What to Consider When Signing Legal Paperwork for an LLC You Want to Operate by Distributed Governance
For those of you who desire and value more of a peer-to-peer distribution of decision making and responsibility in your business, who are ready to embark on the agreement stage of your journey as new business partners/parents (because birthing a business is a lot like having a baby together), here’s a selection of the things you’ll want to know:
1. You can think of the journey you’re taking into an agreement much like a Quest, where you’ll encounter challenges and pick up clues for how you’ll be engaging with each other, other people, clients and partners along the way. It’s a non-linear journey and you’ll likely hop around and diverge from any planned ideas that you may have had, based on what’s arising real time for you, so don’t let that phase you;
2. The process is no joke- there’s a reason 95% of startups fail and a lot of it stems from the agreement piece not being given due attention and energy. If you rush into it it’s like rushing into marriage, so you’ll want to take as much time as is needed to maximize the likelihood of you having a happy and functional relationship with continuity over time. The alternative is that you are free to pay a traditional lawyer $10k to go old school, with an off the shelf solution and just get ‘er done. If that’s what you choose just be sure to do so with your eyes open to the fact that:
(a) you’re entering into an invisible social contract that will have you swimming in the energetics of a masculine top down hierarchical structure; and
(b) if you know you want a model that can distribute power and decision making, adapt easily and keep accommodating your expanding relationships while maintaining its integrity, that’s simply not what the traditional models are designed for.
3. Your Quest will be inviting you to align at the deepest levels and address many of the challenges that often break businesses and relationships by talking about it all ahead of signing your agreements (rather than afterwards when you’re already bound by the contract). That means you may face some discomfort and can probably anticipate some unconscious aversion to the process. Even if you love and adore each other now, statistics consistently demonstrate that that’s overwhelmingly unlikely to still be the case 2–5 years down the line — and rarely does anyone see that coming. Which is why it’s important that you’re investing enough in the agreement process to keep you showing up and committed to it. Ultimately, you’re investing in your relationship, in each other and in your business, so consider what cutting corners here, of all places, would represent about what you’re prioritizing.
4. If the amount your lawyer or coach is charging is not enough to keep you showing up and actively in the Quest, then I invite you to consider what amount would, and counter with a higher offer;
5. And no, I’m not joking. You likely won’t get through this Quest without whatever patterns that typically create disharmony and disagreement in your relationships coming up to be harmonised (makes sense, right?). As such, the primary focus would ideally be on you and your relationship with each other as business partners, supporting you to navigate to a depth of trust, bond, self-responsibility and shared reality; the agreement simply memorialises that. In this context, any potential tension points that arise are seen as the portal to accessing more trust and more creativity as you navigate through them, rather than by-passing them (because in bypassing them you’re creating the kind of unspoken resentments that cause fissures and fractures that ultimately risk sinking the boat); and
6. Finally, if you don’t already have access to a lawyer who operates in a more new paradigm way, then either hire a coach or consultant who can introduce you to one and who can spend the time liaising with them on your behalf to bridge worlds in the agreement creation process. Ideally your consultant would also have a legal background and be able to liaise with the lawyer about potential business models, and/or any other agreements it makes sense for you to have with co-founders, partners, clients and other short or long term collaborators. The lawyer will charge you separately for their fees, although note these are likely to be significantly lower over time as having the coach/consultant as a translator will save on misunderstandings through the relationship building aspect and good communication.
So, if in reading all of that, you are ready for this initiation and to discover broadly what this kind of Quest journey entails then go ahead and book in for a session where I can run you through what you can expect re: the agreement formation process. The pay-to-play wall is $500 for that session (or $350 in Bitcoin), and you can click the link below to book.