Thinking of starting a small business or side hustle? I think that’s great! I’m a bit biased to be fair. I started side hustling as soon as I graduated university, and I owe that side hustle so much.
It’s what helped me save more than my full-time job would’ve allowed, which in turn helped me afford things that would’ve been otherwise out of reach. I’m talking trips to Mexico, Thailand and my eventual move from Vancouver to Toronto. I’m also talking about going back to school (several times) to switch careers and bump up my salary.
Ultimately, I was able to transform my side hustle into my full-time career, but that’s not what I set out to do. I honestly did want to climb that corporate ladder, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, you can never predict where life (and your career) will take you.
Why I bring this up is because when I started my side hustle, it was all very simple. I was a sole proprietor operating under my legal name, and until I went full-time, I never had to worry about collecting sales tax. Similarly, I never had to register my business, choose a business name, or think about things like incorporating or getting an HSA (health spending account).
A lot has changed since I made my side hustle my full-time gig. Now, I operate two different businesses: my sole proprietorship under my maiden name Jessica Moorhouse and my partnership with Jaclyn Phillips under Rich and Fit.
But, since at my core I’m just an art school grad with a marketing background, I had no clue about things like how to register a business or how to do a business name search. I never went to business school! I went to a super artsy film school where we learned how to edit 16mm film on Steenbecks! I made an entire short film about dirt, people! And yes, I’m pretty sure I titled it “Dirty”.
Anywho, when I started taking my role as an entrepreneur more seriously, I wanted to make sure I was doing all the right things. Checking off all the boxes I was supposed to. I may not have an MBA, but how hard could this all be?
Well, it’s not rocket science, but what I did discover is it’s not super clear or intuitive either. I get how everything works now, but it took me a while to figure it all out and understand all the jargon.
That’s why when I learned about Ownr, my initial thoughts were “It’s about time!” and “How has no one else thought of this already?” Oh, is this your first time hearing about Ownr? Then please, let me share…
What Is Ownr?
Simply speaking, it’s a completely online way to register and incorporate your business in Ontario. Right now, Ownr can help you to:
- Name Search: It will run a unique business name search for you and check name availability (of up to 30 different business names), and you can receive a NUANS® Report if you’re incorporating.
- Register and Incorporate: It will help make your business official by getting you your Ontario Master Business License or Articles of Incorporation.
Get Your Money Back
This is probably the coolest part. You can get your Ownr fees refunded if you open up an RBC business bank account. This is a great discount whether you register or incorporate, which is huge when you’re just starting out.
Do You Need a Business Bank Account?
Also, if you’re wondering “Do I need to open a business banking account in the first place?” here’s my point-of-view. If you have a business in which you receive or send cheques and your business operates under a different name than your legal name, you’ll need to open one.
Case in point, I operate my main business under “Jessica Moorhouse”. That’s my maiden name, but my legal name (and married name) is actually Jessica Bowman. Since I do predominantly get paid by clients via cheque, I needed to open a business account so I could cash cheques with “Jessica Moorhouse” on them.
It also makes it WAY easier to deal with when tax time roles around and if you incorporate, you actually are required to have a business bank account, so I say, why not get one that gives you money back?
Where Did Ownr Come From?
Let’s get transparent y’all. Ownr is the brainchild of Shadi McIsaac and Jacqueline De Sousa, two RBC employees who had the great idea of creating a seamless process for small businesses to officially own their business. Ownr is owned by RBC Ventures Inc.
This Is Just the Start
It’ll be interesting to see how Ownr grows in the next months and years, but for right now, I only wish it was around when I was trying to navigate my way through registering my own businesses.
If you’re just getting started with your business, save even more money with promo code JESS-REG30 for $30 off the registrations fee, or JESS-INC60 for $60 off incorporation. Take advantage of these while you can before they expire on July 1st.