I love books. I love the way they feel and the way they smell (creepy? kind of, but whatever). I absorb information well through tactile, written words-- which is part of the reason I provide PowerPoints and workbooks for all of my workshops.
Over the years, I've read a lot of books, looked through a lot of programs, and taken a LOT of notes on legal content for small businesses. There is a ton of information out there, and some of it isn't that great.
HOWEVER: I've compiled a list of a few of my favorite resources to share with my small business clients who are looking for more, and who want to understand the why and how of legal information.
Here's my list:
If you're thinking about hiring independent contractors:
NOLO: Working with Independent Contractors
This is a HOT area right now, with the IRS taking special interest in employees incorrectly identified as independent contractors. Improper classification can cost you thousands in back taxes and Department of Labor fines, and can also put the "eye of Sauron" of the IRS right on you (shoutout to my LoTR fans!). You don't want that. While far from simple, this book helps small business owners understand the differences between contractors and employees, and provides information based on state law. I tend to lend this to business owners who are struggling to understand why it's important to classify workers correctly, and how they need to treat independent contractors to avoid falling into employee territory.
If you're a photographer:
Rachel Brenke: Think Like an Artist, Protect Like an Attorney
Rachel "The Lawtog" is a gem, and I have been lucky enough to work with her on a few cases for my "dayjob." If you're interested in learning about the law surrounding creative entrepreneurs, she's got the details you need. There's great insight on protecting your brand, assets, and business.
If you need a push:
Sophia Amoruso: Girlboss
This book, y'all. From dropping truth bombs like "the only thing I smoke is my competition" to "don't compare your hustle to their highlight reel," Sophia speaks the truth. If you haven't read this yet, you need to hear the down and dirty, nitty-gritty, non-glamorous things Amoruso went through before striking into a Netflix-worthy career. And so what if NastyGal is bankrupt? She cashed out before the fall, meaning she knows how to exit a company-- the best kind of business mind to have.
Plus, her new Media Company Girlboss Media is kicking ass. #Goals, y'all.
If you're into music, a DJ, or a musician:
Billboard: This Business of Music
For my musicians and DJs! This book was my bible when working at Sony Music. It breaks down the many aspects of copyright law that apply to musical performances, (sync license? composition vs. recording? All covered!) as well as the many technical aspects of royalties. It's a lot of information, but it's gold, solid gold, baby, especially for those of you working on deal negotiation.
If you work with video:
Thomas C. Crowell: The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers
Where are my videographers and film folks? This book explains the basics relating to film productions, with lots of real-life tips to keep your project in compliance with industry standards. Covering letters of intent, music licensing, shooting permits, distribution models, rights assignment, and film tax credits, this book is for the wedding videographer wanting to take it a step farther into the corporate film production world. Perfect for when you have a quick question but no cell signal!
Anyone who is freaking out about money, needs money, uses money, or has a bank account:
You are a Badass at Making Money
I updated this post JUST to include this link. THAT is how good this book is!
Take a read and re-frame your thoughts on/ alignment with money. I did. It's helped me identify things that might be holding me back-- and I have just landed some killer clients.
Connection? I think so.
I've read all of these books (except Rachel's, because it was on pre-order at the time of authoring this post, but 1) I know her, and 2) I plan on reading it). I recommend them based on my experience only. We make no guarantees about the accuracy of the content contained therein. This post contains affiliate links, but only those approved (in kind of the words of the Beatles: You can't buy [my] love").
Note: This post is meant for educational purposes only, and not meant to substitute for the counsel of a licensed attorney. Please contact an attorney in your locality, or contact my firm separately to engage us for federal matters (e.g. Trademark, copyright, CAN-SPAM, or federal employment regulations). Caroline is a lawyer, but she's not your lawyer. This post may contain affiliate links.