Beware of Shady Business Owners


I took a look at your website, and I can help you with your SEO. I have some great ideas for increasing the traffic to your website. Does that sound familiar? I get one of these emails almost weekly in my inbox. Delete! Well, not only do I receive these emails; but I also have individuals reaching out to me to partner with me for my services. This is how it all went down.


Referral Partners


Many agencies attempt to partner with my business for credit repair services as a financial coach. Well, with the word coach in my title, I'm a support teacher and not a person who fixes things quickly. I want my clients to learn using a systematic approach. The first business reached out to me to refer potential clients if they were having difficulty paying their student loans. They offered student loans with interest rates that were below the industry average. I looked them up, and they were a legitimate company.


In addition to my clients getting a better deal, I would also receive a fee for each client I referred to them if they signed the loan agreement. Okay, cool. However, I am cautious about these things, and it's not all about the money for me. So, I wanted to ensure that my clients were protected and that this was not just another agency trying to get them to finance their outstanding student loans. Next thing you know, the interest rate might increase after the first year.


When I received the contract agreement with the agency, everything seemed legit except for the requirement for me to teach two courses a year, post on social media about the company, and to top it all off, the jurisdiction was out of my state of residence. First, before I put my name to anything out in the public, I want to see others doing the same. It was minimal. My biggest issue, though, was the jurisdiction.


See my feature in Richmond Score for 11 Steps to Protect Your Business Name.


So, if any disputes occurred, New York City was where jurisdiction prevailed. Well, I'm down south, and I'd rather give up the case than have to travel back and forth to a New York court. In addition, New York law is out of my league, and the company would most definitely win their case.



What did I do?


I asked them to change the jurisdiction. What did they do? They resent the contract to me twice without making a change or communicating with me. The scoundrels! I declined to sign the contract.


See my feature in Score to find 9 Resources To Help Black Owned Small Business.


Coach Masterclass


In the spirit of collaboration, another financial coach reached out to me to teach a masterclass on career advancement skills. Employment is within my professional wheelhouse, so we set up a call and discussed a plan for a month-long masterclass. I would teach two classes, and another coach would open and close out with a fourth session. This partnership would have been great exposure for me, and the agreement would have lasted a year.


It was a paid agreement for teaching each class. When I was told the rate, I was shocked that it was so low because initially, I was going to coach the candidates and not present a course. I would have received 2% of the profit if 15 participants had enrolled in the class. I calculated this after our call, and that didn't add up.


The Non-Disclosure Agreement


The agreement stated that I would have to create the course, present it, and provide all course material and social media content to the business to promote the course. There was no mention of paying me for my time to develop the course. Their third-party agencies would use the content for marketing the masterclass after the one-year agreement was over; I would lose all rights to the videos and documents they received. They could also use my likeness for an undetermined amount of time after the one-year agreement was over.


Jurisdiction


Again, it was out of my state, and I would have to travel if any disputes occurred. When I brought this up, I was informed that they could not change the jurisdiction because the business was located in that particular state with the attorney. They would not feel comfortable in the jurisdiction of another state. Well, that's exactly what I said. So, I'm supposed to agree to something that even you are not comfortable with either?


See my feature in When to Say No in Business: 8 Signs to Pass on Opportunities in Atlanta Score.



What Happened To The Classes?


They were put on hold for that month until I had time to consider the opportunity. Well, it was considered and not accepted, so that's that.


Business Owners Beware


Beware of other established business owners who may have more experience than you. Beware of business owners who have attorneys and provide NDA, contracts, or agreements. If you do not have the expertise to review these agreements, spend a few dollars to have an attorney take a look. It will be in your best interest to spend a couple of hundreds now instead of paying thousands later.

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