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#1389531 by joan from Old Road Town
Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:39 am
First I am from the Caribbean island of St Kitts ( any Caribbean SBI'ers can offers some guidance as well).

Us Islanders have it a little difficult.

As I approach the possibility of beginning to monetize my site I begin to get very concerned when it comes to business licensing.

At this moment I do not have any and the process to receive a business license in St Kitts ( even thou it is possible,) is very lengthy. It might take months, and in the end I might have to pay $500EC or $200 dollars for a website that has not made me a sent yet.

Or I might begin selling before the business license even come through.

To compound this:

I am a few months away from moving to Trinidad and Tobago.

Being a newbie to that island might bring with it its difficulties in getting a business license over there. AHHH! This is so stressful.

I am considering whether to wait until I move to get a business license ( but being a new comer to the island the process might be very lengthy), and in the end very expensive ( 1200 TT) to maintain monthly.

I am also considering doing it in St Kitts but not sure whether I will be allowed to use that very same license of St Kitts, when I move over to Trinidad.

Please, Please, Please. If anyone, anyone at all, knows of an easier way covers people in the Caribbean please help. A few months ago I called the one that is for setting up businesses in the USA to see if it extend to us in the Caribbean ( a little silly but I was hoping for an easier way out). They said its not possible.

It looks like the only easy option is to come to American to live and that is not possible. Poor me. Please help.

I would really like to limit any possibility having any legal issues in the future.

And what's this I hear about liability insurance?? I don't even know if that is offered on island and if it is, its gonna be expensive.

I need any suggestions, because I do not intend to give up on my business. Not when I am finally doing something I greatly enjoy!
#1389533 by Maria from Agness
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:02 am

Hi Joan,
I can't answer your questions as I live in the uk and here we just have to register the business with the tax office and that's free. We only need a license for certain activities, such as selling food/alcohol - busking etc.

To make it easier for others that may have some knowledge of this. What does your business involve that makes a license necessary?

And what's this I hear about liability insurance?? I don't even know if that is offered on island and if it is, its gonna be expensive.

As far as I'm aware you only need liability insurance if you are selling your own physical products or you have premises where the public visit you. I used to need insurance for craft fairs but I don't for e-goods. This may of course be different where you are.

Sorry I can't help but at least it will boost your post back to the top,
Maria
#1389538 by joan from Old Road Town
Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:02 am
Thanks for the reply and for trying to help

My website is a christian bible study website so I will be selling products, e-books, lessons and affiliates along this line.

Liability Insurance: I read an article from SBI that stated that we should have liability insurance in the event that we need legal help because of a lawsuit. the Lawyer of the liability insurance can be used in the case, and according to what was said, might be the cheapest form of legal help that you will be able to get.
#1389541 by Jacki from Macleod
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:19 am
I don't have a business license, or insurance. I think some of that requirement might be if you are giving health advice which might create issues. If your niche isn't one that would tend to make people want to sue you for bad advice, or they aren't setting foot on your premises, this sounds like more of a money grab. Maybe a local attorney could give you the straight goods for your exact situation.
#1389553 by Dee from Cape Cod
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:49 am

Hi Joan -

I'm in the US, so I can't give you any suggestions specifically for your island, either. Sorry!

What I can tell you is that each jurisdiction (country, state, province, county, town, etc.) has its own rules about business licensing and/or registration. It's possible that you won't need a business license at all. But the only way to know for sure is to speak with a lawyer who knows the laws of your islands.

Regarding liability insurance:

Maria from Agness wrote:As far as I'm aware you only need liability insurance if you are selling your own physical products or you have premises where the public visit you.

Sorry to be the contrarian here, Maria. But that's not entirely accurate.

This is really important for every business owner to understand, whether you operate on line or in a bricks-and-mortar business:

There are multitudes of potential liabilities lurking out there, that can jump out and bite us in the butt when we least expect it. :shock::(

Just one example off the top of my head: Copyright infringement.

Of course, none of us would intentionally violate anyone's copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights. But stuff happens :roll: , and it's possible that any of us might inadvertently infringe on someone else's copyright and end up being sued.

In that case, an insurance policy that covers copyright infringement claims would be a very nice thing to have! :wink:

In addition: For anyone whose business involves giving advice to others (e.g., health or fitness related advice, parenting advice, travel advice, etc.), you have to remember that people will rely on your advice.

No matter how many disclaimers you have on your site and how well-worded and prominently displayed those disclaimers are, there's still a chance that someone will sue you if he/she believes your advice caused him/her bodily harm or financial loss. Unfortunately, we live in a very litigious world where people will sue for the slightest perceived "wrong".

Whether you're actually to blame or not, you'd still be faced with defending yourself against the person's claim. Defending against a claim or suit can get very expensive. And depending on the laws in your jurisdiction, you might not be able to recover your legal fees and expenses from the other party even if you win.

So, IMHO, it's vitally important for all of us to think about what kinds of claims we could possibly be hit with, given the nature of our sites/businesses. Then consider insuring against those kinds of claims, just in case the worst-case scenario comes to pass.
joan from Old Road Town wrote:I read an article from SBI that stated that we should have liability insurance in the event that we need legal help because of a lawsuit. the Lawyer of the liability insurance can be used in the case, and according to what was said, might be the cheapest form of legal help that you will be able to get.

Yes, but (and this is a big but) ... the liability insurance company will only pay for a lawyer to defend you if the wrongful conduct that's alleged against you is covered by your insurance policy.

Going back to the example of copyright infringement ...

If your liability insurance policy includes coverage for claims/suits arising out of alleged copyright infringement, then your insurance company will likely provide and pay for a lawyer to defend you against a copyright infringement claim/suit. (I say "likely" because that's how it normally works here in the US. In other countries it might be different.)

If your policy doesn't cover copyright infringement claims/suits, then you're up the creek without a paddle, so to speak. You'll likely have to pay for your own lawyer and your own costs of defense. (Again, I say "likely" because i can't speak to what would happen in every situation in every country around the world. :wink: )

The long and short of it is: none of us is immune from potential liability. That's why it's more important than I can express for all of us to treat our websites as a business, and to get competent business advice and guidance from qualified professionals - lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, etc.

Sure, you might have to spend a little for professional advice now. But in the long run, the a** you save will be your own. :)

Sorry to be so "doom-and-gloom" here, folks. But, as Joan said, this is serious stuff; and it merits serious consideration.

Best Regards,

Dee
#1389570 by joan from Old Road Town
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:44 pm
Thanks Jacki for the help, and Thank you Dee, that was really sound advice. I will do just that. Get advice.

One more question I forgot to ask about LLC. Do you suggest I get an LLC ( limited liablity Company) done now? To protect my assets in the case anything is to happen ( God forbid).

When would be the best time?
#1389601 by Maria from Agness
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:27 pm
That's great advice Dee,
I was really only thinking of public and product insurance, here in the uk you cannot rent a stall at most craft fairs without public liability insurance.
But you are spot on about the others and I remember I did look into it a while ago. At the time it was very hard to get cover for a website as UK companies did not want to deal with US laws and of course websites are international so it's difficult to get cover for every eventuality that may arise. There may be more options available now as ecommerce becomes more popular.

Great discussion and I do hope that Joan is able to find some answers.

Maria
#1389612 by Dee from Cape Cod
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:59 pm
Hi Joan -

Great question! Sorry to say, I can't give you a reliable answer on that, either. :(

Here in the US, each state has its own statutes and regulations governing LLCs. I imagine the same is true for the islands - each one would have its own LLC laws.

Could you form the LLC now, in St. Kitts, then continue operating your business under the St. Kitts LLC when you move to T&T? Maybe. It could be as simple as registering your LLC with the proper authorities as a "foreign LLC" doing business in T&T.

If that's do-able, then you'd most likely have to pay a fee to T&T, along with whatever fees St. K. requires to keep your LLC in good standing.

(That's my long-winded way of saying: "I don't know. You'd have to check with an island attorney to find out the best way to go at it.)

The ultimate protection would be to do both. Do business as an LLC and insure yourself and your business for all sorts of potential liability.

Is it overkill to do both? That depends on the nature of your business, your level of risk tolerance (emotional and financial), and your ability/willingness to pay the costs of an LLC and liability insurance.

Either way you decide to go, having at least one layer of liability protection will help you sleep better at night, I'm sure! :wink::D

Best Regards,

Dee
#1389615 by Dee from Cape Cod
Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:20 pm

Hi Maria -

Maria from Agness wrote:I remember I did look into it a while ago. At the time it was very hard to get cover for a website as UK companies did not want to deal with US laws and of course websites are international so it's difficult to get cover for every eventuality that may arise. There may be more options available now as ecommerce becomes more popular.


Have you tried Berkshire-Hathaway? BH has offices all over the world, including in the UK. Here in the US they offer reasonably priced liability insurance policies for folks like us. Maybe they do in the UK, too.

Hope this helps!

Dee
#1389950 by Morgen from White Pine
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:03 pm
I've been looking at this legal black hole myself...

I know there is such a thing as "universal liability insurance" but I haven't found it yet. It typically covers you for up to $1 million and covers everything possible. When I find it, I'll post the details.
#1389952 by Maria from Agness
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:27 pm
Dee from Cape Cod wrote:Hi Maria -
Maria from Agness wrote:I remember I did look into it a while ago. At the time it was very hard to get cover for a website as UK companies did not want to deal with US laws and of course websites are international so it's difficult to get cover for every eventuality that may arise. There may be more options available now as ecommerce becomes more popular.


Have you tried Berkshire-Hathaway? BH has offices all over the world, including in the UK. Here in the US they offer reasonably priced liability insurance policies for folks like us. Maybe they do in the UK, too.

Hope this helps!

Dee

Thanks Dee I will take a look.
Morgan if you find anything do let us know :D

Maria
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