LifeStyle Business for Fun and Profit
By: Steven J. Weil
Visit any LifeStyle club and you'll see cross-promotions for travel and web sites. Stop in at one of the many LifeStyle conventions held across the country and you'll find a myriad of vendors. These vendors sell: adult toys, club wear, jewelry, travel, fetish wear, leather products, tattoos and everything else imaginable that can be related in any way to sex or the LifeStyle.
What makes lifestylers an attractive market? (Yeah I know, that was easy.) It's the demographics. Look around at any club or event. Your fellow party goers are probably between 30 and 50 years old with above average disposable incomes. This is a group that thrives on conspicuous consumption and immediate gratification. Luxury vehicles, designer clothes and frequent, often exotic vacations are common. Lifestylers don't just know how to have fun, they've perfected it. When was the last time you saw unhappy people at a club or convention?
So is a LifeStyle business for you?
You don't just have to be in the "adult oriented" business to market to lifestylers. For example we know of both real estate and investment professionals that have found that the LifeStyle is the perfect place to look for new clients. Who better to find your new home than a real estate professional who understands that an 8 person hot tub is a necessity, not a luxury?
Business is business and LifeStyle businesses are no exception.
Starting a LifeStyle business or expanding your current business to include LifeStyle clients may mean a loss of privacy. Your future customers want to do business with John Smith, not HotCouple7822. They expect to be able to get in touch with you. You are going to be revealing your phone number and a business address to them. Would you do business with someone operating out of a PO Box and a free Hotmail address? Even if you are just adding LifeStyle customers or clients to your current business, you may wish to set up a new business entity to separate these customers or clients from your other, more traditional clients or customers.
There are many choices to be made in setting up a LifeStyle business. Should you incorporate? Should you elect S corporate status? Would it be better to do business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Is a partnership or limited partnership right for you? Each of these choices affects your personal liability and your tax status. There is no right entity that fits everyone's needs. So how do you choose? It's best to review your business plans and objectives along with your personal financial and tax status with a competent accountant who will help you to understand the pros and cons of each choice. This will allow you to make the choice that best meets your needs and objectives.
Then there's the legal components. There are tax and liability matters to consider. For example, do you sell a product, run a website, throw parties or do anything else that could result in some sort of legal trouble? You need to determine your liability and protect yourself. Your accountant and attorney need to know this is a LifeStyle business, so tell them up front to avoid any foreseeable problems later.
In addition, what happens if your business does not make a profit? Business losses are deductible but hobby losses are not. Setting up your business the right way can insure that you get all the tax benefits of business ownership. If you have business losses you will be able to deduct them from your other income, which may reduce the taxes you pay.
Always remember, as with any business, it's important to keep your books and records in compliance with all federal, state and local tax laws and to file and pay all the correct taxes. There are people who want to limit your rights and control what you can and cannot do. Tax laws are powerful tools to effect results where the courts and law enforcement have been unable or unwilling. Remember that Al Capone never went to jail for murder, conspiracy or even bootlegging. He did go to jail for federal tax evasion. So be sure to file for federal and state income taxes, and to collect and remit any sales taxes due. Aside from it being the right thing to do, it makes you a good member of the business community. And you certainly don't want to give any small minded, uptight, misguided activist any ammunition to use against you and your fellow LifeStyle business owners.
As you can see, setting up a LifeStyle business isn't just a matter of getting a product and a mail list. There are many things to consider. Reading this article is the first step. The next time you visit a club or convention take a few minutes and ask yourself a few questions. How many of my friends are here on tax deductible business? How many are expanding their current business? Could I do business in this environment?
Then go have fun. That's what we're all here for anyway.