Introducing Small Business Bodyguard, plus A Goodie for You

Full disclosure! This post is about Small Business Bodyguard (SBB), which is a program that we are an affiliate member of. If you purchase the program through our links here, we get a small compensation for your purchase, which does not impact your purchase price. 

We don't normally write about things we are affiliates of, but we've been getting a lot questions from other creative professionals about legal side of business. We also saw the Cyber Monday deal Rachel is offering and thought the offer is simply too good to pass up! So we decided to share our experiences of the product here with you. 

Kenneth Josephson: Untitled (88-4-235) - from the series Books, 1988 (Yancey Richardson Gallery)

When I started my business, I really didn't think I would spend majority of my time being buried in paperwork and learning about stuff that doesn't have anything to do with what I love to do: staging & styling. After all, I escaped the fate of law school because I didn't like to do paperwork. I decided to stop practicing as a real estate agent in California because there were too much paperwork. 

BUT paperwork exists for good reasons. I believe in good business and professional practices. I also believe contracts is part of communication process with our clients. Having great communication will not only help to set the right expectations with our clients, it will also reduce risks and any confusions. 

While we already have a local small business law firm on speed dial, I decided to invest in Small Business Bodyguard (SBB) for additional support. What I really like about SBB is that Rachel has a great way of breaking down law speaks into layman's terms. I also like the non-stuffiness of her language. The program covers basically all the foundations needed for small business practices, and the templates are super helpful. (I customize them and still do send them to my lawyer for final look through. Having a template that you can work from compare to having your lawyer draw up new ones, that alone saved me a bundle.)

I first heard about SBB through several creative business groups on Facebook. Most creative businesses like mine have similar issues, which come down to

  1. Did we set up our businesses correctly? And if so, what do we need to do to maintain the business entity?
  2. This one is a BIGGIE and happens more often than we would like: What happens when someone ripped off our creative product and posted it all over the internet as their own work?
  3. Hiring paper and all the fun paperwork that comes along with hiring.
  4. Doing business on the internet in general.

What I also like about SBB is that even though I have my lawyers, I can do a lot of research and understand what needed to be mentioned during our conversations before our meetings. What this does is that it cuts down a lot of education time from my lawyer.

Less time with my lawyer (despite how good looking he is) = less billable time = #winning.

That alone already saved me a bundle. 

Take a recent example that happened this summer: One of our former employees had taken a bunch of our portfolio photos, cropped off our watermarks and pasted them onto her own site as her own portfolio. After a Cease & Decease letter, the former employee promptly took the photos down but.... put up more later that day. (You gotta give her credit for persistence.)

During the lovely weekend that I could have been eating chocolate bonbons in bed, I was able to read up on everything related to hiring paperwork, copyright infringements to intellectual properties in the SBB program. I was able to take all the necessary steps to protect our business interests, do most of the legwork and then present a final letter to my lawyer to have him review and send off. 

After this particular incident, we revamped all of our paperwork and restructured our hiring practices based on the information in the SBB program and with the final walk through from our lawyer to make sure everything was legit. 

As a business owner, there are just so many legal i’s to dot and t’s to cross that it can be tempting to simply stick our heads in the sand or hope we can afford to hire a lawyer to do it all for us. But I am frugal and I rather invest those money elsewhere in the business instead of pouring money over problems or people that I do not have time for, like that former employee.

We feel comfortable recommending this program because we like the information and templates provided. But like snowflakes, not all businesses are the same. SBB works really well for us in additions to working with our attorney. I'd recommend checking out the program offering below to see if SBB will work for you. Also, like publications from NOLO, by no means this should replace proper legal advices from your attorney.

Here is what Small Business Bodyguard program is offering:

SBB includes the same templates, worksheets and step-by-step processes that innovative business and intellectual property lawyer/creator of SBB, Rachel Rodgers, uses with her own legal clients to go from 0 to 60 to get their legal on. Over 1200+ entrepreneurs have used SBB+ to rock out with their very own businesses (including a children’s playland...yes seriously.).

This valuable resource has just been updated to include even more ass-covering features:

  • 50+ pages of new content,
  • 2 new chapters on building your team covering things like hiring employees, interns and independent contractors,
  • Fresh content throughout the guide
  • 6 new cheatsheets and checklists,
  • 5 new insider stories from entrepreneurs, consultants and other hotshots,
  • An updated Modern Lawyer Directory (where you can find a lawyer who 'gets it' if you ever need one -- love it!), and the biggest change of all ...
  • 1 shiny, new membership site with ALL the bells and ALL the whistles including a new user-friendly layout, 12 introductory videos and some other fun surprises that you’ll have to log in to see!

To celebrate all this great new content, the SBB team is offering an extra $50 off the introductory price if you use promo code GETSOME. That’s a grand total of $150 off the regular price!

But wait, there’s more….

FOR THREE DAYS ONLY, starting on November 29th, you can also get The Cyber Monday Swag Bag of over $6000 in bonuses thrown in on top of the 50+ pages of new content and the crazy new member site:

The Contracts Bundle So You Can Do Business Like A Boss

Consider these three go-to contracts as your wingmen to help you close more deals, grow your business, and profit even more from what you’ve built.  Because having killer contracts is just something that badass business owners do. Here’s what’s included:

  • Non-Disclosure Agreement: Whip this out when you’re sharing proprietary info with someone - think: investor, potential partner, or manufacturer - and you want to make sure they can’t share your shit with anyone (valued at $600+).
  • Affiliate Agreement: Use often to cover your tush when you have affiliate partners or an affiliate program (Valued at $1200+).
  • Joint Venture Agreement: Great for when you’re teaming up with someone and you both have your own separate entities.  See also: Saving your friendship and your investment (valued at $2000). 
  • Speaker Agreement: Pull this out of your pocket whenever you’re invited to speak at an event (valued at $1200).

The Shake Your Money Maker IP Masterclass

This monetizin’ masterclass walks you through step by step ways to find the hidden capital in your business so you can monetize and capitalize on the intellectual property you may not even realize you have in your business. It’s like cash for gold. Kinda. But truly, you can’t afford not to discover how to make more money with less work (AKA the American Dream).  This masterclass (valued at $350) includes:

  • A 45 minute audio lesson and workbook
  • All the tools to help you discover, monetize and capitalize on your intellectual property. 
  • BONUS: Intellectual Property Audit Worksheet for Tapping That Asset

The Hiring ‘n Inspiring Masterclass

Whether you’ve already hired or are looking to make your first hire, this masterclass will walk you through the mindset shifts and questions to ask yourself before you expand your team. You’ve already built an amazing business, now it’s time to maximize your efficiency and increase your reach (and revenue) by adding valuable team members to help you do even more.  This masterclass (valued at $350) includes:

  • An amazing, 75 minute audio lesson jam packed with insights, protips, and valuable information + worksheet
  • Accompanying Work it in your Workplace Workbook
  • BONUS CHECKLIST: Is it time to hire o’clock??
  • BONUS WORKSHEET: Who should I hire?
  • BONUS CHEATSHEET: Pro Tips for Hiring with Chutzpah

The Don’t Hate, Negotiate Masterclass with Victoria Pynchon

Understanding how to sell yourself and how to negotiate are critical tools to the success of your business.  Victoria Pynchon of She Negotiates, provides amazing value in this masterclass where you’ll learn the step by step process on how to negotiate as well as tips on self-promotion, selling, and building the business you want.  This master class (valued at $350) includes:

  • A 90 minute audio lesson with a master negotiator with over 25 years of experience + worksheet
  • Accompanying Sell Yoself Workbook
  • BONUS WORKSHEET: Negotiation Prep So You Can Destroy Them All
  • BONUS CHEATSHEET: 7 Ways To Say No and One Way to Say Hell No
  • BONUS CHEATSHEET: Negotiation Terms You Need To Know, Yo

The Brand with a Plan Masterclass with a Surprise, Special Guest

We’ve all heard how important your brand is to the success of your business.  In this masterclass we’ll give you the tools to dig deep into your own business and self so you can build a brand that really represents who you are and who you serve.  This master class (valued at $350) includes:

  • A 60 minute audio lesson with the talented and experienced brand consultant + worksheet
  • Accompanying No Bland Brands! Workbook 
  • BONUS CHECKLIST: Assess Your Brand Why Dontcha
  • BONUS WORKSHEET: Xtreme Brand Clarity for Business Enthusiasts

Got all that? These bonuses and extra $50 off are only good through midnight Pacific Standard Time on Cyber Monday.  So don’t delay - cover your bases, cover your assets, cover your ass by taking action right now! Check out all the details here. Don't forget to use promo code GETSOME when you check out.

Photo Credit 1 Ordinary Finds 2-4 Small Business Bodyguard

Why Home Staging Could Give You the Edge when Renting or Selling Your Home

This is a sponsored post, written by an UK blogger. But you will be able to find comparable vendors in US. See notes below.

Renting out or selling a home can be a very stressful experience, no matter which way you look at it.  And, with the economic recession still taking hold, many homeowners are finding it very difficult to seal the deal.  With rising rent prices, falling house prices, high unemployment rates, and banks less likely to offer credit, those looking to sell their home or rent a property are facing more competition than ever before.  Luckily, there is something that homeowners can do to increase their chances of a sale – home staging.  This article takes a look at what home staging is, and how it could help to give your property the edge.

What is Home Staging?

Home staging is the process of packaging, preparing and presenting a home so that it appeals to an audience.  In this way, it is able to appeal to a wide audience, and receive a higher sale or rental price.  Usually, the process involves removing all personal items from a home and rearranging furniture to make the most of a room.  Clutter can make a home look smaller than it is, and personal items can prevent people from imagining themselves in a home.  Buying items in a neutral colour can also help.  This could be anything from new bath towels from*, to a new pair of curtains in a white or cream colour.  Basically, you just want to create an inviting home that a potential buyer or renter will love.

*This is an UK company, but you can find similar products in Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Wal-Mart and many others in US.

Why is Staging So Important?

Competition is greater than ever in the current economic climate, and many landlords are struggling to find renters, and homeowners are struggling to make sales. By staging a home, you are actively improving the chances of it selling.  Home staging works for four main reasons:

  1. Buyers need to imagine their items in your home – they don’t want to feel like they are moving into your lifestyle.

  2. Buyers expect a lot for their money, and if a house looks like it may need a lot of work, it may encourage them to offer a lower price, or look elsewhere.
  3. Most buyers are busy – they don’t want to have to spend a lot of time on decorating or renovations.  If the home they are considering is already in a good state, they won’t be put off by its condition.
  4. Buyers are unimaginative – you need to show them what each room in the home can be used for rather than just letting them imagine it for themselves.

If you have been living in your property for a long time, it may be worth hiring a professional home stager to help you stage your home. They will look at your home through fresh eyes, and may be able to notice things that you have become accustomed to over the years.  They also have the experience and resources to be able to get the job done quickly. And, when you consider how beneficial home staging is, they are more than worth their money.

What do you think? Does staging work for your listing? Are you not a fan of staging? If so, why not? Leave them in your comments below!