% focus on building a company to one million dollars a year in sales. I use to be intrigued with the idea of having Yahoo or Google purchase my company for millions of dollars, but now I don’t want them to buy me, they can make offers but I want to compete with the big dogs. Maybe take the company public at some point, big business, investors, raising capital and the whole deal, world class entrepreneurship at a high caliber level.

The blog title, Zero To One Million, is not mine, it is actually taken from my role model Ryan Allis, a successful, young internet entrepreneur and he wrote a book at 17 years old on how to build a company to one million dollars a year in sales. If I had a role model to follow, he is it; he is where I will be in 3-5 years because that is the time it will take to build my company to one million dollars a year in sales.

So what is new? Well things are going great, I have just ordered 4 more servers, and this will accompany the first dedicated server I purchased. My hosting for the web servers is going to jump up to over $500/month; here are some pictures of the server hardware below.

My main concern with my project is that is scalable, in that it needs to be able to support rapid growth and be online 24/7. We are going to be doing some intensive server load and it is crucial that we stay online. Those who do not know what I’m going to launch it will go open beta this month, I’ve already had an offer to purchase what I’ve been working on for over $100,000. Although I appreciate the offer I had to decline as I want to build this big, but that was good to know I mean so soon someone already is interested in purchasing it and investing, it is a good sign and it hasn’t even been seen by the public.

I have just been programming this thing full-time, the database is starting to grow big, and there is a lot of AJAX and all of the web 2.0 concepts installed in it. Although I’ve struggled with maintaining my servers, the APACHE, UNIX, LINUX and all of that stuff is beyond me. I can try to learn it but it is difficult, sometimes it is best to have someone else join in with complimentary skills to aid. I may be bringing on someone to help me be the systems administrator for the entire Web 2.0 server setup, there is a lot of work, especially when we have 10+ servers here soon. He has asked to be anonymous at this time so his name will not be posted but I’m getting help, he knows his stuff and I think we may work together on the project. The goal is if he can help me scale this thing and make sure all of the servers are working great we can build this thing to Alexa 10,000+ ranking and really make this profitable.

We have just started networking with some of the leaders in the industry we are going to dive in, there has been so far great interest in the product that we are developing and things are looking promising. We are getting ready to do our open beta testing in January; the main objective is to make sure our servers are ready to support a high number of users.

In personal life I’ve been spending a lot of money on servers, even though I made a lot of money last month I seem to have spent it all on servers, I spent over $4,000 this month in hardware which dives right into my net profit dramatically. As I haven’t been working on my campaigns everything is sliding, I’m not even sure if I’ll hit $10,000 this month, which could look bad but honestly it’s not on my priority. What I need to do is focus on the 20% of the things that will make me 80% of the money, and that is the Web 2.0.

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Each server was about $1,000+ each, they have 2.4ghz dual core AMD processors, and 4GB of DDR2 667MHZ each.  I also order a fourth server from my ISP provider that is just a slower development server.  The picture of that is here.  This will put my total server count to 5 dedicated servers.  The first one I bought was a SuperMicro 3.4ghz dual core processor with 4GB of ram, however, I have an 8GB of ram upgrade on the way.  

 

I have thought about bringing on some investors to take a percentage of the company so I can live off of and work on it full time, in that right now if I could obtain $100,000 capital into the business, I just need about $2,000 a month to live on to barely get by so I can focus on this. However, I’m going to stick to my guns and limit investors, later on 2-3 years I’m thinking we might raise some capital in the millions of dollars once we are doing one million dollars a year in sales.

There is going to be a lot to come, I’ve made my next goal at the top of my blog, you will see us Alexa ranking 20,000 by the end of the year, and we will hit it, I promise you, I’m going to put on my intense goal setting and make it happen, honestly we should probably be 10,000 by the end of the year, but 20,000 is already a done deal, I’ve decided to make it happen.

PS: The title of this is Wes 2.008, if you were wondering I took it from Web 2.0, and mixed it with 2008. Wes 2.008.