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Let's say I want to create a website where customers can order custom chairs. I've got a brand, a name, a logo, etc. Do I have to register the business first before publishing the website?

There's obviously no guarantee that the website will make a single cent. Realistically, I'd come up with ideas and create related websites until one starts to hit.

So, at what point should I register the business or DBA (after first sale, for example)?

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    This is a hypothetical question and but a request for legal advice. It ought not be closed on those grounds.
    – bdb484
    Nov 19, 2023 at 1:07

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You have two options: you can clearly identify yourself by name as the owner of the business, or you can register the trade name you make sales under on the website.

"Doing business" does not require that the business be a profitable one. If you are trying to generate revenues by selling goods, you are "doing business."

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