The Ugly Truth About Doing Business on Social Media

“Choice, not circumstances, determines your success.” — Anonymous

Before social media, the typical business in America was sued an average of three times during its lifetime. Now that we have people and companies doing business on social media, I believe that number will probably double.

Why do I say this? Because what I’m seeing more often than not, are new business owners balancing elephants on their shoulders while walking on tightropes over shark-infested waters with their eyes closed. And here’s the kicker- they don’t even know they’re doing this.

The truth is, social media and related tools make it easy to “start a business,” and that’s great. But the reality is that many people are beginning this journey without any formal business experience. Even with the best intentions, they don’t understand or appreciate the importance of complying with mandatory rules, regulations, and laws. They’re completely unaware of the elephants and sharks in their lives.

Be Smart. Make Good Choices.

I’m a lawyer, and when it comes to doing business on social media, I want you to make good choices. To give you some context as to what I’ll be recommending, please know that over the last 32 years, I’ve helped hundreds of people start their business. I’ve also represented hundreds, and maybe even thousands of clients, with business-related claims and litigation matters.

I’ve been there, and done that, and know what landmines you need to be aware of.

Now before I dive too far into this post, I’d like to remind you that while I am a pretty good California lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. No legal advice is being given in this article. Reach out to an experienced lawyer in your state with questions or legal needs. If you need a good lawyer but don’t know where to start, I’m a big fan of the inexpensive LegalShield business model (it’s kind of like Uber for the law) which offers small to medium size business owners access to affordable legal services.

See what I just did? That’s called a disclaimer. I do try and walk my talk when sharing online 😉

With the above in mind, let’s get started. The first thing I recommend that you do when doing business online is to following these six suggestions:

#1: Do Business as a Corporation or Limited Liability Company.

A great way to maximize profits and minimize your personal liability exposure is to do business as a legal entity. The advantages include:

Reduce Personal Liability — these entities can shield you from liability for business debt or lawsuits. There’s a protective wall between your personal and business life. This wall helps protect your personal assets such as your home, cars, savings, and investments.

Reduce Taxes — these entities allow you to deduct expenses that a sole-proprietorship or partnership may not let you do. This includes healthcare, entertainment and travel expenses.

Maximize Retirement and Pension Plans– these plans can be grown more effectively and maximized faster using these entities. Additional tax benefits are also available, and these benefits result in increased profits.

Add Credibility to Your Business– these entities show that you’re serious about your business which is now registered in your state. Factors like credibility, prestige, and permanence are all byproducts of doing business as an entity.

Raise Money and Build Credit– these entities allow you more options to raise money through the sale of stock or transfer ownership via the transfer or sale of stock. You’ll also be able to establish and build a new credit profile distinct from your personal situation.

Manage Your Company– these entities allow you to use agreements that define how you will run your company and resolve disputes. Laws also control what you and other people involved in your business can and should do to run the business each day. This protects everyone involved.

Pro Tip: Most online business owners make this big mistake- They do business as a sole proprietor or general partnership. You never want to do this. There is just too much liability exposure.

Continue reading “The Ugly Truth About Doing Business on Social Media”

Settlement Agreements For Online Business Owners

“A bad settlement is better than a good verdict any day of the week.” -Judge (retired)

During my legal career, I’ve participated in thousands of settlements. Some were small, and others involved millions of dollars. In all cases, the agreements my clients and I negotiated and agreed to were immediately documented in writing.

We do this because the last thing you want after a settlement is a difference of opinion as to what was agreed to or, one party experiencing a case of “buyers remorse.” Believe it or not, this happens all the time.

Online Business Owners

I believe for all the same reasons, and then some, online business owners should do the same thing and quickly document the resolution of all of their disputes and settlements.

I was recently contacted by a relatively well-known online business owner and influencer who’s picture was being used on social media without his consent. He had called out the company using his image and thought he had worked out a settlement for the intellectual property rights violations.

Continue reading “Settlement Agreements For Online Business Owners”

2018 Tips for Entrepreneurs (by someone who’s been one for 30 years)

It’s a new year and I have a good feeling that 2018 is going to be an exciting and prosperous one for all of us. For those of you doing business online, I invite you to take a close look at these business/legal tips that will help keep you safe and avoid legal problems over the course of the upcoming year.

First, please make sure to keep your business efforts and liabilities (yes, doing business creates liability) separate from your personal life and assets. What this means is that you must do business as a Limited Liability Company or Corporation and not as an individual, sole proprietor, or in a partnership (I hate partnerships- too much liability).

Continue reading “2018 Tips for Entrepreneurs (by someone who’s been one for 30 years)”

The Best Holiday Gift For the Entrepreneur In Your Life!


The holidays are here! What are you getting the entrepreneur and online business owner (EOBO) in your life?

Here’s a suggestion. How about something that every EOBO needs but probably doesn’t have? How about a unique and thoughtful gift your EOBO can’t live without, whether he or she knows it or not?

Continue reading “The Best Holiday Gift For the Entrepreneur In Your Life!”

Sexual Harassment on Social Media and the #MeToo Movement

Over the past three years, I’ve had about a dozen people reach out to me about being sexually harassed relating to their social media businesses and platforms. With more and more brave victims coming out to share their #metoo experience, I thought this post needed to get written.

Social media conference attendees have contacted me about after hours “one on one” business meetings turning into sexual assaults. Two spouses have reached out for help in protecting their rights after finding out their husbands went “Weinstein” at a conference. On the other side of the coin, I’ve also had multiple people reach out who were wrongfully accused of sexual harassment and assault at social media conferences.

While names like Weinstein, Franken, Moore, Trump, Louis C.K., Ratner, and Spacey (just to mention a few), are what most people hear each night on the evening news, I believe we have similar problems in our social media communities. Although I haven’t heard about anyone I know on social media being banned from the local mall, I am seeing some bad dudes doing bad things to women. I have a feeling you have too.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a big deal. I also think it’s a problem for many people doing business on social media. Although the offline laws do not apply in the same way to this online misconduct, I don’t think it’s difficult to notice the similarities in the end result. Because I’ve always thought that conversation is good, I want to start a conversation and encourage more dialog with you about sexual harassment on our social media business platforms.

One more thing. Almost all of the incoming calls I get concerning sexual harassment involve female victims. As such, I’m writing this post with them in mind. Please keep in mind that I understand that anyone can become a victim when it comes to sexual harassment.

Also, please note that while I am a California lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. No legal advice is being given in this post. What I am trying to do is give you something to think about. I want to give you some ideas and tools to be part of the solution and to help fix this problem.

Continue reading “Sexual Harassment on Social Media and the #MeToo Movement”

How To Save a Ton of Money Setting Up a LLC or Corporation

Properly setting up a new LLC or Corporation is much more than just filling out a few forms. In fact, a substantial amount of time, strategy, and planning is required.

If you follow me online, have watched my interviews or listened to me speak from the stage, you know that I insist that all my clients do business online as either an LLC or a Corporation. In this video, I show you an easy way to create your LLC or Corporation the right way and to keep it running safely year after year.

You can do it yourself, keep your fingers crossed and hope you make all the right decisions. Or, you can get an experienced lawyer to counsel you and help set everything up. After you create your new business, this same law firm will be there to help keep things running smoothly year after year.

My suggestion is to get a LegalShield membership (less than the costs of a cup of coffee each day) and have your lawyer help you set things up. I use LegalShield to protect my family and business interests and you should do the same. Visit http://MitchJackson.org for more details or to get your protection today. While you’re there, check out the LegalShield Identity Theft Protection. Pro Tip: If you are a home based business, look at adding the inexpensive business rider. Again, go to http://MitchJackson.org