You have all the business legal basics in place. Congrats! (Cue the clinking glasses.) And if you don’t, click here to read all about the legal 101 basics for your business.
TLDR? We covered contracts, forming your LLC and getting your books in order. Now that you’ve got that stuff under control, it’s time to stop thinking like a boss lady ready to hustle, and start thinking like a millionaire on Shark Tank.
Here are the three ways you can strategize and plan for the growth of your creative business before you’re swamped with client work:
Register Your Trademark
Your trademark represents your brand and is what differentiates your products and services from someone else’s. Registering a trademark is not a quick, one-and-done process and can be frustrating for someone trying to run a business while getting the legal paperwork in order.
When applying for a trademark, you need to make sure no one else already owns trademark (or one very similar) to limit confusion and problems down the road. While you can search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO), they themselves have admitted their database is NOT accurate and cannot be relied upon. Gee, thanks.
The only way to make sure you are not using a name already in use by someone else is to work with an attorney who practices trademark law. That last part is key, because trademark registration is not a gift that automatically bestowed upon all lawyers… it’s actually a pretty strategic and tricky area of law that’s best left to those who do it often.
· Find the perfect business name
· Search your name on the USPTO database (but remember, the USPTO doesn’t guarantee results on their own database)
Hire Independent Contractors
You can’t do it all (though I know we all try). Hiring independent contractors is a big step in growing your creative business. It frees up your time to do what you love as an entrepreneur and outsources tasks that aren’t your forté.
But before you start hiring, you need to have systems and contracts in place to protect your business and set expectations for the new hires. Big tip: make sure your independent contractors all have their own LLC set up so that you are legitimately hiring a company and not an employee by accident.
· Get an independent contractor agreement
· Read Dannie Fountain’s Side Hustle Gal book
· Find out how to hire for your brand’s culture
Get Ready to Collaborate
Collaboration is the new “in” thing today, because even though it’s taken us forever, thankfully we’ve realized that two (or ten) boss ladies are better together. Creative collaborations are a great way to grow your business and reach new audiences, but let’s be real-- the biggest bonus is working with your friends! Of course, having those business basics in place is a must if you’re going to collaborate. Before Reina and I started the Creative Empire podcast, we had to establish our own LLCs (independently) and one for our new venture. That way, if something happens to one of us (or our respective businesses), the other person is not involved.
· Get a collaboration contract in place.
· Read up on the benefits of collaboration and how one duo did it
· Find out what kind of collaborations work best in biz
FREEBIE ALERT! Click below for my Joint Venture Agreement Checklist so you don't forget a thang.
I know it’s a lot to do all at one time! That’s why I’m so glad you’re starting to think about these things now. They don’t come all at once- it takes time and strategic planning.
Does your business have a strategy or does it feel like you’re just throwing things at a wall to see what sticks? Are you ready to take your blog or business to the next level? Comment below and tell us!