Episode 105: Show Notes
Today we have our friend and ultimate boss babe, or should we say, legal babe, Christina Scalera on the show. We are super excited to get into this episode with you guys because today we are going to be chatting about something us creatives (honestly) don’t always think about. Now you’re wondering what that is, right?
Well, Christina helps creative entrepreneurs and wedding professionals make lots of money doing what they love. She is also out to cause a Ruckus™ in the legal world with legal marketing that doesn't suck. Today she is here to help us, creatives, make sure that we are protected and making smart and safe decisions online, especially in the world of collaboration.
Collaboration; Where To Even Start?
The biggest thing in any kind of collaboration is that you need to decide what the goal is. It can be fun to collaborate with somebody but at the same time, a collaboration is almost always more successful if you define your goals. There needs to be a consistent and clear goal across all team members — the kind of goal where you can almost feel it. People start to get into trouble when the collaboration doesn’t have a defined goal and every team member is working on their own tangent. A lack of communication also leads to each team member not fulfilling their designated duties and the outcome of the collaboration not being reached.
Initiating THE Conversation
Some of the most successful collaborations Christina has seen or been a part of have started with a mutual friend or some form of introduction. Trying to find that mutual introduction is going to help you guys connect faster and probably on a more meaningful level than if you were to just reach out to somebody cold. That being said, Christina has had many cool collaborations without that initial introduction (one being with us) which have gone really well. With us, it worked because she came and approached us and had a clear understanding of her goals and what she wanted to accomplish through the collaboration. You need to make sure that whoever collaborates with you knows what benefit you will be to them and what results can be obtained.
Legitimizing a Collaboration
Christina considers two things when deciding to legitimize a collaboration. First, her relationship with the person, and second, money. There’s only really one reason why anybody gets into any civil legal problem, and that’s money. Somebody somewhere wants money and somebody didn't get what they felt they were owed. Putting something in writing where the relationship matters and where there’s money being exchanged are the two situations where you just have to suck it up and have a contract. You have to be okay with sending out that non-disclosure agreement if you’re entering into a relationship. It’s their interests that are being protected too, not just yours.
Some people are scared to register for an LLC because they’re afraid they’re going to do it incorrectly or they’re scared to email people. Then you have people who are utterly terrified of sending out contracts. It’s probably the same underlying fear which is that we are either not confident in whatever it is that we’re delivering or we’re afraid the person is going to say no to us. There is also this misconception when it comes to anything legal, that it’s bad, so the connotation is that you only deal with legal things if there’s a problem. We have to remember that we’re business owners and we have to take care of things proactively. That’s not the sexy, fun stuff you see on Law and Order, it’s the mundane, day-to-day, boring stuff, but it’s the stuff that ends up saving your business. Figure out where the fear is coming from and try work through and re-frame that.
Overlapping Business Duties
One of the things about a successful partnership or collaboration is that you cannot have overlapping duties. You have to trust the other person. If you don’t trust them, then why are you in a partnership with them? It’s not a bad thing to have one person in charge of legal stuff or the finances of the business — it ensures that certain aspects are handled in a consistent and clear manner. Having good communication and clear delegation of duties will ensure that your business runs more effectively, resulting in more success.
Contracts, Ugh, Why?
One of the things Christina loves to use contracts for is for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). She likes to use that before hiring a new team-member. If you’re just starting out it’s important for you to know that you have this available to you, even if you don’t yet have a team. If you’re ever in a position to hire a VA or someone like that, an NDA could be a very helpful tool to lean on because it’s like a pre-contract. You need to have it in place to make sure that new hires cannot take anything that’s yours or even things they see. That means they can’t apply your strategies in their own business or end up stealing your clients and becoming a competitor. Any time you want to build or maintain a relationship with someone is where a contract needs to come in.
Enforcing Your Contract
If you need to enforce your contract, the first step is always to evaluate what would make you hold and what would make them hold. Our knee jerk reaction is usually to get defensive. Christina’s first piece of advice would be to take a walk and just leave it. Don’t even answer the email the first day. Come back when you’re in a better headspace. Evaluate the situation and see what is really happening. It’s having those confrontations/conversations and just directly asking them what it is that will make everyone feel better. People react in really strange ways. The nicer you can be to them and the better of a person you can be to them, the better the outcome of the situation is going to be.
Defining your end goal across all team members before even starting your collaboration and how that will lead to more success. [0:02:50.0]
Addressing goals and starting the initial conversation to make sure there is no lack of communication amongst collaboration partners. [0:06:02.0]
Hear more about the legal side of a collaboration and when it makes sense to make a collaboration more legit. [0:14:27.0]
Understand why people have such a fear of sending other people a contract. [0:19:32.0]
The key to a successful partnership or collaboration is to not have overlapping business duties. [0:29:02.0]
Discover what other things contracts are needed for in business. [0:30:38.0]
What happens if steps were broken and you actually need to enforce your contract. [0:33:55.0]
Create a contract
Set up and form an LLC
Obtain trademark registrations for your brand.
Seek copyright registration