Episode 053: Show Notes
Today, we are super excited to bring our friend Danielle Liss to the show. She is a partner over at Hashtag Legal and she focuses on legal issues for online business owners. Danielle has extensive experience negotiating contracts and interpreting FTC guidelines, and her experience has given her intimate knowledge of the challenges facing influencer networks and social media professionals today.
In this episode we talk all about business formation, contracts, website policies, intellectual property, copyrights, trademarks, and she may even give us the straight talk about some of the things we have not yet done inside our own business. So, regardless of where you are in your business; whether you’re just getting started or already have your own multiple six figure business, get ready, because we promise you that you are going to learn something today!
Where to Start Being A Business
When people are first starting out in their business, there is often a look of panic on their faces because they simply do not have a clue where to begin. However, with a little bit of knowledge and clarity on the legal side of things, it is actually not that hard to figure out. There are really only three main types of business structure. The first is a sole proprietorship, which is something you can do as is, without needing to file any type of paperwork. However, the big thing to remember is that all sole proprietors are going to be personally liable for anything that happens with their business. Next, you can either move on to an LLC or a corporation. Keep in mind, you don’t want to make that investment until you know a little bit more about what your financial outlook is going to be. So it’s often the best idea to start out as a sole proprietor and then upgrade from there.
Creating an LLC Umbrella for Your Business
Oftentimes people get stuck when they start to add new arms to their business. They may have started out as a blogger, and then expanded into coaching and consulting, or perhaps freelance work. Whether or not you should operate everything under one umbrella is ultimately dependent on your unique business needs. Sometimes it might make sense to create a whole new LLC for a new addition to your business. However, if you make the decision to run everything as one company, then any new additions can easily be operated under the one LLC umbrella of your overall business as a whole. The main thing is to know your structure and to understand exactly what will work best for your business.
Protecting Yourself in Your Business
The main thing to know when it comes to protecting yourself in business is that if you are exchanging money, you need a contract. You want to make sure that you have got the right kind of coverage for what you are doing. The most absolutely critical piece to have covered is the actual payment itself. You need to know how you are getting paid, when you are getting paid, and what you have to do to get paid. You also want to stipulate the termination agreement. If either party needs to get out of that contract, what needs to be done and what happens in terms of payment? The next crucial piece is confidentiality. Know what you can and cannot talk about, and if you are not sure, just ask. Next, be very clear about who owns what at the end of the day, especially when it comes to designs that you have created for your clients.
Understanding Business Contracts
Often, new business owners want to know if they should be using their own contracts or the contracts of the other party. The bottom line is, you can use either. They may cover additional information in their documents which can be helpful to the agreement. However, if you are using someone else’s contract, do not be afraid to negotiate the terms to include critical topics related to your business. When it comes to non-payment issues, there is somewhat of a list of steps to follow. Start out with a reminder, keep it friendly, and make sure to document all communications about payment. If you are having trouble with late payments, a great way to encourage early payment is to offer a 1-2% discount on your invoice for immediate payment.
Three Key Pieces of Website Policies
Getting Clear on Intellectual Property
Whenever you hear people talking about IP or Intellectual Property, it really covers three things: patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The IP’s that are most often used within the creative industry are copyrights and trademarks. A copyright protects the expression of an idea and what is protected is how it is expressed. For a copyright, you can assign the rights for someone else to use or give them a licensing fee to use the copyright. On the other hand, a trademark distinguishes one brand from another so that there is no confusion in the marketplace. With trademarks, you automatically have certain rights just by using something in the stream of commerce. You definitely want to make sure that people know that you have those rights if you want to file for trademark.
- Find out exactly where and how to start being a business, and setting up the right legal structure. [0:02:11.1]
- Understand the structure of an LLC and how to set it up as an overarching umbrella for your business. [0:08:37.6]
- Learn about the different ways to protect yourself in your business. [0:10:07.6]
- Discover more about how to set up business contracts, and how to implement them. [0:17:24.5]
- Understanding the three key policy pieces to have on your website. [0:26:19.4]
- Learn more about intellectual property and how you can protect your own.
- Get your entity structured the way that you need to have it set up.
- Get your website policies and contracts clarified and buttoned up.
- Register your intellectual property.