Today on Investing for Freedom, Mike Ayala is joined by Andrea Sager, an attorney who has a passion in offering quality legal advice and services to small businesses.
Andrea Sager shows that entrepreneurship is not always black and white. She has been a business owner, started her own virtual law firm, and has even started a podcast, Legalpreneur. Mike and Andrea discuss the importance of trademarking your business and how this early prevention can save you time and money in the long run. They also share some vital legal tips for small business owners and how you can find liability protection in forming a LLC. Listen in to find out how you can win Andrea’s Contract Vault, your all-access pass to industry-specific contracts!
“You never know what’s going to happen and that’s why you have to prevent bad things from happening.”
- [0:01] Show Introduction
- [0:37] Start of the Podcast
- [0:42] Andrea’s Background
- [2:09] Who Has Had the Greatest Impact on Your Life?
- [2:25] Greatest Impact on Your Success?
- [5:23] Different Sides of Kentucky
- [8:15] Greatest Setback and What Did You Learn from It?
- [9:48] Piece of Advice Andrea Shares the Most
- [10:17] The Legalpreneur Podcast
- [11:32] Fear of the Unknown
- [13:41] How Andrea Helps Entrepreneurs in Flat Fee Billing
- [16:47] Entrepreneurship and Prevention
- [20:25] Why Should We Trademark Our Business?
- [27:41] Importance of Being Trademarked First
- [30:43] Big Brands and Trademark Fights
- [35:28] Costs of Trademarks
- [36:36] Liability Protection in LLC
- [39:28] Protecting Your Assets
- [43:27] The Contract Vault
- [45:42] Advice from Andrea on Protecting Your Freedom
- [48:09] Connect with Andrea
Want to Connect with Andrea Sager?
Website | https://www.andreasager.com/
Legalpreneur Podcast | https://www.andreasager.com/blog/thelegalpreneurpodcast
The Contract Vault | https://thecontractvault.com/
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/andreasagerlaw/
CONTRACT VAULT GIVEAWAY
Contact us! | [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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Mike Ayala: Thank you for joining me on the investing for freedom podcast. Today we’ve got a good friend of mine, Andrea, who I’ve got to know, we’ll talk a little bit about this through a mastermind group that we’re in with Chris harder. But I’ve really appreciated my conversations with Andrea and that’s why I decided to bring her on the show because she’s first off, an attorney. But she’s very entrepreneurial and that’s what I love talking with her about because it’s not just black and white transactional, although she mentioned that she likes the transactional side. She’s curious. And so I really appreciate that. So, Andrea, thank you for joining us.
Andrea Sager: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation.
Mike Ayala: Yeah, I think it’s going to be a good time. So just tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Andrea Sager: Yeah, so I am an attorney. I used to work at a big law firm and the big fancy office I could actually, So I worked in Cincinnati and I could actually watch the Cincinnati reds play from my office. That was awesome. But that was about the only thing that I liked about that firm and that office. And I only lasted about seven months there before going out on my own because I wanted to work with small businesses. At that firm I was working with, I mean the billion-dollar brands, the everyday brands that you hear about, and I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t like it. I had small business clients coming to me at the firm and the firm just told me, Hey, we don’t want to serve these people. And that really was my indication that, Hey, there’s a need in the market here to fill, to help small business owners get that quality legal advice, hold those quality legal services. So I left after seven months and I’ve been enjoying every moment since.
Mike Ayala: It’s amazing because I have so many attorney friends. I mean I can think of probably five or six that just off the top of my head that, had the, they had the career, they were on the 32nd floor or
whatever, and they just went off.
Andrea Sager: I was on the 37th floor. I will never forget that. Yeah.
Mike Ayala: That’s crazy. That’s crazy. So a couple questions and then we’ll dig back into your background and where you’re at today. So who’s had the greatest impact on your life?
Andrea Sager: Greatest impact. Probably my dad. I mean, my dad has been there for me every step of the way and he honestly just, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what I’d be doing.
Mike Ayala: That’s awesome. If you could narrow it down to one thing that has had the greatest impact on your success, what would that be?
Andrea Sager: Oh God, honestly, I think it was, so I’m from Houston, very big city. And I went to college in Pikeville, Kentucky, which is one of the smallest towns in America. And I think just making that move and going to college there, that is literally, I think that’s like the one decision that kind of changed everything for me.
Mike Ayala: When you called me the other day, your phone came up as Kentucky and I’m like, are you like, is your phone from Kentucky? So how’d you end up in Kentucky?
Andrea Sager: Oh, good question. So I was a college bowler. I Bowled in college, Pikeville at the time it was Pikeville college. Now they’re at the university of Pikeville. They had the, one of the top programs in the country and I was a softball player growing up. I mean, die hard softball fan. And I just kind of got burned out. I had some injuries and once I finally realized I’m done with softball; I didn’t know what it was going to do. I was like, well, I’ve always kind of bowled. And then we had a bowling team in high school, and I was like, well, I’ll just go bowled. And it was just like that, I was like, well, I’ll just go bowl in college. Like it wasn’t like, Oh, I’ll try to do this. I was like, no, I’m just going to
go do this. So I remember going to www.collegebowling.com. I just started emailing and just every coach. And I was like, Hey, this is me. This is what I do. And the coach, Ron Damron, he emailed me back and he was like, yeah, come on out. So on a whim, my mom and I went out there to visit and we had, Oh my gosh, it was crazy because we flew into Louisville, which is Louisville, by the way, not Louisville. And we still had to drive three and a half hours to Pikeville. Yes. And here in Houston, the airports, literally 10 minutes away from my parents’ house. And that was, I mean, it’s just a whole day to get there. There’s no direct flights. And I mean, that should have been a signal right there Andrea, you should not go. But no, I did. I was ready for a change. And everybody knew me growing up, like, Hey, you know, she’s going to be the one that goes off to college, does her own thing. And I did. And I loved every second of it. When I first got there, I was bored out of my mind. I was like, what the hell am I going to do? Like, this place is awful. Like, there’s nothing to do. But I learned to love it. I learned to love it. And I’d like to say, that’s truly where I grew up and became who I am today.
Mike Ayala: Wow. That’s amazing. I have some mobile home parks in Kentucky. And I usually don’t go into story mode on podcast, but it’s kind of funny. I’m just, I got to see a different side of Kentucky because I flew into Louisville. And my regional manager had told me I’d never been to these two parks. My regional manager had told me, yeah, you fly into Louisville. And then the first part is like 45 minutes. And then, I’ll stay there for a couple of days. And then, two days later, the other parks, like 45 minutes. And so it was like this, hour and a half loop that I was going to make. Well, I get my rental car and like three hours later, I’m still not to the first park. And I’m like, I even text her. And I’m like, I thought you said this thing’s like 45 minutes. I’m like Google maps tells me it’s like three and a half hours. And what I realized we had some tech problems getting this podcast up and going, but I realized that for some reason, there was a setting on my Google that have got switched to avoid all highways. And so I was taking the back roads, like all the way to, I
had just avoided freeways. And I’m just like, it was a tech person. Andrea Sager: Wait, so where are the parks?
Mike Ayala: One is in West end, Kentucky. And then I have bowling green.
Andrea Sager: Okay. So yeah, they’re all Western Kentucky. See, I was the complete opposite side in Eastern Kentucky. And when you talk about hillbillies, Pikeville, Kentucky has those hillbillies, but let me tell you, I loved it. So at the time the former governor, governor Paul Patton, he was the president of the school and they had, I am totally not like the beauty queen at all, like not a pageant person, but they have this competition called the mountain moral, it’s the mountain moral competition. And basically, it’s this huge festival behind the Derby. It’s the second longest festival in Kentucky. And when you think Southern Belle and tradition like this is it, well, this competition, they had representatives from every college in Kentucky. 2012, I represented my school and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the governor crowns the winner. Because the governor was our president, I got to know the governor really well, him and his wife and through all of that. But my husband at the, he was my boyfriend at the time, but we got to know the governor and his wife really well. And we became really good friends. And when you think like cliché, small town, Southern Belles, like that is exactly what it was. And I loved it. I mean, we got to know that town so well. And I tried to go back whenever I can. I know this has nothing to do with investing or anything like that. But like, Pikeville, Kentucky definitely has a special place in my heart.
Mike Ayala: Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with investing, but, the whole premise of the show is just about investing for freedom. You know, what do you really want and why do you want it? And so I actually liked getting into some of these conversations, cause it’s not always about money. Sometimes it’s about lifestyle and just getting to know you, so that’s great. What was your greatest setback and what did
you learn from it?
Andrea Sager: I think, and this goes back to Pikeville, Kentucky. So in college I wanted to be an accountant. I wanted to work for a big four accounting firm. And what I learned in college was essentially like, if you want to work for one of them, when you graduate, you have to intern with them. Well, they have their relationships with schools and, if you want to work for them, you have to get this internship. And they only really hire people from certain schools. And I realized I’m not going to get an internship with a big four accounting firm while in Pikeville, Kentucky. Like nobody knows what the heck this place is. And I remember being so upset about it, but I think that’s when I truly realized, okay, this isn’t the only way to make things happen. This isn’t the only way to get what you want. And I mean, ended up, I didn’t, I never practiced accounting at all, but that was one of my, I mean, that was by far the biggest setback in my head because I mean, that’s what I wanted to do, but then I realized, okay, well, I don’t have to do that. Like I found a way, like I found a way to make other things happen. And then, I mean, eventually, obviously I decided to go to law school and that happened. But because of that setback, it forced me to find another way.
Mike Ayala: That’s interesting. What is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most?
Andrea Sager: Yeah. I didn’t know [09:55 inaudible] going to be done all these questions.
Mike Ayala: This is the last one.
Andrea Sager: A piece of advice. I think just always find a way, like if you have an end goal in mind, it’s not about like, whether you fail, like whether you reach that goal or not, it’s finding a way to get there.
Mike Ayala: That’s awesome. Okay. So you have a podcast that I had
the privilege of being on. Tell us a little bit about your podcast before we dive into the legal stuff and just dig into the juicy stuff.
Andrea Sager: Yeah. So the legalpreneur podcast is my podcast that I started earlier this year. And it is aimed at helping small business owners really break down the legal issues and really to help small business owners get comfortable with facing the legal stuff, because I know it can be scary. I know people try to put it off until it’s an issue, but I try to get people to realize, look, if you put the legal stuff off until there’s an issue, you’re going to spend 10, 20 times more money than you would, if you would have just faced it to begin with, I’m trying to really impact, and I know empower is such an overused word these days, but truly if you faced the legal stuff up front, it can truly empower you to position yourself in your business to make big things happen.
Mike Ayala: It seems like I love how you say, you know, if you just face it the empowering side of it, it feels to me like a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners do avoid a lot of the legal conversations, whether it’s trust planning, whether it’s getting your annual filing in order, like why do you see that? Is it fear of the unknown?
Andrea Sager: Exactly. That’s exactly what it is. Number one, some people plead ignorance. They’re like, Oh, I didn’t know this needed to be done. Well, yeah, because you didn’t look into it. You didn’t face that challenge. And because people don’t know what’s required when it comes to filing an LLC or when it comes to doing the accounting stuff or, filing for a trademark or whatever, all that legal stuff for businesses, because they don’t know what goes into it, they’re scared. And they just assume that it’s going to be a headache. They assume it’s going to cost tons of money. But most of the time when clients finally come to me and they realize what goes into it, they’re just like, Oh, that was it. I was like, yeah, this wasn’t that bad. And so I try to get a lot of people to realize just it doesn’t have to be scary. It’s not scary unless you wait until there’s an issue, then it gets scary. Cause you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Mike Ayala: Yeah. Well, there’s such a preconceived idea out there too. I mean, it’s ingrained in us from the time we’re little about, just even the saying, let me talk to my liar. Like lawyers have this, like and I think the ambulance chaser mentality, that kind of stuff. But a big thing that I’ve been an advocate of and constantly talk about is your team and the importance of the team. And you and I got into this a little bit on your podcast, but your team doesn’t necessarily have to be your direct employees. A lot of times when we think about our team, we think about employees, but the reality is having the right attorney, having the right accountant, having the right, maybe it’s even a part time CFO, if you’re not ready for a CFO, that I consider my attorneys part of my team. And I think it’s just switching that in our minds as entrepreneurs. Because again, it’s ingrained in us. You guys are so expensive. You’re going to over bill me. I’ve seen this. I mean, I’ve sat in this seat. Like I get this bill from my attorney and it’s not broken down and I don’t know what he really did. And it causes me to question sometimes I think that’s what the entrepreneur really deals with. So how have you kind of helped entrepreneurs in that arena?
Andrea Sager: Yeah, so, I mean, I’ve been there too. I’ve been, when I was at the big firm, I had the partner come to me and say, Hey, make sure you take your time on this. I am like, okay dude, like this is going to take me 20 minutes. Like you really want me to take two hours. So I’ve been there, and I’ve done it and it didn’t sit right with me. So that’s why I wanted to go out on my own. And that’s why I mostly do flat fee billing. That way the client knows upfront exactly what they’re paying and there’s no guess. So, whether it takes me 10 hours to figure it out or 10 minutes, you know what you’re paying, you’re paying the same price. Whether, I can take my time or whatever, there’s no guessing. And that’s what I like is because I don’t have people questioning my bill. They don’t question, well, what exactly did you like? It doesn’t matter. Like you’re paying the same fee as the next person. So I love the flat fee billing for multiple reasons. There are a few things that you, it really just, you can’t flat fee, litigation is one of those. Sometimes there are times where I
have flat fee It, and it took me 10 times longer than I thought. But I mean, that’s on me at the end of the day. And now that I have a lot more experience in regard to not exactly litigation, cause I don’t litigate. We were talking about this beforehand. Like I’m not a conflict person. I’m more of the, Hey, let’s find those solution for everybody. And litigation’s not about that. So I try not to take on litigation at all, but there’s definitely the matters where clients get, the cease and desist letter or the demand letter, which I was handling that right before we got on this call. But at the end of the day, I still like value-based flat fee billing. Like that’s where it is for me. I don’t want clients to second guess my work. I don’t want them to say, not feel good about what I’m doing for them. So flat fees honestly is the best way to go.
Mike Ayala: I like it. And even back to the teen conversation and I like to talk about leverage a lot, whether it’s leveraging money, leveraging people’s time. I think if you want something different than what you currently have in life, then you’ve got to leverage something you’re not leveraging. I like, when you brought up the litigation piece, like my brain started spinning on, we don’t want to find ourselves in a litigation spot and even it makes sense to me that you can’t do a lot of flat rate billing on litigation because if you knew what the judge was going to say, and you knew the outcome, then there would be no litigation. And so that made a lot of sense to me, but it also triggered something in my mind. I’ve never, with the exception of a couple employment matters I’ve never been sued. And I think it’s because I’ve always looked at the prevention side of this. I’m trying to always keep my ducks in a row. I think a lot of legal things can be avoided by just doing the right thing. But let’s be honest. I mean, we live in a litigious society. And so the fact that anybody can Sue you for anything, whether it’s right wrong or indifferent is scary as an entrepreneur. Address that a little bit from the standpoint of prevention. Like I think it’s so important to have the right team members on the front side of this and get your ducks in a row.
Andrea Sager: Yeah. 100%. And I find that a lot of my clients don’t face issues because they’ve been doing the prevention and I don’t know
that quote, like whatever it is, like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There you go. And that’s truly like my whole motto. I don’t exactly say it in that nice of a quote, but I tell clients all the time, like, look, you’re going to spend a little bit of money up front. But that’s going to prevent you from spending a hundred times more money down the road when there are issues. And I have those clients that I tell them, look, just spend a little bit of money up front. We’ll get this taken care of. And then they ignore and like, Oh, I’ll get around to it. And then the issue happens and then they want it taken care of yesterday. I’m like, look honey, I can’t get this done for you yesterday. If you would’ve listened to me yesterday or six months ago, then we wouldn’t be having this issue. And that happens so much. Oh gosh, too frequently. But it comes up very frequently with trademarks. So what happens is, somebody will come to me and they’ll ask about trademarks and I’ll give them my whole spiel and look, these are our fees. This is how long it takes. And dah, dah, dah. And they’re like, Oh, okay, well I don’t think I really need it; I haven’t had any issues and I am like, okay, yeah, you haven’t had any issues yet. And then this is a big one that just happened recently. She had talked to me for, I guess, a couple of months. And finally she just like ghosted me. And then a couple of months later, which was, I think it was a couple of weeks ago. She was like, Oh my gosh, this other person is using my business name. All these people are getting confused and I have to file with the trademark right now. And then she, I remember she was getting so angry at me. And it mainly just because I’m the messenger, like this is what the law is. This is what’s happening. And I don’t, when I say I don’t like conflict, I don’t like conflict, but this was one client where I had to say, listen, you are the one that did not want to get this taken care of months ago. This is on you. This is not on me. This is on nobody but yourself, because I told you what the law was. I told you what could happen, and you ignored my advice and now you’re facing this issue. So now we have to be reactive instead of proactive. And that’s what a lot of clients do listen, because a lot of times clients will ask me, once I talked to them about trademarks, like, okay, well what’s the point? Like, why do I need it now? And then I explained, look, you want to be proactive and not
reactive because that exact client is having to spend, I’m not going to say 10 times more, but if she would have filed her trademark back when we originally spoke, I mean, she spent about so far about a thousand dollars extra, which for some entrepreneurs, like that’s nothing, but for a lot of small businesses, a thousand dollars is a big chunk. And she could have avoided having to spend that if she would have worked with me and we would have got everything situated months ago.
Mike Ayala: Well, and on the prevention side too, I know you’ve got a couple of stories cause I’ve heard them, but trademark is a big part of your business, right? So I’ve learned a lot just listening to you over the last call it four to six months on the trademark side and importance. And I even made a comment yesterday where I was like, I don’t even think I need to trademark. And you pointed it out. Like you absolutely need a trademark. And here’s why, but I think we would be doing our listeners an injustice if we didn’t camp on the trademark thing a little bit here, because I think it’s kind of ingrained in us to think that Coca-Cola needs a trademark or Nike needs a trademark, but in this day and age, and probably even then it mattered because you don’t know if you’re going to become a Coca-Cola. And by the time Coca-Cola got big, it be too late. So in this day and age where our personal brands, our online brands, all of that, our social media handles all of that stuff can and is, can be and is really valuable. So enlighten us a little bit on name trademarks and all that stuff and why we should trademark, whatever it is we’re doing.
Andrea Sager: Yeah. So first I’ll tell you what a trademark is, and then I’ll tell you why it’s so much more important today than it was 15, 20 years ago. So a trademark identifies your brand, anything in your branding. So think your brand name, your logo, your slogan, and your podcast name. If you have a product name, a service name, I like to tell people anything that has a unique name within your business, it can probably be protected with the trademark and the trademark aims to protect against likelihood of consumer confusion. So what you want to avoid is somebody shopping with you instead of, they’re shopping with you, but they think they’re shopping with somebody else. But because
the names are so similar, they were confused to think that you were that other person. That is what trademark infringement is. And it happens all the time. Now it doesn’t matter if it’s the same exact name or not. If the names are similar enough, that consumers are likely to be confused, then it’s infringement. So my law firm is Andrea Sager law. If there’s an Andrea Sager legal out there, that’s infringement. If there’s Andrea Sager spelled differently, that’s infringement, Andrea Seger, Andrea Seeger law firm, or any combination like that, it’s likely to cause confusion. So it’s trademark infringement. It does not have to be the same exact thing. Now the big thing about trademarks is that in order to get a federal trademark registration, you have to be doing business in more than one state. Sometimes it’s harder to identify. So if you have a podcast, presumably people can listen to that in every single state. So you’re eligible for federal protection. However, if you have a local restaurant, if you’re only local and you don’t deliver out of state, or if you don’t have more than one location, you’re not eligible for federal protection. Now, the reason why trademarks are so much more important today than they were 15, 20 years ago, is because of the internet. Everybody’s doing business online today, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, you’re in Arizona. Your product may not have been as accessible by somebody in New York, 30 years ago, but today anybody can buy anything anywhere in the world. So essentially you are a national business, the moment you publish your website, even, I mean, once you have a Facebook group, anybody in the world can find you, anybody in the world can purchase from you. So the internet is essentially in all the new media podcasting. That’s the reason why trademarks are so much more important. And for small businesses, it’s everything, because it’s so much more efficient to enforce your trademark online than it is by having to file a lawsuit. Because this is what happens. The client gets a federal trademark registration. Let’s say they’re on Facebook, Instagram. They have a website. Well, all of those people that are hosting the site, so Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, Shopify, they could also be liable for trademark infringement for hosting the content, if there’s another business that comes along. So all you have to do these days, so I’m Andrea Sager law, well, we’ll use legalpreneur. So legalpreneur now has a federal
trademark registration. From day one, I couldn’t get the legalpreneur handle on Instagram, cause they were taken, they were dormant accounts. They were used, but they weren’t active. So I got my trademark registration. That day I filed a claim with Instagram. Two days later, I got an email saying those accounts had been removed from Instagram. And then I said, okay, I want this other, I want legalpreneur as my Instagram handle. And within 12 hours I had the handle. So once I had that trademark registration, all I had to do was show it to Instagram and say, look, these accounts are infringing on my trademark. I followed their whole procedure. And within 36 hours, those accounts were removed and not 36, but within three days, those accounts were removed, and I had the legalpreneur handle. So that’s the power of trademarks today.
Mike Ayala: Yeah. If somebody, if legalpreneur had been super active and had 10,000 followers or a hundred thousand followers, would you have been able to get it?
Andrea Sager: It depends. Typical lawyer answer. Mike Ayala: This is why you can’t flat rate litigation.
Andrea Sager: Exactly. I know it, cause it always depends. Now it depends on how long that account has been on there. Cause I do this for clients all the time and if the other party has been, it has had an account longer than my client or if it looks like they’ve been around longer than my client, then the platform may not side with you. So it may take some going back and forth. But that also speaks to trademark rights, because if that other business has been around longer than the person who has the registration, well, the person with the registration actually doesn’t have rights because the person who was in business first has priority to the name.
Mike Ayala: Interesting. So obviously it’s to our benefit to get whatever our business name or our personal names and all that stuff trademarked
as early as possible. What’s the odds that if I’ve been active and all that, that somebody is going to be able to come and take my brand from me? If it’s not trademarked.
Andrea Sager: Well, if you were in business first, presumably you still have rights, but somebody can still come and petition Instagram, Facebook. I mean, I’ve had a client have all their stuff removed, because they didn’t get the registration and somebody else did.
Mike Ayala: I had a train come blaring through. I don’t know if you heard it.
Andrea Sager: No, I didn’t. Can you hear my dog?
Mike Ayala: Yeah, it’s okay though. The one thing COVID did for us is like made little kids in the zoom screen and background noise and all that stuff. Just kind of like, yeah, whatever.
Andrea Sager: Okay. We’re good. Okay, so we’re talking about, so I’ve had the client that got all their stuff removed. One client, I don’t want to say the name cause that’s still ongoing, but it was a trademark issue and they weren’t in business. But the two names were similar, but not that similar. So arguably it wasn’t trademark infringement, but the other party came along, petitioned Facebook and Facebook removed my client’s account. So sometimes it just depends who you get over at Facebook, Instagram, Shopify, WordPress, whoever you’re petitioning. So we have one right now that we’ve been going back and forth on Facebook and this one, it’s the same exact. So it’s like AB and the [29:39 inaudible] is AB and the other one is AB boutique. I’m like, the boutique doesn’t matter. Like it’s still trademark infringement and some people at Facebook, if one person sees it, yeah automatically it’d be removed, but this one person, they won’t remove it. So we keep having to submit our claim. So sometimes it just takes a couple of times. But again, petitioning, once you have the registration, it’s very, very powerful online and same goes for a podcast. You can petition iTunes all the
podcast platforms. So once you have your registration, because once you have your registration, presumably that shows you have definitive trademark rights and those platforms don’t want to be sued as well for trademark infringement for hosting that content.
Mike Ayala: This is so valuable and informative. I just get mind blown every time we start talking about this, cause it’s like, the ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Like when you look at, you work with some really big brands. Which again, we don’t need to get into the specifics, but these online brands can be worth a lot of money. And so how many times have you seen where, somebody’s got a huge brand and they’ve never trademarked it and it becomes an issue.
Andrea Sager: I just had this huge one. She has a boutique. So I used to own a clothing boutique. And that’s why I work with a ton of boutique, a ton of boutiques now. Well this one she’s been like global boutique of the year, like this humongous boutique in Texas. And I’ve been telling her for years, like, Hey, you need to trademark, a trademark. Well, now she’s finally got moving on it because somebody else came along and started using the name and she’s not headache wanting it to be done yesterday. Cause she knows like it takes a while and then she should listen to me months ago. But luckily the other brands, the other brand has not filed for a trademark. So that’s not an issue. But I do have another one where Barnes and noble, they started like this new campaign or something that was using my client’s trademark. And at the end of the day, there’s only so much that I can do at a low rate. And at the end of the day, like if you want me to continue fighting, like I don’t work for free. I don’t work for free. And sometimes, I try to make it work every which way. But sometimes the clients just like, I just can’t do it. Like, I can’t. So that really sucks and that’s really hard. But right now I’m excited because I have one, this is public against the loft, Ann Taylor loft, and they’ve been trying to bully my client around for years. And finally we’re just like, Nope, not going to happen. And it’s good timing because of COVID like my clients mainly online and they’re killing it right now. And a co is not, that Ann Taylor is not killing it. Like they, I
know they’re hurting. So we’re just trying to, I’m not going to say strong arm them right now, but we’re pushing them to make a decision. And fortunately for us, I think it’s going to work out because of COVID, but there’s plenty of times where, I’m either working with the big brand or going up against the big brand. And that’s my favorite is when I’m representing the small business. Yeah, that’s my favorite is when I’m representing a small business against the big global brand, that’s always a lot of fun for me.
Mike Ayala: Yeah. It’s interesting times with everything that’s going on right now. Our governor, we’re actually, it’s July one. It’s independence weekend, right? Like we’re celebrating our freedom and half the country’s locked down still. But our governor just issued, I live in Arizona and he just issued orders to close down gyms and movie theaters, which weren’t open anyway. And tubing venues and something else. But the gym, there’s a big gym here called mountain side fitness. And the day that the governor issued the order, which was the day before yesterday, he scheduled a live press conference and said, we’re suing governor Ducey. We’re issuing, we’re requesting a, I mean this is, I’m not a lawyer, so I’m going to butcher this, but we’re requesting a temporary restraining order against his… Yeah. Cool. Against the governor’s executive order. And now all these other gyms are following sue. And so this just goes back to the thing, like, I mean, even government, a lot of times we think we can’t fight government and we’ve all, I mean, business, you were just talking about Ann Taylor, like businesses are destroyed. And we get these mindsets in our brain that like, we can’t fight the behemoths. You’re fighting the behemoth, this gym is fighting like the ultimate behemoth, like they’re taking on the government. And I’m just like, this is an exciting time actually, because you said, you’re excited about this cause they’ve been bullying your client forever. And I’m not here to get political, but at the same time too, like businesses sometimes are fighting to their death and it’s always, we always have legal recourse. And so I don’t think that there’s ever been a more important time to have this conversation about the prevention side of it. So from the trademark front, I know it can vary, but I mean, does it
cost like a million dollars to get a trademark?
Andrea Sager: No, absolutely not. And that’s why I try to tell clients, I’m like, look, I know you hear about Apple and Samsung battling it out and their billion-dollar legal battle paying millions in legal, but guess what? That’s not going to happen to you. Especially, if you prevent the issue. So with us trademarks range from $1400 to $1850, and we, that’s our flat fee. Sometimes there are more fees involved. But that’s it, like you can get by with filing your federal registration, getting a federal registration and having all that power online once you have that registration.
Mike Ayala: I love it. Yeah. Cause a lot of times I think we think in our heads that, this is a $10,000 venture or a $50,000 venture. And so again, back to that ounce of prevention, I mean, when we hear these stories and everything else, I mean, you don’t want to put your blood, sweat and tears into, even if you think you have something you should probably invest the $1400 to $1800. I get into conversations all the time, which by the way, this is probably a good time to bring up your legal vault, which we’ll get into here in a second. But I get into conversations all the time with early business owners, startups, early investors. And they’re always asking, when is the right time to start an LLC? And I’m like yesterday, right?
Andrea Sager: That’s such a big one, because there’s a lot of misinformation, especially from accountants, because accountants are worried about your financial picture. I am worried about your overall liability picture. And because of that, I typically have a different answer from most accountants and the accountant will say, Oh, well wait until you’re making this amount of money. No, the LLC, all it does is protect you liability wise. It protects you personally from liability. It has nothing to do with your accounting. It has nothing to do with how you file your taxes. You file taxes the same way when you’re a sole proprietor as if you are a single member, LLC. So I tell people all the time, look, you need to file as soon as possible. And I explain, once you have that LLC,
they can’t come after your personal assets. And that’s what you have to protect, even though you’re the sole owner, I know it’s going to be hard for some people to grasp because it’s like, Hey, I’m the sole owner. Like, why do I, things aren’t separate. It’s just me. But no, you now have a business which is completely separate from you as a person. Because if you get sued in your business and they get a judgment against you and you can’t pay that from your business, they can now come after your house, your car, all of your personal assets, they can come after that if you do not have an LLC. So yeah, I can go off all day because it frustrates me when people, cause you can go to any business Facebook group and say, Hey, when should I file for an LLC? Or should I be an LLC or an S corp, but that’s a whole another story. But with an LLC, most accountant, they’ll say, wait till you’re making a hundred thousand or whatever. No, you need to file as soon as possible to get that liability protection. What accountants are worried about for a hundred-thousand- dollar Mark, if you’re a sole owner, that’s when you should also normally depend on what your expenses are, that’s when you should also file as a S corp and the S corp, that’s when you have the difference in the tax structure, the different tax filing status. I don’t want to get into all that, but that’s typically what the accountant is worried about. They don’t know about the liability stuff. So they just counsel you on the numbers. Just know that if you’re a sole owner in your business, you need to file as an LLC, as soon as possible, it has nothing to do with your taxes.
Mike Ayala: So again, I want to make sure we get into the legal vault or whatever you’re calling it. Cause that’s powerful. But just to kind of piggyback on that, I’ve thought about this so many times and we’ll talk about real estate investing, but even from a business front, the minute we start a business or the minute we buy our first rental, we just created, so again, anybody can Sue you for anything. Somebody could be walking down your sidewalk and trip and fall and Sue you. So I’m a big proponent. Like how much does it cost generally speaking to start an LLC?
Andrea Sager: It varies by state, but it can be anywhere from $50, most states are $50, a $100 to file. California is $90, but you have to pay the $800 franchise tax. A lot of Northeastern States are $500.
Mike Ayala: And then getting an operating agreement and that kind of stuff, I mean tack all that.
Andrea Sager: Yeah. So I mean we charge, so we charge $650 plus your state’s filing fees.
Mike Ayala: Okay. So let’s just say in some of the most expensive States, like I file most of my stuff in Wyoming and Nevada, Wyoming is our preference because it’s cheaper. I like Nevada because it’s where I’m from and I understand it. But Nevada like doubled their fees like a few years ago. And so then made Wyoming, like, there’s just some reasons why we like Wyoming, but Nevada was almost just as good. But then when Nevada like doubled their fees were like, well, let’s go to Wyoming. But when I look at, okay, so even all in, let’s just say that you’ve got to spend $1200 bucks a year, or depending on what state you’re in, or even to start it up, you buy your first rental, and somebody sues you and they get some kind of judgment against you. Like you said, they can go after all your personal stuff. I’m sitting here just thinking, this is something that, and maybe you have some kind of checkup plan, but this is something that we need to not think about once and early, we need to continue to think about this. As we’re having this conversation and I got to fix this before somebody hears this and sues me. As we’re having this conversation, I’m thinking about it. I have a truck in my personal, that is actually my son’s truck that I’ve paid off. And even though I’ve got my legal structures, and everything set up, like that doesn’t mean that somebody can’t come after you or whatever. And like, I’m just thinking about that. I need to get that truck transferred to my son, because it’s his truck. Like I gave it to him, but it’s still in my name. And I’m the one holding all the liability and risk. And I’m just constantly thinking about this. And so to spend $1200 and then the annual fees
every year is a small price to pay for somebody being able to come after you and take your personal residence or my son’s truck from me. If I didn’t have all these LLCs and even though I do have all that and I feel like I’ve got a pretty good legal structure, I still need to get that out of my name because it’s not my truck. It’s his truck. And I mean, even if I died tomorrow, like all my kids are nice, thankfully, but you never know. Right? Like the trust planning, all that stuff is so important because it’s his truck, but it’s in my name. And so if one of the other kids got vindictive, they could come take their truck. And we’re talking about a small truck. It’s not a big deal, but as we grow and progress, just like we’re talking about our trademark and our brand, we need to make sure we protect that. We work so hard; we work so hard in our businesses. And even as a W2 earner savings and investments that we have, we work so hard to just have somebody come in like Ann Taylor and bully you around and take your brand from you, take your clients from you. We worked so hard for somebody to just fall and slip on the sidewalk that had nothing to do with me and have some rogue judge give them a judgment that takes all of my income from that individual property for the next 10 years or to die and have the court take or decide what they’re going to do with half of your stuff. So I’m on a soap box here, but the legal prevention side of this is so important. So let’s talk a little, you can say whatever you want to say, but what’s this new vault you’ve got going?
Andrea Sager: Yes. So the contract faults, this is my way of reaching even more entrepreneurs that still can’t afford all of the legal protection that I offer. Because I get it, there’s a ton of DIYs out there. And I still want to make sure that those people are set up as much as possible for success without actually hiring me as an attorney. So with the contract vault, it’s really two parts to it. Number one is the contracts. There’s the 80 plus contracts and you get access to all of them. You just pay one fee monthly or yearly, and you get all the contracts, any updates, additions to the contracts. And then you also get the Facebook group where I’ll be answering all your questions. And then every month I’m also teaching a legal topic, teaching in depth legal topic about, basically just getting that
legal protection for your business. Because in my experience, the businesses that get in trouble don’t do anything purposefully. I’m not working with con artists, but they get in trouble because they don’t know what the law is. They don’t know the illegal business side of stuff. So with this program, that’s what I’m teaching. Because I went to law school. I have the business background, I have the legal background, but my clients don’t. Many of them just started this hobby and made it into a business, those accidental businesses and yes, we know you can make money. We know you make tons of money, but can you keep that money? That’s the thing. That’s where I come in. Yes, great, you can make money, you have a business, but we have to make sure that business is protected, and you can keep your money and not get sued and have it all taken away from you. That’s what this program is. And so you get the contracts, the Facebook group with the legal trainings every month. Then if you pay yearly, you also get contract requests. So we have 80 plus contracts, we’re constantly adding to it. And if you are browsing around and you’re like, and I need the contract for this, well, just let us know, make a request and we’ll get it added for you.
Mike Ayala: That’s awesome. We could go a million directions. I mean, there’s so much going on in the world right now. We love, obviously it’s investing for freedom. I think, again, I don’t want to get on a soap box here, but our freedoms and everything are being challenged right now. So what final things can you say to our listeners about you know, just protecting their freedom and, what would you just say to them? I mean, we might’ve talked about all of it already.
Andrea Sager: The one question you asked earlier, while we were chatting, I remembered, I guess the piece of advice, the biggest piece of advice, you never know what’s going to happen. And this is what I tell people all of the time. You never know what’s going to happen. And that’s why you have to prevent, prevent bad things from happening because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And this is why I tell, cause when we do our trademark applications, we require them to do a search. And when clients say, okay, well when should I actually file for a trademark? And I tell them, well, if you’re just starting out, money’s an issue. You don’t necessarily need to file, but you need to at least do the trademark search because you don’t want to launch this business, blow up overnight, but then you find out that you’ve been infringing on somebody the whole time and now you have to pay them your profits. It’s like that makes no sense. But if you do this search, we give you the clearance that you need to move forward and actually use the name knowing you’re not infringing on anybody. And we do that because you don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe, if the business ends up flopping and you never make any money, but what if you make a million dollars overnight, you never know what’s going to happen. So you have to make sure that you are preventing. You always have to expect the worst.
Mike Ayala: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. It’s a risk calculation, right? I love that. Anything else?
Andrea Sager: Yeah. So, I mean you can find me on Instagram at Andrea Sager law. I’d put out a ton of content, free content there. The contract vault is absolutely amazing. It’s $119 a month or $999 for the year. That is really like the steppingstone to get the foundation you need for your business.
Mike Ayala: That’s awesome. And if you guys want to reach out to me, I can get you in touch too on the contract vault. I’m going to give one contract vault away. Yeah, I’d love to give it to a listener. So here’s what
you need to do. You need to just send me an email to email@example.com and tell me why you think you need the contract vault. And I’m going to pick the winner over the next week or two. So just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, just put contract vault in the subject line and tell me why you think you need it. Also I can connect you with Andrea anytime. So just reach out to us. Andrea, I really appreciate you having just this conversation with us. It’s been great.
Andrea Sager: Thank you. Yeah, I love chatting with you anytime. Mike Ayala: Well have a great day.
Andrea Sager: Thanks, you too.