Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

Hi, Welcome to Our School of Home Staging!

After a successful, 12+ years run as a home staging company in San Francisco Bay Area, STAGED4MORE is now an online school that focuses on home staging education for home stagers, home sellers and real estate agents.

Please take some time and check out all the free resources and tips available on our blog & podcast, as well as our courses selections.

Introducing Small Business Bodyguard

Introducing Small Business Bodyguard

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. So we decided to share our experiences of the product here with you. We don’t write reviews about products unless we’ve used them, like them and feel comfortablerecommending.

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 always tell you in their books, 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!

Photo Credits: Small Business Bodyguard

Creative DIY Holiday Decor

Creative DIY Holiday Decor

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

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