I don’t know about you, but when I first started my business, law was the last thing on my mind.
Let’s face it, navigating the foundations of starting your own business can be tricky business, especially when it comes to all the legal stuff we’d rather not deal with, right? I know how easy it can be to want to push that stuff aside.
The truth? That “I’ll do it later” approach can wind up costing you a lot in terms of headaches and worse… money.
Trust me, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the strategies and marketing for your dream business. I know how it feels to want to nail down that offer and score your ideal clients, but I’m telling you, the legal foundation is seriously so important.
Now, if the mere thought of legal lingo and logistics has you running for the hills, know that it doesn’t have to be so scary after all.
You know how much I love mindset work, right? Well, after a recent conversation with my good friend (who happens to be a lawyer for small businesses), Andrea Sager, I totally understand how mindset applies to approaching all the legal aspects of business.
It’s only scary if you let it be.
As Andrea says, the only scary part is that the longer you wait, the bigger the headache, the hassle, and cost it can become.
To help you ease into the world of business law, I knew I needed to share some of the insights from my recent conversation with Andrea because, as it turns out, there are 3 essential legal aspects to any business that all entrepreneurs and business owners need to know (and implement ASAP).
I don’t just want to help you go for your dreams. I want to see your dream business flourish (without any legal trouble 😉).
So let’s dive into the top 3 legal basics that Andrea deems essential for any and all small businesses…
⚖️ Every business needs an entity.
Whether you’re in the early phase of your initial launch or in the early stages of making money, you want to register your business entity. What exactly does that mean? Basically, it refers to how you are legally set up as a business.
The reason you want to get this filed ASAP is honestly for your protection. While filing as a sole proprietor is the default (without actually filing anything), Andrea says you should register as an LLC, or limited liability company, as soon as possible. Why? It protects your personal assets if anything were to happen in your business.
⚖️ Contracts are queen (aka use them!!).
Andreas’s biggest piece of advice is simple; Use them. Like filing as an LLC, using contracts is another way to protect yourself and your business (and the other party too). Simply put, contracts are meant to lay out the rights and responsibilities of each party included in the contract. An added bonus? It adds to your professionalism.
While there are tons of free contracts available online, Andrea warns that they aren’t always legally binding or 100% protective. Therefore, it’s important to know the basics of what should be included in a business contract. Luckily, Andrea has the perfect resource to help those who insist on starting off with a more DIY method. (You can check out her Contract Must Have checklist here).
⚖️ Properly protect your intellectual property. (Try saying that one three times fast!).
Protecting your intellectual property is fancy talk for marking your territory and claiming the rights to your materials. This refers to the world of patents, trademarks, and copyrights. When it comes to your intellectual property, you want to maintain exclusive rights to your material. In the increasingly competitive world of online business, this is definitely a must for any of your unique content.
Need a little more clarification? Trademarks are used to protect aspects of your branding, like your brand name, logo, slogan, and podcast, product, or service name. Copyrights, on the other hand, refer to your creative content. It protects your expression of an idea in ways such as in blog posts, videos, photos, and both course and podcast content. You’ve done the hard work, so it’s important that you protect it!
So there they are. The three legal steps you need to take regardless of how much money you are (or aren’t) making in your business.
Remember, if you’re committing to your dream, you have to be willing to go all-in (and yes, that means the not-so-fun-stuff sometimes, too). The worst thing you can do is wait,
So, how are you going to take action to protect your business today?
P.S. Feeling inspired by Andrea’s advice? You can get the full version of all the legal goodness she has to offer in the new episode of the I Heart My Life Show here! Trust me, you’ll want to take notes. Oh, and by the way, Andrea is an inspiring woman all around, from the incredible business she has built (despite a divorce and a pandemic) to the way she helps other small business owners button up the legal aspects of their business. She’s a great example of a woman who doesn’t let gender roles and expectations define her, proudly owning her desire to help small businesses and make money doing it. You’re going to love this episode.