What I Wish I Knew: An important lesson I’m learning

I’ve had nine days to write this 10,000 times in my head. I’m sure I’m going to rewrite it another 12 more times before we get to the end and before the #MakeupandMarketingMonday video comes out. (Make it 13 because I’m rewriting again the next morning). Why? Because I think I have gone through almost every stage of grieving there is. I feel like this sounds over dramatic to some but, there are going to be entrepreneurs who understand what this would do. I’m not telling you this occurrence to laugh at myself or to cry for sympathy. I started this blog, and promised myself I would continue it in order to share useful marketing tips, save entrepreneurs from making my mistakes, and started #HumpDayHustle to remind others, we all go through some rough patches. Stick it through.

So, this next sentence said something very different just seconds ago. But, I have taken advice and am consulting an attorney. Previously, it stated, “we are rebranding! I wish I was more excited about this and I am sure one day I will be. However, today is not that day. The last 9 days haven’t been either.” Have you heard of a trademark? I mean, I had HEARD of it but, was it really important? The correct answer is yes.

I received an email last Wednesday that CreativePro has been trademarked since 1998. What does that mean? Well, he stated it means that they could sue me for the use creative prō, in the design field. They found me because they are looking to start Creative Pro Magazine and I already had the social media handle.

At first, I was shocked. I didn’t believe it. It had to be a scam right? False, I looked it up. Then, I cried, followed by extreme stress. I am in the middle of building a brand and attempting to launch a new magazine. HOW do I explain to advertisers, followers, and writers that I didn’t fully understand something so small but so important? Then, I had to start planning. I kept thinking of everything that needs changed now. Not only do things need changed, in a small amount of time but, I still needed to find a name and logo. My business has operated for  two and a half years, going through two other names before perfecting creative prō.

Two and a half years and two name changes will not cut it this time. The secret to finding your name? (I asked others on how they did this as well). Continuously make a list of names and words or phrases you think relate to you or the topic you want to represent. Then, mix and match to make the perfect one. For me, it’s not solidified until I make the logo. That’s when I really know if it’s the one for me.

Many had told me I needed to consult an attorney. But listen, that takes $$ and I just had a brand-new MAC desktop go into the shop. I wasn’t looking to spend this extra money. I have spent every day, almost every hour, looking for a new name. I thought I had one picked when I wrote this whole blog last night. But I knew in my gut it wasn’t right. Maybe that’s because at the heart, my company will always be creative prō, to me. But I took the plunge today and made an appointment with an attorney. I would like to note, the gentleman who emailed me was very kind. I appreciate his understanding, graciousness, and kind words. Had I known more about trademarks in the very beginning, we wouldn’t be here now.

Now, coming to the villain of this story – trademarks. If I could go back and tell myself something, I would educate my younger self on what a trademark is, how to search for one, how to acquire one, and the process of going about it. So, if you are in the same position, or you’ve never even thought about a trademark, let’s get started.
1. Come up with a brand name
2. Search TESS or the Trademark Electronic Search System to make sure it isn’t already taken
3. Once you have solidified your name, you will need to apply for a trademark
4. Then, I would apply for your LLC, if you’re getting one
5. Next, apply for your EIN

Once you have your trademark and EIN, create your logo, website, social channels, etc. You’re officially in business!!I am infamous for doing everything the hard way. Not because I think I know everything but because I tend to be frugal in the categories of where to spend money and I always learn from making mistakes instead of being told. At the point I have found myself in, from my own stubbornness, I would say just hire an attorney so you know it’s correct and you are covered.

I hope this story helps you along the way whether you are just starting or you never thought about a trademark before. If you didn’t know, you can actually be sued for using a name that is trademarked. So, I would highly advise you search your business name out, if you haven’t previously.

As for me, it’s back to business as normal. Projects are being completed and a magazine is launching! All of our social media handles, as well as this website will be changing soon. I am absolutely hoping, and working tirelessly to make sure we still hit the January 2022 magazine launch but, with the current setbacks, it could be February 2022. I will keep all updated on the new name, handles, and URL.

I’m off to get a pumpkin cream cold brew… or maybe something stronger.

all the love & espresso,

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