Expert Advice from Annette Stepanian

Annette Stepanian Expert Advice

Tell us all about Annette Stepanian:  I’m an attorney who works with creative professionals and entrepreneurs. I practiced law for over five years at national law firm, and although I love the intellectual challenges of the law, my life started to feel a bit, well, beige. I longed for more art and color in my life. So I took a leap of faith and started my own jewelry line – Confetti by Annette. As I grew the jewelry line, other small business owners and peers sought out my legal advice about starting and running their own business. Today, I combine my passions for law and small business to teach other creative professionals & small business owners how to streamline and lay a proper legal foundation for their business.

Annette Stepanian Confetti by Annette

What services do you offer? I work one on one with other business owners to help them build a legal structure for their business. It is incredibly fulfilling to be able to guide someone so that they can go on to fulfill their creative passions. I also offer various guides and contract templates online and teach online and at events.

Annette Stepanian Contract Templates for Creatives

What advice would you offer an event planner that is starting an event planning business? Always have a contract governing your responsibilities and expectations with a client or vendor. As they say, expect for the best, but prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, memories can fade and relationships can turn sour – having a contract in place can protect you and the work you’ve put into an event. Also, make sure your contract minimizes the risk that a client will fail to pay and addresses what happens in the event a client doesn’t pay. For example, instead of billing the entire balance at the end of the project, divide your fees into a payment schedule and distribute the payments into several invoices, with the final payment of your fees due before the event date.

Another piece of advice is to always be professional in the way you conduct yourself and your business. Professionalism is not only communicated through your words, but your conduct. Create clear policies and procedures about how you operate your business and be diligent about upholding them. For example, be diligent about sending timely invoices and following up on overdue payments. This conveys that as a professional, you expect to be paid in a timely manner for your services.
Annette Stepanian
One thing to pay close attention to while reviewing contracts?  Identify the correct parties to the contract and make sure the person who is signing on behalf of the party has the authority to do so. For example, let’s assume Jane Doe works is an event planner at Premier Weddings LLC. The contract for event planning services should be between Premier Weddings LLC and the client(s). If it is between Jane Doe and the clients, then Jane would be held personally liable for the obligations under the contract. In addition, the signatory should be someone at the company who has authority to enter into agreements – for example, the CEO. If Jane Doe does not have the authority to enter into a contract, she shouldn’t sign it. If on the other hand, Jane is the CEO , she can sign the contract as Jane Doe on behalf of Premier Weddings LLC.

Favorite vintage piece in the little vintage rentals collection? Do I have to just pick one? I really have a love of vintage gadgets like typewriters, telephones, cameras, and fans! I love vintage fans!

Don’t forget to check out Annette’s website, instagram and blog.  She also runs an amazing facebook group for female entrepreneurs- sign up!

Photos: 1/ Melody Melikian  2, 3+4/Paper Ban Photography

This information is for educational and informational purposes only; it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author.


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