How Not to Get Scammed by Service Agreements

A services agreement is just what it sounds like: an agreement to provide services. The type of services involved could be anything that a freelancer, startup, or small business might need or provide. For example:

  • Software/app development
  • Marketing/SEO services
  • Janitorial services
  • Catering for a launch party
  • Computer and/or office equipment maintenance
  • Development of a website
  • Content creation services

Two problem areas where people often get into trouble are:

  • Technical services people don’t understand
  • Long-term agreements they can’t get out of

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7 Ways Your Startup Can Save Money on Legal Services

Legal fees can burn through a startup’s resources fast when firms bill at $500+ per hour. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Your startup can save money on legal services.

Some lawyers are willing to defer their fees until a startup is more solidly established, and others may be willing to work for equity in the company.

We’re going to explore some of these money-saving options:

  • Go to a startup legal clinic
  • Find a law firm you can pay in equity
  • Defer fees
  • Pay-as-you go
  • Use free contract templates
  • Hire a lawyer online
  • Review contracts at

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14 Types of Contracts Your Startup Needs

No startup is an island. To succeed you’re going to have to form relationships with lots of other people and businesses:  co-founders, investors, employees, vendors, customers, etc. To reduce risk and uncertainty, many of those relationships should be formalized with contracts. Here’s a short guide to the types of contracts your startup needs during the different business stages.

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Can a Pretzel Sandwich be a Trade Secret? – Part 2

In the previous installment, we talked about how Sweet Street Desserts and Better Bakery worked together to create a pretzel sandwich, sharing information under an NDA.

Unfortunately, the parties had a falling-out. Sweet Street claimed Better Bakery had a secret scheme to steal the design and product development qualities of Sweet Street’s pretzel sandwich. Better Bakery denied the “secret scheme,” but it did start selling pretzel sandwiches to third parties.

Sweet Street sued for breach of the NDA.

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Can a Pretzel Sandwich be a Trade Secret? – Part 1

Entrepreneurs often ask their lawyers for “bullet-proof” non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that will prevent their business associates from stealing their great ideas.

The problem is, no such thing exists.

We discussed in this previous blog how an NDA won’t necessarily protect your ideas. The best way to protect an idea is to jump through the legal hoops that turn an idea into intellectual property– as we discuss in this blog.

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Making Money from Your Great Ideas – Part 3

This is part three of our three-part blog on making money from your great ideas.

In parts one and two we talked about the different ways of protecting ideas, with a focus on patents.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about how to turn intellectual property into cash.

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Making Money from Your Great Ideas – Part 2

This is part two of our three-part blog on making money from your great ideas.

As you might gather from the discussion in part 1, a patent is the form of IP that comes closest to protecting “ideas.”

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Making Money from Your Great Ideas – Part 1

*Note: this is part one of a three part blog. Check back or follow us for the next two parts.

“How can I make money from this great idea I have for a business/product/service/movie?”

People often post questions like that on Q&A boards such as Quora.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really much of a market for “bare” ideas – especially since they’re as common as dirt.

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Most Ridiculous Clauses in Your Contract

Signing a contract is serious business. Every word is important and a contract should not be signed without reading and understanding it. Contract clauses can bite!

If the contract presented to you contains a ridiculous clause and you sign it, you will be bound to it (no matter how ridiculous the clause is)!

We thought we’d share some examples of ridiculous clauses from actual contracts, hoping you’ll be careful about what you sign!

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Could Your Old Boss Own Your New Startup?

A Silicon Valley Horror Story

It’s a common dream: to leave the large high-tech company you work for and bring your brilliant startup idea to life. But what if your employment contract puts your new venture at risk?

In honor of Labor Day, we’re going to explore a clause in many employment agreements that might be problematic later on.

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