Both Sides of Being Your Own Boss


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[Excerpt from The Contract Shop® on Charlie Gilkey's Productive Flourishing Show]

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Here's What We Covered:
  • How the legal aspect of a creative business can be a way to enhance relationships, rather than create adversarial and complicated relationships
  • Why finding your own trapped content can be a good way to bring in additional revenue streams
  • Why working for yourself has its own struggles, including how to define your goals and advance your business
  • What you need to know if the legal aspects of starting a new business is what’s holding you back from starting in the first place

“If you find where you can make an impact, and you see that impact being made, it changes everything.” – Christina Scalera (Tweet this)

About Productive Flourishing:

Productive Flourishing is a community for the doers with the vision to see how the world could be, the smarts to figure out how to make it happen, and the grit to do the work. We call these doers Creative Giants and we’re currently over 40,000 strong.

3 Legal Terms You Need to Know as a Creative Business Owner


Being a creative, we’re more well-versed in the language of weddings, photoshop and online marketing. We can throw around terms like “JPEG,” “serif,” and “stem count” like nobody’s business, but when it comes to the side of our business that, well, actually keeps us in business, we get a little shy.

Here are three legal terms you need to know as a creative entrepreneur:

1. Royalty Rate.

If you watch Shark Tank at all, you've probably heard Daymond John talking about royalty rates, but you may not have totally understood it. (That's why I'm here!)

Royalty rates is a term that is used in licensing agreements. A licensing agreement is the way you can memorialize your intention to allow another person or company to use your intellectual property, like a copyright, trademark or package design.

Royalty rates vary depending on your industry, but typically range from 2-6% of the wholesale price of an item that’s sold with your design on it.

So, for example, if you license your pretty ‘lil design to a phone case company, and that company sells their phone cases to Target, Best Buy or Anthro for $10 a pop, you get $2 per phone case sold if your royalty rate is 20%.

To be transparent, that’s not exactly how cleanly it works, but it’s close enough so you get the idea of how you could make a good bit of money off your designs without doing any of the heavy lifting.

2. Intellectual property.

Intellectual property, or ‘IP,’ refers to trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade dress and trade secrets as a collective family.

If you're struggling with content thieves... click here for a free checklist to FINALLY (legally!) confronting that copycat.

Your IP is your life blood if you create a digital product or have a brand of any kind. You know you have a brand if you have a logo, or if you could say your name and others would recognize you.

You can use your intellectual property to form licensing deals with manufacturers. They will license anything from your name, to your logo, to your designs.

3. Infringement.

Infringement is what it's called when someone takes your intellectual property, like your blog posts or photos.

The only way to know with 100% accuracy that someone else is infringing your work is to have a court say so. But, most issues don’t escalate to that level.


Typically, if there’s a matter of infringement, it’s worthwhile to get an attorney involved because an attorney can (1) shut down the infringer’s activity, so they’re not taking any more of your sales, and (2) re-coup the lost profits or other money available to you as a result of the infringer’s illegal activities.

By learning these little bits of legal knowledge, you give yourself power to negotiate, and learn how to build your business in a sustainable, profitable way. Ignorance is definitely not bliss when it comes to the law!

Legal things you need to know when you start a business. #legal #creative #businessowner #startup #entrepreneur

Want to Start a Business but Afraid of Someone Stealing Your Idea?


She stood up there sobbing, the first of 62 of us to share who she is, why she came to this conference, and how she wanted to build her photography business.

“This is going to be a long two days,” I thought. If the first gal was brought to tears, and we still had 61 more lovely ladies waiting to share their stories... was the room just going to be a mushy puddle of estrogen and tears by the end of the hour?

But Stephanie*, the crying woman, said something next that hit a nerve. The reason she was crying was because her former business partner had stolen her business idea, her clients... and entire livelihood. She was there to start over. Wow.

Don't let the fear of someone stealing your idea stop you from getting started

Since then, it’s a story I’ve heard over and over and over again. Each time it’s the same with a different mask:

“I’m afraid to publish my blog content because someone could steal it.”
“Should I put my products up for sale yet if they’re not all the way perfect? What if someone who’s more established sees them and copies them? What would I do?”
“If I start working with clients who have a big following, what’s stopping them from just taking my work and selling it as a product to their own audience?”

>> Check Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself... download this free guide to stopping those copycats in their tracks. <<

The truth is that, in each of these scenarios, there’s three things to remember:

1. There are things you can do to legally prevent someone from stealing your idea.

While it may feel like you’re the first and only person to have these feelings, you’re not. Millions of other entrepreneurs and creatives have felt and experienced loss through content theft before, and there’s an entire legal system put in place to help you.

Like the myth of the starving artist (which I don’t believe in), there’s the myth that legal stuff has to be hard; complicated; carried out by only the finest of minds.

>> Confront those copycats (and get paid!) with THIS free guide. <<

This is simply not true, and it’s a myth that my professors actively encouraged us to perpetuate during law school! One even went as far to say, “Make things confusing for your clients, that way they’ll always depend on you for answers.”

This bull honky is exactly why I do what I do, and why I’m hosting a free workshop on the 3 Secrets to Busting Copycats, which you will get access to when you download my free copy cat checklist here.

2. It’s really hard to get noticed online, let alone get your idea copied.

I remember the first website I made. I paid way too much for a custom site (I didn’t know there was such a thing as templates) and eagerly awaited our launch date. I had zero following, zero list and a dog + two brothers who knew about me.

The day finally came, and I crossed my fingers the servers wouldn’t crash with the flood of traffic my site was about to experience.

Spoiler alert: In the first YEAR of that website, I got a little over 600 pageviews. Womp womp.

Since then, it’s been an uphill battle to get eyeballs on ANYTHING I create, and I’ve actually been fairly successful at it (we now have about 20k pageviews per month, yay!).

The battle is won, but the war is not over yet. Even with all those people looking at my stuff, only a handful are actually consuming it.

(You probably skipped over everything right to this sentence! And there’s a 99.7% chance you won’t leave a comment below. Le sigh.)

If you're struggling with content thieves... click here for a free checklist to FINALLY (legally!) confronting that copycat.

Moral of the story: no one is looking at you, so do your dance.

If you’re getting copied, yeah it sucks but the upside is that people are noticing you.

3. The benefit you bring to your world far exceeds whatever lame copycats will be ripping you off.

I saved the best for last. You may not believe it yet, but the people that are eager to learn about you, from you, and with you are out there.

You are denying them your wisdom and company by staying small.

There’s no magical switch where you will suddenly feel like bursting out onto the online scene because everyone now loves you. You have to love on other people first to build a tribe of people who love you too.

So what if you put yourself out there and people copy you? Grab this guide to learn how to nix would-be copycats once and for all: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself Guide.

To review why you should stop worrying about someone else copying your work...

On one side of the fence, you have:

  • fear
  • staying small
  • not helping anyone, including yourself
  • never living in the home of your dreams
  • never living the life of your dreams

On the other side of the fence, you have:

  • helping others out of debt,
  • saving marriages
  • finding success in business with your services,
  • taking the most meaningful pictures of your clients’ lives

* Name changed out of respect for this wonderful gal.

Download the free guide to stopping (and preventing) copycats.