Today, with so much to do, it is hard for a single entrepreneur to be successful. Bloggers, in particular, work long hours with very little in return. With so much competition out there, and so many social media platforms demanding a blogger's 24/7/365 attention, along with the demands of operating and maintaining a blog, many bloggers are tempted to start partnerships with others. Bloggers may not necessarily be business savvy and although you do not need to have a business background it is important to see that blogging is, indeed, a business.
There are two types of bloggers: those who do it as a hobby and those who do it professionally. Many blogs start off as an outlet for writing and self expression while holding down full time jobs. With the allure of the blogging industry, there is always potential to turn the blog from hobby to a new career choice.
To blog with a someone else adds to the fun of sharing in the experience of blogging. Not to be a killjoy but, when entering a partnership with a friend or colleague, legal representation needs to immediately take place. We cannot assume that the partnership will always be amicable. And yes, contracts need to be written up and signed so everyone is on the same page.
I found out the hard way that a partnership is like a marriage. And like some marriages it ended in divorce. I realized how important it is to plan for the possibility of divorce before the honeymoon ends. Get a legal 'pre-nup' with details on the setup of the business, resolution process, dividing assets (money, samples, etc), job descriptions and, god forbid, the exit strategy. I know what you are thinking, that this will never happen to you. Well, I did not think it would happen to me either and it did. I essentially lost control of eight years of my articles, my position on the blogosphere and essentially had to reinvent myself.
Here is why bloggers need lawyers. I went into a partnership of a very popular blog with my best friend of 18 years. We never had an agreement in place although orally we made an agreement to split every thing and keep a percentage of what we made in the coffers for the blog. Never thinking that we would ever not be friends we thought nothing more about the business side and enjoyed being professional bloggers together.
Well, it happened. We had a disagreement and, because my partner created all the email accounts and the Word Press site, all of my access was blocked. Passwords were changed. Word Press and my email address were blocked. I could no longer get access to any of our social media platforms. Not only my livelihood was stripped from me but also my reputation was at jeopardy.
No one would ever think of starting any other business without a contract or seeking legal advice. You need to register the business, possibly trademark the name, open bank accounts, get signing authority, and set up other legal documents. Each person should have their own legal representation and both sign a non-disclosure agreement.
The bottom line is, it cost money to start a business. Blogging is a business. Period. As the boy scout's motto states, "Be prepared."
Follow Audrey van Petegem on Twitter: www.twitter.com/audreyvp