The day you have been dreaming of is finally here–you are selling your amazing jewelry!!! You are so excited and then all of a sudden, you realize… what the heck do I need to do to protect my work and my business? Total buzz kill. No need to fear–here are a few of the things that you need to protect your business and feel calm about all of that legal stuff!
A trademark/servicemark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. While you don't have to register a mark in order to use it, federal registration has several advantages, including a notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.
Working with other people to sell or make your jewelry? You are definitely going to want to have an agreement that lays out the terms of this relationship to protect your products and your profits! This Partnership Agreement will detail the obligations of both parties, terms of payment, how long the relationship will last, and more.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENTS
Have a virtual assistant? Does someone help you with your website? These people would not be considered employees – nor do you want them to be because then you could be responsible for benefits and taxes (yikes!). These agreements clearly spell out that there is no employment relationship between you and the other person and as a result, the other person is responsible to file his or her own taxes and obtain his or her own benefits. This person also cannot act as an agent of the company, meaning they cannot enter into agreements with another person on your (or your company’s) behalf.
These are needed for people you plan on having a long-term relationship with and want them to represent your business. You are then responsible for providing their tax information and potentially, their health benefits. You will also need to have worker's compensation and could be responsible for unemployment. Having someone hold themselves out as an actual employee means that they can potentially enter into agreements on behalf of your business. They will represent your company in a public capacity. If you are planning on having employees, you should have a Company Employee Handbook that laws out all of the rules and regulations for your Company, which will also include vacation/sick time, health benefits, worker's compensation, etc. Please note the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.
WEBSITE TERMS & CONDITIONS
Got a website? You’re already exposed to liability. Uh-oh. But no need to fear–protecting your Company is super easy–all you need are good old terms and conditions. This acts as a contract between your business and all site visitors. Depending on the type of business you have, terms can vary, but the essence is that the terms protect your Company from potential legal action by visitors to your website.
Genavieve Shingle, Founder of Genavieve Shingle Law and My Little Vow, is the affordable lawyer for small businesses and entrepreneurs. By offering flat-rate legal services sprinkled with love, she is able to provide protection and legal love to the small businesses all the way up to the multi-million dollar companies.
Sign up for my 5 week class of business and law coaching with business coach, Jordana Jaffe, of Embarkability – embarkability.com/freeyourmind