Using Licensed Professionals For Your Business
Have you heard of the Greek myth of Icarus and Daedalus? One of the most often-cited myths, it has even been proven to have influenced great historical figures, such as Augustus Caesar. Long story short, Icarus and his father, Daedalus, were imprisoned. As a clever and resourceful man, Daedalus created two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son to escape their imprisonment. He warned his son not to fly to close to the sun, as the heat would melt the wax, but instead to follow his path. Icarus, however, became overcome by finally tasting freedom, and in his delight forgot the warning his father had given him. He flew too close to the sun, melting the wax, and causing him to fall into the sea. Today, that sea is still called the Icarian Sea, and a small Greek island named Icaria serves as a reminder of the story.
Greek mythology aside, the underlying concept of the story serves as a useful reminder to anyone starting out in business: never get so excited (or overwhelmed) when starting your business that you neglect the basics that will keep your business up and running.
One of the most overlooked fundamentals creative entrepreneurs neglect? Using licensed professionals in three specific areas of business.
As creatives, we are trained to look for beauty, glitzy, attention-catching, but when business and creativity overlap, you can never fall for the illusion that shiny marketing can sometimes create: shiny doesn’t always mean real. If you want to build a solid foundation for your business and operate it successfully, every business owner needs three “advisors” on their “team”: the best accountant, the best lawyer, and the best advisor you can find.
In the same way that you wouldn’t just go to “anybody” to perform a spinal fusion, for example. Instead, you’d go to the best surgeon you could find- you’d likely also ensure that person wasn’t just a spinal surgeon, but a neurosurgeon. A specialist. There are certain things you shouldn’t skimp on.
The tax, legal, and financial side of your business are your business’ core; and only when those areas are working properly can you move on to other, admittedly more enjoyable aspects of your business.
If you are an “educator” or an “influencer”, and you choose to monetize these areas of business, proceed with caution.
You may have valuable insight to share, and there’s nothing wrong with that- but it should remain as education. Education is general; it’s typically brief, and typically followed up with advice to seek out a licensed professional. It’s typically not a full-fledged course; it’s not extensive.
Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, crossing into the realm of advice is a direct opening of your business into a liability. Unlicensed advice given without proper licensing isn’t just a question of integrity, but when relied upon, can cause serious lawsuits. This typically happens in the fields of law, finance, accounting, and medicine. And if that advice causes damages, not even the best disclaimers will protect you.
If you’re a business owner, it's fine to start with education; but when you decide it’s time to make your business official, it’s time to use professionals who have earned licenses to equip you.