Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#486: 1 Digital Course, 1 Evergreen Funnel, 6-Figures: How This Mom Of 2 Made It Happen with Jessica Berk

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#486: 1 Digital Course, 1 Evergreen Funnel, 6-Figures: How This Mom Of 2 Made It Happen with Jessica Berk

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ASHLEY KIRKWOOD: “And for folks listening, you all can be trailblazers in your own right. A part of that comes with being unique. If you think about it, apple is something that we eat. But Apple is something that we say a lot for technology. They took a word and repositioned it in a totally different way. And when you think about building a brand and having a sustainable business, that's what you want to do. You know, online course, everyone thinks about that. But now that you have Digital trademarked, you can now prevent other people from using it, and it's a deeper brand identifier. And so for those of you out there that like using common language, it does make it easy for the consumer to know exactly what you're selling, but where it gets difficult is if your term becomes diluted or too used in the marketplace, you'll never be able to truly protect itLike, I see a lot of folks who like using babe and ma'am and like, I don't know, mompreneurthings like that. Because so many people utilize those terms, it's very difficult for you to tell everyone else not to use it, because they've taken an identity of their own. So the more creative you can be, the better.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidencemoney, and time to focus on growing my smallbutmighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, stepbystep strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started. 

AMY PORTERFIELD: Okay, before we get going, a quick word from our sponsor. 

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All right. Let's dive into today's episode. 

I thought it was high time we did another episode about legally protecting your business. And as my beloved operations director, Jess, would say, “Legal stuff is sexy. Legally protecting your business is important stuff, and a part of that is protecting your intellectual property, like your content. And there's a new law in town that's a game changer for every entrepreneur out there, and you need to know about it. Trust me when I say that this law is going to make your life a whole lot easier, so it's essential that you're aware of it. 

To give us the 411, I've invited Ashley Kirkwood on the show. And holy heck, you are going to fall in love with her and enjoy her energy just like I did. Now, let me give you a very brief overview of her accomplishments, and then she'll tell you how she discovered her passion for helping emerging business owners bullet proof their business. Ashleys a lawyer by trade, with an impressive history of working for many prestigious law firms. She's also an author, has been featured in many national media outlets, and runs a nonprofit with her husband, where they teach students on Chicago's West Side about highpaying legal, medical, and STEM careers. How cool is that?  

In today's episode, Ashleys going to share all that you need to know about this gamechanging law and what every creator should do before launching and what to do if you realize you're infringing on someone else's work. Plus, she's going to answer some questions that we've pulled from my audience, so you might have a question that gets answered on today's episode. And be sure to stick around until the end, because Ashley has a few hot tips that you don't want to miss.  

All right. Let's get to it. 

Well, hey, there, Ashley. Welcome to the show. 

ASHLEY: Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here. 

AMY: I’m excited for you to be here because I know we have a lot to cover. But before we get into all the things legal, tell me a little bit about your journey to working with entrepreneurs and protecting their businesses. 

ASHLEY: Yeah, definitely. So I had a really traditional path—well, I won't say traditional, but I started my career—when I was an undergradI majored in international business. I always wanted to be a lawyer. So I started at one law school in Chicago, transferred to Northwestern Law School to get a better opportunity at jobs, and landed my dream job right out of law school, working at a firm called Kirkland & Ellis. Essentially, it's a really large law firm representing privateequity businesses. And I was maybe twenty-five, twenty-six, making two hundred grand out of law school. Absolutely loved it. Never thought I'd leave. And then I took another job after my dream job for a $100,000 raise that I’d negotiated.  

AMY: Whoa. 

ASHLEY: Yeah. So I love talking salary negotiation, negotiating your raise. That’s, like, my jam. 

AMY: Okay. You are one of the very few, so that makes you a unicorn, right there. But, okay, keep going. 

ASHLEY: Yeah, definitely. So I negotiate this sixfigure raise, and so now I'm, like, the highestpaid associate at this new firm, and I absolutely hated the job. So I got there. I'd gotten all this money. I was talking about making partner early. I had had them make all these concessions for me. And then I get there, and the culture was horrible. And I think that was really an eyeopening moment for me because I realized money genuinely isn't everything. I always heard people say it, but I just assumed those were folks who were loaded. So I was like, no, you all—you’re just too rich. Like, you don’t get it.  

And it was at that point that I was, like, okay, I would go back and take a $100,000 decrease in salary to have the culture that I had at my first firm. So at that point, I was doing everything myself. And to give a sense of the set up, my first firm represented billiondollar businesses, companies everyone on this podcast has heard of before. And it was great. I had a paralegal, an assistant. My paralegal had a paralegal, and that paralegal had an assistant. Everyone was very well taken care of. At the new firm, day one, I'm like, “Okay, great. So who's going to do this?” And they're like, “You. And I'm like, “Oh, no. No. I don't like this at all.  

So it was that point that I was like, okay, well, if I'm doing everything myself, I know how to run a case because I have no assistance on these matters, and so I could do this for businesses that I genuinely care deeply for, and I could give them that huge lawfirm service and strategy on budgets that they can afford. And so it was then that I was like, okay, I'm going to turn lemons into lemonade. I'm going out on my own. And I literally just walked off the job. Didn't like it at all. 

And it was a combination of me semi-walking offthem semi-being like, just get out because we know you hate it here.  

AMY: Yep. 

ASHLEY: And so I left, and I toyed with the idea of going to another firm, but it just, all the doors were closing on that route. And I took it as a sign. And I remember praying this prayer that was like, “You know, God. I want a job that's custom made for me. And it was at that moment that all the offers and all the opportunities that I had in traditional corporate dried up. And it was like, if you want a job that's custom made, you better make it, because no one's going to have that for you.  

And so then, I thought of the concept of mobile general counsel, providing highlevel generalcounsel services to companies on a flatfee basis, in terms that they can understand. And I have helped hundreds of businesses to date, and I've had so much fun doing it, using Instagram and social media and podcasting and just literally doing law my way and communicating what people need in plain language. It's been really, really fun. 

AMY: Well, you've been a huge success, so I'm so glad that you did that and went out on your own. So I want to talk about all so much, but I've narrowed it down to some key areas that I know course creators in my community are asking about. So I know that you've got information that we need to know, and you said that there's a new gamechanging law that will help online course creators protect their goods. And when we say goods, we mean socialmedia posts to online courses and probably everything in between. So let's get to it. What do we need to know? 

ASHLEY: Definitely. So one of the things that I would say that folks need to know is that your socialmedia posts actually generate income for your business. And I think that we think of that theoretically, but it actually does. Like, there are some folks who can track hundreds of thousands of dollars to one particular post, and they take that post and they make it a Facebook ad, and then that ad generates x amount of dollars for their business. Well, what people don't think about is, how do you protect those socialmedia posts via copyright? And having a federal copyright is really the only way where you're able to get money for someone stealing your content. And that is what course creators really need to know about, is that now the copyright office has made it easier to copyright several socialmedia posts in one application when they're related. 

AMY: Oh! Okay. So you talked about crush copycats. What is that? 

ASHLEY: Yeah. So essentially we do some things where we help people to file their federal copyright, and then we have all of these courses, like DIY courses, for folks to do it themselves. But what a lot of people don't think about is how do I—or a lot of people just don't consider the need to actually protect their content, and they don't always know the difference between copyright and federal trademark, and where do I need to go, how do I protect what, and what's the difference between them? So our DIY classes and online trainings kind of walk course creators and online entrepreneurs through the differences and then leads them to how they can either do it themselves if they're just getting started, or if you have the funds, the best way to protect yourself is to hire an attorney. 

AMY: Amen to that. I like that. 

Okay. So I just launched my program, Digital Course Academy, in September, which means that I have a lot of new course creators listening to this episode. And they're really just getting ready to launch for the first time. So you say there is one thing that every course creator should do legally before launching to make sure that their launch isn't cut short. What is that one thing, and can you talk about what you mean by their launch being cut short? 

ASHLEY: Absolutely. So I representfor our firm, we have something called a legal subscription. And so those are clients that are paying five, ten, or fifteen K month to month for us to protect their businesses. And we are their essential outside counsel. A lot of those folks are multisevenfigure onlinebusiness owners, so they're in this space.  

And one of the things that we found is that if you're launching a new course, the thing that you need to do first is to trademark or do a trademark search on your name before you launch. So before you get all your brand assets together, before you realize, “Okay, I want to sell this course,” before you think, Okay, I'm going to market this, and put it on Instagram,” you need to run a trademark search. And everyone can do that. Everyone listening can do that. Literally on your phone right now, you can go to uspto.gov. On that website underyou'll see something called the TESS Search, and you're just going to run a basic word mark search to see if anyone is utilizing that name. There's actually a little button on the website that says Trademarks. Under that, the very first option is that TESS Search, and it just says “Search the trademark database.  

That is what every single online course creator needs to do prior to launch because your launch can be cut short. And by that, I mean if you do a full launch, and you realize, “Okay, this launch is going amazing. I can't wait. It's getting a lot of traction,” you're running ads, and then you get hit with a cease and desist that says you can no longer utilize that name, they don't want you to utilize the domain name, they want you to take down all of your Facebook ads, change all of your assets. As you know, you can't keep that social proof on a Facebook ad if you change the actual content of the ad. 

AMY: Nightmare, yes. 

ASHLEY: That will dramatically impact your ad revenue, your spend, and it causes a lot of problems. And actually, importantly, I don't want to go too deep into this, but there was a Supreme Court case that essentially held, even if it's unintentional, the infringement, the other party who sues youhopefully that never happens—but the other party that sues you can't actually come after some of those profits that were generated. So it's very, very, very devastating.  

And I mean, some of the folks that we've helped had had to spend tens of thousands of dollars doing rebrands because they didn't do this stuff on the front end. Luckily, we were able to negotiate out of a lot of those court cases, but it's been a thing. And I mean, huge companies, like Hugo Boss, we've negotiated against them on behalf of clients. Don't think that because you're new or you're a small business large corporations won't come after you and demand that you make changes, because they will. 

AMY: Okay. So you're saying that you should get a trademark before you put your course out into the world. 

ASHLEY: Well, I’m saying you should run a trademark search before you put your course out into the world, and then you should be prepared to file. You can file—there's two applications. There's several different trademark applications. But once you are solid on the name, you've done the search, you know that's the name you want to use, you can file a trademark application before you put it out. And then once on its actual launch date, update that application to show actual use, and then you'll have the name secured. So I would highly recommend that. So those are kind of like the—it's a multi-step process. But before you even go too far, do the search. After the search, file the application. And then once you launch it, update that application to show that you’re using it at that time. 

AMY: Okay. Got it. 

And when you’re searching, do you agree that they should search hashtags? 

ASHLEY: Yes. I believe you should search. So this is why—and then I'll tell you guys how to DIY it—you want to search all variations of the name. And I would recommend you do three things. One, do a general Google search and go deep. Like, don't stop on the first page, guys. Keep going. 

AMY: Yes. 

ASHLEY: Go deep. Look at all the pages. Then, go on the most popular socialmedia channels. So do Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and search there to see if anyone's utilizing the name and what they're using it for. And then, you want to run that official trademark search, and you're going to search all variations of the name. Hashtags. Search it with the s, without the s. Put a the in front of it. Put some words after it. And then you're going to have to go through all of those results and see, what are they using the name for? Is the application live or dead? And so it gets to be a little nuanced, and this is why hiring someone to do it is just a lot better.  

And one of the things we do is a legal audit. And I don't know if folks think of their business like this, but this is how we help clients to think of their business. If you have a contract, and you are going to get—it’s a contract for $10,000 or a $2,000 course—if you're going to get fifty people on that contract, that contract is worth $100,00, if not more. So why not spend the couple grand to get a lawyer to review the contract?  

I think a lot of us think of our business in terms of, what if this doesn't work? But I think we should consider, what if it does work, and then you launch it, and you don't have your foundation settled, and then you have to scrap everything you've worked hard for? So a lot of folks have a lot of valuable content and assets that they're just not protecting, because they haven't put an actual numerical value to it or projected numbers to it. 

AMY: Okay. That makes sense, definitely.  

All right. Let's turn our attention to those entrepreneurs who have already launched or are in the midst of launching. What if they're chugging along, doing their thing, and somehow, some way, they realize that they may be infringing on someone else's creative work? What should they do? 

ASHLEY: Yeah. That's a really good point. And this is typically how people come to us, because they don't think about it until it goes south. And we have some proactive entrepreneurs, but a lot of folks are in this position. So first, you know, don't panic. And I say don't panic because you haven't done anything that will put you in jail, hopefully. This is just a civil matter. And by that, I mean you could be out of money, but that is the worst of it, and money is replaceable. So a lot of folks get crazy devastated. So first you have to take a breath. This can be fixed. And then, a lot of people want to come to some type of an agreement, which is why settlements happen every day of the week. So that would be one.  

And then two, you want to find out how did you learn of the infringement? If you received a ceaseanddesist letter, that is more serious than if you find out on your own. So if you're someone who is listening to this awesome podcast and you follow Amy, and you're like, “Oh, my god, I do everything Amy tells me to do. Now I have this woman in my ear, telling me I need to search my name,” then you could be proactive. Search the name and see if someone's using it now. And then you want to see, are they using it for the exact same thing as me? because if your show or your course is calledwe have a podcast called Speak Your Way to Cash. But let's say someone had a shoe line called Speak Your Way to Cash. That wouldn't conflict. So the second analysis is like, okay, if my course is about investing, but their course is all about making bowties for children, is there really a conflict? And if not, you may be able to file for the trademark for that name and show that there is no conflict. So that's always an option as well. 

The other option would be that you buy their trademark. So you buy them out 

Then there’s also an option where you can agree to coexist. So both of you come together and say, “Hey, I'm not going to sue you. You're not going to sue me. I'm going to give you the option or the right to file for this trademark, and I won't contest it. And then there's a coexistence agreement that can come to place. So there's a lot of different options.  

If you're handling thisif you know that you've gotten a cease and desist, you want to send that to a lawyer.  Book a consult, at least. If you know that you don't have any funds to fight this, then you may need to change your name. So a lot of good considerations are budgetary, because if you can afford to do a consult with a lawyer, at least do the consult. If you know you can have a lawyer handle it, then a lawyer can lay out all those different options that I just went over, and there may be some agreement that you can come to with the other party. So it's a strategic matter to figure out whether you want to approach them or not. I would not recommend you approach them directly without counsel. So let me just say that. Do not do that.  

AMY: Okay. Good advice. 

ASHLEY: Yeah. Don’t you go and like, “Oh, I see their IG. I’m just going to send them a message,” because you don’t know if that’ll really prompt them to sue you when they hadn’t even thought about you or they don’t know that you exist. 

So the first step would be, you want to know what all your options are so that you can sit in that CEO seat and determine, what is the best course of action for me to take? 

AMY: Okay. So, really, guys, everyone listeningI do think it's so important to go back to that first step Ashley talked about and do the search and do the deep dive. It is worth your time 

Now, I want to give you all a little piece of advice as course creator who teaches you how to create your courses. I always tell this story, Ashley, but when I wanted to create Digital Course Academy, I really wanted to name it Online Course Academy. I never used to say digital courses. I always said online courses. So Online Course Academy was perfect for me. I did a search, and I quickly found out that somebody had that name. She wasn't using it. She wasn't selling a course anymore. But it was on her website, and you could tell at one point she did something with it. And so for me, even though I have a lot of money to put toward legal counsel, I thought, “Why make my life harder? Why even go down that road? There's other names I could choose, and I do not believe the name of your digital course is the most important aspect of what you're doing while you're creating and launching it. So I just changed the name, and that's when my lawyer did a whole search for Digital Course Academy. We got it trademarked and all of that. But just don't take yourself too seriously, the name of your course too seriously. Change it up versus go through this big headache. 

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah, 100 percent. And obviously, you've cornered the market as it relates to online marketing in a lot of respects, and you're a trailblazer. So one of the benefits of that is, and for folks listening, you all can be trailblazers in your own right. A part of that comes with being unique. If you think about it, apple is something that we eat. But Apple is something that we say a lot for technology. They took a word and repositioned it in a totally different way. And when you think about building a brand and having a sustainable business, that's what you want to do. You know, online course, everyone thinks about that. But now that you have Digital trademarked, you can now prevent other people from using it, and it's a deeper brand identifier. And so for those of you out there that like using common language, it does make it easy for the consumer to know exactly what you're selling, but where it gets difficult is if your term becomes diluted or too used in the marketplace, you'll never be able to truly protect itLike, I see a lot of folks who like using babe and ma'am and like, I don't know, mompreneurthings like that. Because so many people utilize those terms, it's very difficult for you to tell everyone else not to use it, because they've taken an identity of their own. So the more creative you can be, the better. 

AMY: Yes. I love that. Such great advice. I hope you all really listened to that. I 100 percent back that up, and that’s what I would tell my students as well. And I’m not a lawyer, and Ashley is, so there you go. I always say, Ashley, when I try to give any kind of advice based on questions, I'm like, “First of all, I'm not a lawyer. I think I'd be really cool to say, “First of all, I am a lawyer, so listen up. So very cool. 

And now a quick word from our sponsor. 

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And now let’s get back to the episode. 

All right. So if you are good with it, Ashley, I get questions, the same legal questions, all the time from my students. Would you mind if I ran through a few of those?  

ASHLEY: Oh, absolutely. That’d be great.  

AMY: Okay. So the first question I get asked a lot is—I’ll kind of sum it up—what if what I'm teaching in my digital course is based on the knowledge that I've learned from others? How can I properly give them credit in my course and in my business—and I'll add a little to thatbut without making it all about them when I’ve added my own two cents to the idea? 

ASHLEY: Hm. So this is more so about giving credit. 

AMY: Yes, inside of a digital course. I’m going to give you an exact example.  

ASHLEY: Okay. 

AMY: Let’s say that—there's this thing called the Model. Brooke Castillo, she teaches the Model, and it's something that I love. It's around your emotions and your feelings and your circumstances. What if I went into my Digital Course Academy program, and I said, “Guys, before we start, I want to get your mind on straight. I'm going to teach you the Model, and here's how I use it. So right there, I'm guessing I would just want to say, I learned this from Brooke Castillo. Would that be right? 

ASHLEY: That’s a really good question. And honestly, it depends on how much of Brooke's information you utilize in your course. So one of the things that we help people do is license, so license out their courses to corporations, license out their speeches to corporations, and it's a really big business. It's a great way to become a fast millionaire. 

AMY: This is good to know. Is there anyone interested in licensing their digital course? Get with Ashley. 

ASHLEY: Yeah, for sure. It's amazing. But one of the things that you have to attest to in all these licensing agreements—so let's say a big company comes, and they’re like, “Amy, we want to have your course in all of our companies in North America. And we're going to pay you a million dollars per year to continue to keep that license going.” One of the things in that contract is going to say, “All right, Amy. You sign this contract, and you warrant that every single thing in this course, you have the legal right to use or you create it. Now, a lot of people sign those agreements, and they think, “Okay, great. Yeah. I created the course because I put it all together. But under copyright law, it's all about how much of that information you use.  

So what I recommend is if you're selling a product, and you're quoting other people, always give them credit. But the safest thing to do would be to get permission from them to quote them. And you would just do that through a general release. You can typically have them sign something that says, “Hey, I'm totally fine with you quoting it. I'm actually going to just quote this particular portion, and I'm happy to give you origination credit. Just wanted to run it by you. I think my students would really like learning more about your methodology.  

So my recommendation as a lawyer is always get the permission of that person prior to utilizing their frameworks or their methodology, because this is the same—think about it like a movie, right? If we were to do a movie, and I were to play a little bit of the Drake song as an introDrake would get paid for that. And it's the same with frameworks and intellectual property. If you're quoting someone, and you're doing it in a live video that you're not getting paid for, just for educational purposes, typically that doesn't pose a problem. But when you're selling a product, and you're quoting someone's theologies and frameworks, you would want to get permission to be 100 percent safe. It may never pose a threat, but if you decide to repurpose that content later to make it licensed content, etc., then that's when you would really want to make sure that you have the contracts in place so that you're not limited with how you can resell and use your intellectual property. 

AMY: That's great advice. And thinking of that example from Brooke Castillo and the Model, if I'm in the program, and I'm showing her Model and maybe giving a PDF of, here's how you do the Model, I shouldn't be doing that without going to Brooke and saying, “Hey, I'd love to teach it. Here's the part, like you said, “Here's what I'd like to say about it. And, of course, I'll give you credit. Are you good with this?” that just feels right. That feels in integrity. So it's different if you quote somebody, like you quoted Tony Robbins’s quote and you say it in your course. But teaching their methodology, their framework, what they do, by all means, we should be getting approval for that. And I think it just will make the course creator feel better once they know, oh, I'm cool to use this. So, yeah, great advice.  

Okay. Here's another question: I'm wondering if I should add some legal stuff to my Face—”legal stuff. I love it. I'm reading a quote that one of our students wrote.  

ASHLEY: Yeah. 

AMY: I'm wondering if I should add some legal stuff to my Facebook page and group. I basically want people to know that they are ultimately responsible for the safety of themselves. I have website terms of use and terms of conditions of sale on my website and in my course, which covers me with people who purchase. But is something like this necessary for a Facebook page in a Facebook group? 

ASHLEY: That is a really good question, and it really depends on what you teach, but it can't hurt. And here's an example. So if you're a therapist or you're a life coach, life coaching is—it’s like a fine line between you being a life coach and dabbling in therapy and needing a license to do that. And so for folks who are life coaches, it may be good to have some terms that say like, “Hey,”—or if you're a therapist, there are sometimes ethical guidelines that bound you from doing certain things. Like, if there's group therapy, there's all these guidelines you have to consider. So the first consideration is, what are my professional ethics guidelines? If you're in one of those professionslaw, medicine, accountingyou may have ethical guidelines there 

Then, two, if you're someone who is doing something like business coaching, then you'll also want to have maybe some income disclaimers. If you're constantly talking about how to make money and you're selling through your Facebook group, it may be good to have some income disclaimer. So it can't hurt. Without knowing more about what exactly you talk about, it will be difficult to say, but it doesn't hurt to have that. 

AMY: I like to be overly cautious. If it's on my mind a lot—and this is how I kind of deal with things in my businessif I'm worried about it, I'm going to be overly cautious about it and do extra for it so that I don't have to continue to worryAnd obviously, I like to consult a lawyer. And just so my audience knows, I've been consulting a lawyer for years and years now. I wasn't making millions in my business before I reached out to get counsel to a lawyer, just to make sure thatI love this idea. You guys do legal audits. Is that right?  

ASHLEY: Yeah, we do.  

AMY: I love that idea. Tell me a little bit about what a legal audit looks like in your business, because I also know it's not too expensive. 

ASHLEY: No, it's not. They're under $300 right now through the holiday season. And one of the things that we do, we do a few things for legal audit. We look at three areas of your business. One, your contracts; two, your copyrightand three, your trademarks. And not the contracts that you have, but we look and analyze, what are the contracts that you need, and what's the monetary value of those contracts? What are the trademarks that you have and/or need, and what's the monetary value of those trademarks? And what are the copyright or the content that you put out into the world that could get copyright protection, and what's the monetary value of that, current and projected?  

And we do it based on monetary value because a lot of our clients don't have unlimited legal budgets to start. And I can look at, once we go through this audit, I can look at, “Okay, it looks like you have six figures of projected revenue here. We need to start and analyze and get this area of your business protected, because if you were to have problems, this is where people would try to sue and recoup funds. So it's a very strategic and systematic approach to evaluating the foundation of your business and helping you figure out where you need to focus on being protected first. 

AMY: I love that. And I wish that something like that was around when I was starting. I didn't know of anything like that. But I guess I'm just speaking to those of you who are, this is top of mind. You do have concerns in these areas. Then do something about it so that you can free your mind and free that headspace to do the great, creative things that you are doing. So I'm really glad you talked about that.  

Ashley, I know you have a couple hot tips to share with my listeners, and these are things that they can implement right away. So will you share those? 

ASHLEY: Absolutely. So number one, do that trademark search. It will not take you long, and it's a great first step. We talked about checking on Google, checking on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the name that you want to use and all variations of that name. But we also talked about the uspto.gov website. Every single person listening to this can go to uspto.gov, under Trademarks, on the right hand side of the website. It's the first option under that Trademark strap down. It's called TESS. Click on that, and just run a basic word mark search for your name and all variations of your name. It'll take you a few minutes, and you'll at least be able to see if anything is out there. So those things are going to be my big, big, big hot tips. Search Google, search Facebook, search Instagram, search Twitter, and run a USPTO TESS search to ensure that the name you're using isn't already being used, or you want to make sure that that name isn't being used and nothing similar is being used. 

AMY: Oh, such a good tip. I think everybody could do that right away. And listenbecause I know my audience well and this might stress them out if they do this search and they realize, “Ooh, I shouldn't really be using this name,” take a deep breath. Everything is figureoutableWe can figure this out. We can talk about it. If you are a Digital Course Academy member, we could talk about it in the Facebook group. Just know you're not alone. Take a deep breath. We're in this together.  

Okay. So last but certainly not least, where can my listeners go to learn more about you and all that you have to offer? 

ASHLEY: Absolutely. So I actually created a resource page just for the OMME audience.  

AMY: Nice! 

ASHLEY: So they all can go to ashleynicolekirkwood.com/ommeand all of my information is there. There's a free training there for you on trademark and copyright and the differences. There's also a way where you all can join and get some free legal tips to your inbox, and learn more about the DIY trainings that we have as well. 

AMY: Okay. I want everyone to just take a little note about what Ashley just did. She went the extra mile, set up this page, has a free training there. I mean, really cool. Thank you, Ashley, for going that extra mile. I know my listeners are going to love it.  

I appreciate you being here.  

ASHLEY: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me. 

AMY: So there you have itI have a feeling you learned a lot in this episode. And I want you to at least implement one thing that you learned here today, meaning I want you to take action in the next twenty-four hours. I think the easiest thing to do is to do a search based on your course name, just to make sure you're protected. And don't worry. If somebody else is using your course name and you can't use the one that you want to use, remember what I did. I just changed it up. I didn't make a big deal of it. I promise you, your course name is not going to make or break the success of your launch. Trust me on that one.  

All right, guys. I cannot wait to tune in again next week. I'll see you here, same time, same place. Bye for now.