75: How to Start a Business, Legally, With Matt Johnston

You’ve had a spark of an idea and you’re considering turning your passion or a side hustle into a business. Or perhaps you already have. The idea and the excitement is the easy part.

The hard part? “Where in the HELL do I begin to actually form a business?” 

This is probably the #1 question I get from new entrepreneurs. So today we’re going to talk about the first steps you should take to launch your business as a legal entity. 

I am no guru at this, but I know the best of the best. To help me guide you through this process today I have Matt Johnston (#Mattthelawyer).


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • When you should consider transitioning your hobby into a business
  • Important factors you need to consider when entering into a business partnership
  • A step-by-step process of how to launch your business as a legal entity
  • Who should be part of your management team as a small business owner
  • The difference between copywriting and trademarking and how to go about setting these up
  • The two biggest mistakes small business owners make


Matt Johnston (#Mattthelawyer) is a small business attorney and the founder of the Johnston Business Law Group in Frederick, MD. He’s been in private practice since 2007, solo practice since 2012, and has run a virtual law practice long before it became all the rage in 2020. He provides easily accessible, actionable and practical legal and business advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Matt’s passion for small business led him to exclusively represent small business owners in matters related to formation, operations, employment law, trademarks, and copyright law. He is deeply opinionated on the matters of contract law, and his experiences developed a viewpoint that ‘contracts are documents about relationships first and the law second’. 

When not geeking out about contracts, Matt can be found geeking out about soccer, science fiction and a little bit of heavy metal music.




For more information about Ask #Mattthelawyer Monthly Plan click HERE.



“Small business owners are one of the most underrepresented groups of business people out there…”

“When people call a lawyer, on one level they’re asking for a particular service or problem to be solved. But on the most fundamental and human level, they’re looking for comfort. They’re looking for understanding.”

“‘When to start a business?’ is a deeply personal question. I will say that as odd as it may seem, the doldrums of a pandemic, or other economic downturns, is actually a pretty good time to think about starting it.”

“Partnership in business changes the relationship…”

“‘My income from my side hustle needs to replace the income I’m losing from my main job.’ If you’re looking for that equivalence, there’s a fairly high probability you will never make it, because your side hustle has only so much time that you can devote to it.”

“If you’re going to take the risk of being in business for yourself, or even more so, employing other people, then you definitely want to be thinking about, ‘How am I differentiating myself?’”



Twitter: @JohnstonBLG

LinkedIn: Matthew Johnston

Instagram: @mattthelawyer

Website:  mattthelawyer.com



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