Privacy: Part 1
Essentially, what you want to do is create a separate identity, possibly a separate legal entity (like with a corporation, partnership, or similar legal structure), that can do business instead of you. While it's extremely difficult to truly separate yourself from this second identity because your name will be attached to it in a database somewhere at a government office, by doing this, you can ensure that the information you give out to people won't lead directly to you.
The specifics of this article apply only to the United States.
Use A Fake Name
Why not? The Internet is, uh, supposed to be anonymous. So why not use a fake name whenever you don't absolutely need to use your real one? The more common, the better. John Smith is better than Larry Wochowski. J Smith is even better. Browse your local phone book & see what names are most common.
Authors and celebrities do it all the time. Just ask Maria Louise Veronica Ciccone, or as you may know her, Madonna. Wherever she goes, she's introduced as Madonna, but legally she's Maria Louise Ciccone, and I doubt anyone cares except the IRS and her parents.
While you're at it, why not get a fake birthday as well (and make yourself a few years younger)? Again, unless someone absolutely needs it (like a government organization or your bank), there's no reason to give out your actual date of birth. Spread your fake birthdays out over the year and get a free piece of cake at different a restaurant each month. Just keep track of who you told what to. I can't retrieve one of my Yahoo! passwords because I forgot what I told them. I'm much more organized now and keep track of all these things.
Incidentally, Erwachsener is German and translates to "Adult." I chose it because of its uniqueness. I didn't want to choose a name that someone might have, but I also wanted something that would turn up in Google. As of today, there are zero results for Paul Erwachsener.
While maybe you can get mail to this fake name, it will still be to your home address, and you certainly can't cash any checks this way. So how do you go about setting up a real alternate self that can conduct business? Read on.
Get An Alternate Business Address
There are several places you can get an alternate mailing address, for example: Post Office Boxes, places that provide mailing services like Mailboxes Etc., re-mailing services for people who travel a lot (like RVers), and companies that let you maintain a false business address to impress clients and maintain privacy. (Wouldn't you love to tell people to mail you at your Madison Avenue address? Think of how it will change your clients perception of you.) Some of these also give you a phone number that a real receptionist can pick up and answer basic questions with a script you provide. The average cost is in the range of $15 to $50 a month (and considerably more if you want a receptionist). You'll also need to pre-pay postage a few months in advance if they're going to send your mail to you.
Again, since they'll require you to give your real address when setting this up, it won't provide you with 100% identity protection, but it is one level better than giving your real home address. I'm sure the creative among you can figure out how to use this system to set up a system that doesn't know your home address at all.
If you live in a small town where it may be easy to find you, you may want to consider getting a mailing service farther away, perhaps in a big city, or in another state or even country. Being able to have a local address in another location could also come in handy if you want to set up a corporation. You can set up the corporation in a state that has a better tax structure than your own. We are conducting business on an international scale, so I don't think where you actually live necessarily needs to reflect where your business calls home, but I'm no expert so I suggest you talk to one like a lawyer or CPA before taking action.
To be continued...
Paul Erwachsener has been trying to make money in this business for 2-1/2 months now & wants to be both safe and successful. You can learn more about his efforts here. He knows a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things. Feel free to ask questions.