Today we are covering why you must trademark your blog and business, and what can go wrong if it isn’t.
Lawyer and Youtuber Erika Kullberg is here to help us with this. Plus, Erika shares the biggest things that helped her grow her Youtube channel to over 100,000 subscribers in less than 2 years!
Small business owners always face the potential risk of a legal disaster like legal disputes, lawsuits, fines and more. Just like with a storm, you need to protect yourself from these risks.
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Why You Must Trademark Your Blog And Business
Unfortunately, so many business owners go about their business (literally) without knowing what legal steps they should take, or without realizing just how important these steps are.
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Hiring an attorney to handle all the complicated legal stuff is just not an option for many small business owners working on a budget, but that’s why I’m excited to share this conversation with my friend Erika Kullberg,
Welcome to the show. Erica, tell us about yourself
Erika: I am a lawyer by background, I did corporate law, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and project finance. My reason for going to law school was always like I wanted to help people.
I felt like law school was a way to enable me to do that.
But then, of course, somehow, I wind it up in corporate law where you’re just helping these fortune 500 CEOs get richer.
And so it was kind of not what I went to law school for. But I had $200,000 of student loans.
So the path kind of led me there just so I could pay them off as quickly as possible. But about a year and a half ago, I left my law firm job to start my own legal tech company called Plugin Law.
And then at the same time, I wanted to do something completely unrelated to law and completely out of my comfort zone. So that is when I started my YouTube channel as well.
Really, I wear two hats right now one as a lawyer and the founder of this legal tech company, and then the other as a YouTuber.
And so it’s been a fun past year. I’ve learned a lot in the online space that I didn’t know before.
I mean, a year and a half ago, I’m just thinking, I wasn’t on YouTube, I didn’t know what affiliate marketing is. I didn’t know any of these terms that everyone in the online world knows!
But I’m learning and it is, it has been so much fun.
What was your day-to-day life like back when you worked in mergers and acquisitions, compared to now?
It was 100 hours a week! When deals are in the works or near closing. It’s very crazy, very hectic, a lot of meetings, a lot of typing a lot of middle-of-the-night calls.
And now on the other side of that every day, as you can imagine, as I’m sure you can relate to is different.
Yesterday, for example, I did a podcast recording in the morning, and then in the afternoon, I did stuff for Plugin Law.
And then in the evening, I was frantically scripting and filming a YouTube video to get out.
Do you batch record your YouTube videos? Or do you just kind of do it when you feel inspired?
Ideally, you should batch record and that’s the advice I give to everyone else.
But because life is a bit hectic for me, I end up usually just recording one and then posting it and then the next and then posting it.
But the ideal scenario is to batch record, that’s for sure the most productive way to do it.
What do we need to know about trademarks, as business owners?
Sure. A trademark is any word or phrase or logo that helps consumers identify the source of a product or service.
So for example, Starbucks is a trademark, you can do a phrase, like just do it, which is famously Nikes. Or you can do a logo or design elements.
An example of that is on your Starbucks cup, you get that green mermaid logo. So that’s a trademark as well.
We encounter hundreds of them every day.
And the reason why you want to register a trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which we’ll call the USPTO, is mostly because you want that ownership of it.
You want the peace of mind of knowing that it’s yours.
Trademarking your business adds incredible brand value to your company.
So just as an example, McDonald’s estimated brand value is $130 billion. Obviously, I’m not there yet. But we all have to think about our companies in our business names that are logos.
In terms of, where do we see it going? If we see it growing, we really want to protect it at the beginning, even if we’re small.
And even if we think we’re too small, register your trademark. And it’s going to also allow you broad national protection across all 50 states.
It allows you to sue in federal court, if you believe that your trademark is being infringed upon by a competitor.
And then one of the big things I talked about is it prevents you from the headache of having to rebrand your company.
So really, the last thing you want is to spend a lot of money building up your brand, you know, creating all the social media presence, and then find out that another company’s already using a very similar registered trademark.
Because what could happen is you can be on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter, and have to rebrand everything.
That’s kind of the worst-case scenario, that’s a nightmare.
So for all of those reasons. But let’s also talk about the positive, which is that you really just get this peace of mind of knowing that you have a federally registered trademark.
It’s yours to use, it shows other people that you have a serious and legitimate business, when people see that our symbol, that means that you have a federally registered trademark.
It gives people the comfort that you know, your customers or clients get this comfort that they’re working with a very serious business.
You get to use that or symbol to show everyone that it’s yours. So in a nutshell, those are kind of the benefits and the reasons why you would want to register a trademark.
What else could go wrong if we don’t we didn’t trademark our business or our product name?
Yeah, I mean, one of the things to realize about trademarks is you can actually register or apply for a trademark before you’re even using the name that you want to trademark in business.
So for instance, if you are starting to create this epic course, and you have this wonderful course name that you’ve picked out, or if you’re if you’re about to launch a podcast, and you have this amazing podcast name that you’ve picked out.
You can trademark it before you even start creating the course or podcast.
And again, it goes back this main reason of you want to do it because it prevents others from being able to register that trademark as soon as you register it.
So if you have a podcast name that you are obsessed with, even if you haven’t started the podcast, the general advice is to apply as soon as possible so that you can secure those rights.
The worst-case scenario is if you work so hard to get this podcast started and then you find out like oh no, this is already registered or someone else has this.
That could again force you to rebrand and cost a lot of money and it’s not yours anymore.
That’s not fun if that happens. So trademark early everybody!
What has been your strategy to grow your Youtube channel in less than two years to 100,000 subscribers?
My best advice is to find something that you really enjoy talking about. And just get out there, put your first video out there, there are so many people who let a lot of the fears stop them.
I was kind of like that, too. Like I had all these fears when I was starting off on YouTube. you know, I’m not really good on camera, I don’t, I don’t like speaking not a public speaker.
And I don’t know how to edit and I had all these fears.
But really, all it takes to succeed on YouTube is to post your first video, stay consistent.
Talk about something that you’re genuinely passionate about so that you can keep creating content even when only a few people are viewing your content.
Because the truth is, it’s not. It’s not necessarily like a straight line up to 100,000, it took a lot longer to get my first 1000 subscribers than it did to get my next 10,000 subscribers.
So you have to love it so much that you’re going to be consistent through the dry periods where only your friends are watching your videos.
And just to give you concrete numbers, like I, it took me three months of posting a video each week to get to 1000 subscribers, and then about another three months to get to 2000 and then 30 days to get from 2000 subscribers to 50,000.
So things can really change for you quickly as long as you’re consistent about it and just constantly trying to improve.
Did Getting Press Help Boost Your Youtube Growth?
I have had a lot of press in the past year in Business Insider, CNBC Inc Magazine, and it’s been amazing but the honest truth is it actually rarely drives traffic to the YouTube channel.
So I tell my friends this like press is basically just to add credibility to your website just by being able to add like those logos.
Actually, it doesn’t actually drive like tons of YouTube subscribers, you know, a lot has changed for me in the past year.
It wasn’t necessarily easy at the beginning. I think the first three months, a lot of people say, you know, “my first 30 days in business, I made $10,000”.
But my first three months in business, I made pretty close to $0! Month two was maybe a couple $100, month three was also a couple $100.
So even though I’m sure you’re seeing these success stories, always keep in mind that it’s not necessarily like that at the beginning.
So just try to power through and stay passionate about it, stay driven. And don’t expect results right away.
Because good things take time. And so I would just say, don’t get discouraged if things aren’t necessarily where you want them to be.
Because you can accomplish a lot more in a year than you can in a month. So just be nice to yourself!
Well said, thank you, Erika. So what are you working on these days?
I am now ramping up my YouTube efforts. I’ve ramped it up to two videos a week for Plugin Law.
We are constantly thinking about new services and products that we can add to help our customers.
I have a YouTube course called Mastering YouTube. It walks you step by step through how to get your first 1000 subscribers how to get your first video out there.
And it shows you the exact steps that I took to get from zero subscribers to making over $100,000 from YouTube in under a year. Use code CHELSEAVIP for 30% off.