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Why Protecting Online Content is Essential With Heather Pearce Campbell

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Heather Pearce Campbell is an attorney and legal coach for online entrepreneurs. She is the Founder of Pearce Law and The Legal Website Warrior. Heather offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their brand by providing the legal support and education they need to protect their online content and programs. She is also the host of the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Heather Pearce Campbell talks about starting her own practice right after law school 
  • How Heather created connections with other legal professionals
  • Why Heather built a business to serve online business owners
  • Why proper legal documentation is essential for content creators
  • Heather shares the benefits of joining the Catalyst Club Program

In this episode…

Are you an entrepreneur who conducts business online? Is your business protected with proper documentation in case legal action is required? 

Heather Pearce Campbell saw a need for legal representation among growing e-commerce business owners and created a program that ensures businesses have proper legal documentation that protects their products and services. Her mission is to aid entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, protect their online courses and programs, and establish better relationships with their clients. 

In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein interviews Heather Pearce Campbell, the Founder of Pearce Law and The Legal Website Warrior, to talk about protecting online content. Heather explains how she built her business based on relationships, what content creators can do to protect their online content, and how her Catalyst Club program works.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process. 

You can email their team at welcome@goldsteinpc.com to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha moments that change everything. And now here’s your host, Rich Goldstein.

Rich (00:34):
Rich Goldstein here, host of the innovations and breakthroughs podcast, where I featured top leaders in the path they took to create change past guests include Joe Polish role in Frazier and Kevin King. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein Patent Law. Will we help you to protect your ideas and products? We’ve advised obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 28 years. So if you’re a company that has software or product or design, you want protected go to goldsteinpatentlaw.com, where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. You could email my team at welcome@goldsteinpc.com to explore if it’s match to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American bar association that explains in plain English, how patents work it’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent. I have with me here today, Heather Pearce Campbell, Heather is an attorney and legal coach for online entrepreneurs. She’s a founder of Pearce Law and legalwebsitewarrior.com, but she provides legal support and education for entrepreneurs to help them to obtain legal protection for online content and programs that position them for growth and for comprehensive brand protection of their businesses. She’s also host of the guts grit and great business con podcast is my pleasure to welcome here today. Heather Pearce Campbell. Welcome Heather. <laugh>

Heather (01:49):
Thank you, Rich. Right. It’s a mouthful introducing people.

Rich (01:51):
Yeah. You have a little punk guide. I, I totally did a long presentation just before on zoom with lots of questions and you know, oh,

Heather (02:00):
I feel

Rich (02:01):
Still spinning.

Heather (02:02):
Right. We were living parallel lives. I led a masterclass, did the same thing, so I completely understand

Rich (02:07):
<laugh> oh, wow. Awesome. Well, and in terms of leading parallel lives, and that’s a great segue because, um, you know, I graduated graduated law school 28 years ago and there’s something I did, which I had never encountered before someone else who did the same thing, which is I started my own practice, right outta law school. I didn’t go and work for anybody low and behold. And to Heather, you are, we have been leading parallel lives. So you started your own practice, right. Outta law school as well. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that’s nice. So, so tell me about that.

Heather (02:38):
Oh my goodness. Well, um, yeah, it was an interesting time to graduate law school. And for me, I, I had learned during my law school experience, my perspective really changed because I, I lost my mom. She was, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer the first quarter of my first year and, uh, passed away within the first month of my second year. And it really just changed the way I thought about everything. You know, anybody who goes through a, a tragic loss young in life. I think it just, it just changes your perspective and there’s no going back. And so what I realized is when I graduated law school, I was really extraordinarily unwilling to do other people’s work. And I just realized, like I had watched my parents, you know, work hard and at times struggle and my mom really never getting to reap the rewards of all of that hard work. And so for me, I just realized like, I’m not signing up for that. I don’t, I don’t want to go do work that I’m not really passionate about just for the sake of getting experience, you know, for somebody else. And so, yeah, it was highly unusual. I did not know anybody at the time who had done that or was doing that, but it was my path and it ended up being the right path for me.

Rich (04:00):
Yeah. That’s, that’s amazing. And, so how did you go about doing that in terms of like, how did you get your first clients?

Heather (04:08):
Yeah. So it’s a kind of a funny story. Like if, you know, I think back to the, uh, little, teeny, tiny apartment I was living in at the time, I actually put up like a divider. I was trying to create like this little office space, even though I didn’t have an office, right. Printed, literally printed my own business cards. This was, you know, of course in the days of email, but still sending out letterheads. I created all this stuff and I just basically blasted my, my, uh, list, my network of people in my life saying, Hey, I’ve graduated and I’m available for projects. That’s probably how I worded it. I’m available for projects. And, um, and I was pretty much willing to dig into any problem. Somebody would send my way and it ended up being a lot of small business, um, some consumer protection, right.

Heather (04:58):
But people needing help with research and letters and sometimes lawsuit, but mostly a lot of the preliminary assessment type stuff. And the, the interesting thing is I had a lot of, uh, this was post nine 11, right? So it was a weird time to be graduating. I had classmates who’d been given offers at some of the biggest firms in town and doors were getting closed and they, you know, moratoriums were being, you know, coming down and people were actually getting jobs rescinded. Right. So it was a super strange time. And what I knew at the time, because a lot of people were job hunting the traditional way, sending out resumes, doing this kind of stuff. And I knew like I wanted to work for myself, but I also needed to create a network of people. And I, I didn’t have that built in, in the legal world.

Heather (05:47):
And so I actually love this story because I think in, in any area of entrepreneurship, you can do the same thing and it will just serve you so well, I, I literally put together a, a Excel spreadsheet and I kept myself on a schedule of meeting face to face with one person every day of the week, one person in law. And it didn’t matter if I got their name from a newspaper from, I remember selling my car at the time. And this guy called and I learned he was an attorney. I was like, oh, you’re an attorney. Can I take you to lunch? I would love to learn about your practice. Like you could be Joe Schmo and I didn’t know you from anybody. But if you mentioned you were an attorney, I was gonna try to pick your ear and learn about your work.

Heather (06:32):
And, and I would often research them in advance, but I put myself on a daily schedule, connected with them, asked a million questions about practice areas about any of their work that had been published or made it into the news, anything like that. And just really built out my own network of people in the legal community that I knew. And that knew me. And within a couple months I had more work than I could handle. As far as referrals. Could you come help me on this project? Here’s a small case that we’re not taking. Maybe you can handle it. Right. And it served me tremendously. Well, I looked back on that and I was like, you know, I was the weirdo called. They literally called calling people like, Hey, your name is in the newspaper in regards to this case. Can I meet with you and talk to, you know, talk to you about it turns out in my, you know, in my experience, attorneys are tremendously generous people and they, you know, many, many attorneys really were generous with me in their time, early in my career.

Rich (07:31):
Yeah. That’s amazing. And, uh, yeah. And I, and I agree, and I think, I think with attorneys, they need to compartmentalize it. So it’s like, it’s like, if it’s going to be client time, it’s gotta be billed. It’s got to be within that category. But it’s like, oh, you wanna, you wanna talk about, um, the law or you want to go get a beer or something? And it’s like a whole different category. It’s like, oh, you’re not a client. Okay. This is, this is different. You know, I just gotta make sure that I’m efficient about how I turn client time into dollars and pay my bills. Yes. But for other stuff, you know?

Heather (08:06):
No, it’s true. And I, and I, the thing that I did well is I was very upfront about the purpose of the meeting. Right. I’m a new attorney I’d like to learn about your practice. I have questions and I’m, I’m looking for additional connections. And so I didn’t hide the ball or, you know, I wanted people to know genuinely what I was about, but it, it went well for me. Yeah. And I, I feel for so fortunate that people were that generous with me.

Rich (08:31):
So, so basically you, you built a practice on relationships. Like you went out and, and, and created a network and created relationships and you kind of relentlessly followed your spreadsheet and made sure that you made those connections. And, uh, and, and the resulting network is, um, you know, you, you, you started your network from scratch essentially. Yeah,

Heather (08:53):
It, I did. And the thing that I, I told myself is like, I knew even in a down, even in a terrible economy, work comes from people, right. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I just have to get in front of the right people and I’m not afraid of people. And so I thought this is something I can do. I can get in front of people and have conversations and learn about their lives and learn to also be a supportive connection for them and their network. And, and, you know, it served me really well. And the funny thing, the caveat to that story is that when I launched my second business, the legal website warrior, which was strictly an online business, there was part of me that thought, I don’t really know anything about growing an online business. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t live exclusively in the online space before, but how did I build that business exactly the same way I built my first business, a hundred percent relationships. Yeah.

Rich (09:46):
Yeah. Awesome. And so, and you built that business, you built an online business, and so you really set out to serve other business owners, people that had online businesses, people that have, um, that developed content online. So, um, you know, I mean, what attracted you to that area in particular working with, um, these types of businesses and people?

Heather (10:09):
Yeah. A couple things, you know, the first 10 to 12 years of my career, I could see that certain segments of the, of the legal marketplace just were not well served, right? Cer individual consumers of legal services, I think can have a terribly challenging time. Small businesses are not well supported by our traditional legal marketplace. A lot of the, the ways that the traditional legal industry is built is really for the bigger fish, with bigger pockets. And so it’s a challenging thing for a small business to get all of its legal needs met in a way that is adequate. And for me, I just started kind of observing the marketplace and connecting the dots on like, who do I really love supporting? It was the little guys mm-hmm <affirmative>, it was the people that, that weren’t getting the support. And it also, you know, I have a creative side of myself that I felt like always needs to be expressed right. In some way. And it allowed me to like join forces between those two things and create something that I thought would serve people in a way that is unique and that they could really use the support.

Rich (11:21):
Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and it sounds like you want to help entrepreneurs to grow and to kind of reap the benefits of, of what they’ve been creating.

Heather (11:33):
Oh, absolutely. Well, even when you look at the business marketplace from a numbers perspective, right. The interesting thing that happens with small businesses is they do a lot of minimizing, like, well, I don’t have the budget for that, or I’m not big enough to, to garner all this attention. I probably don’t need to do that level of support. Right. And I get it, we have constraints as small business owners, but at the same time, our business marketplace in the us is made up of like 99.9% of the businesses in the us marketplace are small businesses. These are businesses that are making 3 million or less per year. Right. They have budgetary constraints, they have certain needs that are generally not met and they are the marketplace from a numbers perspective. So it’s so interesting to me that we live in a world that really doesn’t meet those needs. Right. And right. I think it’s just the nature, you know, this, the nature of the traditional legal industry is it’s a slow moving fairly, uh, traditional industry.

Rich (12:34):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, a lot of the principles and concepts and, and how it operates is the same as it operated in the 19th century. <laugh> yeah. It’s, it’s,

Heather (12:45):
It’s a little painful to say that out loud, right? Yeah. It’s like, oh yes.

Rich (12:51):
So true though.

Heather (12:52):
It is. Yeah, it is true. And yeah, it’s, it is just fun to be able. And I think, I think attorneys are getting this, like, I really think there’s a, there’s a new wave happening of people that are thinking more creatively about not only their practice, but about the needs of their clients and doing, going beyond the scope that would originally exist, you know, in the traditional landscape to really figure out a way to serve those people. Mm.

Rich (13:20):
Yeah, absolutely. And, and in terms of niches and one of the niches that you work in there is online content. And, um, I’m, I’m fascinated by that because like, it’s not my area of expertise within IP is protecting IP. And yet I know a lot of coaches and, um, people that have developed courses and they’re always looking to protect them. I mean, what do you think is the, the primary angle of attack when someone wants to protect a course?

Heather (13:50):
Yeah. Oh, it’s such a good question. Yes. Um, it’s such a good question because I too work with a lot of people where their home base and their business is their online platform or business or website. Right. And they’re doing really interesting things there. And often, um, when people intersect with my path, it’s because they’re having a problem online, somebody’s taken IP, somebody’s done something, right. They’re facing an issue that they have to resolve. Or they’re one of the, the few people that are in the category of being proactive enough that they’re gonna do it before they launch, before they ship this thing out into the world. Right. And usually where I start is with their documentation. So I know before we went live, I told you, I had like a system where I organized concepts into buckets, right? So this is bucket number two, which is contracts bucket.

Heather (14:42):
Number one is assuming you’ve got your business foundation in place, your entity set up properly, et cetera. Uh, but bucket two is business contracts. And your legal documentation is a huge part of running an online business successfully, but it’s a combination of not only having the right documentation. So with an online course or program, um, you would have ideally terms of purchase in place that are unique to that particular offering or program. Um, these are separate from terms and conditions, website terms and conditions are your general ground rules for your website. They apply to anybody who shows up and interacts with your site, regardless of whether they purchase. Right. And you’re gonna have plenty of people that fall into that category terms of purchase are the terms that apply. They’re like the receipt of sale for a specific transaction. And inside of those terms of purchase, if they’re built really well, there it’s quite, it’s a quite complex document.

Heather (15:40):
You’re covering a lot of topics within one document because there’s a lot going on with your IP, with needing to protect the income stream related to that particular offer or, you know, service, um, there’s as experts. We all know how we like for people to utilize our information, including any information contained in that course or program, we don’t ultimately get to control how they do use it. So there there’s how risk enters the equation, right? So we, we need certain things like disclaimers, and a lot of people will show up asking me for this. I just need a simple disclaimer, do you do that right disclaimers, just one provision of many that are included in a well drafted set of, uh, terms of purchase. And so that’s usually where I start because you’re documents, there’s the documentation, but there’s also the proper systems for implementing that documentation.

Heather (16:38):
Cuz the other thing that people get wrong is they go, oh, well I have my privacy policy. I have my website terms here. You know, maybe they even separately have a terms of purchase, but they’re not achieving constructive notice with that documentation. Right. So you know about the term constructive notice, you cannot assume that people see terms. If they’re buried at the bottom of the page or in a hyperlink down in your footer menu, right. You actually have to achieve constructive notice, which means somebody got meaningful notice that these terms apply to this sale. Right? Well, in the best of all world, you’re tracking that you’re documenting that you’re, it’s a system that works together with your documentation that shows you did things in the right way, in the right order. So you could later defend against a chargeback request or, you know, a refund issue or some other problem or an IP issue.

Heather (17:35):
Somebody turns around and uses your IP in a nefarious way. There’s gonna be terms inside that agreement, that address the IP and the use of the IP that you’re exposing. Right? So that’s one layer that’s kind of the starting layer for people. People it’s both the documentation, having the right system for implementing that document or that set of documents. And then as you and I were also talking beforehand, you can layer on then things like federal registrations, right. That, that are the, some of the things that people immediately think about when they think about protecting IP,

Rich (18:09):
Federal, trademark, and copyright,

Heather (18:11):
Right. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, et cetera. Right. And I don’t do patents, so I don’t live in your world, but, but my clients need a lot of trademark and copyright coaching and advice to understand. What’s the difference between the two? How do you use these strategies? Where do they apply? Where do they not apply? What exactly do they do? Right. So yeah, it’s a, it’s a layering over, there’s kind of a whole web of things that you can use to protect an online course or program, but it’s, it’s not just one single strategy.

Rich (18:43):
Awesome. Uh, that was extremely helpful and enlightening and um, um, so you’ve got a, a, a program that you’ve got, um, going, um, catalyst club. Mm-hmm <affirmative> tell me about that.

Heather (18:55):
Yeah, absolutely. So the catalyst club program I launched last year and it was my way of providing a program for a certain level of client that is playing a bit of legal catch up in their business. Right. They’re typically scaling quickly. Like most of my clients in that program currently are in the kind of million, million and a half revenue per year range. But scaling up to two, three they’re they’re moving quickly and in the next year probably doubling those numbers and they don’t yet have comprehensive legal supports in place. Right. And so I walk them through the system of, we do an assessment around their legal entity, their business entities is that properly formed. Have they done all the things to check all the boxes and a lot of ’em haven’t right. Even when they’re generating well over a million dollars a year, there are lots of holes in these businesses.

Heather (19:48):
So, uh, and then business contracts, right. We just touched on that a little bit, but it’s a big bucket. And a lot of these folks, like one of my clients, for example, has eight employees throughout the us, 60 contractors around the world, right? JV agreements, publishing agreements, affiliate agreements. It’s, it’s a, it’s a lot of documents master service agreements because they support larger corporations. Uh, so lots of needs in the contract bucket. And then, um, and then IP registrations, right? So we do a lot of IP protection as well to make sure that they’ve got a comprehensive strategy. Um, and then sometimes we layer on dispute resolution, other strategic coaching just because of the issues that they face while they’re in the program.

Rich (20:34):
Okay. Awesome. I mean, that’s, that sounds amazing. And I love the way that you serve that community of entrepreneurs that are in that, um, in that spot. And it’s funny, I think of the million to $2 million range is not mm-hmm <affirmative>, that’s kind of like, it’s kind of like a hole <laugh> yeah. It get stuck in totally pull a lot of it.

Heather (20:52):
Totally. Yes. It’s so many growing pains in that yeah. In that chunk of, you know, growth and they’re having to basically look at every system in their business and break it apart and redo it and hiring PE there’s so many things that they face all at once.

Rich (21:09):
What got you to a million, isn’t gonna get you to 5 million and you have to that out. And so it’s, it’s kind of like, um, I, I guess one of those pieces is that you, you, at 1 million, you’re still not ready for general counsel mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and maybe at 5 million you’re you are getting closer to that, but, but in between they need you, yeah.

Heather (21:30):
It’s a no man’s land. And, and it’s a lot of like hunting and pecking for the right resources. And so my goal for the program was to be able to, obviously it’s only a fit for very specific clients. It’s not for everyone, but to catch them up quickly in a matter of months so that they’re not operating with these major legal gaps. And then from there it’s a year of built in support. They get access to a whole database of documentation, access to all of my office hours, like there’s ongoing strategy and conversation happening so that as other things come up in their business and they’re continuing to build out team and scale that they have the support that they need.

Rich (22:09):
Awesome. Um, so people wanna learn more about you or get in touch with you, how do they go about doing so?

Heather (22:15):
Yeah, absolutely. Um, I have a, a website that’s full of resources. It’s full of some awesome conversations like this. Rich. I’m happy to share this on there as well. Um, legal website, warrior.com. I’ve got a resources tab. There are a whole bunch of things there. I’ve got a media page, which is all about, um, conversations that are really educational. Like this. People can learn a ton about how to take better care of their business just by sorting through a few of those conversations. And then there’s also contact page so that if somebody has questions, they wanna email me, they can do that really easily as well.

Rich (22:51):
Awesome. It was such a great conversation. I really appreciate you taking the time to, to be on the podcast.

Heather (22:57):
Oh, Rich. So great to connect with you. I’m a fan of what you do in bringing these conversations to the entrepreneurial community. So I appreciate you a lot for having me on here.

Outro (23:12):
Thanks for listening to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the web at innovationsandbreakthroughs.com and we’ll see you next time.

 

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