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small business owner

Don’t Be An Idiotpreneur

By Internet Lawyer

As an Internet lawyer, I look for lessons in the offline world that can be applied to your online business.

Today’s lesson is about an idiotpreneur profiled in a national newspaper as if she had done something smart.

Ms. Idiotpreneur’s business was going down the toilet. Blaming it on the economy, there were telltale signs throughout the article that the real problem was Ms. Idiotpreneur.

To cut expenses, she traded in her Mercedes for a “simpler” BMW. That’s denial.

Rather than collecting up front for her services or cutting off deadbeats, Ms. Idiotpreneur let 20 percent of her clients receive services and stiff her on the bills.

But what qualified this small business owner for the title “Idiotpreneur” was that she fired herself from her business, giving up her income from her own company, so that her 8 employees could keep their jobs! She took a job elsewhere earning a lot less so that her employees could suck her business dry.

The newspaper tried to spin this as something wonderful. You don’t need to be an Internet lawyer to understand how stupid her actions were.

Your online business is not a charity. It should deliver value to your clients. However, its primary reason for existence is to serve your needs by making a profit. Employees should be treated fairly but they are not “stakeholders” entitled to loot all the profits at your expense.

Downsizing yourself first to serve their needs is idiotpreneurship. And you can be sure that misplaced loyalty would not be reciprocated. If Ms. Idiopreneur had asked each employee to take a pay cut so she could still draw a salary for running the business, most would have quit without losing any sleep over the decision.

If your business becomes a cash cow for everyone except yourself, you have an expensive hobby that robs you of money and irreplaceable time.

To your online success!

-Mike the Internet lawyer

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Internet Lawyer: Domain Names and How to Avoid Losing Yours

By Internet Lawyer

With police speed traps now using cameras, drivers have had enough abuse of the system. Let’s face it. Traffic tickets have little to do with public safety and everything to do with revenue raising. Where I live, the donut patrol sits near affluent shopping centers and stops luxury vehicles because the police know the drivers will pay the tickets. This means that the Internet lawyer, the small business owner, the doctor, etc. get ticketed.

In a metro area where 1 out of 5 residents are illegal aliens, many of whom drive without licenses and auto insurance, three guesses which cars don’t get stopped. The banged-up old Honda with peeling do-it-your-self window tinting, smoke blowing out the tail pipe, and using the spare tire as a regular wheel suddenly turns invisible as it speeds by the cop car. The police know pulling over the driver means extra work but no money for the city.

What’s this have to do with domain names? There’s a guy in another city who got nailed with a $90 speeding ticket. As he did some research online, he discovered that the police department had let its domain name registration lapse. So he registered the domain name and turned it into an anti-speed trap web site. Good for him. Bad for the cops.

But this story is an important reminder to make sure your domain names don’t lapse and get poached by someone else before you have a chance to renew them. It’s expensive to retain an Internet lawyer and try to fight to get your domain name back after it’s been lost or stolen.

Here are some things you can do to protect your domains.

  • Although it may make sense to register speculative domain names for a year, your bread-and-butter profitable sites should be registered for multiple years. Consider doing at least 5 years if you can. That gives you some time to build up the sites without having to worry when the domain name is going to expire this year.
  • Be sure to mark expiration dates on your calender if you don’t have the domains set up for autorenewal. Ideally, you’ll want autorenewal in place too.
  • Verify that your credit card info on file for registration is accurate and conbusiness that the card isn’t going to expire before renewal will take place.
  • Restrict domain name transfers to reduce the risk someone impersonates you to hijack your domain.
  • Make sure your registrar has valid contact info for you, including at least two up-to-date e-mail addresses and current phone number.
  • And if your domain name includes a unique term, consider getting a registered trademark for that term if it qualifies.

For more details, talk about this issue with your Internet lawyer. If you have other tips for domain name protection, feel free to leave them as comments.

Best wishes,

-Mike the Internet lawyer

P.S. To protect your business when outsourcing work, check out the InstaSourcing System I created for entrepreneurs like you.