I mentioned that last Friday that I attended Entrepreneur YOU Conference put on by the Michigan Women’s Foundation. It was a wonderful event. One of the breakout sessions that I promised to write about later was on Intellectual Property Rights.
Wow! Is that an interesting field! I was fascinated by it. I told the speaker afterward that the only regret I had was that she didn’t have a longer time slot to speak. (Note to Grand Rapids business owners, or those thinking about starting one: she is having another talk on Protecting Your Brand put on by GROW at the end of April. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend. But if you want the details, here is where you can find the GROW calendar of events: http://grow.nonprofitsoapbox.com/calendar.)
Like I said, this stuff is interesting and I am so tempted to dive in and learn more. I am so interested in trademarks and copywrites and well…. all of it. But as I was saying to my friend Josh at the gym the other day, it is like owning a house. There are things you can fix yourself. And then there are times to just write a check.
I decided this was check writing time. And in fact, after our first conversation, I had several things I needed to work on right away. (So, keep this in mind if you see tweaks and changes around here on the site. I might be getting my legal ducks in a row.)
Why Did I Hire a Lawyer?
Here’s what really convinced me – in the session, the lawyer pointed out that getting things set up at the beginning and doing them right isn’t all that hard or that expensive. However, the cost of getting them wrong can be very, very expensive later on down the road. She gave several examples of people who had to deal with the aftereffects of this kind of thing. There is even a business in town that I could think of that had to change its name due to Intellectual Property issues.
I think it is a risk you have to decide on for yourself. There are some folks, probably many successful folks, would rather fly by the seat of their pants and fix things later – preferably when income is coming in. Others, like me, would rather try to get as much right as possible up front. Either way, of course, things will go wrong, so it is all a matter of your comfort with risk.
Me? I hired a lawyer.
And there turned out to be at least one really cool side effect so far.
You know when you are starting something new and you get all those little irritating negative thoughts? Those little voices that pop and say things like, “This is just a pipe dream.” or “Who are you that you really think you can get this idea off the ground?’ Well, here’s the thing – you know what differentiates my daydreams and my idle ideas from my plans? Action. And when those voices popped up this week I just thought, “Shut up, you voices! I can prove I am a business owner. I have a lawyer.” And you know what? It worked! Putting my money where my goals are, has already paid off considerably.