What is a business owned by one person? – The true meaning of Sole proprietorship businesses

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If you are thinking of starting a business, then you might have come across what is a business owned by one person? Well, in short, it is called as the “Sole Proprietorship” which is a business type owned by one person which aims to operate for his or her own profit. However, a business owned by two or more persons is known as a “Partnership Business”.

When any business that is run as sole proprietorship is nothing but a business owned by one individual and is called as “Proprietor”. He or she runs and manages this business for their own profits individually and will fall under the category of small businesses. Starting your business as sole proprietorship is very easy and has plenty of lifestyle business ideas and business strategies to choose from.

A sole proprietorship is a business owned by an individual and operated for his or her profits to live a lifestyle of their choice or may convert as a small business as the sole ownership of the business and generate profits on a consistent basis. Sole proprietorship refers to a business owned by one person or household and offers plenty of benefits when you have this kind of business structure and business activities in your business.


A business owned by a person is nothing but the sole proprietorship type of business. If I were to start my own business, the best business structure for the beginning would be a sole proprietorship. Its advantages include low costs and ease of organization. It is less risky than a partnership and the most tax-convenient structure for a small business. Complete independence, adaptability, efficacy, and freedom of action are additional conveniences (this kind of business gives the owner maximum freedom of action).

A business owned by one person:

It is simple to form a sole proprietorship, which gives you complete control over your business. You’re naturally viewed as a sole ownership in the event that you carry on with work exercises yet register as no other sort of business. A separate business entity is not produced by sole proprietorship’s.

This indicates that your personal assets and liabilities are not distinct from those of your business. You could be held personally liable for the company’s debts and obligations. A trade name is still available to sole proprietors. Due to the fact that you are unable to sell stock and banks are reluctant to lend to sole proprietorship’s, it can also be challenging to raise funds.

When owners want to test their business idea before forming a more formal business, sole proprietorship’s can be a good option for low-risk businesses. A single person or household owns a sole proprietorship business is called as the sole proprietorship business.

There is a significant advantage to this way of structured business: All of the company’s assets and liabilities are the owner’s personal assets and liabilities. The sole proprietor is completely responsible for the company’s debts and other obligations: in the event that the venture can’t pay its obligations, then any property of the proprietor can be seized.

The flexibility of taxation is one of the advantages of sole ownership. The owner of the business is responsible for all costs and all profits. According to MacKenzie & Smart (2020), in this type of business, the owner only has to pay self-employment tax if the company makes more than $400 per tax year. As a result, the owner generally has to pay estimated tax: tax on income and self-employment.

What is a partnership type of business?

An enterprise owned by two or more partners who share ownership of the capital is known as a partnership. Business management decisions, business marketing, and the allocation of profits and losses are typically spelled out in partnership agreements. The partners are completely responsible for the obligations of the business, unless otherwise specified in the partnership agreement.

The simplest way for two or more people to jointly run a business is through a partnership. Partnerships can be divided into two categories: limited liability partnerships (LLP) and limited partnerships. And there are also categories called LLC vs LLP which you can go through also.

All other partners in a limited partnership are limited in their liability, and there is only one general partner with unlimited liability. The accomplices with restricted risk likewise will more often than not have restricted command over the organization, which is reported in an organization understanding. The general partner, who is the partner with no limited liability, is also responsible for paying taxes related to self-employment because profits are reported on their personal tax returns.

Similar to limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships grant each owner limited liability. Each partner in an LLP is shielded from liability for other partners’ actions and protected from debts against the partnership.

Businesses with multiple owners, professional groups like attorneys, and groups that want to test their business idea before forming a more formal business may benefit from forming a partnership.

The advantages of such a structure are similar to those of sole ownership in that there is no need for extra paperwork to set up a business; However, partnerships pose a very risky business model when it comes to asset protection (Spadaccini, 2007).The owner is personally liable for the actions of their partners, and the business’s lenders have access to your personal assets.

Which type of business to start?

Understanding the types of businesses:

An LLC should be the choice of a future entrepreneur who wants to start a serious big business with the potential for growth and the attraction of investment funds. One or more people form a limited liability company whose authorized capital is divided into shares of sizes specified in its founding documents. There is also an inc. company which you must read and understand from LLC vs inc. to get more insights.

It can acquire and exercise personal non-property rights, bear obligations, and act as a plaintiff and defendant in court on its own because it owns a separate property that is listed on its own balance sheet (Mancuso, 2020). Hence, it is enriched with common legitimate limit and goes about as a free member in common turnover.

The corporation is a common and adaptable business structure. The company issues shares, and each co-owner (shareholder) receives a proportion of the issued shares proportional to the share contributed to the total capital of the company.

The shareholders’ meeting is the corporation’s highest governing body, where decisions are approved by a majority vote of shareholders. Investors pursue choices on the dissemination of benefits, changes in the endeavor’s hierarchical and authoritative document, and choose a directorate, which, thus, names chiefs to deal with the issues of the company.

Shares can be transferred from one owner to another without disrupting the business’s normal operations, which is a benefit of a corporate structure. In addition, shareholders bear a limited responsibility for the obligations of the corporation. According to Mancuso (2020), the advantages of such a business structure include limited liability and the capacity to raise capital through the sale of shares.

The assets of shareholders are safeguarded when corporate debts and actions are taken by the company. Additionally, the corporate tax rate, which is typically lower than the personal income tax rate, provides any additional profits, while corporation owners only pay taxes on corporate profits paid to them in the form of wages, bonuses, and dividends (Mancuso, 2020).

The downside is that running this kind of business takes a lot of time and money. Additionally, when a company earns a profit and pays dividends to shareholders, it is subject to double taxation. There are two kinds of businesses: S-corporations in addition to C-corporations. The first one pays taxes independently of the owners, which sets it apart from the second one.

Corporate income tax, sales tax, real estate tax, and capital gains tax are the primary taxes that businesses pay in the United States. Various kinds of organizations pay various sorts of assessments and are additionally qualified for various allowances and advantages. All profits are taxed by C-companies.

The money used by the business to cover expenses or losses typically bears the tax. And furthermore from the benefit, which is appropriated among the proprietors as profits. Since each shareholder’s dividend income is taxed at their individual personal income tax rate, this occurs before tax is paid.

Because they are not separate taxation objects, partnerships, sole proprietorship’s, S-corporations, and LLCs do not pay taxes on business profits. Instead, the businesses “transfer” the profits to the owners, who then file personal tax returns detailing the profits or losses of the business. Income tax is paid by the business’s shareholders in LLCs and S-corporations.

A new income tax deduction for such organizations was established following the passage of the law aimed at lowering taxes and creating jobs (McKenzie & Smart, 2019).Presently, until 2025, proprietors of organizations, restricted obligation organizations, and S-enterprises have the valuable chance to deduct up to 20% of the organization’s net benefit for personal duty.

What are the forms of businesses ownership?

Sole Proprietorship vs Partnership vs Corporation:

The sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation are the three most prevalent forms of business ownership. The internal structure, legal status, size, and fields for which it is best suited are unique to each form. The owners of each have significant advantages and disadvantages.

Sole Ownership:

The simplest and cheapest type of business to start is a sole proprietorship, which is owned by a single person but may employ multiple people. Numerous home-based businesses, such as caterers, consultants, and computer programmers, are sole proprietorship’s, as are numerous farms, retail establishments, and small service businesses.

There are numerous benefits to being a sole proprietor. One is how simple it is to set up. To start a sole proprietorship, all you need to do is open your doors, open a checking account, and obtain the necessary licenses. The satisfaction of working for yourself is yet another advantage.

You also have the advantage of privacy as a sole proprietor; You are not required to tell anyone about your plans or performance. You are not required to prepare any reports for outsiders as you would if the company were a public corporation, although you may be required to provide certain financial information when filing tax returns and provide certain financial information to a banker if you require a loan.

A major disadvantage of a sole proprietorship is that the owners are not limited in their liability. The owner and the business are treated as one entity under the law. Due to the fact that the company is dependent on the talents and managerial abilities of a single individual, sole proprietorship independence can sometimes be a disadvantage.

The inability of a sole proprietorship to raise a significant amount of capital and its short lifespan are two additional drawbacks.


If starting a business on your own seems a little scary, you might decide to work with a partner to share the risks and rewards. As co-owners of a profitable business, you would then form a partnership, which is a legal association of two or more people.

There are two basic types of partnerships. By law, all partners in a general partnership are equal and responsible for the company’s debts. Some organizations choose to form a limited partnership to avoid personal liability. This kind of partnership has one or more partners who are general partners and run the business. The other partners are passive investors and don’t have any say in how the business is run. Because they can only lose the amount they contributed to the company’s capital, these partners are referred to as limited partners.

Partnerships and proprietorship’s share some of the same benefits. Like ownership’s, organizations are not difficult to shape. Because profits are taxed at individual income tax rates rather than corporate rates, partnerships offer the same tax advantages as proprietorship’s.

However, partnerships outperform sole proprietorship’s in a few ways, primarily due to their strength in numbers. You can start a more ambitious business when several people contribute funds. Moreover, the variety of abilities that great accomplices bring to an association prompts advancement in items, administrations, and cycles, which works on your odds of coming out on top.

The amount of capital available to the business is also increased when ownership is in the form of a partnership. Because general partners are legally responsible for repaying the group’s debts, not only do the partners’ personal assets support a larger borrowing capacity, but they also increase their ability to obtain financing. Lastly, by entering into a partnership, you increase the likelihood that the business will continue to exist because new partners can be recruited to replace those who leave or retire.

Every partnership, with the exception of limited liability partnerships, requires at least one general partner. The liability of all general partners is unlimited. As a result, all general partners bear financial responsibility in the event that a disgruntled client sues one of the firm’s partners for a serious business or professional error.

A further drawback of partnerships is the possibility of interpersonal conflicts. General partners are also accountable for any debts incurred by the partnership. Because each partner wants to be in charge of running the business, conflicts frequently arise. While appointing a managing partner to lead the company may lessen tensions, disagreements are still likely. In addition, the partnership may be faced with the issue of dealing with partners who are not productive.


A legal entity with the authority to conduct business and own property is a corporation. Property can be received, owned, and transferred by a corporation; make agreements; sue; also, be sued. A corporation has its own legal status and responsibilities, in contrast to sole proprietorship’s and partnerships.

The corporation’s success in bringing together money, resources, and talent is unparalleled in any other form of business ownership; in building wealth; and in the creation of wealth. The corporation is the best vehicle for achieving those goals due to certain inherent characteristics. Limited liability is one such quality.

Even though a company can take on a lot of debt, the corporation is responsible, not the individual shareholders. Corporations that sell stock to the general public have the advantage of liquidity in addition to their limited liability. This means that investors can easily turn their stock into cash by selling it on the open market.

Because of their unlimited lifespan and access to funding through stock sales, corporations typically have a better chance of making plans for the long term than proprietorship’s and partnerships do.

There are some drawbacks to corporations. If you intend to sell stock, the incorporation process can be time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, corporations pay twice for taxes. Individual shareholders are required to pay income taxes on their portion of the company’s profits received as dividends, while the company is subject to federal and state corporate income taxes.

Corporations that are owned by the public are another disadvantage. The government, as previously stated, requires these businesses to publish information regarding their operations and finances.

Sole Proprietorship vs Partnership vs Corporation:

Business structure




Sole proprietorship

One person

Unlimited personal liability

Self-employment tax and Personal tax


Two or more people

Unlimited personal liability unless structured as a limited partnership

Self-employment tax (except for limited partners) and personal tax

Limited liability company (LLC)

One or more people

Owners are not personally liable

Self-employment tax Personal tax or corporate tax

Corporation – C corp

One or more people

Owners are not personally liable

Corporate tax

Corporation – S corp

One or more people, but no more than 100, and all must be U.S. citizens

Owners are not personally liable

Personal tax

Corporation – B corp

One or more people

Owners are not personally liable

Corporate tax

Corporation – Nonprofit

One or more people

Owners are not personally liable

Tax-exempt, but corporate profits can’t be distributed

What are the Pros and Cons of a business owned by one person?

The sole proprietorship has numerous benefits. It’s easy to make and doesn’t cost much to make. It additionally has less unofficial laws than different kinds of proprietorship, which makes it more adaptable, as the proprietor has unlimited authority over its activity.

A sole proprietorship business pays only one tax on its profits, and tax breaks may be available if the company is having trouble. Additionally, the owner of the business does not have to split any profits with other owners.

During the early stages of a business, when the owner has limited resources and capital to work with but also fewer debts, sole proprietorship’s are frequently the most suitable form of ownership due to their advantages.

However, because all business debts become personal debts, unlimited liability can be risky for a single business owner. As a result, if your individual business fails or loses a significant lawsuit, you could lose everything.

Based on your credit history, you may also have limited skills and financial resources. If you are the sole proprietor, you will be responsible for accounting as well as managing the business’s marketing.

Pros and Cons of Sole Proprietorship:



Less paperwork

Unlimited liability goes from business to owner

No need to obtain an EIN from the IRS

Difficulty in raising capital

Quick and easy setup compared with other business structures

Low fees and costs

Pass-through tax advantage

Easier banking

What are the factors to consider to start a business owned by one person?

In the event that you’re beginning another business, you need to conclude which authoritative document of possession is best for yourself as well as your business. Do you want to run the company as a sole proprietorship and own it?

Or, would you prefer to share ownership in a corporation or partnership? Before we get into the advantages and disadvantages of these three types of ownership, let’s talk about some of the questions you might ask yourself when choosing the best legal structure for your business.

  • Do you want to cut down on the initial costs of starting your business? Do you intend to steer clear of intricate government regulations and reporting obligations?
  • How much authority do you want? How much of the management of the business are you willing to share with others? Is it possible to divide the profits?
  • Do you wish to evade particular taxes?
  • Do you possess all of the abilities necessary to run the company?
  • Do you think you’ll get along with your co-owners for a long time?
  • Do you place a high value on the company’s survival?
  • How will you finance your business and what are your requirements for financing?
  • How much personal risk and responsibility are you prepared to take on? Do you hesitate to accept personal responsibility for other owners’ actions?

You won’t get everything you want from every type of ownership. You will need to make some concessions. Since every choice enjoys the two benefits and inconveniences, your responsibility is to conclude which one offers the elements that are mean a lot to you. We will compare three ownership options – a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and a corporation – based on these eight dimensions in the following sections.

In a sole proprietorship, you are typically in charge of all day-to-day operations and make all crucial decisions. You get all of the company’s profits in return for taking on all of this responsibility. You don’t have to pay any special federal or provincial income taxes because the profits you make are taxed as personal income.

What are the advantages of a business owned by one person?

The pass-through tax advantage, the ease of creation, and the low costs of creation and maintenance are the main advantages of a sole proprietorship.

Let’s start with the tax advantages. A pass-through business’s income is only subject to one level of income tax and may, in some instances, qualify for a 20% tax deduction. In addition to lowering the corporate tax rate, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) added a tax break for pass-through entities that allows them to deduct up to 20% of qualified business income (QBI).Unless Congress extends it, this deduction can save a lot of money and lasts until January 1, 2026.


You also don’t have to fill out a lot of paperwork, like registering with your state, with a sole proprietorship. Depending on your state and type of business, you might need a permit or license. However, reducing paperwork enables you to launch your company more quickly.

You do not need an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to simplify the tax process. You can get an EIN if you want one, but you don’t have to use an EIN to pay taxes if you use your own Social Security number (SSN).

A sole proprietorship also does not require a business checking account, unlike other business structures. Your personal checking account is all you need to manage your finances.

What are the disadvantages of a business owned by one person?

The inability to obtain capital funding, particularly through established channels like issuing equity and obtaining bank loans or lines of credit, and the unlimited liability that extends beyond the business to the owner are disadvantages of a sole proprietorship.

Legal safeguards accrue to a registered business. A sole proprietorship, for instance, does not shield its owner from legal responsibility. In contrast, the owner of an LLC is protected from creditors seizing personal assets like their home.

A sole proprietorship can also have trouble getting money. Companies with a proven track record are preferred by banks, who typically view startups with a small balance sheet as high-risk borrowers. It can also be hard to get equity from big investors.

So, sole proprietors start out as an entity with no limits on liability. A limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP), or corporation (e.g., S corporation, C corporation, or benefit corporation) is frequently used by businesses that expand into new markets.

However, the sole proprietorship is inappropriate for many people. On the other hand, having complete control means that you have to provide all of the different skills necessary for the business to succeed. Additionally, the company dissolves upon your departure. For financing, you must also rely on your own resources: You are, in essence, the company, and any money borrowed by the company is lent to you personally.

Even more significant, the sole proprietor is exempt from all liability for the company’s losses. According to the principle of unlimited personal liability, the owner is personally liable for the company’s debts or catastrophes, such as being sued for causing an injury.

When you run your own business as a sole proprietor, you put your personal assets – like your bank account, car, and possibly even your home – in jeopardy. Insurance can reduce risk, but it can also significantly increase liability exposure. Ben and Jerry couldn’t set up their ice cream business as a sole proprietorship because they decided to start it together and it wasn’t owned by just one person.

Examples of a business owned by one person:

There are many businesses that a single man can run, but your level of expertise in your field is the most important factor. Here are the some examples which will suggest you:

  • Freelancing
  • Online deals
  • A simple shop
  • App developer
  • Web developer
  • Foodtruck
  • Blogging
  • Website designing
  • Consulting
  • Making chatbots
  • Resume writer
  • Translator
  • Photography
  • Tutoring
  • Babysitting services

The majority of small businesses begin as sole proprietorship’s and change their legal structure as the business grows. In contrast to corporations and limited partnerships, a sole proprietorship does not have a separate business entity and owner.

Kate Schade, for instance, was the sole proprietor when she started her company, Kate’s Real Food. Energy bars are produced and sold by the company, which began as a local vendor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. More than 4,000 retailers carry the sole proprietorship, which currently has a production facility in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

Kate’s Real Food has expanded to supply national accounts since its founding in 2005. In response, Schade changed the company’s structure from sole proprietorship to corporation so that it could accept investments and grow, which is a natural step for a business that is expanding.


A business owned by one person is a sole ownership which is a clear way for a person to begin a business. It doesn’t need enrolling with a state expert for most circumstances and doesn’t need getting an EIN from the IRS.

There are some drawbacks to simplicity, such as the transfer of all liabilities from the company to the individual and the difficulty in obtaining funding. At first, those risks shouldn’t be too much of a concern. However, if the company expands, it might be beneficial to change its legal structure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How do you start a business owned by one person?

To start a sole proprietorship, most of the time, all you need to do to start a sole proprietorship is start your business. Choosing a name for your company is helpful. You may be required to submit an application for a permit or license with your state, county, or city, depending on your business and local regulations. You will require an employee identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you intend to hire employees. You will need to apply for a sales tax license by registering with your state if you intend to sell taxable goods.

Is a business owned by one person is the same as self-employed?

Yes, a sole proprietor and self-employed are the same thing. A sole proprietor is self-employed because they do not have a boss or employer.

How do you file taxes as a business owned by one person?

When you file your taxes as a sole proprietor, you must complete the standard Form 1040 for individual taxes and Schedule C, which reports your business’s profits and losses. Form 1040 and Schedule C’s combined income will be used to calculate your tax liability; if you have employees, additional forms will be required.

Should I form a limited liability company (LLC) or a business owned by one person?

That relies upon your business. A sole proprietorship is best suited for low-risk, low-profit small businesses. In most cases, these businesses only have a select few devoted customers rather than a diverse group. Most of the time, sole proprietorship’s begin as hobbies that develop into businesses.

The motivations to begin a limited liability company (LLC) are something contrary to the reasons above: The company carries some liability risks, has a large customer base and the potential for significant profits, and is well-positioned to take advantage of specific tax structures.

How do you convert a business owned by one person to an LLC?

You must submit articles of organization to your state secretary in order to convert a sole proprietorship into an LLC. In addition, in order to preserve your business name, you will need to resubmit your “doing business as” (DBA) application. Last but not least, you’ll need an EIN from the IRS.

What are the business owned by one person examples?

An online business is an example of a one-person business. You can work as an affiliate marketer or start your own drop-shipping company using Shopify. In either case, you only get paid commissions when people buy the products through your websites, so you never have to own them.

What is a business owned by two or more persons?

A business owned by two or more persons associated as partners is a partnership. A business organized as a separate legal entity owned by stockholders is a corporation. A general partnership is an agreement, expressed or implied, between two or more persons who join together to carry on a business venture for profit.

What are the business ownership examples?

Here are the business ownership examples that you could go through and understand how you can choose the one that suits your business idea:

  • Sole proprietorship business structure: A business with one person ownership
  • Partnerships business structure: A business with two or more people ownership
  • Limited liability company (LLC) business structure: A business with one or more people ownership
  • Corporation – C Corp business structure: A business with one or more people ownership
  • Corporation – S Corp: A business with one or more people, but no more than 100, and all must be U.S. citizens
  • Corporation – B Corp: A business with one or more people ownership
  • Corporation: Nonprofit – A business with one or more people ownership

What are the individual ownership examples?

A business that is owned and operated by a single individual is considered to have individual ownership. This category also includes LLCs with a single owner. A multiple-owner business, on the other hand, is owned by multiple people. Businesses with multiple owners are typically Partnerships and LLCs.

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