Why we have attorneys.

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Good day friends! Stephanie here! I'm always around to make boring business talk seem less boring, so on today's agenda: Being Lawyered Up. Why we are and why you might want to be.

That's our attorney, Anthony Trzaska, from Gray Legal. He's a funny guy. He's a brilliant guy. He's a talker (just like me). He's also been the attorney for my businesses since 2014, before I was doing anything properly. I was sort of a hot mess, which is a theme in my early business owner life. But now things are different! I've got it all figured out (jk). I sometimes wonder why I have attorneys because they just sort of appeared in my life and I can't shake them. So, this morning I made a list of the reasons we have attorneys (and why you might want some, too).

WHY WE HAVE ATTORNEYS (COMPANY THAT'S BEEN AROUND FOR 6+ YEARS)

  • Anthony originally helped me file Cleveland Flea as a separate business (LLC) than my consulting business, Indie Foundry. I was doing business for both under the same S-corp and it didn't actually make sense. I wanted to have a separate financial structure for each and he suggested an LLC. You'd want to consult an accountant to decide between S-Corp or LLC because that's about taxes but he initially got me moving in the right direction so that I wouldn't be practicing business illegally.  
  • They file other government paperwork like our company address change when I moved my office officially out of my home and into an office. Who really wants to spend their time reading legal jargon? Attorneys do! They LOVE it.
  • They counsel us. We do a lot of stuff like hire employees (part time, full-time, and contract workers), file for liquor permits, use parking lots as flea markets, etc so our attorneys talk to us about all the legal implications of these decisions and help us protect everyone and do things right. When I'm not sure if we'll need legal or not, I just give Anthony a call and he's super excited to talk to me, usually.
  • They draw up legal contracts. Following up on our conversations, there are usually contracts that need to be drawn up, from consulting contracts to lease agreements to employment contracts to non-disclosures and more. They are very involved in helping us create our Vendor Agreement at Cleveland Flea which allows us to enforce rules of conduct that keep the market a great place to sell and shop.
  • They filed our first Trademark! Indie Foundry trademarked "Defend Creativity" this year and began selling merchandise so our attorneys walked us through that process and helped us.
  • They send letters for us. We've had to tell a few people to stop using our photos without permission or to pay us for our services, so our attorneys sent letters on our behalf.
  • They help us craft legal wording for our website where it needs to be. Attorneys could review your website and tell you where they think you might need something, and it could be anything from a simple copyright protection to a more thorough membership agreement if you have a site with a membership. 

WHY YOU MIGHT INITIALLY HIRE AN ATTORNEY AS A STARTUP OR SIDE HUSTLE:

  • You probably need to get incorporated (S-Corp, LLC, etc) and you can consult an attorney or accountant (most likely both) for this so you can open a biz banking account and begin to file taxes (yay!)
  • You might want to protect your designs or create a trademark 
  • You might want to have simple contracts for selling your coaching or consulting services
  • Maybe you're doing something complex and you just want to talk to someone. We get it. Making a call is typically free and your attorney can provide their fee structure to you so you know what you'd be getting into.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HAVE AN ATTORNEY?

  • Now, we pay about $5000-$10,000 annually in attorney fees for all the things we get ourselves into.
  • In our first year, for basic stuff, I spent between $500-$1000 to just get myself sorted. It felt stressful at the time, but it was honestly pretty minimal and it needed to get done. 

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On September 1st, we embark on a super-fun 6-week program to help you start a side hustle!

Join if:

  • you have a job but you want to create the foundation for your side hustle
  • you'd like to be making money in your side hustle for the holiday season
  • you have a side hustle but you want to brush up on business stuff
  • you don't know where to start
Stephanie Sheldon