Ep 390: What You Need Legally To Protect Your Personal Brand with Heather Pearce Campbell

AJV (00:02):
Hello brand Builders Community. Welcome to the Influential Personal Brand podcast, AJ Vaden. Here I am one of your co-hosts, and I am joined today by not only a friend, but also someone that we happen to be a client of. So you guys are gonna get to hear from Heather in just a few minutes, but I wanted to as always, remind you why you want to stick around and listen to this episode. Now, there are some episodes that we do that are for very unique niche groups of you listeners. And there are some that are for every single one of you today is one of those episodes that is for every single one of you, because today we’re gonna talk about what do you need legally to protect and build your personal brand. So we’re gonna be talking about the legalese of what you need for IP sales agreements, contractor agreements, employment agreements, all the agreements, right?
AJV (01:04):
This is service agreements. We could go on and on, copyrights, trademarks, whatever the, wherever the conversation leads us. What I have found in my own business and in my own relationships through other entrepreneurs is people often just default to one of two things. They suck it up and go hire an attorney and then complain about it, or they do nothing. And Heather has created this awesome middle ground. And we’re a customer. We’ve been a customer for about five years. I’m a huge advocate, and we’re gonna learn all about the details of that. But ultimately, if you have any concerns around like, am I really protecting my business legally? Do I, am I doing anything to actually protect my intellectual property, which actually does have a lot of value, then this is a conversation that you wanna stick around to. Not to mention if you stick around Heather is also thrown in a really awesome free bonus for all of you listening, which we’ll also have in the show notes.
AJV (02:01):
So, okay, now let me formally introduce her, cause I could go on and on about why you should listen. But she and I were just talking about how we’re both moms of two little, so Heather is a warrior of mama, which I love that. Also you’ll find that her I don’t even think it’s a side hobby project, but your second business, a legal website warrior. I love that you call yourself a warrior mama. She’s a nature lover. She’s a dedicated attorney, attorney and legal coach for world changing entrepreneurs, which is all of you, right? She’s also the creators I mentioned of the legal website Warrior, which is an online business that provides legal education and support to coaches, consultants, online educators, speakers, and authors, which couldn’t be more perfect, perfectly aligned to serve the audience that we also serve. And so, without further ado, Heather, welcome to our show.
HPC (02:59):
Thank you, aj. It’s so great to connect. Oh my gosh, I feel like we’ve been in this very synergistic alignment for years now, and I was just telling you like just a couple weeks ago, right? I met Rory in person, which it’s always so fun, and I was really hoping you would be there. It’s so fun to meet people that I’ve either been connected to or have worked with or provided support to in person. It’s like one of my biggest joys. And so it’s really great to be here today and connect with you. And I’m super excited because your people are my people, right? My people are your people. We serve the same audience, and it’s a really important conversation.
AJV (03:38):
Well, and I would also say it’s like, not only is it an important conversation, I feel like with the way that the virtual world of business is growing at such a unbelievable rates and the content creator economy it’s, it’s kind of a necessity. And it’s one that most people, one, they don’t chalk up the books because they’re going, attorneys are ridiculous. Why is this so expensive? I feel that way often, and I’m, it’s such a blessing that we were introduced to you so, so many years ago. Or they’re just going, I don’t even understand what this means. So here’s my first question. Why a God’s green Earth? Do legal contracts and documents have to be so confusing? Like, why is there so much legalese that just makes everyone else feel dumb?
HPC (04:30):
Mm-Hmm. , it’s such a good question, and I will just say it happens to everyone. And here’s the interesting thing is like, I work with some really sophisticated clients who have dealt with many, many contracts. Like I’ve got a client on the East coast, and we literally, we put like 2.6 million advanced, like in advanced fee publishing agreements in place for him, which included a lot of international agreements as well. Anyways, for that client, a loan for that one project. And I’ve worked with him for years and years and I mean, it was probably 30 to 40 agreements that we had to review together, right? And, and I’ve drafted a bazillion agreements for his business, and they have ranged like a, a wide variety. And the way that I draft, like, yes, there’s some legalese in there because it’s essential, but I do also care that it’s accessible mm-hmm.
HPC (05:24):
. And even, even then I get questions of like, can we make this easier? Can we make this more simple? Can you reduce this down to one page, right? And I’m like, oh, I feel the pain. And my response is, do you want a one page agreement or do you want actual protection? This is the reality in the legal world, is that there is a role for some of that legalese because of the way language is interpreted. Hmm. And we have case histories and, you know, a, a gazillion interpretations of what language means. And it is, you hear those cases that make the news. There was a really big construction case, for example I can’t even remember when it came out a few years back, but it was like literally millions of dollars at stake over the interpretation of a single com. Was the comma misplaced, which totally changes, modifies the way that one sentence would be interpreted, or was it intentional?
HPC (06:32):
Right? So it’s interesting, yes, you, you will get court’s writing opinions because their job is to interpret contracts. And so there’s so much that people don’t see about what has gone into legal drafting and the current interpretation of, of legal language that is super relevant to this conversation. Yeah. And so what I typically do, the way that I approach that, especially with small businesses where it’s like, usually what we’re doing is getting a core set of documents in place for them, right? A core set of tools that are going to cover their primary services, protect their IP, support, their JV relationships, or some of the ways that they’re promoting and growing the brand, right? But it really is a limited set for the most part. And I’m a big believer that people should understand these tools and know how to use them in their business and have confidence using them in their business.
HPC (07:33):
And so what I will do, and, and even if you think about like the enrollment conversation, right? So you guys work with big names and big brands, and you help people build these amazing personal brands or do a huge, you know, book promotional campaign or whatever, right? That all started with an engagement of some kind, right? And hopefully legal language that supports that relationship. And what I will often do is like create the, the version that clients will use, and then if they need me to, in order to support those enrollment conversations, create a cliff notes version. Like, here’s what this section means. Here’s what we’re, here’s the goal and our objective for this section. Here’s so that they can have the conversation directly with a potential but everyday client. Yes. With a potential partner that breaks it down so they don’t have to feel intimidated about presenting that contract and actually enrolling somebody. Right. Or misrepresenting what it right means, right? Right. So there are ways to deal with it, but ultimately, you know, for folks listening that are like, oh, can I just have the one page contract? My question again is gonna be, do you want a one page contract? Like, are you so committed to that versus actual protection in, in your business? There is a difference.
AJV (08:57):
Yeah. Actually I wrote this down. I think that’s really, I think that’s really good because I hear this often of why does it have to be so long? Why is it so complex? Like, can we just make it simple? And you know, it’s like what you’re saying is, do you want simplicity or do you want protection? And those, those often can be the same, but often not. And I love what you said about this you know, lawsuit or whatever it is going on. And I always remember back in English class, the example, the simple example is let’s eat grandma versus let’s eat grandma. Right? Those are two really
HPC (09:31):
AJV (09:32):
Statements all based on a comma.
HPC (09:36):
AJV (09:36):
Right? And I think
HPC (09:37):
That’s exactly it.
AJV (09:39):
Yeah. And what you really have me thinking is, shoot, I need to have you go back over all of our contracts,
HPC (09:44):
AJV (09:45):
And it’s sometimes I get frustrated because I know the US specifically. So for those of you who are based in the us, we’re way more litigious than many countries. And at the same token, you know, there’s sometimes you just gotta play the game even if you don’t like it a little bit. And so what is that game for people who are building their personal brand? So what are the fundamental assets? And when it comes to legal documentation for the, you know, author, speaker, coach, consultant out there, or one who is aspiring to do that. And I think that’s the first is, you know, I’ve just thinking of all the different conversations we can have around just ip, right? Just ip, we could have the next two hours. So we’ll just, you give us what you think this audience needs to hear, cuz I know you know it really well, but what do we need to protect our personal brand?
HPC (10:37):
Yeah. Such a good question. And I, I wanna comment really quickly on your reflection of the US market being very litigious. Yes. And part of that is we are a very commercial mm-hmm. based contr, right? There’s tons of commerce. There’s, which also means there’s tons of opportunity, tons of competition to like it all, it all goes together. So you have the risk and you have the opportunity, but in certain countries you don’t even really have the opportunity. Yes. So, so you have, yeah. So you just have to see the good with the bad. And, and with that, I will also expand and say, because my clients are around the world, the commonality is that they are reaching into the US for a huge portion of their business, right? Mm-Hmm. , whether they’re client bases there, et cetera. So we’re not just today speaking to the folks in the us.
HPC (11:34):
If you are anywhere in the world, this conversation applies to you in part because the concepts are really the same wherever you’re at. And most likely, if you are like so many of AJ and Rory’s clients or like the types of clients I serve, your business is international. You are not, not restricted to your geographic boundaries and you are reaching people all over the world with your message, your opt-ins, your email newsletter, right? So, so the, it’s really important for you to understand the framework because mm-hmm. , regardless of where you are, the concepts, the framework that I teach is the same. You may have different, for example, if you’re in the UK or Australia, you’re in Canada, different legal entities available to you than we have in the us for example, the L L C model, which is really, really popular, not available in certain countries, but they will have something either equivalent or an alternative, right?
HPC (12:29):
So you may have to swap the actual strategy or solution, but the framework is the same. So that’s a quick overview. And if you’re reaching into the US because a lot of international clients get this wrong. They, they don’t think about their, their risk from the standpoint of needing to understand u US laws u us i p laws as well, just from the fact of reaching it because they don’t know legal concepts. Why, how would you, how could you know legal concepts if you’re not an attorney based in the US that does business law? Right? So for example, I had one client, really gang buster’s business, very well known. He’s based in Canada, but probably 70 to 80% of his business comes from US-based clients, right? He does live events, he does online events, he’s a speaker, he’s an author, right? He does all the things that this audience does, and he’s advertising on Facebook and social media platforms to the US-based audience.
HPC (13:32):
And guess what? Get slapped with. Basically it was initially a cease and desist and then lawsuit from a US-based company who owned the trademark that he was using in Canada to reach into the US with. So even if you are established in your home base, if you have not done the research in the US around the phrases, the names, the things that you’re using, you could be in trouble. Right? And so for him, we ended up in this battle. It, it luckily, you know, I got involved early enough, we were able to keep the train on the, on the tracks, and we ended up buying out two registered marks from the US based company. And so now his brand can run wild in the US but that was completely an unexpected hurdle for him, right? And so, so it is just a reminder, I wanna set the context because it’s a reminder that if you’re listening and you’re in this audience, the world has become a lot smaller based on the digital age and online e-commerce. And you do have to really understand the rules of the road. So, okay. I know that sounds scary and people are like, oh crap, I just wanna turn this off right now. don’t stick with us, I promise. It’s, you know, there are some really powerful things that you can do that do not take a lot of money or a lot of time mm-hmm. that will help you really, truly be a better leader of your business.
AJV (15:05):
Oh, that’s, so, honestly, that’s such a great reminder of for all of us, of going, you know, I mean, most of us would probably love to spend our money in other areas. Oh yeah.
HPC (15:19):
Be honest. Oh yeah. However, being the outside of the vehicles, right?
AJV (15:24):
Yeah. But imagine building an entire brand around something and then to get a cease and desist. So it’s like, like everyone just let that like sink in for a moment. And that gives me a little bit of heartburn, , right? It’s like you build your entire brand around something and then one day, whew, you get a cease and desist because you didn’t file for that trademark and some other joker came along. So now you’re gonna have to try to prove and spend a lot more money doing it. And and again, a lot of this comes to when do you need to do things, which I know we’re about. Yes.
HPC (15:59):
And I wanna get back
AJV (16:01):
To your question. Yeah. That’s a good reminder to everyone of like, yes, you think it’s not, doesn’t pertain to you, but it it ultimately does
HPC (16:08):
It, it ultimately does. And it, the analogy is like we get into vehicles, most of us every day, right? We put on our seatbelt, we, you know, do certain things before we drive down the road to make sure that we’re safe. In the online world of business, people just fly into that space. No seat belts, no understanding of the rules of the road, and yet they are entirely responsible for understanding mm-hmm. all of the legal rules that apply to their particular business. Right. And people just, they don’t get that until they are like punched in the face with a legal reality that’s really painful. Whether it’s being shut down because they violated a marketing rule. Yeah. Or the F T C finds them and hunts them down, or they have to file bankruptcy cuz they didn’t have the right disclaimers in place or contracts for volunteers at an event or whatever. Right? But this stuff happens every day in this type of business. So it’s,
AJV (17:06):
I will just say, well, I’ll just second thought one quick thing is not to mention there not to frighten anyone, that’s not the point. This is helpful conversation, but I’m a part of EO at the Entrepreneur’s Organization here in Nashville. And about a year ago, maybe two years ago when everything was just going not so of everyone going digital and online, there were people out there intentionally hunting out websites that were not a d a compliant and then slapping you with lawsuits. Right? I mean, there are people that make a business out of your lack of policy understanding compliance and legalese. Yeah. You know, and you’ve got the whole thing with GDPR that, you know, it’s, there’s so much to learn. It’s like, it’s impossible for the everyday entrepreneur by myself to keep up with that just like taxes. Yeah. Which is why I think what you’ve created with legal website warrior is so, so helpful. Okay. I could get sidetracked five more times. So no,
HPC (18:07):
AJV (18:07):
HPC (18:08):
Though though, these examples bring it to life, right? Yes. Because I think a lot of people sit back, I mean, before we went live, you and I were talking about how people just don’t look into this bucket, right? There’s so much resistance or fear or whatever. And, and I think there’s also what, what I see and have seen for years, cuz I’ve been practicing law for over 20 years now, right? It’s people discount themselves and the size of their business before they even get started. So I, I often hear like, well, I’m too small or I’m not really, I’m not really like that business that needs a A B, C X, Y, Z or whatever. Let’s be clear that 99.9% of all businesses in the US are small businesses. That’s right. We, you guys, we are the marketplace. We are the marketplace from a numbers perspective. Sure. You hear about all the big businesses, Starbucks and Nike and IBM and whatever those are, you
AJV (19:07):
Know, our few and
HPC (19:08):
Compare Microsoft. Yes. And of course they throw a lot of weight around. They’re big brand names. And when you hear about data breaches and stuff, it’s those big businesses that you hear about. But small businesses every day are battling the same battles in their businesses that they just don’t get reported on. Right. And, and it’s important to understand that collectively we have so much influence and so much sway and are responsible for such a huge percentage of, you know, annual G D P. I mean, it’s just massive. And so we also have to elevate our own thinking around where we fit and what our role is and the reality. And I’m a huge believer that a rising tide lifts all boats. The more of us that can get educated, especially in the mission driven, impact oriented business space, the better we can be at business. Amen. The better our peers are gonna be, the, the more impact we will all collectively have for good. And thi this is the whole point, this is the whole point of business of what I do, probably of what you do, right? I mean, I just feel it to my bones. It’s what I get up every day to do is elevate the level of business that my clients are in.
AJV (20:26):
I love that.
HPC (20:28):
So back to your question about like, where do we start? What do we really need? What are the essentials? Right? Especially as a personal brand or a, you know, different names expert based business, solo entrepreneur, right? But a lot of solos, like they end up building small teams over time as they build these businesses. So it’s not that we all stay there but what do we need and how do we not count ourself out of the conversation to begin with? So, and I have a framework and I think that’s probably what I will share at the end, right? That for people that wanna walk through and understand the whole framework, I’m laughing because in Rory’s live presentation a few weeks ago, , any question he got was like, I have a framework for that , I have a framework for, right? And I’m sure that people who literally live, we live in frameworks, , oh my gosh, I giggled so hard the entire, I have a frame and then he’ll go to this slide.
HPC (21:21):
I have a framework for that. So I have a framework for this map and I, I give it away for free and I teach on it and I speak to it. And it is the same framework that I give to free to clients who go through my legal basics bootcamp. It’s the same framework that I walk people through for clients that want a risk assessment of their business and they pay me a couple thousand dollars to do that. It’s the same framework that I implement for my Catalyst Club clients that are paying me $25,000 a year to do this work inside of their business. Right? It’s the same. So you are getting the same framework I teach to my clients that are making two and 3 million in revenue a year and are really in that scaling phase and are playing catch up on their legal needs, right?
HPC (22:04):
So, so again, you’re not too small, you’re not too small to learn this, you’re not too small to get started on this. So where do you start? Step one, and this is even before we get to like some of the essential business contracts, is do you have a business legal entity set up? Right? It is the difference between protecting your personal assets and what you’re building on the personal side of your life and not protecting it, like hanging that out to dry. And I, I spend a lot of time on this point and some people listening are like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve had my entity for years. But understand 60% of the US marketplace of small businesses in the US marketplace, sole proprietors, 60%. It’s a massive number of people that never get to step one in my framework of actually setting up a proper legal entity.
HPC (22:59):
Whether that’s a C corporation, whether it’s an L L C. Yeah. So it is a really relevant issue. And if you’re listening thinking like, well, you know, I’m kind of an island, I have a home-based business, I’m just a coach or whatever. No, stop it, stop minimizing yourself because there is real liability that goes along with your business model, with your work. And even though the liability might be less than, for example, running a on location-based gym , right? With heavy equipment and whatever else, you still, especially if you’re in a community property state and you have a partner, you are putting your personal assets at risk through your business activities, you’re putting your partner’s assets at, like, it’s a much bigger conversation. You are not an island. Right? So I start there, obviously we could go deep into that bucket, but I will just say, if you are listening and you don’t have a legal entity set up, make that the very next priority in your business. And also understand when you handle that, it will shift your relationship to your business mm-hmm. , and you will show up differently in your business and you will be the difference between like saying, I’m ha I I’m launching a business or having a business or working in my, my business and really being committed to like, yes, carving out the space, the commitment of, you know, investing a little bit in that legal structure, in that protection and then proceeding the right way. So, right.
AJV (24:29):
So real one real quick question, I won’t derail promise. Do you have a entity preference for people getting started? Recommendation?
HPC (24:38):
I totally do. And it’s because most of my clients fit within this particular model right now. There’s always exceptions. So if you’re listening and you’re like, look, I’m gonna, you know, here’s where I’m starting, but my ultimate goal is in five years to, you know, build this mega machine and spin it off and sell it for a hundred million dollars. Like that’s a different path. You’re more of a traditional startup path. You need to start in a different place, right? Who I’m speaking to are the personal brand builders that are creating a business because through that business model, they get to fulfill their personal mission in the world. They get to do meaningful work that changes the lives of their clients, changes their industry landscape. So it’s about, it’s actually about being able to do the work. Mm-Hmm. creating a business in a way that allows you to show up every day and be fully into your work.
HPC (25:36):
That that’s who I’m talking to. And if you are there and you’re like, okay, great, and maybe you build a small team, maybe you do other things and your business doesn’t totally look like just a solo personal brand builder, entrepreneur for life, that’s fine. You’ve got flexibility. But I would recommend the l l C model because it’s easier to manage mm-hmm. , it’s, there’s less, there’s less scrutiny from the standpoint of like quarterly filings and stuff that you have to do with a C corporation. A lot of people ask me, what about an S corp? S corp is not technically a legal entity. S corp is a tax election status. And if you’re like, want w want like the Charlie Brown, you know, teacher voice, basically understand that to have an S corp, you either initially set up a C corporation or an L L C and then you make that tax election status.
HPC (26:28):
So it’s not that complex, it’s like filing a single form, but what it does is it results in some tax savings for you if you’re an L L C and you’re really starting to generate revenue. So this is also one of the benefits of setting up an L L C is you have some flexibility in tax treatment, you can make that election at any time and really bring some additional benefit into your financial life. Amen. So I know check, check six, check. Yep. So, and yes, if you have questions, get in touch, go visit any number of my past, ask me anything lives like this is something that I drill into people and cover a million times. So there’s more out there on this topic. But also if you’re like, well, does this really apply to me? Again, when do you hire an attorney? Is if you’ve got something really unique and you just need custom advice, right?
HPC (27:17):
Mm-Hmm. . So of course there’s always that caveat. Now that’s in my framework, that’s step one, right? Step two or bucket number two is business contracts. And this is a big bucket, right? And as your business grows, this becomes a bigger bucket. But for pe, for folks that are like, what are the essentials? Where do I start? I always say start by protecting your money maker. What is it that you’re doing to generate revenue inside your business? Right? So let’s pretend that you’re a coach or you’re a consultant and your primary revenue right now is through one-on-one consulting or coaching. Get a killer client services agreement in place that serves you really well with every client you work with, right? And make sure that you understand that agreement. It’s literally a working tool in your business. You’re confident using it. Start there. That’s one agreement that covers a huge majority of the work that a lot of coaches and, and consultants do.
HPC (28:16):
Right? And then let’s pretend you’re like, okay, I, you know, my next step is that I’m building out more of my online presence and maybe I wanna create my first digital course. Great. Going online, which a lot of people have had to do, right? Thank you Covid. I spent a huge portion of the first year of covid, like trying to help anybody in my database. Like, get online, get your stuff protected, get the website protection package, right? Whatever. It’s, it, the online hub, often as you evolve in, in these types of businesses, becomes like your home base for your business, right? You’re setting yourself up as an expert in the space. You’re publishing articles or blogs or maybe video tutorials or something that drives traffic to your website. Again, builds credibility, right? You might do other things as well as you evolve, launch a podcast mm-hmm.
HPC (29:09):
do other things that get hosted on your site. But these are all ways that you are actually technically creating IP in the world and exposing it to the marketplace, right? So website is super, super key, super important. And even through what is generally accessible to the public, you expose a lot of information. Yeah. And so that becomes another area of your business that you have to look at. Is that a huge focus? If it’s not, it should be or it will be soon as you continue to grow. Are you launching products, courses, online offerings? Great. You’re in an awesome, awesome place and time in your business to be looking at how to protect the online components. And, you know, I think, I think you are one of my website protection package clients, right? So that package is really designed to protect these kinds of businesses, right?
HPC (30:09):
So the difference, and, and you know, for folks listening that are like, oh, well I can just go get some free templates online, Yes you can. And let’s pause and talk a moment about the difference between free templates. Borrowing, I put air quotes, if you’re not watching the video, borrowing other people’s documents. Even going to a place like, like Rocket Lawyer or Legal Zoom, Uhhuh , right? Because one of the things that I spend a lot of time doing is educating people on their options in the marketplace. I mean, obviously as a service provider, I have strong opinions about this, but it’s also because I have such a big heart for entrepreneurs, which is why I built my whole second business to serve this specific group, right? Free templates. You know, people might be like, oh, that seems great, especially if you don’t have legal knowledge around what you actually need. Mm-Hmm. , for the most part, they’re not great. The number of times I’ve had to fix people’s businesses because they use documentation that was not a fit for what they’re doing, it’s one of the primary reasons why people show up to my door.
AJV (31:20):
Well, and not to mention on that note of borrowing with the bunny of other people, it’s like, I’ve seen other people do that. Like cuz I’m in a massive entrepreneur, you know, kind of group. And then they, they missed a couple of the edits they need to make because they borrowed someone else’s and they did not read every single word word for word. Yes. And then all of a sudden your own agreements have industry lingo that’s not yours.
HPC (31:51):
Oh, right. Or even worse, somebody else’s business listed in your like
AJV (31:57):
HPC (31:58):
Oh, people. And, and this is, you know, I have to get on my soapbox for just a minute because on this point, whether it’s legal, whether it’s somebody else’s content, right? Like we all have different areas of expertise. The thing that I teach repeatedly and embed into my audience and my list and people that show up and engage in my life calls is if you did not create it or hire somebody to create it or pay for the right to use it, do not even for a split second, think about taking this off the internet. You can get in such hot trouble so fast. So for example, let’s talk about even just taking something legal related from somebody else’s site. One, if it’s truly worth taking, they paid
AJV (32:47):
For it, right? And it’s customized and it
HPC (32:49):
It’s customized. They hired somebody to do it. So tell me how you feel about showing up and taking something that they paid somebody else to create for them. It’s just unethical and there’s not Wow.
AJV (33:03):
You know, it’s like, this is like one of those things. It’s, it’s like what I tell my kids all the time, I’m like, at the end of the day, no one, not every mom specifically is not gonna know all the things that you do. So only you’re gonna know the choices that you make. And it’s like, this is like, you know, parenting 1 0 1, it’s like act like someone’s always watching and would you do this if mom was standing right next to you? And it’s like, I do that. I am a big believer in, in God and it’s like, I’m always like, nobody else might see this, but he does. So totally. What am I doing? And I think a part of it is, it’s like it’s gonna come to bite you in the tail. I literally read through other people’s stuff and I’m like pretty sure that’s not your company. And they’re like, oh crap. Missed that. So glad you saw that. I’m like, ok, you should probably go back and read that, please. Well, Anna, no, I have a quick question for you because I wrote this down as you were talking so I didn’t forget we would come back to it. So this has been an ongoing conversation in our own company because this is where I get free legal advice for two minutes. ,
HPC (34:05):
Happy to provide it, right? Better listen up folks, listen up.
AJV (34:10):
But like, we have like five different product and surface offerings, right? We have courses, we have memberships, we have Immersives, we have Mastermind, we clearly have products. So like we have all these different things. We do book launch fulfillment, we have lots of offerings. And the question has been to simplify, do you need a service agreement for each one of those individually, right? Or the complaint has been, oh, can’t we just like have one that mentions everything And our default has, like, I know it’s more annoying, it creates so much work when we do like company-wide updates, but we have a service agreement for every single thing individually. Mm-Hmm. Is that overkill or could we consolidate?
HPC (34:52):
Oh, this is such a good question. And as brands grow, this really becomes an increasingly important question. And if you’re listening and you’re thinking like, well, I just have, you know, two or three things right now that I am doing in my business, still super relevant. Because you need to be able to make strategic decisions as you grow. And the the key part of this conversation because there are multiple ways to, to do what you’re asking about, right? And yes, you can have a client service agreement that looks like an actual quote unquote traditional legal agreement. People either sign it physically or through like DocuSign mm-hmm. or Hello Sign, right? Or the alternative, which so many of us are familiar with are the terms of purchase approach online. Like think of iTunes or anytime you’re purchasing a digital purchase, right? Checking that box.
HPC (35:44):
I have read and agree to the terms of purchase whatever, which I have never done ever, but okay, right. , I have see the nerd in me. I mean even particularly like, don’t even get me started on this AI world and what we’re, what we’re doing wrong with our intellectual property by participating in it. But anyways, maybe a round two on that because AI is just opens a whole bucket of worms for people that are already established brands. Like how do you use it the right way and not sacrifice your ai? So I mean it sacrifice your I ip, sorry, yes, all these acronyms. But back to, you know, do I do traditional service or client service agreement or terms of purchase? Here’s what you need to think about. One, are you optimizing for numbers? Meaning that you, it doesn’t matter if you enroll five or 300 or 20,000, you, you know, you want the potential to do that, right?
HPC (36:43):
Mm-Hmm. , if you’re optimizing for numbers, you have to think about speed, ease of enrollment, right? And to some extent the user experience. But when you’re optimizing for numbers, usually the user experience is a little bit lower on that list, right? Mm-Hmm. Gotcha. So let’s pretend that it’s a digital course. It’s a pre-recorded workshop. It’s something that you’re like, you know what? I’m gonna put this online and I wanna sell it into infinity and it doesn’t really matter. Clearly optimize for numbers, put it under a terms of purchase, especially let’s also talk about price point if it’s a lower investment amount, right? So if you’re down in the range of you know, even close to a freebie, let’s pretend you’re one of the business models where you just have to sell that first thing and you’re ma you’re really minimizing and it’s a $29 template to do this particular process or whatever, right?
HPC (37:38):
Optimize for numbers, optimize for the ease of enrollment. That can, that can work all the way up to multiple hundreds, even a couple thousand, you can do terms of purchase with that process, right? And some people, even with higher dollar amounts are still gonna prefer digital because it’s better for their business model and their business system. Mm-Hmm. . So, you know, and you have to think about it cuz it really, the other thing I’m really passionate about is like build a business that you love being in. And if you don’t love dealing with paperwork or you’re not set up to provide great customer service cuz you haven’t built out team yet. Like you have to balance all those things. So it’s like what kind of business are you making mm-hmm. and what systems do you have to support the process balancing that with a user experience with the whether or not you’re optimizing for numbers, right?
HPC (38:35):
So generally what that looks like is memberships you know, any digital offers that are pre-recorded. So courses, you know, those kinds of things that are hosted on platforms optimized through terms of purchase, a digital click. You have to do it the right way. Let’s be clear, there’s lots of wrong ways that people are still doing this. Sure. So you have to do it the right way to have adequate legal protection. And that’s part of what I teach inside of my website protection package. But if you go through the effort of, and it’s not that much effort, I’ll be clear, it’s just about knowing where to put things, what order. A lot of people just do this stuff out of order. Mm-Hmm. , you can have a really well-built revenue generating machine that is totally designed optimally ease of use, lots of enrollment, and you’re covered.
HPC (39:25):
Right? Gotcha. Now if you’re running, let’s pretend like one of my clients is running to just launched like a $29,000 a year. Pretty elite. Like it’s invite only membership club for women. That’s combination like networking, you know, masterminds. She’s bringing in like really famous people in the business world to talk to these folks. So she’s very high level. Do people want to click a box and enroll that way? Probably not. Yeah. You really, if you have that business model, you are optimizing all the way for user experience and you’re optimizing to also create and ensure that you have very high level clients in that experience. Right? Optimizing for clicks for easy enrollment means you’re gonna have a few misfits mm-hmm. that get into your model, right? But if you are sending somebody a client services agreement and it’s a $29,000 offer and you’re really vetting people all the way you want a, a literal signed agreement or something sent through DocuSign that follows probably a pretty detailed conversation and Yeah. You know, process for enrollment. So it’s really about matching your, your client enrollment process to the type of business that you wanna build or the type of service that you’re enrolling people into. Cuz you can have different levels of people mm-hmm. That you serve in your business. And one level’s gonna be perfectly served by that terms of purchase model and the other level, like in my business is gonna be well served by that one-on-one client services agreement.
AJV (41:03):
Yeah. Super helpful. Really good. And I think that just even those little points of delineation just help so much of like, what do I need when, yeah, so totally. I’m watching the clock and we have like seven minutes. Okay. And so we talked a little bit about entity structure, super helpful business contracts, right? Mm-Hmm , protect that money maker first focus on your service agreement, make sure that you’ve got online protection for your website. So it’s like, I mean there’s just like, you’ve gotta have your user policy, you’ve gotta have your, you know, purchase policy. Like these are all things in the website protection, you know, kit that you offer. It’s like, that is nice cuz it is a template and it is like copy and paste our details in because it is really matter of fact
HPC (41:47):
Super easy to implement.
AJV (41:48):
It’s a no brainer. Like if you don’t have those things and you need to go to our affiliate link to have a legal website warrior which I will put in the show notes, but if you don’t use our affiliate link, just go cause it’s worth it. The website protection kit is just such a no-brainer because people are hunting people like us out online and going, oh, they don’t have this boom, I’m gonna sloppy you with a lawsuit or you can just pay me this amount of money and I’ll forgo it. Like I know that’s Steves, but unfortunately, like I know three people that happened to with the A D I A D A compliance issue. Yeah. so just do it, right.
HPC (42:26):
Just do it. And the final point I will add about that because it is kind of a templated package. You modify certain parts, but it is pre-built for this very, very narrow niche that I serve. It is not for the industry at large, it is not for bigger business. It is, it is not even for brick and mortar like, you know, mom and pop selling widgets, gidgets and gadgets, but like it’s for a very specific type of business. And so it’s literally pre-built to fit your business model right out the box. And that’s what I cared about doing with all of my documentation,
AJV (43:01):
Which means a lot. And just little things like you don’t think about like earnings disclosures and
HPC (43:06):
Totally thanks your privacy policy that’s required by law. And now we have all of these changing legalities with international privacy issues. Like there’s a lot to cover. You don’t have to do it yourself, but I want you to feel so good about being in your business and not wor like the, the way I’ve had certain clients describe getting the support that they need is like, I did not realize I was carrying around this 50 pound backpack. Yes. And I finally got to put it down. Yep. These are people who have made millions of dollars in their business, you know, and it’s like they finally got it resolved in a way that suited them. So anyways, that’s my pitch. Just go do it in regards to like what else you need because you did we, we talked about legal entity, we talked a bit about business contracts.
HPC (43:55):
Just understand like any exchange of value that you have in your business, right? Maybe you’re hiring independent contractors or employees or, or you’re working with JVs or affiliates or you know, any number of ways that you’re exchanging value through your business. Maybe it’s additional services or offerings. Mm-Hmm. , one of those should have a business contract around it because you’re disclosing IP and like, you know, you mentioned not having your documents in place and being on the receiving end of lawsuits. The other thing that happens massively and why people show up to my door is they don’t have their online documents on place. People get into their, their programs and services. Just copy them, just duplicate ’em and rip ’em off, right? They didn’t have any terms or anything protecting their ip. So so there’s that, right? It does, this does a lot of heavy lifting in your business when you get the right tools in place.
HPC (44:47):
The next bucket, and we won’t talk about all the buckets, right? And if you want more information on the other buckets, just go through my little freebie. It’s super fast. Five minute videos delivered once a day for a week, like five days. Yeah. So it’s super easy, very accessible. It’s gonna link you to other resources and things you can go take a peak at. But the third bucket ip, I really want to talk about ip, right? Because a lot of people are like, well what about ip? Understand you do a lot of heavy lifting to protect your IP in the contracts bucket. Mm-Hmm. a lot of overlap there, right? So if you’re like, oh, I don’t have a massive budget, maybe I’m not in the place of going and getting a bunch of registered trademarks or registered copyrights, start with your documentation and then get that in place and then come visit me and we’ll talk about the other things you can layer over, but IP strategies that are available to you if you are a personal brand builder or an expert based business trademark registrations, right?
HPC (45:46):
Yeah. Think of your brand or your business as a mountain trademark registrations protect what’s visible from the marketplace. So if you live close to a mountain, you know that like what sits above the clouds or your city or whatever is the Snowcapped Peaks the very top of that mountain. That’s what trademarks protect. This is gonna be your business name. Mm-Hmm. your tagline, your logo, like assets that are identifying your brand, right? So like, think of Nike, Nike as a trademark. The just do it. Their logo has a trademark and the Nike Swoosh has a trademark. That’s an easy way to remember. What do trademarks protect, right? The rest of that mountain, what I call the body of the mountain, is the body of your work. Your workbooks, your video tutorials, your blogs, your articles. Like all the ways that you expressed your ideas into the world, right?
HPC (46:39):
And all of the folks that I serve are massive information publishers. Like you literally need to think of yourself as a publisher, like even Rory of a framework for that, of a framework for that, right? We publish when we’re experts in our spaces, massive amounts of information. So registrations are available to protect that trademark registrations, protect the top copyright registrations, protect the body of your work. So if you’re publishing books, if you’re, you know, creating a video series, like I said, all the ways that your work is actually taking a tangible form in the world.
AJV (47:17):
I’m so good. And that’s such an easy way to think about it too. Yeah. Jessica, people get
HPC (47:21):
Those, yes, get them mixed up all the time. And I just want, like, I’m such a visual person, I just want you to remember that analogy of the mountain trademarks are at the top, which means also that they’re a little bit more of an investment. They take a little bit longer to obtain super, super powerful assets to have in your business. And then copyrights, you can be strategic about what you protect. And my question for you if you’re listening right now is like, where do you start when it comes to co copyrights are much more accessible. You can file them on your own and it’s like $45, very, very accessible, right? So whether that’s a video suit series or a workbook, or maybe you’ve self-published a book, ask yourself like, what is the best expression of your work or your framework or your ideas? And start with that. Like you have core assets in your work, start with those. You don’t have to register everything, but start with what you know to be core to your work, right? Mm-Hmm. . And that, that will be a like, will really set you on a good path because some of us can express the same teachings through writing, through video, through all these ways. And you may not need to protect everything, but you do need to choose very carefully what to protect and get started on those.
AJV (48:39):
Oh, this has been so helpful, y’all. Like we could literally go off and on and on talking about this. This is like scratching the surface as Heather mentioned. She’s offering a free little mini course. I’m gonna put the link to access that in our show notes. I’ll also put a link to her company legal website warrior. If you want to use our affiliate link, do it. . But if not, just go cuz it’s, it’s worth it. We’ve been very happy customers. We use her contract templates, her website protection kits, we use it for service agreements, employment agreements. We pretty much at this point I think we own most of all of the templates. We, all of them over should
HPC (49:22):
Check, right? I know there’s been, like I said, in parallel universes for so long. I should go check up and we can chat if there’s anything that you’re missing. But I so appreciate you. I what I want for people, cuz some people are probably listening and still feeling overwhelmed. Just understand. The thing that I love most about entrepreneurs is their grit. Like the perseverance, the willingness to like roll up those sleeves. Mm-Hmm. , put a little elbow grease into something just like you have to learn marketing or sales or information technology or team building as it relates to your particular business. You also just need a certain amount of legal chops so that you can issue spot, you know, when to get help in the right way and in the right timing. And you can be more strategic about that. And it, it can be very accessible and that’s my entire goal is to make it feel and actually be more accessible to you.
AJV (50:16):
Ah, so good. Heather, thank you so much for being here. Everyone else stay tuned. Check out our Cliff Notes version of this episodes and we’ll see you next time on the influential Personal brand. See you later guys.