with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
When I started freelancing as my business (as opposed to the occasional job on the side), I made two important decisions:
First, I decided that I wanted to open a business checking account, to keep my books easier to manage and have an easy way to track money coming in as a result of freelancing (as opposed to, say, child support I was receiving).
Second, I decided that I wanted to conduct business under my maiden name.
When I made this decision I had legally been Mir Exhusbandslastname for a dozen years. I knew nothing about the legality of operating my business under a name other than that which I’d been using for so long, so I went to my bank and explained to them what I wanted to do, and they allowed me to open a business checking account as Mir Exhusbandslastname DBA Mir Kamin.
That was all fine and I have happily been receiving work-related payment to Mir Kamin for years now.
As I prepared for my move to Georgia, I switch my accounts to a national chain bank, and I had a terrible time getting them to duplicate my business account. They wanted me to have a county certification of my DBA, which I’d never done before and wasn’t sure I wanted to pay for just a few weeks before I moved. After going ’round and ’round, we finally got it all set up.
Or so I thought. Upon arriving in Georgia I discovered that my business account was, in fact, set up improperly. It didn’t contain my business name anywhere, and furthermore, the Georgia branch of the bank insisted they couldn’t touch it; it would need to be changed by the New Hampshire branch. The only other alternative would be to close the account altogether (nevermind the five different places I have doing direct deposit to that account already) and open a new one. Just as soon as I procured a proper county DBA license.
Aside from the annoyance of not wanting to start a new account, and really not wanting to do the DBA license thing at this point (because I am now thinking of just going ahead and forming an LLC, which is a topic for a future post), through this process I learned that for a month my bank has been cashing checks written to someone who they claim doesn’t exist.
And so I have been arguing with these people—people who run one of the largest banking conglomerates in the country—because they don’t want to give me checks that say Mir Kamin on them, yet they have happily been taking my money for close to five weeks and depositing it to an account which they swear doesn’t bear my name. They keep saying that it’s for my own protection that they cannot issue a DBA on the account, yet when I point out that for my protection they have been cashing checks to a—according to them—fictitious person.
And I am letting these people handle my earnings. I think it may be time to find a new bank.
The only problem is that I’ve heard some horrific banking stories from other freelancers that make mine sound like small potatoes. Why is it so complicated to administer a business account to a sole proprietor? In an age where more and more people are opting out of the corporate slog, I’d think banks would be getting better at this stuff, not worse. And don’t tell me I’m the only person doing business under a different name, either. I don’t buy it. I think plenty of people (and particularly women) do business under a slightly different name to protect their privacy.
Maybe I’ll just start keeping my money stuffed under the mattress.
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