Overcoming the Fear of Legal Hardship with Elizabeth Pifko

Elizabeth Pifko is the owner of Corvinus Law, a business and IP law firm focused on helping startups, small businesses and online entrepreneurs with their legal needs in the areas of intellectual property (trademarks and copyright), general corporate matters (contract drafting and negotiation, entity formation, etc.), and Internet law (website legal documents, marketing and advertising compliance, GDPR, etc.)

As an online entrepreneur herself, Liz understands the unique legal challenges faced by businesses operating in the online space, and has dedicated a large part of her practice to counseling her clients through those challenges. In addition to the firm’s done-for-you
services, she also coaches business owners in the areas of contract drafting and negotiation; regulatory compliance; and IP strategy (focused on helping entrepreneurs identify, protect and monetize their intellectual property assets).

Having created several info-products relating to business and IP law, Liz’s latest project is the creation of a master DIY legal course and complete form library of essential contracts, letters and other document templates needed by small businesses and online
entrepreneurs – a product truly unique in its category, scheduled to launch this summer.

Liz has been consistently recognized as a rising expert in her field by organizations such as Super Lawyers, the American Law Society, and Marquis Who’s Who in American Law; and has been featured on various media outlets, including legal journals, magazines,
business podcasts, and other professional publications.



September 25, 2018 38 mins Download (MP3)


01:01 How is your day going?
01:26 Imagine you just had the best day of your life. Where are you going to eat, and what are you ordering in order to make your day complete?
02:18 Tell me about a time you felt lost or blind in business. What was it like, and how did you overcome it?
05:06 Why do you think that startups and small businesses are the perfect fit for your business?
06:42 Why do you think that small businesses neglect the aspect of intellectual properties and law, and what are some of the common things that startups and small businesses are missing today?
08:10 What are some of the key things that startups are missing in their day-to-day?
10:00 Do you have any scenarios of when someone took something online that wasn’t specific to their business, then got into serious legal issues because of that particular document that was created?
13:18 When do you think is a good time to think about your intellectual property?
17:44 When we’re thinking about copyright infringement and trademarking, can you give us some realistic ideas on how much that this could cost?
22:06 Is it safe to say that the entire process of legal setup (contracts, IPs, etc.) can be done for about $5,000?
23:45 Can you tell us more about why GDPR is so important? Why should we care?
29:54 The Blind Entrepreneur podcast was created for those individuals that may be temporarily blind in business. To those individuals, what are 3 pieces of advice that you could share with them?

Elizabeth Pifko’s Insight on Business Law

I think a lot of startups are neglecting the legal aspect of their businesses altogether. They don’t want to touch it. This is either because they’re terrified of the prospect, or they believe that they make the issues go away by simply ignoring it. Or perhaps business owners simply do not like talking to attorneys, because they believe that the process to speak to an attorney and become setup correctly will be prohibitively expensive. Those factors combined contribute to the general consensus of thinking that your business doesn’t have a legal side. As a result, business owners tend to make mistakes that could have been earlier avoided. This can cost them the business, or even their personal assets. I largely believe that fear is the main reason.

Three Pieces of Advice From Elizabeth Pifko

The first thing I can say is if you’re blind, there’s probably a reason for it. There is a reason you’re not looking at something that is obviously there and with the legal stuff, you need to look at it, even though you aren’t. If you’re resistant in addressing a particular aspect of your business, there is an issue.

From my experience, that’s usually the part you need to be looking at. If you’re trying to avoid it, then it’s probably important. Find an attorney that you’re comfortable with and schedule a consultation. It will give clarity on the issues that you need to be aware of, and peace of mind. Once you have a general picture of what you need to do, you won’t feel overwhelmed anymore.

Another piece of advice is to get your contracts in order ASAP, your person-to-person contracts, client and website agreements, etc. You may have a Terms of Use, Terms of Service and so on your website. You can also have disclaimers present to reinforce the nature of your information, to prevent lawsuits.

Lastly, you also need a Privacy Policy, which is required by US law if you collect personal information, FDC regulations and several state laws specifically. Failure to provide a Privacy Policy can result in heft FDC fines and shutdown on ad platforms, not to mention being banned from sites such as Google.