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A place where busy entrepreneurs find quick & valuable education.
Why you might need SSL security on your blog
We’re getting our tech on and discussing why you might need SSL security on your blog! Website security is a particularly hot button issue at the moment with several high profile security breaches which have led to usernames, passwords, credit card information, and even social security numbers being plastered all over the web.   What is SSL? You know the little green padlock on the address bar of your search engine? That is the evidence of SSL on a website. It’s also the reason why the beginning of your web address might read https:// rather than http://. In more technical terms, SSL means “Secure Sockets Layer”, and it is a technology that encrypts communications to and from your website.   Why might you need SSL on your website? When a SSL certificate is installed on a website, it provides encryption of sensitive data and communicates that your site is trustworthy...
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Rachel Brenke Keynotes BloggyCon18 + Cedar Point Family Trip Pics
This past weekend was our yearly conference/family trip to Cedar Point, Ohio for BloggyCon.  This has been a long-standing tradition with our family and I personally love it because I rarely get to take family on work trips with me!  So we rented a “church van”, loaded up and took off on an 8 hour road trip!     Run by Tiffany Noth of Bloggy Moms, this is a fantastic beginner blogging conference.  With topics on legalities (ahem..yours truly), social media platforms, search engine optimization and more – there is something for every type of blogger.     I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker this year on the topic of “Protecting Your Piece of the Entrepreneurial Pie” – I went over topics of protecting your brand, your time and doing the proper legal things. Feedback from my presentation: I love how REAL @RachelBrenke is. None of us have...
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2019 Speaking Schedule Is Filling Up!
2019 speaking schedule is filling up. I’m available on these topics: legal protections of business balancing family and biz growing multiple successful brands managing virtual teams launching new podcast at #6 on Apple podcasts charts growing biz as a #milspouse publishing books: self, house and otherwise consumer psychology misc – pitch me! All speaking and sponsorship inquiries can submit through here.  
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The Top 4 Legal Mistakes Every Small Business Owner Makes
Everyone makes mistakes. Every new small business owner makes mistakes. However, some of those mistakes can very easily avoided with a little bit knowledge. Help avoid some common pitfalls by learning from the four biggest legal mistakes that every small business owner makes.   1. Wearing Too Many Hats & Not Seeking Legal Help When you are starting your business it may feel like you are supposed to, should be, or even forced to, wear ALL of the hats. Your hands are full juggling designing your product, customer service, business plans, advertising initiatives, marketing strategies, legal concerns, and so much more. Obviously no one is equipped to be perfect in all of those positions and mistakes are easily made. When that mistake is of a legal nature the consequences can be huge. Taking off the “legal advice” hat and hiring an attorney to consult may be the top way, as...
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Rachel Brenke to present at Military Influencer Conference - Orlando 2018
Rachel Brenke will be joined with other amazing speakers such as Mat Best from Black Rifle Coffee, Jim Koch from Sam Adams, and JJ Pinter from Team RWB  at Military Influencer Conference in Orlando, Florida September 23-25, 2018.  You can view the whole speaker roster here. Brenke will have 2 sessions. #1 Moving with the Military – VIP Session Moving a business is something many military-connected business owners need to undertake during the life of their business, but do you know how to do it legally and efficiently? This session will discuss how to make a decision about what type of legal entity is best for your situation, when to use foreign entity registration, and how to make sure your contracts and marketing are legal before and after the move! Key takeaways: The considerations for moving your business and how to do it legally. This session will be jampacked with...
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Licensed Professions and the Digital World
Today, more and more of our lives are playing out online. You pay your bills online, you order groceries online, and you look up lots and lots of advice online. Many business that were once traditionally brick-and-mortar are now transitioning to the digital world bringing with them countless legal questions. If you own an online business, then you know there are legal issues to consider when you have clients or customers in other states or even other countries. For example, you must know what taxes have to be collected and remitted to which jurisdictions. These considerations are even greater if your business deals with a profession that requires a license.   Licensed Professions What is a license? Essentially a license is the way a state says to the public that the license-holder has met certain requirements that allow them to practice their profession. Further, the state determines the manner in...
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Today, information is literally at our fingertips at the touch of a button. You can find all the closest custom coffee cup makers in a 15-mile radius, how to clean your whole house with baking soda, or even reviews for that new gadget you were eyeing. Some of this information is even true! Most business owners ask their customers to leave reviews…and then worry what effect a possible negative review will have. So what will happen if there is a negative review, and is that even legal for a customer to do? What if the review comes from someone who never even used your product? The first concept to tackle here is what are people able to say or post online about your business?   The First Amendment The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging...
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The confusing world of copyright ownership
You produced a product review video. You are the original author, so you own the copyright…right? What if the work was commissioned? What if several pieces included in your video (i.e., music, special effects) were licensed by you for the video? Do you still hold the copyright? Does everyone have some rights? Let’s dive into the confusing world of copyright ownership!   Ownership of Original Content In the most basic case, copyright is easy peasy. If you made it, you hold the copyright. But life is rarely THAT easy, right? However, let’s go over what the easiest case would be: You are the author of an original work (e.g., a piece of music, a photograph, a video, etc.). You hold the copyright. Holding the copyright gives you a bundle of rights over that work. For example, you control any reproduction, any derivative works, any public performances of the work, any...
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Copyright infringement or work for hire?
A potential client reached out to you and asked if you could create a product video review. You shot and produced the video, delivered your work, received payment, and even provided a copy of the original video you shot for the client’s use at trade shows. You believed that all was well, but then you saw your original video that you had provided for trade shows on the client’s YouTube channel. Your client had uploaded it and held it out to the public as her own. Now, you are thinking COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, but is it really??   The Copyright Is uploading the original video onto YouTube a case of copyright infringement? Maybe, maybe not! Isn’t the law fun? Let’s start with the basics. A copyright is the bundle of exclusive rights that the owner of the copyright holds. These rights are immediate upon creation of the original work and are...
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A question from one of our followers: Would I be infringing on copyright if I were to do free webinars (mini course style) on popular business books? I imagine providing chapter x chapter walkthroughs, infographics and study guides around the current books that I’m diggin– ALL FREE! I’m hoping to create a community around folks that love biz books but struggle with finding the time to read + don’t enjoy reading in isolation. There are a few aspects to explore when looking into this question, but first and foremost let’s look at copyright infringement:   Copyright Infringement Providing Free Webinars, Summaries, and Guides on Copyrighted Works The easy accessibility of various copyrighted works online has lead to a lot of confusion about what is and what is not copyright infringement. While some copyright infringement issues are very simple, most walk the line of “maybe, maybe not.” So how do you...
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Military spouse business set up checklist
So you want to set up a business?  Everyone is telling you entrepreneurship is great and you absolutely love the sound of being able to set your own work hours and be your own boss. There’s some serious momentum around owning and growing your own business, and you’re excited.  But as with the rest of your life, there’s a complicating factor that has you scratching your head at some of the advice being offered. Because, you, my friend, are a military spouse, and you already know you’re going to be facing some business owner challenges that not every business owner deals with during the life of their business. We’re going to assume you haven’t started any formal paperwork, or even started your business yet (we know you might have, so bear with us), because we want to make sure we cover all our bases. Even if you are in business, this can serves as...
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When to call in the forces: A quick guide to when you need an attorney in your business start-up
When you are starting a business there are a hundred things on your to-do list and seemingly endless expenses. There are business plans to develop, business licenses to obtain, copyrights and trademarks to consider, taxes to research, and on and on. It may seem like the majority of these steps are legal in nature and you might be wondering if you need to contact an attorney for help. Starting a business is already expensive, and hiring attorney can be costly, but it may be well worth it. How can you tell?   How Can an Attorney Help You? Whether or not you will want to utilize an attorney in starting your business will vastly depend on your specific circumstances, including what your business is, the type of business structure you will use, and your comfort level dealing with things on your own. Some of the most common ways an attorney...
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How to deal with non-payment and under-payment
You received an order from a new client, produced the requested product, sent the product off to them, and then waited patiently for the money to roll in. But, it never did! Or it did, but wasn’t the full amount. Or it did, but you realized that you charged too little by accident. What do you do?   Receipt Versus Invoice A little reminder to start off with…a lot of people confuse the terms ‘receipt’ and ‘invoice’, so let’s make that distinction. Basically, an invoice is a bill or a request that the client pays for the good or service, and a receipt is documentation that the good or service has been paid for.   Non-Payment or Under-Payment There are a variety of ways to handle a non-payment or under-payment. You can start with an easy option and escalate your response based on the client’s actions…or rather, inaction. Some options...
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Global marketplace, global problems: international copyright enforcement
Global marketplace, global problems! You thought you had a handle on copyright and then you realized someone was infringing on your copyright halfway across the world. How can you enforce your rights in another country?   Copyright Basics Before we get to international enforcement, let’s refresh quickly about copyright in general. The U.S. Copyright Office defines a copyright as, “a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for ‘original works of authorship’, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations“. The copyright attaches as soon as the work is created; registration is not a requirement for protection within the United States. Whoever the copyright holder is controls all future uses of the work within the United States and anywhere else.   Copyright Enforcement Within the United States If your copyright is being infringed within the United States, you have several...
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Blogging 101: how to set up a blog quickly
Setting up a blog or website can be overwhelming.  Here is a quick breakdown with recommendations of resources, products, and services to help you figure out how to set up your blog (and/or ecommerce website) the best way possible!   Set Up Hosting The first step is to set up an area to host your website. This will be where your website (or blog) will be hosted (parked or sitting).   It is important to find a reliable host to ensure that your website is accessible to your clients.   Choose a Domain Name A domain name is the address of the website or blog.  This is where you can choose the fun www .______.com name! (Or .org, .net, or any other variety out there!) The key is to look for something easy to remember but reflects your brand and business.   Domain names can range from a couple dollars and...
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Protecting your online intellectual property
You’ve probably noticed a little copyright symbol – © – at the bottom of most blogs that you read. Maybe you have one on your blog too. But have you thought about what that little symbol means, or what it actually does? Let’s talk about copyrighting your online work, what that means, and how to protect it.   Copyright A copyright is a legal construct that protects your original work from being used by others for their gain. In the United States, your copyright is automatic once your creation is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” You can register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office for further legal protections. The good news, however, is the basic protections exist without any additional action on your part. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, when you create something original and publish it online, it is automatically copyrighted – whether you post...
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Running an affiliate program legally and efficiently
Having others to promote your products and services is one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow your business.  Thanks to the Internet, influencers and trusted brands in industries have voices that far surpass the most extensive marketing budgets typically including line items for advertisements and customer satisfaction programs. Affiliate marketing takes these influencers and expands your business by offering compensation to the affiliate when the affiliate generates traffic, either leads or sales for you. For example, here at RachelBrenke, we have an affiliate program that pays 30% of sales for each sale on our contract template forms and educational courses.  In order for affiliate programs, like ours, to work legally and efficiently, we need to protect our brand, set terms in place, stay within tax laws, and provide the right tools to our affiliates.   Protect Your Brand With Standards Using RachelBrenke’s affiliate program as an example, in...
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Protecting your business in layers
Your business is rocking and rolling with money coming in. Or else you plan for money to be coming in – so you’re acting like you’re in business. But you get this creeping feeling that something might happen and you will awake from this entrepreneurial dream. You don’t want to lose this. You’ve worked too hard. For this reason, you need to understand that protection tools work in layers.  You know you need contracts, or maybe you’ve thought hard about your business formation, and perhaps a handful of you have thought about insurance. Each of these tools do offer some protection – but they work best in layers.   Tool #1 Contracts It really is a no-brainer in this day of litigious society that contracts are a must.  Having proper lawyer-drafted contracts implemented in your business will help to inform customers of policies, provide hurdles to any issues a customer...
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Can I use this? When a trademark can and cannot be used
I’m creating a LinkedIn training product – just wondering are there any legal issues with having LinkedIn mentioned in the product title? You have created an awesome product that will help users of the popular website LinkedIn.com learn how to better navigate the website. You are mulling over names for your product, but everything you come up with includes ‘LinkedIn’ in the name. Can you do that? Is that trademark infringement? Let’s begin with the basics of trademark and trademark infringement, and then go into when a trademark can or cannot be used.   Trademarks The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states, “A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the...
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How to legally engage with your website’s minor users
You run a successful website about coding where a main part of your business is to host a Q&A form to engage your users. Have you ever wondered about who those people are that you are engaging with? What if you know that one of those people asking a question is a minor? Are there any legal restrictions for dealing with minors online? In recent years, the law has been catching up with the explosion of internet-based services. One main legal concern has been how to protect children in their online ventures. The main law to be concerned with in the area is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.   Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule In 2000, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) came into effect. The rule’s purpose is to protect the personal information that online services collect, use, and disclose about minor children. Two of the most...
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Rachel Brenke works with Apple Inc. for the 2017 Veteran's Day Badge Release
Rachel Brenke, through Team RWB, was asked by Apple to work together on an Apple 3 sports watch badge promotion.   Apple released a special badge in honor of Veteran’s day and included members of TEAM RWB in this promotion.     View this post on Instagram   😍😍 at that achievement badge. Who else snagged theirs?! A post shared by Rachel Brenke (@fitlegally) on Nov 11, 2017 at 10:47am PST     View this post on Instagram   All ready for the #richmondhalf – one of my favorite courses. Few goals tomorrow: – 30+ minute course PR # – earn my 11 mins of activity badge in honor of Veterans Day from @Apple and @teamrwb – set a new Half PR – try not to freeze ❄️ since it’s gonna be 24 degrees at race start! – not let a senior man wearing jeans and carrying two jackets speed past...
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  I always get people asking me  – “You’re like Chandler, I don’t really know what you do.” So here is my explanation.  I am a lawyer and business consultant for small business entrepreneurs. That is the short answer. Here is the long one…   Education & Online Resources As an MBA and lawyer, I provide educational and advisement resources for small businesses. I have 3 main blogs that provide educational resources including articles, templates, digital products for entrepreneurs to use (contract template forms, business planning, marketing strategy, tax guides, etc.) These three blogs are primarily in the realm of Photographer (thelawtog), Bloggers/Ecommerce (RachelBrenke), and Fitness professionals (FitLegally). Through these, I have an email list of over 110,000 readers. www.thelawtog.com www.rachelbrenke.com www.fitlegally.com Under those there are also Facebook communities : TheLawTog: Biz, Marketing, Law and more!, Business Bites.   Podcast & Biz Consulting The over-arching Rachel Brenke brand has a...
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After years of education, tons of work experience, sweat, blood, and tears, you have created an amazing business-growth package that you want to sell to small business owners in order to help them increase their profits. You are eager to share your hard-earned advice to help others. In your enthusiasm, you make a statement in your advertising that your product is the “best in the business” or “it is guaranteed to increase profits”. After doing so, you start to wonder if these types of statements open you up to any legal issues? If so, how can you protect yourself? If you have made such a statement in your advertising, it may be considered puffery, a guarantee, or even false advertising.   Puffery If you have made a big statement about your product’s excellence that turns out to be false, is it automatically false advertising? Not necessarily! Some statements might be...
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Viral videos are one of the latest byproducts of the ever-increasing popularity of social media outlets. Instead of slogging through the process of having to email a funny video to your friend, you can now share that video with all of your friends in one click. One of your friends does the same, and then one of their friends, and then one of their friends and a viral video is born. This chain effect may have been a desired outcome from a concerted advertising effort by a company, a private individual’s shot at their 15 minutes as fame, or even a complete fluke. You have probably watched viral videos and other videos through a variety of platforms. What you may not know is that you could be watching an illegally downloaded video. What downloading or sharing of videos is allowed?   Downloading Videos from YouTube YouTube provides the ability for...
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Graphics (or ‘works’) are everywhere. They are on every website, they are on every ad, they are posted across social media, and they are soooo easy to copy and paste…but is that legal? What if you credit where it came from? What if you only use a link? You may run across one of these situations: Wanting to grab a graphic or worksheet from someone to share – even without alterations – and just give credit to the creator Create a freebie and attached a cool graphic that belongs to someone else or you’ve randomly found on the web Let’s start with the base of legal protection surrounding most of those cool works you see online: THE COPYRIGHT. This is the baseline to keep in mind anytime you see another graphic, product, download, etc. online.   Copyrights The United States Copyright Office (USCO) defines a copyright as, “A form of...
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