(recorded live) Q/A With a Small Business Attorney | Business Lawyer Answers Legal Questions Live

(recorded live) Q/A With a Small Business Attorney | Business Lawyer Answers Legal Questions Live

Show Video

hey everybody this is elizabeth potts weinstein  small business attorney and today i am   answering some questions that you guys have if  you have any more questions you can go ahead and   post them in the chat but i'm going to ask  the first are answering the questions that   were already asked and we'll go from there  so the first question is going to be about   privacy policies so this question is if i don't  have my website open yet but i have a coming page   soon can i solicit emails on the page most  of the coming soon website templates have   such a spot for email collection typically this  is where you're collecting names and emails for   an email list right i'm just worried that they  cannot yet see my privacy policy on the website   because it's not open does that really  matter so here's the thing if you have   a website that's i mean it's a very common  thing when you're launching a new business   and you have just the domain and you have some  kind of website that's just a placeholder right   if it's purely just a coming soon it  doesn't collect any data from people names and emails it also can't have cookies  on there which a lot of people will have   google analytics uploaded on their site kind of  automatically by their web host but if you have no   analytics no cookies nothing then you don't need a  privacy policy but the second you start collecting   anything from people you're going to need a  privacy policy of some kind and how extensive that   is depends on a number of factors first what  are you collecting from them obviously are you   just doing names and emails are you just having  cookies et cetera it depends upon what you're   going to be doing with that data so for example  let's say you're collecting names emails you're   just going to use it internally you're gonna send  them you know newsletters hey we're open come by   stuff you know this kind of thing that people  would normally expect that's one thing and you   would want to tell them what you're going to be  doing with it of course in your privacy policy   versus if you're collecting that information and  you're going to be sharing with some other company   you're going to be selling it to somebody else  that probably isn't the situation you're doing   but this commonly happens if people have some kind  of joint launch they're launching they have some   you know zoom webinar that they're doing with  another set of people and they're sharing the   email list with each other you're sharing a list  so that requires more extensive privacy policy   if you're selling the list then you definitely  need to do that which occasionally does happen   it also depends upon where the people are who are  signing up so let's say you have a business here   in california where i'm located and your customers  are going to all be local you're launching   an ice cream store everyone's going to come in  they're going to buy their ice cream right there   you're only going to worry about california  law for your privacy policy as of right now   as the date i'm recording this because the u.s  could always pass a different law but if you're   collecting emails from everyone in the united  states if canada the eu then you have to worry   about the laws of all those places and it doesn't  matter that you're located in wherever you're   located you have to worry about where those people  are located so the eu it's gdpr et cetera now   the most of the rules are very opt in like they  have to consent to everything you're going to do   so that's a bit of a long answer but the the short  answer is you probably just want a privacy policy   there's a lot of templates online that you can  get i do custom ones for people especially when   they're doing more extensive things especially  if you're gathering your health information   things like that that needs a lot more extensive  permissions but for most people you can find an   online template template you just want to make  sure that it's valid for the laws of where those   people are so you're collecting emails from  people in europe you need a gdpr template not   just one that's valid here in the united states  also if you're collecting information from people   under age if they're under 13 it's like a  whole another thing so just to be aware of them   so next question i'm gonna go with something  that's kind of in the same topic which is what's   the most common email marketing blunder that you  see from a answering from a legal perspective   you have to have your address in your emails so  think anytime you have an email that goes up to   more than one person it is a marketing broadcast  type of mass email and so all the spam rules apply   that doesn't matter if you're just putting the  list through in your regular email system or if   you're using a company to send that email blast  so you have to have an address it can be a post   office box you have to have a way for people to  opt out incredibly easy don't make them have to   reply to the email and you're going to do their  opt out in 10 days or some ridiculous thing that's   not going to fly in a lot of places so that's  one of the mistakes fundamentally one of the   best things to do is to use a big email marketing  company and there are a lot of them out there that   i use convertkit for my email marketing they will  tell you how to handle these things and they'll   do it all for you it's not that expensive so  there's no reason to not use one of those services   and also in some industries there for  example i have special rules so if you're in   some profession you want to make sure you're  complying with whatever those rules are   okay so next question is about hiring independent  contractors about tax stuff about that   so if you hire an independent contractor um oh  yeah mailchimp is okay for email marketing that's   another really good one and their first level is  free so yes so independent contractors if you hire   an independent contractor to do something for your  business such as marketing services do you have to   collect a w-9 each time if you're in california  what if it's less than 600 dollars a year worth   of another country so that's a very good question  especially the other country stuff because a lot   of these laws have actually changed recently so  in the united states if you hire an independent   contractor to do work for you and you pay them  more than 600 dollars in any particular year   you have to collect a w-9 from them which is  getting their either their social security number   or their ein and you have to issue them a 1099  at the after the end of the year now sometimes   you may have someone where you don't know if  they're going to do more than 600 dollars for you   and they might right you hire them just to do some  graphic design work you know making thumbnails for   your youtube channel or something like that and  each one is a relatively small amount of money   but you hired them in january it might build up to  be 600 dollars it can be a good idea if it might   build up to that to do the w9 at the beginning  because it can be hard to track them down later   you know you may be they do certain projects  for you and then you know their email   bounces back and you can't figure out where  they are so it can be helpful to the beginning   honestly a lot of people don't i get w9 requests  every year like in january so for the previous   year so you know it's a common thing to not  remember to do that so then you need to send   the 1099 after the first of the year for what  they did over the last year if someone's located   outside of the united states and i'm going to  assume for the sake of government they're not a us   all they're not a your citizen they're outside  the united states there's actually new rules   that i am not all super briefed in because i'm  not really a tax i don't do taxes for people but   there are new rules for having to withhold the  taxes for those people and send stuff to the irs   i don't know all those new rules by heart  i do know more about them just because   youtube has had to go to all their creators all  over the world and get their information because   they're going to have to withhold the like  their adsense revenue from youtube creators so   this is a big issue that has changed very very  recently as of recording this in april 2021 and   so this is something to be aware of that  those rules exist i would recommend that if   that is coming up for you you would want to  talk to an accountant or bookkeeper who knows   about this stuff because i'm sure that they're  getting ramped up on those things because there   are exceptions to it and so the you don't have  to do it for everybody and you don't have to   withhold for everybody i actually don't know  when the irs rule takes effect um hi so the you if someone's in a country where we have a tax  treaty with them we may not have to withhold stuff   for them in that country so the big thing is  you have to have the location for everybody and   a lot of logistics involved it's  something i talk to a tax person about   or a bookkeeper who does business taxes okay so next question um what's the best way  to start bookkeeping if you don't have an   accountant and you don't want to spend a ton of  money you want to spend hundreds of dollars so   it depends what kind of business you  have if you have a service based business   which is like mine as a lawyer you know i do  projects for people and they pay me well like   fixed amounts of money in the sense that it's  not a bunch of tiny little sales it's relatively   few but a lot of assets you don't have inventory  you're don't have a lot of transactions over the   course of a month in the beginning you can just  use a spreadsheet you can use a google sheets   spreadsheet to track everything you want to track  your income you want to track the expenses you   want to put things in categories think about it  from the perspective of two things one is you want   the information to go on your tax return and  you can even look at if you're if you're a sole   proprietorship you can look at your schedule c  and see what are the categories and make it match   up so it's easy to your taxes the other is you  want to know what's going on our business enough   of the cash flow of everything that's going on  business so you know you don't run out of money so   you can pay your vendors et cetera the other issue  is if you have a business that sells products   typically i have some clients who have businesses  that sell very high-end products so it's very   much like a service business but you sell products  you're usually selling relatively lower end things   and you have inventory this is more complicated so  you're definitely going to want some kind of more   formal system just because it will be logistically  difficult for you to deal with the management   of inventory that's when i would either hire a  bookkeeper or i would use some kind of software   there are software's that are free so and they're  ones that are relatively low cost now if you have   a service based business one of them that i  actually used to use a long time ago freshbooks   the lowest one is four dollars and  fifty cents a month so not too bad   there's another one that i haven't personally  used called wave it's waveapps.com and it's   zero dollars for their bookkeeping stuff they  they make money on i'm trying to get you to   use their merchant accounts and other features so  that's something that i would look into i haven't   used them personally but there's a lot of good  reviews out there okay so let me look back at the   people who are in the chat hi everybody thank  you guys for being here live having a va in   the philippines i'm assuming that you're talking  asking a follow-up question about the tax stuff   yeah you i believe we have a tax treaty with the  philippines so it may have reduced it to zero that   you don't do any withholding or it may be you know  four percent or some number i'm sure that answer   exists and uh a tax person should be able to help  you with them how do you get your name copyrighted   so talking about copyrights and trademarks a  little bit so i'm assuming you mean the name of   your business the name of your business is usually  going to be protected under trademark law and not   copyright law trademark law is protecting the  name of a business or a product or service or   tagline or something like that that you is used in  conjunction with the sale of a product or service   that's trademarks copyrights is protecting  an artistic work it doesn't even have to be   business-y at all any artistic work that's created  as soon as it's memorialized in a tangible format   so as soon as this video is saved electronically  i have copyrights over even if i don't file the   trademark or copyright now i'm mixing up even if  i don't file the copyright over it some business   things are presented under copyright law like a  logo that can be both a trademark and a copyright   and then a lot of things you created in business  is also protected under copyright law you know   the photos that you may take videos that you  create the things that you write so for the name   of your business it's probably under trademark law  you have a little bit of automatic protections but   they're very local and they're limited so that's  when you apply for a trademark with the united   states patented trademark office insurance yeah  so uh you know how much insurance should you get   2 million versus 1 million liability all that  kind of stuff some of this really depends upon   your personal financial situation so part of it  is your how much assets do you have personally   and how much assets does your business have i  mean it depends if this is a sole proprietorship   business of your sole proprietorship  business you're personally on the line for everything should be shielded from a lot of  it but part of it does depend upon how what   the underlying value is of the assets the other  thing to think about is the higher the insurance   value is the better lawyer they're gonna hire  to defend you if the insurance company has two   hundred thousand dollars on the line they're gonna  hire one kind of lawyer if they have two million   dollars in line they're going to hire a much more  fancy lawyer because they're willing to spend that   kind of money they're also willing to settle for  higher amounts of money to get rid of somebody   so part of what you're paying for isn't just  the insurance that you're paying for the lawyer   that they will in theory hire you if that  unlikely event happens it also depends upon   the kind of business you have so you know i  have some clients where they're consultants   they work from home their most their biggest  liabilities of being sued are because they   don't do a good job for their client or that  someone owes the money that kind of thing that's   different than if you do live events for example  someone could walk in and slip and fall you have a   physical location where people could slip and fall  i mean there's a lot more potential liability also   if you have employees who could do wacky things  so that's a higher liability situation okay   so to get copyrights you go to in the united  states you go to copyright.gov that's the  

united states copyright office most of my clients  just file copyrights themselves i consult on it   a little bit but i don't i usually don't do that  for people because they can usually figure it out   and also you tend to want to get a lot of things  copyrighted so you go to copyright.gov and they'll   explain how to do it you can file it online and  that's a good way to get started with copyrights   the only thing that's really done on a city  local level are your business licenses and   your zoning things like permits because you're  selling food or alcohol or a home occupation which   is a home business permit which occasionally  you need should you have copyrights over your consent do you need an  actual registered copyright so   photos that you put online or anything you put  online you have automatic copyrights over them   but to file a lawsuit you  have to register the copyright   you can register it later you can register it the  day before you file the lawsuit well it takes a   little time for them to process so you know a few  weeks or something before they file the lawsuit   however if you register the copyright within three  months of when you create the thing when you take   the photo or whatever you get more rights because  you have statutory damages that are available   one of the things that can be hard is  let's say you take a photo you put it   on your website or something and then  someone steals that photo and uses it   it they've damaged you and they've harmed  you but how much what is that amount of money   you know maybe it's the amount of money that  they should have paid you for a licensing   fee but what if you don't license anybody that  kind of stuff it's very difficult to figure out   what the damages should be so if you register  the copyright within a couple months of when you   created it then there's statutory damages that  are just amounts of money and there are different   hundreds or thousands of dollars just for someone  using it you don't have to prove up the damages   part so that can be helpful in generally speaking  my clients typically don't copyright every   gosh darn thing they create because it's  just too many filings that you have to do   but if you're an artist obviously  that's more important if you're   creating final works you can do certain things  in batches so that's something to look into if   there's a way for you to take all your work and  kind of create a system i have some clients where   they have an assistant and part of their  assistant's job is just to file all those   copyrights because once you get the system of  it it's not that technically difficult to do   can you combine your terms of service and privacy  policy on one website page a lot of people do that   the issue is is that you want to  make sure that it's very easy as particularly speaking is you can put it all on  one page and then in it for those of you who   um know about html you know you can have internal  html links to each of those sections so then   when someone clicks on privacy policy wherever in  your website in the footer their website or under   something where they sign up for your email list  they go directly to the privacy policy section   same thing with their with your terms that they  go directly to the term section one of the here's   a tip about privacy policies privacy policies  have to be linked from every page of your website   so put them in the footer then they're linked from  your page your website and you're probably done   terms of service if you're if those are your terms  and conditions for your products or services you   want to make sure they're linked right from where  people are buying so it's not just randomly in the   footer where they're never going to see it it's  right by the you know put in the cart button or   yeah or you know some wherever it is that they're  accessing your shopping cart same thing for the   privacy policy really you want to have it a link  to it where they sign up so like if you have your   big website and over here is where you know the  email box is for them to sign up for your emails   you don't want the only place the privacy  policy is is down at the bottom you want the   you know name email you know by signing up  for those you can send to the privacy policy   you may need more extensive language if  you're going to have to comply with gdpr but   for most places that'll be enough  yeah the the cookies pop-up thing   oh this is something that um so technically  we're all supposed to have the cookies pop-up   thing like we have cookies on our page it's a  gdpr compliance issue but does anybody actually   read that or comply with it this is a kind of a  controversial thing because while on one hand gdpr   says anytime you get information from  people they have to affirmatively comply   so even if you're gathering just cookies they have  to affirmatively comply however from a user uh   experience to comply it's annoying all of us none  of us are reading to it it's not actual consent   if you don't have people from the eu coming  to your website and you're not collecting any   information from them you may not have to deal  with the cookie situation depends on what you're   doing with cookies and if people are coming from  other places and also these laws are changing all   the time so someone may add it from a different  place from a different state or country but   so there's some websites that don't have it  because they don't have people from the eu   some don't have it because they are just super  annoyed by that and they're you know not complying   with it as a matter of principle we'll see how  that flushes out over time my personal guess   is that over time what will happen is the  eu's gonna realize this whole cookie policy   pop-up thing doesn't work in reality because  it doesn't and then that will get fixed but   probably gonna have to have lawsuits about it  and you know it takes a while for that to to   happen let me look over and see if there  are any other things that i miss one other   thing i wanted to answer that was a question  that has been been asked a number of times um   is changing the name of your business after you  start because there's a lot of people who will   create an llc or there'll be a social  proprietorship of the dba or something like   that and then they realize they need to change the  name it could be because you realize you're never   going to get the trademark you have some trademark  issue it could be because you just changed your   marketing whatever and you realize that this name  of this llc doesn't work do you need to create   a new llc what happens well the answer is you  don't have to have a new llc all you have to do   you have two options one option is to change  the name of the llc by going to wherever you   registered it with the secretary of state for the  state for example and you file an amendment to the   documents you filed originally so the certificate  of formation or whatever was called in your state   you are amending it you usually have a form for  that for you to be able to do online option is to   keep the name of the llc and create a dba for this  new idea sometimes that's better if you've had the   llc for a while and the name of the llc is on your  bank accounts it's on all kinds of contracts and   and all the other various accounts and changing  all those other things is overwhelming if you do   a dba you don't have to do that now dbas do take  a bit of work you have it here in california you   have to file something with your county register  and then you have to go get it published multiple   times and it takes you know weeks or a couple  months to do but it is a way for you to change   just one thing as opposed to everything so  you have an option a couple different ways   what else so one of the other things that comes  up a lot is what if you create an llc and you   realize that you don't want this llc after all so  this could be because uh you realize you actually   wanted to stay a sole proprietor it realized you  want to move to another state you realize that   you don't even want to have this particular  business there's a lot of reasons a lot of   things that can come up so what do you do  with that llc so there's a couple of things   one of it just depends upon how did  you actually start the business at all   if you haven't started the business and it's  been a very short time you might be able to just   cancel or dissolve depends on the state that  llc and in a very short and straightforward   form and not have to pay any other stuff but if  it's been existing for more than just a couple   weeks if you actually transacted business  with it you have to go through a more formal   filing process one of the things that can  happen that can be very frustrating is if   here in california if you create an llc the  second you create it there is this potential   liability with the state of california for  the 800 dollar franchise fee tax even if you   shut it down within two weeks then you don't  have to be liable for that as long as you didn't   actually launch the business so if you make a  mistake and it's still that very short time frame   you can go ahead and undo that if it's you've had  it for months then you may still have to pay that   800 dollar a year franchise fee which totally  sucks and i hate that fact that that's a rule   that's not necessarily true in other states a lot  of other states don't have any taxes on businesses   income or they will don't have that two-week time  period but in many places you will have to file   a some kind of tax return to be allowed to  dissolve your llc so it's something to be aware of   that shutting down llc can be slightly complicated  even if you haven't really started the business um okay does the dba need to be related to the llc  can like a baking company have a farming business   as a dba you can have an llc that's like a holding  company that has a bunch of dbas under it that you   can almost think of as divisions of your business  or um just completely separate projects so i have   a number of clients who are so who are one-person  businesses who have a lot of different projects   and they have one llc that's their holding company  that could be like um you know weinstein media   enterprises llc or some you know generic llc and  then they have various dbas under it you totally   can do that you could have five different dbas the  issue is is that everything inside that llc is all   liable to each other so if this dba goes bankrupt  and has a bunch of debts and gets sued the other   dba is liable for this one because they're all  on the same llc for a lot of my clients that's   that's not going to really come up because the  business is really just them they just have   different projects under it but if you're going  to have something where one of the businesses it's making products that people could be  could get sick by eating or you know there's   more complexity to it sometimes it makes sense to  have it be separate sometimes it makes it sense   to be separate also for tax reasons and that's  totally beyond the scope of this but if you have   like something like a bakery and a farm that's an  example of two businesses that have a lot of tax   complexity there are benefits for farms and also  for in-person brick-and-mortar type businesses   they're wildly different from a tax perspective  and you may want them to be two separate tax   entities but that's something you'd have to like  talk to an accountant tax preparer about because   they could go into all those kinds of details  um let me see if there were oh one kind of side   note question that came up recently on one of the  videos is if you have that llc and you have one   or multiple dbas how do you sign contracts how do  people write checks to you what name do they use   so first of thing is the legal name of the  business is the llc but you can also use any   of the dbas legally too what i recommend for a  contract is you use both names so you have the   such and such llc doing business as whatever the  dba is and the reason you do that is so people   know they're doing business with an llc and it's  not a dba of you personally technically they're   supposed to be on constructive notice because  they're supposed to be able to look it up in the   dba database but does anyone do that i you know  maybe if they have to sue somebody to do that but   not when they're going to sign a contract so it's  a good idea just to have that on there because   it doesn't there's no reason not to for checks  if someone's writing a check to you while they   legally can write the check to the dba it had that  name has to be on your bank account so what you do   when you set up your bank account is you have the  llc's name on the bank account and then you also   tell the bank about the dbas that they exist so  that way in case someone ever writes a check to   one of them they will deposit it it especially  is an issue for dbas that have a very different   name than the llc because the bank will be like  what the heck is this i'm not deposing it so i think i got to everything that's in the  chat um you can post it right now um otherwise   thank you guys so much for  being here live and if you're   watching this later um i will do these uh live q  and a's periodically so you can leave any other   questions that you want answered in the next one  um in the comments below and then i'll answer it   next time i'm not quite sure how often i'll be  doing them because it's such a i feel like i can't   predict anything here as we're in 2021 but uh so  i will be doing them periodically so if you have   any other questions you can let me know um thank  you guys for watching i'll see you next time bye

2021-04-22 23:50

Show Video

Other news