So you’re an online coach, or an Instagram entrepreneur or a vlogger – how are you protected legally?
If you are thinking about working with an attorney for your business , this episode is for you.
Learn what essential things you should know and know what to ask when working with an attorney from Alysia Anderson.
2:03 Alysia’s background and how she started practicing law
10:46 general ways of protecting yourself and clients in business
22:21 when should people seek help from an attorney like Alysia
My name is Megan Brame. This is, stop sucking your business. Let's go.
Hey guys Megan here. Thank you so much for joining me this episode. I think that this is going to be one of the most popular episodes of the year. I am joined by attorney Alysia Anderson. She's an experienced attorney who specializes in entertainment, intellectual property and working with entrepreneurs. She has worked at various media companies and along the way has helped several men and women legally protect their business from the ground up. And she is here today to tell you her story, her tips for hiring an attorney and when you're going to need to do it. So at least I think he's so much for being here.
Happy to be here.
I'm just like I have a million questions. But I think that probably the first way we should get started is just talking about your background. You know how you got into practicing law, What you love about it in that kind of stuff. So would you mind giving everybody your background?
Absolutely, that sounds great and I am deeply honored to be on the podcast, so a bit of a bit of my background. So I am very, very unfortunate to have a parent who is an attorney. I have a dad who's an attorney, and that made me know that, like the law wasn't really what you saw on TV. I feel like TVs like crime and arson taxes and I was like, that seems terrible. And so that's not how come I got into it. I got into it because I saw that through the law you could help people. And best of all, for me you could go and protect things and make things and so I have always been attracted to working with people in TV or film or startups and even Instagram, because I'm kind of like you guys are making stuff, and I can help to make sure that this stuff is protected. It's not anything that can be tied to a crime. It's not like sketchy and also that you can like, be able to own it not just here, but like, you know, and like a different country or, you know, until death, or like even able to go and pass it on. So that was overall like attraction to be in law for me. I am also a fan of stories and I feel like a lot of branding and in the field of Law is like stories like cases are stories and branding is just like a huge story. So that's kind of how I got, how I got started in college. I knew that I wanted to kind of understand the breadth of what goes into being able to build a thing. So I actually studied TV and film as my major with a minor of big business. And like the holes in the top time that I was there, I was like, I'm going to intern at, like a company that does TV I'm going to turn at a company. That is first of all, is for I will say, like small companies that we're trying to go from being a sole proprietor to an L.L.C., all just understand what goes into this big pot of being someone who makes a brand or makes a business or just tries to help people so after college. But I was still, you know, I still had the bug of being an attorney. And so I went straight in and did that and even as I was an attorney, I moved. Well, I moved to Los Angeles, and that was where I started to actually work with, like, huge types of companies. Like I worked at B.T.I. worked at Fox, I worked at Disney. I worked for these huge companies. I chose the huge companies where I was like, This is awesome, this is a name that's sick, but it's huge. I'm not really making that impact I want to really make. And that's what made me kind of go. Okay, I'm very happy to have this training. I'm very happy to have this thing I can kind of like speak to and know these awesome people. But I want to work with people who are still building their brand and more on the track of being a smaller type of business at the start, because I'm really making an and I'm making an impact. And also the impact that I'm making is one that probably is closer, closer to their price point is what I'd say, because these people are kind of like me where they want to make things and try their best. But they're still kind of that early stage of making stuff. So that's kind of like how I got started and just because I've been a person who is very passionate about public people who just go make things. I have, like a range of clients where I have a client who just has launched their who just has launched their brand for like, for like, the beauty and self care in makeup. And they actually have an active site that has sales. I have a client who is a coach, and I just helped her go trademark her catch. I just helped her trademark her catch for phrase, or, I guess, like her slogan. And then I have a client who, literally, it's actually a friend of mine from college who's, you know he does. He's a director, and he has a script that he's trying to pitch to Netflix and I helped him do all of those types of contracts. So I like that also, by being a person with experience in law the range of people and businesses that can help. It's so broad and it's just extremely interesting. So that's kind of like a huge story as to how come I like the things that I do and how it got started.
That's so fascinating and I'm especially touched on. You have clients who are instagram entrepreneurs. Is that right?
So just quickly. Like what do they usually come to you for?
That's so terrifying. 100% but I think that that's an excellent segue into, you know, uh, I think that a lot of entrepreneurs, you know, they want to hit the ground running. They're like, I'm just I have this idea. It's fantastic. I'm gonna make a million dollars And, you know, like, damn the rules like, No, please don't damn the rules. Please follow the rules. Please make sure that you're protecting that million dollars. So we know that lot is incredibly dense and especially. You know, I certainly wouldn't ask you things like New York law versus California law and things, but I guess my questions are what is a general way people can start making sure that they are protecting themselves and protecting their customers when they want to start like actually exchanging currency for goods or services.
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Absolutely it definitely is something that depends on the type of business. You know, the kind of operations it really, really is kind of like a person by person. But the two things that I would say that would be great to have at the start is first a contract, and I say contract in the sense that you need to have a written deal, because a lot of people will have, like, a phone call and say over the phone, he said this and it's like that does not hold up. You needed to be in text or like an email or something. This is the terms of the deal that you were trying to do. And also it needs to be quite clear. I've seen a ton of clients who are like, you know, like I'm the coach and I booked this client for two for two days each week and it's like on which days, though. And what is a day? Is that 10 hours that six hours are they allowed to text here? You know, like you want to be so clear because you never want to, either. They, of course, have a client who doesn't trust you. But also be sure that you know what you are about to get it. Be sure that you know what you are about to get into as the owner of a business, you know, like I always also tell clients that if they're trying to seek out a person to work with and that includes the attorney, you have to trust them. But you have to know and be extremely clear on what you are. What type of business really shouldn't ship that you were trying to actually start? and so I forgot. What was the other part of that question?
How do you protect yourself and your customers and like, when you're ready to say, like,
Well, that makes total sense and I think that it's something that not only protects you but just gives expectations for what this transaction is going to be. You know, like you're saying I'm going to try my best ability to get you results that you want but nothing is said and just don't like nothing is concrete. I guess you know what I mean.
So going on to something on the other. On the flip side of that, I think that a lot of people will not over protect themselves, but like what's in my head is that people will feel like they need to start Anel ISI or A B Corp or something like that when they don't even have like their first customer. And do you think that there is sort of like a benchmark for when you need to move up from a sole prop? or do you think that L.L.C. is just always the way to go like what are your thoughts on business structures?
Absolutely, Oh my gosh. Well so I am an attorney, which means I do not do math. I am not a tax persona and I can't even tip. I can be very honest or if I'm out to eat, I'm like, how much do I tip you? I'm sorry. You know, So kind of in that kind of vein, I will say that if you choose to be a business you should definitely get a C.P.A. or some accounting person to tell you about the taxes, because the tax aspect of it kind of is ah, huge chunk of it. But as an attorney from, like, the law perspective, the reason to have to go beyond being a sole proprietor is kind of deals with what you're offering as the business. Because what an L.L.C.Corp, what an escorp. What all of those structures do is they protect you from liability and by that I mean like it protects it, protects you from being hurt or injured or in trouble for from a thing that happens with the actual big business. And so I could give you a second example. The client I have who does the yoga studio that's like his job deals with people's bodies and like and fitness and jumping and stretching and up to date. Like if someone likes, you know, hops up and hurts that themselves, they need to go into his big business. They should not be trying to go and say to him and then and then kind of on the flip side. For a lot of my clients who are still sole proprietors, our coaches on Instagram and while I encourage them to be in L.L.C. because coaching is such a specific thing, the odds of someone being hurt like on their person are slimmer. So it's the process for them to turn into an L.L.C. that's where you get the person to tell you about 50 taxes because I'm sure they could just go in like and write off the cost of making their company while a person who you know, is more so engaged with, like teaching yoga. That's a thing that you have to actually protect, like yourself from if someone gets hurt. So it's kind of like that type of thought process. I will just say the difference between an L.L.C. and A.C. Corp. or and S. Corp. are quite small and slim, and I would break them off, in my opinion that it's like more of like a size thing, like if you're in L.L.C., and you have like 100 people who you work with, and maybe other people who are your clients and L.L.C. is perfect. But if you're like Apple, you need to be like a C. Corp. or like a massive escorp, especially if you also have clients that are like in different countries and that that have done. It's like a huge thing, so that is more of like a size thing. And then.this is where I'm showing that I'm not like, I am not a student because I've got a test on this. But also in S. Corp. is more the entity you have. If you are an established huge Corporation that is like being an apple, while A.C. Corp. is more of like the entity you have if you are a high profit type of, like start up. For example, Snapshot started out as A.C. Corp. and they might still be A.C. Corp. because in cords, they're like they're still a startup.
I hope that all of that is clear. I definitely was more sharp with all that stuff in school, but I'm out of school, so I'm kind of like I believe to be its A.C. Corp. You know, absolutely no worries. So I mean, I think that this is a perfect Segway into, when do you recommend people come to you and what do you think they should expect? I think also a lot of people are afraid to deal with lawyers because either they're like, Oh, God, I don't want someone yelling at me for what I've done or they're afraid of the cost. And I think that one shouldn't be afraid. Just in my experience, I love my lawyer because he just saved me from a lot of problems and do you think that it is something to delegate, as are there like one not like ala carte relationships with lawyers? or is it always retainer? So just like when should people come to you and what should they expect?
Ofcourse, I'm happy to answer that and I'm like, I totally agree, so hey there's like fear associated with someone trying to help, like people who are like I would say that in my experience, a lot of people who get into the the field field of law are doing it to help people. Of course, there are those people who were like I'm doing it because of a high paycheck but I really don't know tons of them. People are just trying to help and so I totally have, like a pet peeve. If someone's like this person's a terrible attorney and like and like I'm like, prove it, you know, because I'm sure they're just doing their actual job. But but so there are definitely different types of ways of paying an attorney. I want to definitely stress that there are ways to get information through probes. Bono, like pro bono and where there are attorneys who just exist to help, and they are just there to help people for free and that could be over. Like a scope of things like there's trademark attorneys. Who is it to do stuff for free? There's housing stuff. I mean, there's tons of stuff that you could get for free if you know where to go but as far as payment. It is common to have a retainer for the attorney. If you are a business, who is someone who needs an attorney on their staff, as in every other day, you need a contractor. You need something copy, like you or Oh my God or it's kind of like if you have a company whose structure is that each day you need a contract or you need something to be trademark. If you are being sued, you need and uh like you have to have an attorney the full time. But if you're more of like a company who was still building or you have the type of business where after a deal is made, it has a term of like 12 months, you're kind of like, I don't need to combat back to this deal for that time period. Then it's more possible to have more of a one off type of really shin ship. And I have seen, like, a combo of both, Like for me. Like if I'm retained by a client, I'm only paid for, like the work I actually dio not paid each month because because, like, that's fair to both of us, you know, I'm not tied to them each day, but if, like, But if I need to act and do a thing, I'm there and so that's gonna have that works, I also said that, like the cost thing is really because being an attorney is a skill. It's very expensive. I mean, being in school is pricey. The bars are pricey, Oh my God, it's just like it's such a It's just such a cash cow that it is expensive, but it doesn't need to have someone to have someone wherever they pay. The attorney said that they're homeless, you know, it never needs to get to like that point. And so there is like I mean, truly there is like a range of payment. And it really does, like, depend on how experienced the attorney is, and I don't wanna, you know, tell people what price they need to go and look for, but it should always be in there in the budget of starting a business because it is true and also if you need an attorney to go over a contract, don't just email them the contract or the document and say Help me out. Really Ask them how much time they think it's going to take. Try to get like the scope of their work or even in the department so that even if it is a huge price, you have to be prepared in both parties to agree on that price. And then actually a thing on prices: Don't ever be afraid to go shake against an attorney. I always respect a client who challenges maybe because I'm like, Okay cool this person isn't just here to like do the thing. I tell them to do this as like the CEO or the president of their company. And they're trying to get a thing to happen that's in there that that's in, that's that is in there I guess. Scope of what they're trying to do and like, achieve. I hope that that is clear.
Completely, absolutely. So when do you think people are ready to come to a lawyer or an attorney?
I think that the moment you have a client, honestly and also the moment that you're trying to build a brand I would say the moment that you're trying to build a brand and launch it, I would say that for most of my clients, they come to me. But before they start their actual brand and they start having clients, I've had a few come to me like it's starting, But But before you begin the process of saying, this is my brand you wanna have, you want to be sure that the name of your company can be traded. Before you say, here's my course. Here's my document. Here's even my Here's you in my free content. You wanna be sure that that content is copy written and also that that is content that you are allowed to distribute. And if the intention of that content is to collect a client's data, then you want to make sure you have all of that stuff in place. Like I would say, I would say, like extremely early. You want to. At least we'll be checking in with an, uh, attorney and you want to? Absolutely. Be sure that it's an attorney who you trust and who is capable because even after you start, start, start a company, tons of stuff like pop up. So you want to be sure that it's someone that you can contact and say, Hey, even though we did all this prep stuff just jumped off and I need help. So it's kind of like those things. So and again, it's kind of like if you're going to commit to a person that you want to date, you really want to kind of have, like, those first couple of dates before you even ask that question? Is this someone I want to really like? Go on like 15 dates? You know, if that makes sense, you wanna always go and feel them out And then at the point of where it's like, No, I need this person to actually act. You already kind of know who you trust, what their work foot, what their work flow is. And if there's someone who you can really, really count on.
That makes total sense and I especially like that you're saying, you know, don't wait on this like the instant you wanna have a transaction like we should. We should be talking. So I know that people are gonna have a million questions. How can people get a hold of you if they have more questions or they wanna talk shop?
Of Course, I'm going to provide you with my email address and a link to my website. People can just shoot me an email. I also Kevin instagram that I am that that is not huge. So I get every time that a person tries to talk to me, I can answer and just kind of feel free to reach out through any of those things. I'm always happy to answer people's questions and give them the best type of advice that I can always.
Absolutely and we will put all those links in the show notes too, so people can just hit you there. But Alysia, thank you so much. This has been so interesting. Are there any other things you want to cover before we end?
Just to, like help me break the perception that attorneys are terrible. Attorneys are kind people and we're here to help. People needed to be happy to ask questions about their contracts and not scared. So that's kind of fantastic.
Thank you so much.
Hey guys, Megan here before you go, I would love to ask a favor of you. It's so helpful to have reviews on new podcasts as it really helps iTunes stitcher Spotify all of those guys find out that you're really enjoying it and that they should show it to new people. So if you wouldn't mind just leaving a quick review about what you think about the podcast, I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much again. I'll talk to you next week.
In the next episode.
I think that they're both valuable. I think that for your audience you want to create content that you want to write because you want to connect with your audience. And I think when you're writing about what you want to write about, you're putting out an authentic version of yourself, which is something that you want your audience to come back for, you want them to get to know you. You won't want them to feel like a part of your community. So creating content just for your readers, whether it's urgent and friendly or not, is super important, I think that you have to do that. Plus, he's a smart strategic topic.