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Here’s when you know you’re taking e-commerce entrepreneurship seriously:

You’ve put yourself out there.

  • You’re morphing from a hobbyist with a cloned affiliate site and crossed fingers into a unique entity in cyberspace, and by doing so,
  • You’re letting your prospects and customers know that you truly believe in what your representing, which means, by your experience with the product or service in question,
  • You’re positioning yourself as an authority on it.

Yes it is.

You’re finally aligning yourself with the core principle of marketing:

Customers buy when they’re ready to buy and have bestowed their trust in the vendor from whom they’re buying.

Ultimately, your path to the Dot Com lifestyle will involve becoming your own brand and/or producing your own products. Both will obviously have value, so that’s when your attention will be directed to protecting your intellectual properties.

For example, perhaps you’ve created a logo for your business, you use it on your site and perhaps a related Shopify store. Maybe you put it on T-shirts and/or sell T-shirts with designs you’ve created or commissioned as your own.

This isn’t hard to imagine. T-shirts are awesome promotional materials and a strong source of revenue. Here are two from our collections for The Daily Player’s Fanorama Store and Better Life Focus:

Daily Player and Better Life Focus t-shirts

So, what are your options for ensuring that your ideas stay yours?

Here’s where you defer to legal services. If you don’t already have representation in this field, one cost-effective and credible alternative is Legal Zoom.

You should always declare a copyright of anything you post on your site or blog, citing attributions if the material is not yours.

However, if you file for federal copyright, there are limits as to what will be accepted. A single word or phrase may not be allowed due to its generic nature. This is where a trademark may be applicable instead.

To determine what’s possible, an online service such as Trademarkia is a useful research resource. The company offers many services for a fee, but a trademark search is free:

Most governments provide online searches for free, as well.

Here’s a walk-through of the United States Patent and Trade Office site, ironically presented by a German company:

Once you’ve made the effort to secure your copyright and/or trademark, it’s advisable to put an enforcement alert in place. This is called a trademark watch.

Governments don’t offer this service, but Legal Zoom and Trademarkia are among many private companies who do, including:

No matter where you are in your e-commerce operations right now, take a moment to consider the point at which you may need to incorporate these expenses into your overall business plan.

After all, it’s never to early to be ready for the future.

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