Protecting Your Business Assets

Every year I’m in practice, I’m further convinced that fundamental asset protection begins with implementing affordable, tried-and-true strategies and simple habits. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There are already laws on the books you can easily implement that will provide you with incredible protection in the event of a claim or lawsuit.

Here are the eight critical strategies to consider as part of your personal asset protection plan:

1. Choose the right business entity. There will certainly be multiple tax-planning considerations, but operating as a sole proprietorship definitely isn’t your best choice for asset protection. As a sole proprietorship, your personal assets are completely exposed to a potential lawsuit. Setting up an entity, such as an S corporation or limited liability company (LLC), is an important step in the development of your business and protection of your assets.

2. Maintain your corporate veil. If you’ve set up an entity, don’t think that just having the entity’s articles of incorporation in your drawer will save you when a lawsuit comes. You need to maintain a separate bank account and checkbook for your business; use the company name on all documents; title the property in the name of the company if necessary; and, most important, maintain corporate records and log the minutes at your annual meeting. Moreover, LLCs are not exempt from performing this type of annual


3. Use proper contracts and procedures. One of the easiest ways for creditors to pierce the corporate veil and attack your personal assets is if you act negligently or fraudulently. This can be avoided by having good lease agreements for your rentals, placing property and equipment titles in the company name, having subcontractor agreements and contracts on every project, not relying on emails for terms in an important relationship, and never hiring people to work under the table. Only use licensed, bonded, and/or insured professionals to help you in your business. This includes but is not limited to asset protection specialists, legal and tax advisors, contractors, and repairmen.

4. Purchase appropriate business insurance. Insurance is an important part of your business and should be included in your startup budget. Insurance gives you the ability to take care of an incident in your business and gives plaintiffs another target. Moreover, make sure you get the correct insurance policy. Owning a rental property vs. a professional practice or retail store requires very different types of insurance.

5. Obtain umbrella insurance. This type of insurance can be personal or business, and it functions as an “umbrella” over any other type of insurance you may carry. It costs an average of $300 to $500 a year for $1 million to $2 million in coverage. That said, don’t assume you can throw caution to the wind because it will protect you in every instance. As a rule, umbrella insurance won’t cover fraudulent, criminal, reckless, or negligent action.

6. Place certain assets in your spouse’s name. If one spouse has a riskier occupation or lifestyle, it can be extremely strategic to place assets in the other spouse’s name. Generally, the creditors of one spouse cannot reach the separate assets of the other. Therefore, asset protection in the context of marriage requires a strategy whereby valuable assets are held as the separate property of the spouse with the least exposure to risk. This is where a prenuptial or postnuptial marital property agreement can be beneficial.

For example, in most states, if the husband is a business owner who incurs liabilities, the couple can enter into an agreement that certain valuable assets will be the wife’s separate property, thereby shielding those assets from the husband’s creditors. Obviously, if both spouses agree to be co-debtors on a loan, such as when spouses both sign the family home mortgage, then both spouses would be jointly liable.

A word of caution with this planning strategy: When conducting marital or estate planning, you should carefully consider the implications of deeding property into one or the other spouse’s name. By protecting your assets from a creditor in this way, you could be seriously affecting the division of your assets if you divorce.

7. Consider the homestead exemption. One of the most powerful exemptions available is the protection afforded to our individual personal residence, commonly referred to as the homestead exemption. This is a statutory exemption available in most states that protects a certain amount of the value of a person’s home from a creditor or bankruptcy.

8. Look into tenancy by the entirety. If your state allows it, you can title your personal residence as “tenancy by the entirety,” which means if one spouse is sued, the property cannot be attached or bifurcated by the lawsuit. The beauty of this strategy is that it is also statutorily based, meaning you don’t have to pay big bucks to implement or maintain the designation. Just make sure your property is titled properly, and you can protect your home in this way if your state allows for such a provision.


70-20-10 RULE

The 70-20-10 Model

Business concepts go in and out of fashion with bewildering speed. But one concept that has stood the test of time is the 70-20-10 leadership development model. Pioneered by the Center for Creative Leadership and based on 30 years of study of how executives learn to lead, it rests on the belief that leadership is learned through doing. There’s plenty of evidence to support that belief, including a study by the Corporate Leadership Council that concluded that on-the-job learning has three times more impact on employee performance than formal training.1

As the 70-20-10 name implies, the learning model calls for 70 percent of development to consist of on-the-job learning, supported by 20 percent coaching and mentoring, and 10 percent classroom training. The model has spread widely in the corporate and nonprofit worlds, with various organizations putting their own imprint on it.

The 70-20-10 model’s three components reinforce one another, adding up to a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The model builds on research showing that human beings retain information most effectively when they gain it in a practical context. Learning is even more powerful when the lessons of experience are reinforced through informal discussion with people who have performed similar work. These veterans can point out common pitfalls, offer practical advice, and help steer the learner away from bad habits. To emphasize the value of experience, however, is not to slight the importance of formal learning. But formal learning is most valuable when it supplies technical skills, theories, and explanations that apply directly to what is learned through experience – and when it is both valued and quickly integrated within the work environment. In studying their own leadership development programs, for example, American Express found that the effect of formal training increased significantly when the participants’ manager engaged with them on the training both before and after the training session.2 Training was most effective when:

  •   The learner had one-on-one meetings with his or her immediate manager to discuss how to apply the training in his or her specific role.
  •   The learner perceived his or her manager endorsed and supported this specific training.
  •   The learner expected to be recognized or rewarded for the training-related behaviorchange.

    The lesson for nonprofits is clear: Leadership development programs are only as good as the managers who implement them.

Five Tips to a More Efficient Music Career [ indie artist please read & comment ]

Getting your music career to take off can be a timely process. You have to work your way up through the ranks, proving yourself to possess the skills and talent required to be a success along the way. Most people don’t get signed by a major record label as soon as they post their first video on YouTube, and it can often be a good while till you start getting the recognition and sales you deserve. Because of this, it’s essential you don’t make that process any slower then it has to be. Working efficiently will mean you achieve your goals a lot quicker, and often save money on the way. Here are five tips that will allow you to be more efficient in your independent music career.



1. Make Best Use Of Recording Studio Time

This is very important. When it comes to recording studios, many people use bad practices. I’ve seen people hire a studio for a day, spend most of the day writing lyrics and playing on the studio’s game console / snooker table, then using the last 1/5th of the session to actually record their music. This I can understand if you’re under a major record label with a limitless budget who won’t take this studio time out of your album sales (I don’t think that’ll ever happen?), but for anyone else this is a big waste of time and money!

These studios have various entertainment in their buildings as they WANT you to waste time. The more time you waste, the more you’ll be going back to their studio and the more money they’ll make. They’re a business, their aim is to make money… FROM YOU! Counteract this by writing and practising all your lyrics at home. That way, once you go into the studio all you’ll need to do is record. After all, that’s what a recording studio should be for. Anything else apart from the recording equipment is a distraction, so don’t get tricked into lining someone else’s pocket.

2. Constantly Analyse Your Music Career

As you do things, you should constantly be looking at what works and what doesn’t. Doing this will allow you to pick out things that are worth doing and those that aren’t. When things don’t work, you should ask yourself why they don’t work and if there’s anything you can do to potentially make them work. When things do work, try and find out why they work and see if you can do it on a bigger scale.

Many musicians don’t do this, and end up wasting valuable time on things that aren’t working. Because they’ve never stopped to measure the results they’re receiving, they don’t realise what they’re doing is ineffective so carry on along the wrong path.

Actively learning from your experiences and implementing what you learn is a great way to streamline your efforts and help you reach your goal a lot quicker.

3. Make A Plan For Your Music Career

Running on auto pilot and doing things as they come up is a bad habit of many independent musicians. Not having a plan can often lead to a lack of focus and not really knowing what to do. For example, many people have the goal of doing as many shows as possible, but don’t have a plan of how they’re going to get these shows and by when. You need to know how you’re going to do something so you can systematically put it into practice (Randomly waiting for shows to appear isn’t a very good strategy). You also need to know by when so you’ve got a end date. If you don’t have a end date you could be working to achieve one aim for years before you realise it’s not working. At least if you set a date you can stop and reflect on whether or not something is working and adapt accordingly.

It’s often wise to set S.M.A.R.T aims. S.M.A.R.T stands of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. You want to make yourself specific goals that can be measured and will be achievable. For example, you may say you want to do ten shows by the end of the year. This is specifically what you want to do, it can be measured with numbers, and it should be achievable. On top of this it’s realistic and it has a time limit.

Making a plan for your music career with S.M.A.R.T steps will allow you to have direction rather then just swinging out and hoping for the best. Then, along with analysis, you can alter and refine your plans to you find something that works for you.

4. Use Automated Software To Speed Up Promotion

Promoting your music is essential, as if you don’t let people know your music exists no one’s going to buy it. Having said that, not everyone’s cut out for promoting. They may not like the process, or may simply feel like it’s too time consuming. While it may not be an option for promoting to people at shows and the like, you can get a lot of online promotion done for you automatically while you work on other things. At Independent Music Advice for example, we use Tweet Adder and MailChimp (Which is free up to 500 subscribers). Tweet Adder automatically adds people to our twitter account, messages them, and updates our twitter status to a schedule we specify. These twitter users then check out our website and often sign up and / or become regular readers.MailChimp automatically sends our subscribers pre written messages every week, effectively building a relationship with our reader on auto pilot. The amount of time these tools have saved has been extremely valuable, and will allow you more time to make your music and do anything else you need to do.

5. Don’t Over Network And Learn Which Music Contacts To Trust

I’m sure people have told you before about the importance of networking, and this is true. You can’t do everything by yourself, and you need links to help you achieve things you may not be able to do by yourself. What people don’t often say though is you should pick the people you network with very carefully. There are too many non-serious people in the music industry, and many will end up slowing you down. A good link is someone who can help speed up your music career, not slow it down and waste all your phone credit.

You need to look at how genuine someone is when you’re first getting to know them. Many people over hype what they’ve done or what they can do for you, so the first sign of a lie and you should be very wary.

You also want to avoid people who you constantly have to chase up. If you ring them and they’re always ignoring their phone, in “a meeting”, or tells you to call them back later (And later never comes), stop trying to contact them and forget about them. If they can really help you and they want to they’ll contact you back.

When you’re networking there will be many people who will waste your time. The key is minimising the time they waste in your search for good music industry contacts, and holding on to the good contacts you find.

All these five steps will lead to a more efficient music career, saving you valuable time and money. If you know of any other ways to make your career more efficient, please let me know in the comments.

New Podcasts That May Be Beneficial To You!

Greetings to all that may follow the site as an Indie artist and or even from a business aspect of things! We have just release a New podcast which should be streaming on Spotify soon!

We plan on covering various topics that indie artists and small business owners can implement into his/her everyday way of life!!

Below is a link to the site in which the podcasts are currently streaming.

Thank you and God Bless!!!




Facebook direct license – Artists have till March 12 to opt in

Facebook direct license – Artists have till March 12 to opt in

Enter the Facebook direct license.

Artists can now get paid for their music on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. There is one issue that always comes up; copyright and the authorization of distribution, which is often blurred in the binary web that is the internet.
Naturally Facebook users share songs without said copyright, leading to a swift removal-which is what
the social media giant aims to prevent.

Last year we reported how Facebook was offering millions for music rights, striking deals with record labels in order to form a musical symbiotic ecosystem.

It seems as though they are further along in negotiations as they have now signed deals with labels including the Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV, GMR and Kobalt.

Copyright about now

Independent artists need not fret as Facebook signed a landmark deal with SESAc’s HFA/Rumblefish, giving publishers the opportunity to enter a direct licensing with the platform.

Here are the steps to enter into a direct licensing agreement with Facebook as shared by TuneRegistry.

Step 1:

Set up an online account with HFA and simply log in. This allows you to apply for Facebook publishing
royalties as access to royalties from other platforms like Spotify, Apple, The Orchard and others.

Step 2:

View the Facebook agreement and opt in. 

Step 3:

You now have a direct license between Facebook and yourself/company.

Step 4: Add songs to your catalog, for example TuneRegister.

Step 5:

Add your HFA publisher number to the publisher contact record in your TuneRegistry account.

Step 6:

Register your songs, including co-writers, publishers and splits at the registration module of
TuneRegistry. This will register all your songs with HFA, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc. Now you can get royalties from Facebook’s direct license, Instagram and Oculus!