One of the biggest struggles we face as lawyers, especially in a transactional/consulting-type practice like I have, is making clients understand why they even need a lawyer in the first place. I mean honestly, do you need a lawyer for your online business?
We are in this new world of DIY legal, Rocket Lawyer, Legal Zoom, Trademarkia, etc. As a result, people and businesses rationalize that they can go online, order up the form they need (or so they think), fill in some blanks, and get a “legal” document (I use that term loosely…).
As a result, why on earth would anyone spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer?
Do you need a lawyer for your Online Business?
It’s a valid question.
And certainly for some people, outsourcing their legal needs to a large, corporate, non-lawyer provider of legal forms with no guidance or advice is certainly a good option.
For most of you it isn’t.
Let me give you an example of why – this is something that many of you can resonate with.
I’m a member of a wonderful community of online entrepreneurs. It’s called “Screw the Nine to Five”, and it is run by two of the most fun-loving people you could imagine, Jill and Josh Stanton.
They have a private Facebook Community, and recently someone posted about why in the world anyone would want to pay to be a part of Josh and Jill’s community. (They offer a paid membership community which, full disclosure, I am NOT a member of … yet.) And they aren’t paying me to write this post either, BTW.
Back to the story. So this jerky dude decided to get on the Stanton's private Facebook group and trash the services and courses they offer by claiming that “everything they offer can easily be found elsewhere for free…”
But isn’t that pretty much true with many things in life?
I mean let’s think about all the money I could save if I just:
- Changed the oil for my own car
- Mowed my own lawn
- Never ate out
- Waited for all the movies to come to iTunes, Netflix, etc.
- Camped out in a coffeeshop and used their free wifi
- Fed my dog the leftovers from our dinners
- The list could go on and on…
But you know what? We do pay for those things, and many more.
Why do we pay? Because paying for these things saves us time.
That’s time I can spend with my family instead of spending 4 hours mowing my lawn every week.
That’s time I can be at work earning much more than the $40 it costs to have an oil change done in 20 minutes.
That’s time I can upload my podcasts and videos in 2 minutes that would take ½ hour or more on the slow, free wifi at a coffeeshop.
That’s time I can enjoy spending with my wife, having a nice conversation and enjoying an exquisite meal to get away from the hustle and bustle of a home with 3 kids driving us both crazy at dinnertime (LOVE my kids, BTW).
One of the members of the “Screw” Community responded, quite elegantly I might add, to this troll’s comment that you can find all the information on Screw U for free by googling it…
“Eh, only if you don't count all the time you would spend sifting through the wheat to get to the chaff. Oh, and throw out the support and insight of the other members. Then add more time searching for other courses because you don't have access to themetric shit ton of information that's laid out in an easy to follow path. Oh, and also, you'd have to decide that the Stantons and their partners' time is worthless too because you aren't willing to pay anything towards supporting their hard work that makes the group you just posted this in possible. Then yeah, you can get everything for free. Go get 'em, Tiger!”
So I ask you, what is your time worth? What are your goals for your business? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If you are running your business for fun, then you have created an expensive hobby. Don't be surprised if you aren't hitting the goals you set for yourself in the months and years to come.
So Can you Play Lawyer with the Help of Google?
Can you play lawyer and form your own incorporation (assuming you know which one is right for you, and it’s not always an LLC)? Can you file your own trademarks and copyrights? Can you draft your own contracts?
Sure you can. And you can also change your own oil by finding a video on YouTube, or figure out Facebook Ads by simply “googling” it.
But, for the sake of your business, how much time and money are you really saving yourself?
Maybe, just maybe, you are actually costing yourself time and money that would be much better spent on what you are truly good at… building a business that gives you the freedom and time to enjoy your life, instead of wasting away on the internet looking for resources that are readily available, if only you are willing and able to invest the money it takes to purchase them.
Do you want a hobby or do you want a business?