Legalizing your biz as a creative entrepreneur

Legalizing your biz as a creative entrepreneur

An interview with local creative lawyer Wynne Reese where we talk all things legal for launching a business!

Wynne helped us get legal here at TCC and had to have her on the show!

Follow Wynne

Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.

Learn more about our services

Join the Facebook Group

Signup for our email list for upcoming workshops & events

Follow us on Social

his week. I'm really excited. I'm having the Twin Cities Collective lawyer Wynne on and it was a great episode that we recorded a few months back. So hope you guys really enjoyed this few quick announcements. First, I just wanted to say that we are looking for new podcast sponsors. So if you're interested in getting your product or service on the podcast as a one minute ad, go to Twin Cities Collective calm forward slash sponsor, and I have all the information you can click by right there. And then and just type in what you want us to say it's super easy, super quick. And I would absolutely love that support for the podcast. keep this going. And the other thing is that we are now also on, which is a new app that I've heard about where I'm going to every week before the podcast goes up, I'm going to preview who's going to be on it. So you'll know in advance, so make sure to follow us our username on there is Twin Cities Collective. So hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Let's get started. everyone. Welcome back to the Twin Cities Collective podcast. This is Jenna here this week with another interview. I'm very excited because this week I am interviewing Wynne Reese. She is the partner at Reese law. And she's also the founder at the creatives Council. So welcome. We need to the podcast.

Wynne Reese 1:55

Thank you. Thank you. I'm so excited to be here with you guys this week.

Jenna Redfield 1:58

Yeah, I've never had a lawyer

Unknown Speaker 2:00

on the podcast. So it's very exciting.

Jenna Redfield 2:03

Because you actually work mostly with creatives, which is very exciting. So how did you get into what you're doing? And how did you kind of settle on working with creative people?

Wynne Reese 2:14

Absolutely. Um, so first of all, I always say I'm a true Gemini I grew up kind of in a house divided between a lawyer for a father and a composer for a mom. So I like to think that creativity is in my blood somewhere, I really developed this area of law, after owning wedding planning company, and working with tons of wonderful local vendors, and seeing in the planning capacity, all of their contracts and various legal documents and really recognizing a need that a lot of the documents look kind of piece together. And when I asked vendors about them, you know, the a very common thread of you know, I don't want to call a lawyer, it's going to be so competitive. And so I thought, well, let's, let's fix that and debunk that notion. Because, yes, lawyers can be really expensive, but everyone deserves to have a lawyer. So I thought that, you know, while we have the litigation side of our practice, that is, tends to be those those higher rates. We started the creative Council, which does affordable legal work for creatives, makers and small businesses, so that they're going to be an open line of communication with an attorney. And every, everybody behind the business can feel protected and safe and has somebody in their corner,

Jenna Redfield 3:43

for sure. And this month topic, this is going to be going up in August, and that is going to be launching a business. So for when people come to you and they want to start a business, what is the first thing that they ask? And what kind of do you tell them? Especially the legal stuff side of things, what would you recommend people start with?

Wynne Reese 4:04

Wonderful question. Yeah, I get, I get a lot of people coming to me with an a business idea or some type of proposition that they would like to discover further. And, you know, really, what I start by doing is asking them to tell me their vision. Because when you're starting a business, even legally speaking, it's really important to have a good grasp on what it is that you want for your business, whether it's to remain small, and both to infuriated or to grow to be a big business that you want to sell one day, all of those pieces really do play an important role and how you set up your business. And so we kind of start there. And then once you you know, got that picture, then we talked about a few things right off the bat, we talked about whether or not you are in the place to be forming an entity incorporating, if you will, where you decide, Oh, are you going to stay a sole proprietor? Are you going to become an LLC? What does that look like? What kind of protections does that offer you? And then we also do talk about the importance of picking the right name, and making sure that nobody else has that means you don't run into any down the road with potential trademark issues.

Jenna Redfield 5:27

For sure. That's awesome. So when I first started, I filed a DPA just to get a bank account and then eventually found my LLC with you as the person who helped me. So how, when someone's starting, what what do you recommend for them? And what's the difference between a BBA and an LLC, and all of those different words that we all don't understand?

Wynne Reese 5:47

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So um, for those of you listening, and BBA, is what it means is doing business as, and you see them a lot with either a sole proprietor, meaning, you just decided, you know, hey, I want to be a florist. And I'm going to start doing flowers. And I'm going to call myself peonies unlimited. And you know, that kind of inherently become the name of your company, whether or not you file as an LLC. And so the real difference there is that once you take that step to become an LLC, it offers you protections that limits the liability, it kind of contains everything to the company, if you are acting by yourself as a sole proprietor, da, da, da, da, for a sole proprietor, then, really, you are on the hook for anything that goes wrong, any of your personal assets could be accessed if there was ever an issue with a client or, you know, anything, everyone with other business, business development in the but I don't want to confuse the matter too much, because you can also have an LLC, and a deviate for your LLC. So it kind of can get a little bit murky there. But they're really there's like the BBA for a sole provider, where you don't have any of the limited protections that are provided through the LLC. And then there's a DDA as your LLC, a lot of times, we see that happen where somebody has, you know, their LLC forms like pennies unlimited LLC. And they also just decide, hey, you know what, I think that I want to start teaching floral classes. But I don't want to form an entire new LLC for it and have to deal with all of that accounting on the back end. So they'll file IDVA, maybe, you know, Penny classes or classes by pennies. And that would be a deviation of your LLC. So that really, you only have one tax structure that you have to be dealing with, to keep things simple as a business owner?

Jenna Redfield 8:18

Yeah, that's really helpful. Because I didn't really know that when I first started. I also think that a lot of people start businesses not knowing if they'll take off. So they might not want to invest in an LLC right away. Like, for me, it was over a year after I had been a business. So what point of the process do most people file for an LLC?

Wynne Reese 8:40

You know, I think that a lot of people, a lot of people that I've been working with, have been in business for a while. And then finally, LLC. I don't think though, that it's because, you know, they wanted to wait, I think that it is because people think it's going to be expensive to buy LC and to get everything in order. And it doesn't need to be, you know, I would say, as soon as you get going, if you have any type of business, where there is potential or liability when you talk to a lawyer, that's every business. But there's some businesses more than others, like if you're teaching crash classes, if you have a food blog, if you have a fitness blog, those types of things where you're advising people and they could get injured, or they could consume something that gives them some bad reaction, they could cut themselves during a crash class knows, I would recommend Finally, right off the bat. And if you want to wait for the others, if you like a lifestyle, one, liability is probably pretty low. So in that case, you know, you could you could wait if you want to kill.

Jenna Redfield 9:57

That makes sense. Because I think for me, personally, it wasn't until I started taking on clients that, like it was originally just like passive income. And I felt like I didn't need it in that situation. But once I started taking on real clients and real people, I was like, Yeah, I probably should get get my stuff in order. So okay, so I'm a little bit curious about how you kind of went from being a wedding planner to a lawyer? And how did that kind of work together? And I'm just, it's just so interesting that you have those two sides of you.

Wynne Reese 10:30

Thank you. Um, so I've always planned wedding. Yeah, ever since I think it's my first wedding when I was 18. I'm now 30. I don't say that often. But there you go. 30, I was planning weddings for quite a while. And I've been planning parties, you know, gosh, ever since I was probably like, five, you know, planning a tea party for my parents. But that was really, you know, passionate, I really enjoy it. And truth be told, I did not want want to be a lawyer. If I mean, quite frank, with all of you, I thought, Oh, no, I'm not going to do anything that my parents do, I'm going to be a doctor. That didn't work out. Science is not Mr. I gave it my all. But needless to say, I did not end up in the medical field. So, you know, I really, I didn't ever think I was going to develop or build a wedding planning business. But when I was waiting for my bar results, I kind of had this moment where I thought, Man, that was a rough test, some wonky circumstances, when I actually took the test with the with the surroundings. And, you know, if I don't pass that, I gotta keep going, I can't let myself get down, I can't let people feel bad for me. So I use that time, in between taking the bar and, and getting my results back to build this company. You know, I thought, Gosh, it's always been a passion of mine, we have an amazing community here of the most creative people, really cool spaces and wonderful vendors, and let's just do it. And so I put my heart and soul into it for about that three months, and build it. And then I kept apart. And I was, you know, with these two businesses, and at the time, I wasn't married. I of course that I you know, could do it all. And and so I did so for the first few years I did I really did wedding planning and law full time. It sounds insane. Now that I look back, I have no idea how I did it. I both professions are, you know, quite time consuming. But But I actually say that I think that they kind of set into each other a lot of similarities between, you know, writing contracts, reviewing contracts, as a planner, you have to be meticulous with timelines of communication, with, you know, thinking about things in the big picture. And, and that's a lot like being a lawyer to especially when working with creative, you know, thinking about bigger thinking long term. And I have to think that actually doing both of them made me better at both both professions and as crazy to what they don't think that I would have had it any other way, then then giving it a shot at doing both for a while,

Jenna Redfield 13:46

for sure. Because I know that wholesale probably helped you connect with a lot of the local creatives in the wedding industry, do you think that helped kind of shape what your business turned into for the law side?

Wynne Reese 13:58

Absolutely, absolutely. At the, um, you know, I, part of the creative Council is that every six months, we do a free legal educational seminar. And it's, you know, I generally just put it out there on my Instagram, and it's the first 15 people to register. And, you know, when I did my first seminar, it was almost all, it's not all wedding and event industry, people who came because those are the people that I had relationships with at the time. And they thought, you know, people will support to support you in this new adventure. And I don't think that I would be where I am today without the help and support of that incredible community. The other side of it, you know, is I've ended up working with, you know, so many people in that industry. And, you know, when you work with a lawyer, really, you know, any professional lawyer, can, anybody who's dealing with kind of the more grave matters of your business in life, I think that the feedback that I've gotten is that the relationship is so important and the trust and knowing them personally, and not being terrified to call them or text them or email them to there is an emergency on the weekend, not being you know, terrified that you're going to disrupt them. I mean, I'm not kidding you, I have been hiking up the side of a mountain and had to stop halfway and be like, Ben, you go on, I gotta respond to this message. And that's what you should have. And I think that the relationships that I built, as a planner, with those vendors, really kind of led to the development of the creative Council, not only through clients, but I would imagine those people were able to say to other people, you know, I, I trust her, I'm coming trouble with her, at least meet and give it a shot. Um, I, you know, I say that with the caveat that not everybody's going to get along with everybody, yeah, how it is. And, you know, whether it's me that you're working with, or any other lawyer out there, you should have that relationship with them, and you should trust them, and be able to call them and, and, and know that, you know, even if you're in a terrible situation, that there's no way that you're getting out of that you still have somebody who's going to stand in that corner with you. And for you,

Jenna Redfield 16:35

for sure. I think that brings a lot of people peace, because it is hard to find, like a good lawyer that like you can trust I agree with that. And so when I saw you, I actually met you at an event and I was like, Wow, she has all these things that I need. And I feel like I can trust her because she has so many mutual friends with me. And like I just know, a lot of people I used to be sort of in the wedding industry, but not really anymore. But you know, it's like I knew all these I knew about these people that had worked with you. So it was kind of like that trust factor that really cemented me to working with you, as well as your focus on the creatives, because you got it, my business is kind of hard to explain to a lot of people and you got it right away, which is nice. And so I just think that's so true. In any type of perfection, it's trusting the person that you're working with, that you're going to basically and trust your entire business with is so important to know and to trust that person. So moving towards So you mentioned the creative Council, can you kind of explain a little bit more about what that is? And how that kind of got started?

Wynne Reese 17:37

Yeah, definitely. Um, so I,

you know, going back a little bit, I practice with my dad, I, he is my business partner, we started the firm, after, you know, I realized, I'm Matt, Matt cut out for criminal law. During law school, I was in Washington County is a student sort of guided journey for a year and a half. And then Hudson in the DA for about eight months, and I worked at a larger firm. And and, you know, when it came time to graduate, and you know, I had that kind of heart to heart with my dad about, you know, man, what direction Am I going to go, I love criminal law, I can do it, I would take him home with me at night, it would just be an idea like a huddle on the floor every night with like a pint ice cream, just thinking about what's going on with the different cases. So you know, we talked about it, and he had broken up with a few other gentleman from a larger firm, gosh, probably 39 ish years ago now and started what is now a really big firm and the understood the workings of a large firm, and, you know, made it very clear to me that, um, could I do that? Absolutely. Would that allow me to, to work with small businesses, do a lot of pro bono and be in the courtroom have client interface? Probably not probably not for quite a while. And so he decided that if I wanted to, which I obviously did, now, then he would have done what he needed to do. And so he gave up his big firm and salary so that we could practice together. But did give me kind of the initiative right off the bat is that I want you to go out and find an area of law that nobody else practices in. Math massively tough proposition. And let me tell you, I'm sitting there, you know, first day and being a lawyer and thinking,

Okay, well,

where to begin, since I don't really know how to even be a lawyer yet, but let's do this. And you know, that it kind of came into the from the wedding business. And it the way that we've structured it, is that, you know, we do we do the seminars every six months, but then we also, half of our practice is still insurance, it still is injury work, it still is product liability, anytime there's really a dispute, that's about half of our business. But the those rates are big, you know, they're, they're not affordable for small businesses. So the way that we've structured the creative Council is that we do these educational seminars, I do go and speak at various events. But then in addition to that, you know, for the work that needs to happen is we always will meet with people right off the bat, you know, at no charge to talk about what it is that they're dreaming up. And then from there, we look at kind of what it is the same need, help them prioritize, you know, no need to dive in right away with 10 projects unless it's absolutely necessary. And then we build a structure where we do it either a very, very significantly discounted hourly rate for small business owners, or we do a flat project based fee fees, and would typically proceed with whichever option it will be less expensive to the client.

Jenna Redfield 21:26

That's awesome. Because I think I think the one I did was the project fee, I believe, I don't know if you remember. Yep. So it was nice, because it's like, I knew how much I was going to be spending and it was like a really great deal. So, um, so you've kind of know, done these seminars, he said twice a year. So how did that get started? That that part of it? Was that just something you thought of you wanted to maybe like, give back to the creative community? Or how did that start?

Wynne Reese 21:53

Yeah, you know, that kind of started with me thinking,

to me, me thinking, Man, is is this an area that people will be receptive to, because to be quite honest, as soon as I say, LA, most people just glaze over. And you know, I didn't know. And given how the legal setup that I have seen in so many small businesses, how it would be received. So I thought, let's do a seminar and see what's out there. And so that's really what kind of kicked this off. And we did the first seminar where we covered an extraordinary number of legal topics. And, you know, the questions just came pouring in, which was fantastic. But one thing that really became apparent to me quickly is that people know that they need legal help, they know that they need somebody to advise them, they have no idea what actually they need for their business. You go online, and there's a million places telling you, oh, you need xy and z, all you need is 10 things. You need a legal business plan, er, and there isn't really any way that you can contact sources and say, What do I actually need? What do I need right now, right here, break it down for me and make it simple. And so that's kind of what we strive to do with the seminars is to educate people on the various topics that may or may not apply to their business. And then from there, they kind of have a foundation where they can understand more about their business, and then maybe take the steps to start protecting their business legally speaking.

Jenna Redfield 23:48

Yeah, for sure. And so when do you have those? You said you have them twice a year?

Wynne Reese 23:52

Yeah, we have them twice a year.

So the next one, this is going to be in June, is a little different. Just because we're in trial in June as well. So it's going to be a little smaller. And I am partnered with a PR agency to do that one for their kind of blogger bunch. But then the next large one will probably be in January. We did December before, but it's a lot for everybody with the holidays. So yeah, it will probably be in January would be my best guess.

Jenna Redfield 24:37

Yeah, that's a good month, because for a lot of people in the wedding industry, it's kind of slow. You know, and it's it's a good time of year to kind of kick things off. I think that's a good idea to do it in January. Um, so moving on to kind of just learning more a little bit about you like, what, what do you like to do around town like, I know, I always see you in the north loop is that kind of where you live? Do you like to go to restaurants and stuff up there.

Wynne Reese 25:02

And so we I live actually over on the border of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But we have two offices. One is in the IDF. And one is in restore collaborative, which is in the building next to Boone and stable. And that's right there in the north loop. And I love the North. I work out in the north loop, I go to coffee shops North loop, and I drink coffee, I drink hot chocolate, but I do I spend a lot of time in the north loop because I love being able to walk to everything. And that kind of you know, parking is is terrible in downtown. And so if you can park in one spot and just wander everywhere else. Not only does it allow you to get quite a little bit, but it's also more convenient. So I do spend a lot of time there and also love Linden hills. I love Excelsior have a huge fan of Mr. Yeah, yeah. So small, little neighborhood makes me feel nostalgic. I don't know why, but they do. And so I often will, if I don't have a lot of meetings with the office on a day, or if I don't have a lot of client visits, I will go and post up in a different neighborhood and wander from coffee shop to coffee shop. When I need a break from drafting documents.

Jenna Redfield 26:30

Yeah, that that sounds awesome. I love that too. Um, so what is what is something that you would say to someone starting business? Like what's the one thing, one piece of advice you want to basically leave people with?

Wynne Reese 26:46

and become informed? Learn everything that you need to know about building a business. And don't be afraid to ask questions. You should definitely talk to some lawyer, whether it's me or somebody also, we have some trailers Minnesota, and talk to an accountant and get stuff squared away right off the bat because it will make life so much easier for you. When you develop your business. Expanded grow and comes time for tax season or the next great adventure. You just really yeah, being being informed is going to be your best your best approach to having an incredibly successful business, whatever that success may be to you.

Jenna Redfield 27:31

For sure. So my last question, and this is the very last question I'll be asking is two part. How do people like originally find you like, how do you market yourself? And then the last one is obviously Where can we find you online and all of your handles? So you want to answer the first part? How do how do people find out about you that you've seen

Wynne Reese 27:55

everything has been word of mouth, I've been absolutely just in disaster at marketing sense that I constantly push it to the next page on my to do list. And I know that that's like, I would advise everybody else to not do that and market yourself. But of course we all know that in practice, you tell people stuff and you don't actually do it all the time. So right now it's all been by word of mouth. And but I am working on it and find great small business people to help me with that. I just, you know, decided that I needed to update the website. And so yeah, you guys can find me either through the through the website and it is creative, the creative council calm or Reese dash law. com or EC dash law. com or you can I have people will contact me in an instant Graham, my Instagram handles are the creative Council and also Wynne Catherine which is WY and NE Catherine with a theme. And that's that's how I am on Facebook as well. So you guys can reach out any number of those ways. And I very much look forward to meeting you all and learning about your growing businesses.

Unknown Speaker 29:23


Jenna Redfield 29:23

I definitely consider you the official Twin Cities Collective lawyer. So it's probably not official, but the one I recommend to people so awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. I know it's very valuable because you're very busy. But thank you so much for talking with us today. This episode probably won't be going up for a while but I'm really excited that I everyone will be able to hear it. And I'll let you guys know when this is going to become available. So thank you so much again, Wynne for chatting with us today.

Wynne Reese 29:51

Thank you so much. It's been absolutely wonderful. Awesome. Have

Jenna Redfield 29:53

a great day, everyone. Bye. Thank you guys so much for listening to the conversations with creatives podcast from the Twin Cities Collective. Make sure to head over to iTunes to subscribe to this podcast so you won't miss an episode. New episodes come out every single Monday. And also make sure to give us a review so that we can get more people listening and so that we can give you even more episodes of the podcast. Make sure to also check out our website Twin Cities Collective com where you can learn more about us join our Facebook group join our online business and blogger directories as well as learn more about events that are coming up that we host every single month. Thank you so much again to Allison hall for creating our awesome podcast cover photo as well as Nicola high less for the use of the song in the intro and outros. Thanks again guys for listening and I'll see you next week. Bye.