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347. Legal Wisdom for Entrepreneurs: Heather Pearce Campbell's Guide to Navigating Business Law

the daily helping podcast Feb 05, 2024

Heather Pearce Campbell, a warrior mom, nature enthusiast, and an accomplished attorney and legal coach, is revolutionizing the way entrepreneurs approach legal matters. Based in Seattle, Heather has fused her passions and expertise into two dynamic ventures: Pierce Law, PLLC, and the Legal Website Warrior. Her journey, inspired by personal challenges and an entrepreneurial spirit instilled from childhood, has led her to become a guiding force for information entrepreneurs globally.

Heather's story is not just about professional success; it’s deeply rooted in personal experiences. The passing of her mother to glioblastoma significantly shifted her perspective on life and career, driving her to start her own legal practice immediately after law school. This journey was further shaped by the 9/11 aftermath, challenging Heather to innovate and adapt. Her transition to supporting entrepreneurs stemmed from a keen awareness of the legal void in this sector, prompting her to create accessible, efficient legal solutions.

Heather's primary message to entrepreneurs is clear: Legal support is not a luxury but a cornerstone of business success. She warns against common entrepreneurial pitfalls, such as neglecting legal protections and inadequate contract practices. Heather advocates for a proactive legal stance, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding online businesses and intellectual properties. Her practical advice encompasses establishing legal entities, customizing contracts, and nurturing a legally sound business environment. Heather's voice resonates with clarity and authority, urging entrepreneurs to embrace legal challenges as integral to their growth and success.


The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“Don't be afraid of legal support. Don't imagine what's in the box. Just understand that when it comes to legal support done right, there's a major toolbox available to you if you're looking in the right places. It’s just about picking up one tool at a time”




Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.



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Heather Pearce Campbell: 

When it comes to legal support done right, there's a major toolbox available to you if you're looking in the right places.


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Hello and welcome to The Daily Helping with Dr. Richard Shuster, food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, tools to win at life. I'm your host, Dr. Richard. Whoever you are, wherever you're from, and whatever you do, this is the show that is going to help you become the best version of yourself. 


Each episode, you will hear from some of the most amazing, talented, and successful people on the planet who followed their passions and strived to help others. Join our movement to get a million people each day to commit acts of kindness for others. Together, we're going to make the world a better place. Are you ready? Because it's time for your Daily Helping.


Thanks for tuning into this episode of The Daily Helping podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Richard. And our guest today is awesome. Her name is Heather Pearce Campbell, a self-described warrior mama, nature lover, and dedicated attorney and legal coach for world changing entrepreneurs based in Seattle. She is mom to two little wild munchkins and the founder of Pearce Law, PLLC, home to her legal practice. 


She's also the creator of the legal website, Warrior, an online business that provides legal education support to information entrepreneurs around the United States and the world. She hoards information, paper, and books while secretly dreaming of becoming a minimalist and relishes an occasional rare night with her hubby when the kiddos are miraculously asleep so she can soak up HGTV without guilt. She's also the host of the Guts, Grits, and Great Business podcast. Heather Pierce Campbell, we're going to have a fun time today. Welcome to The Daily Helping. It is awesome, awesome to have you with us today. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Thank you, Dr. Richard. So great to see you again. I know we're going to have a great time. 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

What is fun is when you meet the guest in advance. Like we had a chance to connect, and it was super cool, had a lot in common. And the funny thing is I don't exactly know what we're going to talk about today, but I know it's going to help a lot of people, and I know it's going to be fun. But before we even do all of that, I want to jump in the Heather Pearce Campbell time machine. Take us back to that pivotal moment that seed, that spark, that put you on the path you are on today.


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Oh, that's a great question. And I think for me, there's probably a couple of sparks. So the first one being that as a child, I was raised by an entrepreneur. My dad's always been an entrepreneur. And so I got to observe his path, the level of, not only freedom, but also dedication that he had to the things that he was building. And really learn a lot from his lessons and kind of soak that up as a kid. 


So it started young for me. I was very entrepreneurial, super young. I think I was five when I was trying to save my first few dollars and looking at like, what can I do, a paper route, rake leaves, like what are the options, and had several paper routes young. Started buying and selling cars when I was maybe 9, 10 in there. I'd say put up some money -- 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Buy and selling cars when you were 9 or 10. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

That’s right. And I was devastated like the first car because my dad would help me with this and the first car that he got, like I don't know what vision I had in my mind. It was not that car. And I cried. Right? I cried that he had spent my $300 or whatever on this boat of a car. And then I spent a day with a toothbrush and soap scrubbing the inside of that nasty vehicle down. And within a couple days, he turned around and helped me sell that car for $700. And so I got some early lessons in money that just I would say continued kind of my entrepreneurial nature. 


And then the second I would say spark in my life that really happened to influence my path in a really significant way was when I went off to law school, my mom got diagnosed with glioblastoma and she ended up passing away within about 10 months. And so the early part of my legal path was pretty tumultuous from the standpoint of like what was going on in real life. 


And what it meant is that my perspective was very different about what I was willing to do compared to like what a lot of my classmates were up to and what they were willing to do. And what it meant for me, first of all, was that I did my first year, really my first year and the first few months of my second year of law school, like in a couple of days a week. I would go to class like Monday through Wednesday and then I'd go home to Eastern Washington, which is a four-and-a-half-hour drive across the state, like Wednesday evening and spend Thursday, Friday, Saturday with my mom, my family who were at home. I had a couple of younger siblings that were still at home. And then I'd come back to Seattle on Sunday. 


And so that was an interesting way to do the first part of my law school career. But what it meant for me when I graduated law school is I really was not willing to do “the typical pathway” to a career that I wanted to enjoy. I saw how quickly life can just come to an end. And I was unwilling to do other people's work. I was unwilling to sign up for like, oh, you got to put in the time and really slog it out and do this other stuff before you can get to the work that you want to do. And so it was a highly unusual time to do this, but I graduated law school post 9/11, like one year post 9/11 and I launched my own practice right out of law school.


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Most entrepreneurs that I talked to have some thread of motivating factor and whether it's freedom, whether it's their health, whether it's they don't want somebody getting 65 cents on the dollar for the 35 cents they're going to get, but you had two things. You had a dad teaching you these lessons about money and entrepreneurship very early. And then you had the traumatic piece with your mother, which highlighted the shortness of time balancing everything. So you had a lot of influence around you as you were pulling this together. So now you're, let's flash forward, I suspect your law career is not exactly what it is today compared to what you thought it would be post 9/11. So take us through the transformation of that. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Yeah, I would say the blessing I've had in my life around like future visioning is some people I think have really concrete ideas about how things are going to go. Mine's always been kind of a wide-open space. And so, even though I launched my own practice, let's be clear, I had no idea how it was going to go. This was in a time where, yes, there was email, like I'm going to date myself. But I printed off my own probably terrible looking little business cards and my own letterhead and I blasted everybody that I knew, letting them know I'd graduated law school, and I was available for work. And I did this before I passed the bar. People know that I was available for research and some early assistance. Anyways, I ended up passing the bar. 


But it was a time where I really didn't know how it would go. But what I knew was I was not afraid of people. It was the worst time, first of all, to be graduating law school in over 30 years. It was a terrible, terrible market. Even my friends who were very like going down the traditional path and who took jobs at large law firms, blah, blah, blah, so many of them got those offers reneged because they couldn't fulfill. Everybody was in a hiring moratorium. They were basically paying new hires to go away.


So when I launched my practice, I thought I can't do it the way other people are doing it from the standpoint of sitting back. And a lot of my classmates who wanted a more traditional position were just like sending off resumes. I'm like, that is not where work comes from. Work comes from getting face to face with a person, having them know you, trust you, either send work your way or hire you to help support them on one of their cases or whatever. Right? So it was kind of a wide open space for me. I just knew I had to get in front of people and build relationships.


And so I literally built myself a spreadsheet. And every day of the week, maybe some Fridays I took off, my goal was to get face to face with somebody, whether it was a coffee, a lunch date, something. Like phone calls weren't enough. Like face to face with somebody in the legal community in Seattle, because I had no inroads into the legal community. I didn't know any lawyers, I didn't have any lawyers in my family, like nothing. 


And within a few months, I had more work than I knew what to do with. And it was simply because I knew work would come from other people and I was not afraid of people, even though I knew nothing about how to build a legal practice, right? 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

So I think there's a huge lesson in that. And it's actually very similar to how I built the show. I had talk about dating yourself, I had a Hotmail email address, no domain, right? And I didn't -- I had no relationships in entertainment or personal development. Like I'm just a guy who graduated with a psychology degree and I want to help a lot of people. And I got up every day and I started sending really personalized emails to famous people every day. Most people never wrote me back but eventually, some did, and then I interviewed them and then more did, right? And now here we are, seven years later and it's really an amazing journey. 


But similarly, I didn't sit there and say I'm afraid to talk to this person or I'm afraid to reach out. If you can't advocate for yourself, who's going to advocate for you? Right? If you can't promote the things that you're proud of, the things you're good at, the things that you think make you special, nobody's going to do it. I guess your mom. Right. But like --


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Yeah, it doesn't get you as far as you'd like to get to. 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Can’t get you much in the business world. So I love that. And so talk to us as we're kind of weaving in story and advice. Talk to us a little more because now there's a uniqueness to your law firm. You really are set up to help, the term in your bio I read was world changing entrepreneurs. And so talk to us about that aspect of what you're doing because I think it's so awesome. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Yeah. So for me, I never fit very well within the traditional legal path, meaning that what I brought to the world of legal was really, I would say a business mindset, an entrepreneurial mindset around how to do law. And so I was very entrepreneurial from the start, meaning that I took on my own cases. I also got myself onto large cases around Seattle by networking and building relationships with people at firms. And so I got this unique combination of really excellent mentoring and experience on some phenomenal cases, and still the autonomy to decide which ones I wanted to work on and what cases I would take myself. 


So fast forward 10 years, because I really did a combination of real estate, business, land use, kind of the intersection of those things, and a lot of litigation those first 10 years, which I'm just going to say is great experience if you are in the legal world, right? Litigation really increases your awareness of how things go wrong, where they go wrong, how people communicate in ways that get them really into big trouble. It's fascinating. 


Even just yesterday I was having a conversation with somebody saying legal problems are really people problems. Right. It just happens that they occur within a legal framework. But midway, back to my story, midway through my career, I really thought there's a different way to do this. What I really love doing is helping people in business, helping entrepreneurs and particularly small businesses do things better, build better businesses, be safer and better at what they're doing. And I also saw how challenging it was for them to get access to the traditional legal marketplace. 


And so it was at about the 10 year mark that I really started envisioning a different way of providing support. And that's where I built, that's the beginning of me building the legal website Warrior Business model, which is essentially an alternative legal service provider model to the traditional law firm model. And so I actually technically have two businesses. I have my Pearce Law Legal Practice and I have my legal website Warrior business, which is a separate legal entity, housed completely separately, run completely separately. They're two parallel pathways for serving who I serve. 


But my goal with the legal website Warrior model was to make essential legal supports much more accessible, much more efficient, much more, basically less of everything that I didn't like about the traditional model and faster and more efficient and even effective in a way that allowed folks that I loved serving to get access, to build better businesses. And so for me, that's been a great joy and a fun combination of using both the legal side of my brain, the very analytical, logical side of my brain, in combination with a tremendous amount of creativity, right, because I enjoy both sides. 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

I do a lot of episodes that whether I intend them to or not go down an entrepreneurial rabbit hole, right? And so what I want to just give you a couple of minutes to talk about, because I know, but a lot of people don't, a lot of people who when they decide to start a business, legal is literally the last thing they think about. They think about they only need legal when they have to sue somebody or somebody’s suing them. Tell me why that's completely wrong. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Oh my gosh. I know. So let's start at where I usually end up arriving at the end of work with my clients as they are like, oh my gosh, I had no idea this was going to be how it goes. And I tell people what I really deliver is better business leadership. I just happened to do it through the legal world and that is how I see legal. When it's done right, legal support is a system that underlies all your other business systems. When you have legal in place, you do your marketing better, you build out your internal policies and your business frameworks and systems better, you build out your IP better and safer and you build it in ways that keep it protected, makes you more competitive in the marketplace, makes you less prone to like really common errors that really screw people up in the business building path. You hire better. 


Basically, there's no function that you can do in your business that does not overlap with legal, either legal requirements or regulations that you have to do things in a certain way. And so legal is one of those things that, and I have a much more proactive approach, meaning that I do a lot of teaching, speaking. I want to give entrepreneurs the map so that they don't have that big barrier to entry to even just begin to understand what their needs are. I want them to have the map so that they can sit back and reflect and go, oh, I see what I need and begin right now to make better, more strategic decisions for their business.


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

So in the years you've been doing this, give us some of the biggest mistakes that you've seen entrepreneurs make, and then give us a few tips that would be --


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Totally. Yes. So, and in the world that I serve, let's be clear that I serve really exclusively now what I call information entrepreneurs, right? These are typically largely digitally based businesses, although many of them have a real world in person component as well, but they’re information experts, they’re information entrepreneurs, they’re building services and, and publishing a ton of content and delivering their information in a variety of ways. 


But usually, it's all based around a body of work that they've developed, systems, frameworks. This is all the IP parts that they've developed because they are an expert at something. Right? And sometimes that comes from having life experience. Sometimes it comes from a former career. Sometimes it comes because they have just consistently studied an area in their life and just really applied themselves in a way that makes them the expert in their industry. 


But nearly all of them are transforming lives through their work. They're very mission driven folks who basically need to build a thriving small business in order to fulfill part of their life mission, which is to perform and deliver a transformation or support to their clients in the world in a certain way, but through their work. So I'm so dedicated to the path of these folks because business is essential to them fulfilling a life mission. And it's also why I care so much about them not stepping in the typical potholes. And for these folks, some of those are like, you've already mentioned one, not even looking at legal until way late in the game, right? Not planning for it, not budgeting for it, not thinking about it. 


So, number one is really a mindset mistake around legal accessibility. Like, oh, well, I just know it's going to be out of my budget or I'm afraid of opening Pandora's box. Like, no, look in the box, it's really about connecting with the right support for your business to make sure that you've got your needs covered. And also understand, you don't have to do all of it at once, right? You can stair step the support into your business as you grow, as you build. So it really does not need to be so overwhelming. 


Some of the obvious errors that people make and that really cause a lot of heartache are from the standpoint of being online, not knowing what it takes to protect an online business. And so, so many of the clients that come to me have already had that bad experience where somebody's ripped off their IP, somebody's duplicated a program that they created, somebody's copied the name of their course or even their business. Right? So there's a lot of that that happens in the online space. 


And it's always surprising. And for somebody like me, where ethics is a big deal, and I think like, oh yeah, it's a big deal to most people. You realize in a hurry, like, whether it's a lack of ethics, whether it's just a lack of understanding, there is still a lot of theft that happens online. And if you are an expert that is putting your information out there, and you expect to get really good at what you're doing, you need to plan for the fact that people are going to try to rip things off from your business, your services, your IP. Like it's just a matter of time.


So one is not understanding what it takes to protect an online business. And the reason that's so core is that it's really the hub of a lot of these businesses that publish -- I mean, look at like your podcast, right? You publish an inordinate amount of information even just through a podcast, right? And all of my clients generally are publishers in some way, whether it's through a book, whether they're speaking, whether they're writing articles online, whether they have a podcast. There's a variety of ways that we put tons of information out there, including quite a bit of our IP. So that's a significant piece is really understanding the online component. 


Two is not getting some of the brand assets protected early on, right? Whether it's a business name, like a brand or business name, sometimes those are synonymous, sometimes they're different. So you can have a legal entity that's called whatever, 924 Media Company, LLC, and have a totally different brand that you've developed as the face of the business. You need a trademark registration around that in order to protect that, right? 


And a lot of people are waiting too late in the game and then they realize they don't own the name of their business or their brand. They have to change it, or somebody else files for it in the meantime. You don't want to be in that situation of having it be a race to the finish, or having to defend against an action that you could have avoided. Right. So brand recognition, especially as people start to build, is really, really important, and being able to protect those core brand assets, super important.


One of the other mistakes is in hiring, even working with independent contractors, I see all the time people ignoring red flags, signing agreements that they should not be signing without the benefit of legal counsel or implementing agreements that they think like, oh, my friend gave this to me. They used it in their business. I'm sure it's fine for mine, but they don't really understand what it's doing, what it says, whether it actually adequately covers them, right? 


So there's a lot of difficulties around hiring and building that support in our businesses as we grow and doing that in the right way that not only brings in the right people, but also protects your IP back to the like core of these businesses. It's around your systems, your proprietary frameworks, the things that you're building on the inside of your business, right? And so a lot of people end up exposing this IP in ways that they shouldn't be. And they just don't know better, right? And you can't do better until you invest in the education or support in order to change and to change those approaches. So those are three quick highlights, but real obvious ones. There's a lot longer list, but we'll keep it short for now. 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Yeah, we're keeping it short. But so, obviously doing the opposite of those things would be good tips, but what other just kind of, I want to say random, that's not right, but tips that maybe somebody who's starting a business wouldn't think about legally that they need to think about.


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Yeah, totally. Well, a big one is even setting up a legal entity. And a lot of people think like, what? Because some people will have taken that step, whether it's an LLC, whether it's a C corporation, you have different kind of financial strategies involved depending on whether you're optimizing for taxes, optimizing for profits, what the plan is for your business. Sixty percent of small businesses in the U.S. don't even incorporate. Sixty percent, like that blows my mind every time I say it. It's a massive number of small businesses don't even separate their business liability from their personal assets. 


This means if you're a consultant or you're a coach or you're going into larger organizations to deliver your expertise, something goes wrong and you don't have a legal entity that you are doing your work through, your personal assets are on the line. You own a home. You own vehicles. You own real estate. You have money in the bank, or you have a spouse that has those things and you're in a community property state, you've just subjected all of your personal assets to a significant amount of liability depending on your work. Right? So that's step number one. 


Step number two is getting those core business agreements in place, getting the core contracts in place that are going to help you run your business. Right? And a lot of people scrape those together, steal them off the internet, do whatever because they don't know better. But I tell people when it comes to business contracts, there's two things that matter. One, that you have a contract that's clear, right, that is clear, that's well written. But more importantly too, that is a fit for your actual scenario, fit for your business, fit for your services. And this is where a lot of people get it wrong.


So those are a couple of easy steps. Those are not hard steps. It does generally does not cost a lot to incorporate in the vast majority of the states. If you're in California or you're near New York, right, you might need a little extra help because there can be some technical things or more expensive processes to go through. But for the most part, like many states, you can incorporate and set up a business with a few hundred dollars. And if you need legal help, it may cost you a little more. I have a way of supporting people through that process, through my online business, but it's really not that challenging.


And then the second step of getting, like, your core service, I always tell people, because the question I get a lot is, like, well, what do I really need? If I have just started a business or I've just developed my primary service, like do I really need all this other stuff? I have a map that I walk people through. But the second thing is, protect your moneymaker. What is it that you're doing to actually make money in your business? Start there. So if you've got a primary consulting service, start there. Get your consulting services agreement in place and have it well drafted and a fit for your business. Those are two easy things that a lot of businesses get wrong. 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

I love it. This is a cool conversation. We've actually never had an episode. It just talked about the law and the importance of having these legal agreements in place. So I'm really glad we chatted today. As you know, I wrap up every episode by asking my guest a single question, that is what is your biggest helping, that one most important piece of information you'd like somebody to walk away with after hearing our conversation today? 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

I mean what comes to mind is like, don't be afraid of it. Don't imagine what's in the box. Just understand that when it comes to legal support done right, there's a major toolbox available to you if you're looking in the right places. But it's like picking up one tool at a time, right? It's so doable. And the thing I love most about entrepreneurs is the grit, and like the willingness they have to put a little elbow grease into something. 


As a quick example how many of us have had to learn sales to the nth degree as it applies to our business or have had to learn marketing or have had to learn information technology or business systems or something that we did not anticipate having to really dig into? Legal is no different. It's one of the essential components of building a thriving business. You can't skip it. You can't just like not look in the bucket and pick a tool out. So just have the willingness, have the courage to include it on your map and really consider that it is a core piece of building a true thriving business.


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Well said. Tell us where people can find out more about you online. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Totally. The easiest place is just go to, just how it sounds. I’ve got so many resources, tons of free resources, free trainings. I have a masterclass. I've got a bootcamp, like bite sized pieces. I have a whole media page where if you're a podcast person, which hopefully you are, since you're listening to this one, tons of awesome podcast conversations that can help you build your business in a variety of ways, both on my own podcast, but also me visiting other amazing, fabulous podcasts like Dr. Richard Shuster's Daily Helping. You're going to be at the top of the list once this goes live.


Dr. Richard Shuster:

The top of the list. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Top of the list. So go there and just enjoy. Also, that's the other message, like enjoy the process of learning what it takes to really build a thriving business. 


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Well said. And for those of you in the car, we got you covered, everything Heather Pearce Campbell is going to be in the show notes at Well, Heather, I knew this was going to be a fun conversation, very informative as well. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to hang out with me on The Daily Helping. 


Heather Pearce Campbell: 

Thank you, Dr. Richard. Such a pleasure to be here. I'm so grateful to get this time with you. And I hope that people walk away with one little thing they can go do.


Dr. Richard Shuster: 

I hope so too. And to each and every one of you who did take time out of your day too, thank you for tuning in to this episode. If you liked it, if you're excited, if you're going to get your legal contracts in order, awesome. Go give us a follow on your podcast app of choice and a five-star review because that is what helps other people find the show.


But most importantly, go out there today and do something nice for somebody else, even if you don't know who they are and post in your social media feeds using the hashtag #MyDailyHelping because the happiest people are those that help others.


There is incredible potential that lies within each and every one of us to create positive change in our lives (and the lives of others) while achieving our dreams.

This is the Power of You!