I've been working on open-source projects for years basically without pay. Although I had a salary while I helped develop these projects under the umbrella need for something at work, much of the continued development and maintenance on them was not immediately necessary for work. A few of these have been successful and well-used.
I would work on these projects for free, but I cannot justify spending the time working on them from home unless there is enough income to warrant that work, and unless I could do that part-time work on my own schedule, at least to a great extent.
I've been wanting to start off on my own doing development, and would like to start/own my own company, even if I would be the only employee. I'm sure that I could market myself and my services well enough to make it worthwhile, eventually. I'd like to have others fund my work on the existing open-source projects I help with, as they need a lot of work and would otherwise probably fail without that extra time that I would need to justify by getting paid for that work.
From what others have said, including an accountant, I should not start up a company until I have enough income to justify it.
Very recently it was strongly alluded to that a company would pay me for my work on one of these projects.
I would like to agree to it, but I'm based in the U.S. and this mid-sized company is based in Switzerland. I have no idea how I would need to handle the legal, etc. side of things. I would basically just be expecting a check for my work, but at the end of the year, I suppose that if I were contracting for them, that they would need to supply the tax forms/statements for U.S.
I have seen many open-source and other projects just put up a sponsorship link using paypal.
I want to maximize my earning potential, maximize the future profitability of part-time work at home. I want to maximize the possibility of this work paving the way to incorporation. And, I would like to minimize complexity and paperwork related to getting paid for the work.
Should I go the route of taking money from this company as a sponsor, in which case I could either suggest to them a lump sum based on my desired rate multiplied by my estimated hours or preferably give them a suggested amount based on the number of hours after the work is done? Or, should I contract, and have them send me a check and deal with the tax forms?
Would sponsorship require them to pay U.S. taxes and fill out the form at the end of the year to send to me? They may not want to go through that trouble.
Or should I instead just have defined sponsorship amount like Apache? I don't have a non-profit org or company setup nor have I done anything to setup for this work yet from a business/non-profit side yet, and I would rather be for profit than non-profit, I think.
Basically, is getting money via sponsorship of the project or contracting my work done on the project the better way to go to maximize simplicity and paycheck, with the future goal being to turn this part-time work into a startup?