Liku Amadi is a Bay Area native and CA licensed attorney. Liku helps coaches and consultants establish a solid legal foundation for their online business with custom contracts.
Liku prides herself in not just delivering legal services, but educating her clients on the value and purpose behind the legal services they invest in.
Connect with Liku on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- The growing popularity of contract templates vs custom contracts
- Misconceptions about doing business online
- Three areas coaches/consultants should tread carefully
- Why should coaches and consultants work with me vs other lawyers
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:02] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Coach the Coach radio brought to you by the Business RadioX Ambassador Program, the no cost business development strategy for coaches who want to spend more time serving local business clients and less time selling them. Go to brxambassador.com To learn more. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:33] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Coach the Coach Radio, and this is going to be a fun one today on the show, we have Liku Madoshi with a Anasa Law Firm. Welcome.
Liku Amadi: [00:00:45] Thank you so much, Lee. I’m excited to be here. Well, I’m
Lee Kantor: [00:00:48] Excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about your practice. How are you serving, folks?
Liku Amadi: [00:00:53] Yes, definitely. I am an attorney, California based attorney. I serve coaches and consultants by helping them establish a solid online business foundation when it comes to the legal aspects of their business. And specifically, that’s through entity formation and contracts.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:12] So can you share a little bit about your journey? How did you end up serving coaches like what drew you to that group?
Liku Amadi: [00:01:20] Yeah. So when I started my own practice, I was kind of just serving everyone. General legal practitioner kind of zeroed into business law and then started doing what we call anything down. And so I found that I like to work with coaches and consultants and draft contracts, which was deemed kind of boring in law school, but I found that I actually liked it. I like the research aspect of it. I like getting to know my clients and their businesses and figuring out how we can custom make their contracts based on those businesses and their experiences in those businesses. And so when it was time for me to, you know, get down further and just talk to one group of people, my target audience, if you will, that’s who I chose. And with that, just online coaches and consultants, specifically because with COVID, we’ve seen a boom of online businesses, but even with just time and technology advancing, a lot of businesses are online and it may seem easy to do business online, but there are still a lot of things that a lot of legal things I should say that we need to abide by. There’s still a lot of rules and regulations, and so I just want to make sure coaches and consultants can serve their clients by doing what’s right for them and having a solid legal foundation.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:44] Now I’ve interviewed hundreds, even probably close to thousands of coaches and consultants over the years and almost to a person. They are all kind of respectful of the law and want to abide by the law, but that’s an area they tend to skimp in when it’s their own business and they’ll kind of maybe go with something they found at the office supply store contract. That’s a template, you know, that’s just kind of a bare bones generic contract or go to the internet and Google search contract and then just kind of wing it on their own. Can you talk about kind of some of the dangers and pitfalls when you take that approach?
Liku Amadi: [00:03:27] Yeah, definitely. So, like I said, one of the reasons why I like working on contracts and working with my clients is because I can get to know their businesses. Every business is unique. You can have, you know, one person over here consulting about businesses and business structure and the same person over here doing the same thing. But they are doing it differently. They’re taking different approaches. Their experience with clientele is different. How they run their websites is different, their services are different, et cetera. And so the issue with contract templates, because I’ll back up and say first that they are really popular right now. You can easily google them and download one off. Google, like you said, you can go on Instagram or maybe even take talk all these social media sites and pay twenty seven or forty seven or ninety seven dollars for a contract template. And you know, it’s easy as that, right? You think that you have what you need in order to secure your business, but. Contract templates are good for those businesses who are starting out, right, because you don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s just it.
Liku Amadi: [00:04:35] So I applaud business owners who go and find those contracts because at least they have the knowledge that I do need some type of contract and legal protection in place. I’m supposed to have a contract for something that I’m doing in my business, so this is me going to do that, right? That is great. But when you reach a certain point in business, those templates will not serve you because after you start to have more client interactions and you deal with the issues regarding payments and resolving disputes and the specific services that you offer, your contract templates do not address those issues, nor do they address protections that you can have in your specific state, right? So custom contracts do that. They are tailored to your needs to your business needs. And the pitfall the main pitfall with custom I’m sorry with contract templates is that you won’t get that. You’ll just get something super generic that this consulting business can use. And also the bakery, you know, online bakery, running cookies or something like that as a holiday special can also use.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:40] Now you mentioned the preponderance of online coaches that have kind of bubbled up since, you know, combination the great resignation, the pandemic and all this kind of chaos that’s happening over the last few years. And a lot of folks said, Hey, I’m going to pull the rip cord and I’m going to go out on my own, and I might as well be a coach or consultant because I’ve been doing this work for 20 years. I can certainly help other people do a similar thing or help them through the same problems I’ve been solving for my corporation. How should they be protecting themselves when they are going online and serving people, maybe around the globe, whereas maybe in their business or previously they were working locally and maybe there were different rules in their state? But if now they’re crossing state lines, it sounds like they’re opening themselves up for some liability. They may not really fully understand or appreciate.
Liku Amadi: [00:06:33] Yeah, and so I would say generally you would want to protect yourself by forming an entity. It’s usually an LLC, right, so you can protect your personal assets number one and separate them from your business assets when you deal with the client who has a dispute, or, God forbid, you get sued. So you want to have that liability protection in place number one. And then just two generally again, is disclaimers to limit your liability. So if you put something out there, a lot of coaches and consultants have digital products, for example. So if you put a course out there or a PDF out there saying, you know, in five days, you can stop being depressed or something like that, you want to put a disclaimer out there that you are not a licensed mental health professional. You’re not making any diagnosis, that these techniques are something that works for you personally and you’re not recommending them or making any guarantees that people get results right. You want to make it clear that you’re just putting this out there for informational purposes and not for people to follow to the tee.
Liku Amadi: [00:07:37] So those two things generally are disclaimers and entity formation. But regarding crossing state lines, I think that’s starting to get trickier and trickier in the online space because now we got the metaverse and you know, this is going to keep getting more complicated. But generally you have a contract clause, which is a governing law clause saying that this contract is governed, for example, by California law, right? That it’ll be interpreted according to California law. However, people online business owners can still get sued if they’re serving clients. Let’s say, like in Florida or New York, and you know it may be appropriate that they’re sued in those states or some other location. Again, we can reach the globe being online, like you said, so it really depends is the best answer. And the typical lawyer answer, it depends on the situation, which again is it’s better that you have clear, concise, you know, specific contracts regarding what you’re doing. So it’s easier to resolve those disputes. And you don’t get to the point where you’re in Massachusetts serving clients all over the states and you might be sued somewhere else.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:49] Now in your work, is it is it feasible possible where I should look at my legal expenses? Not necessarily as an expense in terms of this is just costing me money. This is kind of insurance in case something bad happens. But is it is it possible to take some of my content and maybe have, you know, IP around it where I can use your services to help me create revenue and revenue opportunities?
Liku Amadi: [00:09:19] Yeah, definitely. So unfortunately, I think the perception around lawyers is, Oh my God, I’m in trouble or there’s trouble afoot and it’s expensive, right? But that’s that’s not where the advantage is. And so the advantage is when you can help people create assets or identify their assets where they can create additional income, like you said with intellectual property, find other ways where they can get ahead of the game and their industry again using contracts, entity formation and so with intellectual property, specifically, coaches and consultants should look at. And again, I’ll say it depends, right? Or it depends just on where you want to take your business and what you’re doing with the different services and products that you offer with your business, your vision and these things change. But from a general standpoint, we have a lot of courses again, courses, digital downloads. You might want to protect those via copyright and copyrights pretty much protect those things that you create those artistic, tangible things that you create. So again, courses, digital downloads, any videos, even social media content that you put out there. Trademarks protect the features of your brand, so there’s often confusion between LLCs and trademarks. And LLCs protect you when it comes from when it comes to liability and trademarks. Protect your brand so your business name should be protected by a trademark. Your business slogan should be protected by a trademark. Your business logo can be protected by a trademark. Those distinct features that when you go out there in the marketplace, in your arena of business, help you be distinguished from the competition. And so those are the main two things. You also have patents which protect inventions. That’s a whole nother ball game, but I would also just recommend business owners getting an IP audit and seeing how much they value the content and features of their business and what they can do to not only protect those, but then also license them out and use them as assets so they can generate more income for their businesses.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:31] Now, is there anything you can share? That’s actionable, I know. It depends as part of your business, and everything is kind of customized to the specific needs, but are there is there some low hanging fruit for imagine a person, a listener now that is working a corporate job and is thinking of taking the plunge and leaving? And or maybe they’re, you know, going to resign or they’re going to be downsized, whatever the case may be, but they’re thinking of pursuing being a coach or consultant. What is the kind of some actions they can take to, you know, get their practice off on the right foot? From a legal standpoint, some things they can be doing or thinking about other than call you to, you know, just make sure that they have the right kind of foundation to do this correctly.
Liku Amadi: [00:12:16] Yeah, that’s a great question, and I would start with why you’re at your job, check your employee handbook, because when we’re leaving our jobs, we’re usually working on our businesses, right? We have all these ideas we’re fleshing out. We’ve got to open our Microsoft Word document and we’re drafting things or creating things. And those things could become they could be subject to ownership by your employer, right? If you’re working on company time, using company resources or what you’re creating is related to the company’s business. So for example, if the business runs, let’s say they’re a practice where multiple therapists write, You’re a therapist and you want to go out and be a life coach. And some of the things that you’re creating, let’s say a PDF is related to things that are in your normal line of business. Like those people can look at what you’re creating if you show them and it can be like, Listen, this is actually arts. It’s like you created it on company time or company resources. This is what we’re talking about. You might be in competition with us, and so rightfully, we have ownership over this content, right? And so again, custom situations, different circumstances. But bottom line is check your employment agreements and your employee handbooks as to running other businesses or generating ideas and your activity with regard to your own business ventures. As it pertains to you being at the job because there could be certain restrictions and you don’t want to get caught up in that, I had a client who got caught up in that and actually lost something that they were creating because he told her company about it.
Liku Amadi: [00:13:54] They were super supportive of her going out. But at the end of the day, business is business and that was advantageous to them. So a number one, that number two, when it’s all said and done, you want to form your entity for sure. So your LLC should be something that you form again, so you’re protected from legal liability related to your business. You don’t want to get in trouble and have your family funds on the line. Your cars know other assets. Number two is definitely use custom contracts throughout your business, so this is why you’re working with clients. This is when you’re working with contractors, graphic designers, people who are building your websites and hiring employees. Any relationship that you have in business, there should be a contract that to outline that relationship, to make sure that everything is clear as to your duties, your responsibilities, payment, how you resolve disputes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, right? We want everything to be as clear as possible, so definitely contracts. And then lastly, it’s having that intellectual property audit just to know what your intellectual property is. Really. Talk to an attorney about where you see yourself taking this intellectual property in the future and strategize on how you can protect it. And then I would just say in general, after all, those three like for people listening here, they’re probably looking for legal information, right? And I’ll give a disclaimer here at the end that none of this has been legal advice.
Liku Amadi: [00:15:25] This is only legal information. There’s no attorney client privilege formed here from this podcast interview. And if you like to seek an attorney client relationship and you need to do so by signing an engagement letter, right? My little tidbit right there. But the last thing I’ll say is just finding that person or source of information that is trusted and vetted where you can get all your information from. Because with the internet, we have an overload of information so you can look up to how to form your LLC. And 10 resources will give you 10 different answers. And that’s just not helpful because with information overload, you don’t take any action. And when you don’t take action, you put things on the back burner and you open yourself up to risk. And not only that, but you’re prevented from taking those additional unnecessary steps in business to hire someone to get a contract that’s properly made to get your trademark because you’re just overflowed with information. So find an attorney that you can listen to all the time that you contact, all the time that you have questions with, or, you know, find a law firm that can help you just find that one resource that is on your team, even if they’re not full time, but that you just know when I have a legal question, that’s the person I’m going to type in with. So you’re not over here Googling like crazy and looking on social media for all these freebies and cheap downloads, which will not help you solve your problems.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:52] Yeah, I’m with you. I think it’s always better if you can afford it to hire a specialist, somebody who has depth and knowledge within that niche, rather than a generalist who just may never see this again or see something once or twice a year. So I think whenever you’re choosing any type of relationship with consultant, coach, a lawyer that you should always aim for a specialist because I think. You may pay a little more, but you’re going to get a lot more in terms of value and knowledge about the niche.
Liku Amadi: [00:17:24] Definitely, I agree.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:25] Now if somebody wants to learn more about your practice and get on your radar, get on your calendar, what is the website?
Liku Amadi: [00:17:32] Yes, yes. Yes. The website is a NASA law firm that is a NASA law firm. You can contact me there. You can reach out and book a consultation with me. We can strategize. I can help you with your contracts or entity formation. I am the lawyer for coaches and I’m happy to help. You can also follow me on Instagram, where I drop a lot of free legal information. Again, legal information, not legal advice, but my Instagram is a NASA law firm that is a NASA law firm, and there I always post information almost on a daily basis. I go live, I invite questions, so I’m more than happy to help from that standpoint. And lastly, I’ll say that I host the monthly webinars this one. This month is the first of the year excited about that. And so we’ll be hosting a webinar specifically for online coaches called Legalizing Your Online Coaching Business, where we’ll be getting into some of the things I already talked about, more specifically entity formation, custom client contracts, and also making sure that your website is in the proper legal condition in order for you to serve your client. So I I’m here to help. I’m here to talk and use me as a resource.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:49] Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Liku Amadi: [00:18:55] Thank you so much for having me. This was this went by a little too fast, but I’m glad we did it, so thank you again.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:03] All right, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on Coach the Coach radio.