Mark Pierce is an attorney, an accountant and the owner of Cloud Peak Law. From being an entrepreneur, Pierce has undoubtedly gained a deep awareness of what it takes to run a successful business. Combine that with his experiences as an attorney and CPA, and Mark Pierce becomes the proverbial “triple threat”. He knows first-hand what it’s like “in the trenches” as a business owner, yet can also speak on a much higher level - bringing in knowledge of accounting and offering definitive legal guidance from three decades as an attorney.
Andrew Pierce is an independent asset protection consultant and the creator of WyomingLLCAttorney.com. In these roles, he helps business owners from nearly every industry and with nearly any size company, to effectively protect their assets through forming LLCs. Having personally formed over 5,000 LLCs for his clients, Andrew can safely be called an expert on both LLC formation and entity protection overall. His expertise is further demonstrated by having deliberately chosen to focus on Wyoming LLCs.
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Mark Pierce: [00:00:00] What you're dealing with these virtual offices, or domicile, you know, if you've got an e-commerce business and you're in California and you're drop shipping from someplace else, why are you paying the income tax in Florida? You know, you can domicile your company in Wyoming and avoid having to pay upwards of 13.3% on the income tax. Tax rates at the end of the day. So you find that a lot of e-commerce companies are beginning to do that as well.
Andrew Pierce: [00:00:29] Some people do want to use their personality as their brand, but they may not want their home address to be up there. So for example, a lot of people have the same candle suppliers, so they become their own candle manufacturer. But what they could do is they're selling their own candles, but they want to also be able to sell them to other people. And you could do that through a private LLC. So the manufacturer is private and they don't know that you're both the seller and the manufacturer.
Joseph: [00:00:54] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kind insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable so let's go.
I'll admit one of the limiting factors that is impacted me as a business person is not knowing what danger I could be in from a liability standpoint. After my conversation with Andrew and Mark Pierce of CloudPeak Law, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. It turns out that there are people on our side in e-commerce that can get your business structured in such a way that you can focus on your work, unless you do something egregious, only your business fails, which is of course still a massive blow to you but, you know, that's where it should stop.
We have Mark and Andrew Pierce on Ecomonics. Great to have you guys both on here. Um, it's, it's always fun to be able to do, uh, multi guest episodes. I haven't quite settled on what I want to call them, but multi guest seems to be the name that we're going to go with for now.
So, uh, how you guys doing, how you feeling today?
Mark Pierce: [00:02:05] We're doing great.
Andrew Pierce: [00:02:06] We're doing well. Thanks. We appreciate you having us on the podcast as well. A lot of times we deal with the real estate investors or estate planning, but we have a lot of clients in e-commerce as well. So it's fun to do a podcast and not being too.
Mark Pierce: [00:02:20] Yeah, in fact, we're in e-commerce right?
Andrew Pierce: [00:02:22] Yeah. We, we are fundamentally a website. We just happen to sell legal services at the end of the day. So I'd argue that we are.
Mark Pierce: [00:02:29] Yeah. I mean, the bar doesn't have to be that high, I think as soon as any transaction takes place and it has to be done online then. Okay.
It basically qualifies. Like, I dunno, Uber e-commerce to me, even though somebody is physically coming it's it's all about bridging the gap between what's here and in the physical sense and what is on the digital sense. So yeah, the bar is not that high. In fact, I think pretty much every business at some in some way, shape or form is, uh, either e-commerce or as, uh, entering into it.
And I have talked to some people whose their job is to help bridge that gap where they'll call up companies and talk to them and say, Hey, you know, you don't have a web presence. All you've got is a phone number. And, uh, that's, that's just not going to be enough, uh, coming into, coming into the future. So, so I, it all, which is to say, I agree.
Andrew Pierce: [00:03:14] Yeah. And I think, especially during the COVID era, it's forced more and more people to be online at the end of the day. And kind of the joke we have is, you know, if you have a website, but you're not properly marketing it, it's kinda like making flyers, but then putting them in your desk or you've got to get the word out.
Uh, the website alone is not enough. Need to get the word out and get the visitors there. But then at that point, I think a lot of the standards, regardless of what you're selling apply industry industry, uh, so it's pretty interesting watching law, those things move online.
Mark Pierce: [00:03:44] Yeah. One of the interesting things that came out of Cleo here recently was that, um, 83% of all law firms felt that they were e-commerce proficient. And 23% of their clients felt like there were. So there's a 60% gap somewhere. And my guess is that I would just go with the client most of the time if the client doesn't think that you're e-commerce proficient, you're probably not.
Andrew Pierce: [00:04:06] That's the metric certainly. Yeah. I remember about five years ago, we started moving more and more things online.
They realize if you needed the client to do something or have it done offline to take, who knows how long trying to find printers or scanners. So it was just easier to do it all for them and move it to the website.
Mark Pierce: [00:04:22] It's still a nightmare. Anytime a client starts downloading documents and running documents off pagination changes, section numbers change on and on. You can't do that with our portal, right? There's just in the portal.
Andrew Pierce: [00:04:34] Have you found that it's, uh, increased the, uh, the possibility for say like something key or critical to I'd be lost in the shuffle or if like someone's supposed to, I, you have to forgive me the terminology. I'm not the expert on, cause you know, I can only understand so many jargons of so many different industries, but with the possibility of say they have to sign something digitally and they don't quite get it.
Have you noticed that people that there's more potential for mistakes now that there's more of a transition into the digital space?
I think five years ago there was some hesitancy, people were worried is an e-signature going to be valid. Okay. You've stored it online, but what if the cloud gets deleted?
You know, there was sort of questions like that. But I think at this point it's been so widely adopted. Uh, you don't run into those issues anymore. There's familiarity with the consumer. There's a level of comfort that there wasn't before.
Mark Pierce: [00:05:27] Oh, yeah. I'm being particularly with, with a lot of clients. Yeah. With a lot of clients used to be a real hesitancy not to sign anything. And now it's, there's a hesitancy not to sign it electronically. I had a guy the other day, I was listing some property for sale and he wanted me to come by his office. I was like, what? Can't you just send it to me. And, you know, we, we did it all online.
It was quick, it was efficient. Everybody had copies of everything. So I think that you've reached a real tipping point, particularly with COVID where people just expect to be able to be doing anything online. I don't think the legal profession has caught up in a lot of respects, but you know, in other respects, as has we do almost all of our documents online with electronic signatures.
Andrew Pierce: [00:06:08] The estate plan you put together, the gentleman grabs, it goes on a flight to Hawaii leaves the whole estate plan binder on the flight and they lose all the planning documents.
So at least now that can't happen, everything's stored digitally. So.
Mark Pierce: [00:06:22] Yeah, he dropped by the office. He had to have his book. While he took his book out like this was right clenched right next to his chest, got on the flight and left it in the bin in front of his seat. Yeah, you never know. So I ended up PDF and all the copies to me was fine, but I thought it was interesting. That was probably the last client I had that actually needed paper forms.
Joseph: [00:06:43] That, that, uh, uh, I guess that demystifies, what I was wondering about is the potential for accidents, but it makes more sense. There's, there's, there's different layers of protection. This reminds me of something I was talking about to a developer.
This was a few years ago and the worry that I had is like paperwork. It can get lost on a flight and, or it can end up in a landfill somewhere, but at least until a hundred years go by and it biodegrades, it still has a physical presence. Whereas if the servers go down, your external hard drive gets wiped. Can't be retrieved, you know, is there, there is a sense of impermanence. And when he said he put my mind at ease, it took a while, but he said, okay, listen there, I can't tell you where it is, but there are these cloud servers that are hidden somewhere in the Alps. They can basically store all the internet just in case anything goes wrong.
I thought, well, okay. I'm glad somebody had that kind of forethought.
Mark Pierce: [00:07:34] Yeah. We've got mirrored backup. Yeah, you've got everything's mirrored back up.
Andrew Pierce: [00:07:37] Yeah, you do redundancy, not just within the same data center, but across different geo locations and then across different services. And at that point at that much of the internet stone, that, that resembles aren't going get in.
And I don't think the issue will be your LLC. Uh, so.
Mark Pierce: [00:07:54] With us, we we've got basically financial grade, um, software and storage solutions. So if, if something happens to our system, you're going to have problems that are a lot worse than retrieving or legal documents.
Joseph: [00:08:07] I haven't even gotten into my, uh, my opening question is just, uh, it's just great to see you guys.
I mean, this is kind of the fun of having two guests, because you can play off each other and you know, anything that makes my dig a little bit more efficient. I'm, I'm all for it. So, uh, if, if you want to reach out and do like three person episodes, four episodes, I am more than open to it, but I do got to get an opening question in which is, you know, what you guys do and what you're up to.
We've unraveled a little bit so, so far, but I think it's important just to ask it formally and get the formal answer. Uh, so I did a coin flip about an hour ago just to sort this out and mark you, uh, got, got heads. So, uh.
Mark Pierce: [00:08:44] I'm an attorney and a CPA. Andrew's the marketing and operations guy. So, you know, on a day-to-day basis, he's kind of ahead of me on a lot of things.
So, and why don't you take it, run with it? I'll just say, look, we do asset protection trusts, and LLC, essentially not just a state planning, but a, you know, basically risk minimization. That'd be a fair assessment room.
Andrew Pierce: [00:09:05] Yeah, I think, uh, you know, our three primary areas are asset protection, privacy and the minimization of taxes.
Uh, and then estate planning fits into all of that. The taxes to a certain extent, and everyone wants to save there, but really it's the asset protection and privacy that are a big deal, especially nowadays with so much information being on the internet. How can you anonymously on a website? How can you have a company that isn't tied back to your home address?
Let's say, you know, you're running a drop-shipping company out of your home and you've got kids or you don't have kids, but you just don't want people finding that. Those are things where we can help you cover your tracks a little bit and have some privacy at the end of the day. Uh, so essentially LLCs corporations, virtual offices, uh, phone answering, those sorts of solutions we can assist with.
Joseph: [00:09:49] So let's start with the privacy because I think that's definitely something that everybody, whether they think it's important or not, it's, it's an important factor into comfortably and reliably, uh, running a one's business. Now we have covered one aspect to this, which is having a virtual address, just so that I don't put my actual apartment, a number suite and buzz code on my business.
What I would put inside is a virtual address. So that's the one that I do know that helps protect some of the privacy. Um, so I do want to, uh, start unfolding this in a pack in this and learn, you know, what else there is to do, but there is one other thing that I want to keep in mind about this when we're talking about e-commerce business.
Um, or in, in here on Ecomonics, you know, this is a drop-shipping country. So we do have a lot of people who are, you know, they're looking to break away from the system that they've been in for awhile. They want to have a more free form lifestyle, whether they're going up against say Amazon, and they're not working within Amazon, or they're going up against other competition in the niche, they do need to market themselves and find a unique position that gives them an edge.
And a lot of that has to do with personality and being somebody to root for. So what you'll find is that people will reach out to other people on Instagram and try to build a following. They have a Facebook page, uh, and it, it, it, it's not disadvantage. Yeah. It's not disadvantageous to use yourself as a marketing asset, tell your own story, you know, where you're from your background and stuff like that.
So it seems to me that there is a very difficult balance here between being open in the interest of forwarding my business versus guarding what needs to be guarded. So that's where I would like to also touch on as well as like what is non-negotiable really what needs to be guarded.
Andrew Pierce: [00:11:29] And I think, uh, you know, it depends, some people do want to use their personality is their bring it, but they may not want their home address to be up there.
But then we've seen people as well, where, uh, you know, I know drop shipping has become more competitive. So for example, a lot of people have the same candle suppliers, so they become their own candle manufacturer. But what they could do is they're selling their own candles, but they want to also be able to sell them to other people.
And you could do that through a private LLC. So the manufacturer is private and they don't know that you're both the seller and the manufacturer. So it lets you kind of dominate maybe that search engine results space or lets you be, you know, be your own competition in a few ways. Uh, so that's one option that people have as well.
Mark Pierce: [00:12:09] Yeah, I think that's right. You know, there there's some people, um, Yeah, like you say, they are the brand, but for most people that's not true. And you want to put a series of buffers in between you and the general public. And we offer anonymous filing services just to keep you out of the public eye. It doesn't mean that you're out of the government side.
You know, you have to the, uh, department of treasury internal revenue service has to know who your ultimate beneficiary is within an LLC as does a bank. So, you know, those things are not going to be anonymous, but you're not broadcasting to the public as to what it is that you have. And there, there are three states that lead the United States in terms of providing that level of anonymity.
One is Wyoming, the other one's New Mexico and the other one's. We have physical offices in all three, whereas a lot of your LLC and corporate organizations, organizers, um, you know, third-party that out. And they rely on people such as us to provide those services to you. You know, the other thing would, you're dealing with these, uh, virtual offices or domicile, you know, if you've got an e-commerce business and you're in California and you're drop shipping from someplace else and your sales organization is stretched all over the United States, why are you paying the income tax in Florida?
You know, you can domicile your company in Wyoming and avoid having to pay upwards of 13.3% on the income tax. Tax rates at the end of the day. So you find that a lot of e-commerce companies are beginning to do that as well. So, you know, it doesn't hurt to not have an interest broadcast to the public that you've got an interest in an e-commerce company that's domiciled in California if you don't want to pay taxes there.
Andrew Pierce: [00:13:44] And also, they don't need to know if you have partners or don't have partners. It could be advantageous for them to think you're a hundred percent owner, but let's say you're only 10% for your name. Uh, you get to choose what it is that you do and don't disclose at the end of the day.
Mark Pierce: [00:13:56] I think that's a good point.
Joseph: [00:13:58] Okay. So when you say a domicile, I haven't heard that, that particular word using the wild last time I heard it was in a movie from like the nineties and it was just a term used for somebody's home. So here's what I'm, uh, trying to understand is that if I were, let's just say I'm selling and based on my market, I have at least 10 different states that would take a great deal of interest in my niche.
Um, is it one domicile per state or is it just one domicile and then that kind of like alleviates at least like some of it I can imagine that rules will change for on a state to state basis.
Mark Pierce: [00:14:30] Well, you can only be domiciled. You can only have a home. That's all domiciled. What's your home, you know.
Andrew Pierce: [00:14:35] That's the home for the company in this context.
Mark Pierce: [00:14:38] Yeah.
Andrew Pierce: [00:14:39] So you have a personal domicile and a business domicile.
Mark Pierce: [00:14:42] And you may be selling into a lot of different states, but you're making your income in one state. So you pay your sales tax or with like Amazon services and stuff like that. You pay your sales tax, your pro-rata wherever, whatever it is you're doing. But the income that you make is in Wyoming and Wyoming, doesn't have a, a state tax state income tax, so you can save or whatever the difference is between your home state and Wyoming by doing that. Now, if it flows through to you ultimately anyway, then you may not save anything, but for a lot of companies that are accumulating wealth and they'll accumulate it in a place like Wyoming, Wyoming set itself up to be that way, because we've got, I think some of the best LLC, I'd say that we got the best LLC statute in the United States right now.
Um, our asset protection statutes are top line. Uh, we've made some recent changes in our last legislative session that allow me to say that unequivocably, um, you know, but even more importantly, when you get down to blockchain, you get down to Bitcoin, you know, fours magazine, write-ups Wyoming, number one.
You know, you didn't get there by accident. You got there by as a design. And so the legislature here been led by a couple of different people, um, have implemented rules and regulations that allow for the formation of capital with the minimum amount of governmental interference and a minimum amount of tax.
Joseph: [00:15:57] Uh, I want to stop off on the, on a blockchain for a section cause I have like a passing interest in crypto. I know I have some, I have some Bitcoin, I generate some VAT because I'm using brave browser. They're not paying me to say that. I just think it's a great browser. And one of the things about the blockchain is that it's decentralized.
So the premise is it's not supposed to really matter, um, about the physical location it's just supposed to matter is tracking the activity of it so that it doesn't do anything in congruous with the law, uh, or just common sense for that matter. So, in what way is the blockchain more significant in Wyoming versus in a different state?
Andrew Pierce: [00:16:34] You got a question of what type of asset is Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. And in a lot of states, they treat them differently. So if you own it personally, and then how that state treats the asset comes into play. Whereas if the assets domiciled in Wyoming, when you say that crypto can't be treated any different lead than any other assets. So you get the benefit from our asset protection laws here. Whereas in other states it's not entirely clear what type of, so the physical asset, the digital asset for the law of them having ruled. And I think you might have a judge who looks unfavorably toward it, but in Wyoming, you're going to have the clear costs to the hub at the end of the day. So there'll be much more difficult to get to.
Mark Pierce: [00:17:14] They just finished up some amendments to the uniform commercial code that allowed banks to come in or be formed in the state to take cryptocurrency as a form of security, uh, for loans that would be made to individuals against that cryptocurrency, which is interesting.
So we've got the only two cryptocurrency bank loaning lending institutions in the United States. They're not actually fully up and operational now. They're working out their back office issues. But they've got the charter they're ready to run when they get the back office issues up and running. And you know, these people didn't just drop out of the sky.
They, one of them was a significant executive at Morgan Stanley and she came in, she was a Wyoming native. She came back to Wyoming to put this thing into place. Then the other one was a guy. I think he's out of California. I can't remember. Can't remember what the guy's name was, but he is selected Wyoming as well.
And like I said, we got the regulations that allow you to do it. Whereas most states are not looking at the sort of thing.
Andrew Pierce: [00:18:07] Cause the issue you'd have is you'd have a lot of crypto wealth, but let's say you want, I've got $10 million in crypto. I want to take a million dollar loan against. Other banks would go we don't know how to treat that asset. We can't use it as collateral. And then end Wyoming went, oh, well we figured that out. All of a sudden you have the nation's only two crypto banks are in Wyoming and you can sell the assets there and have the benefits.
Joseph: [00:18:29] Oh, I want to also just make sure I get a good grip on, on domiciles things. So what are the requirements for this? Um, do you, uh, can you have a physical address that's as like simple as a mailbox or is there a certain, are there certain parameters, is there a certain amount of like square footage that you have to have in order to qualify?
Mark Pierce: [00:18:51] Well, essentially what we do is we provide a little bit more than a mailbox.
I know a lot of people have said, you know, if you have a virtual office in Wyoming, that should do it. If you have a registered agent in Wyoming, the law says, that's what you do at, I spoke at length with a tax attorney out of New York who's litigated this issue a couple of different times as to where are you domiciled?
Because it makes a difference for state income taxes, federal income taxes, et cetera, et cetera. He said, look, you know, you got to have a physical address. So when you lease an office space from us, it's a, what is it? Some by five, eight by five, something like that. You've got a desk. You have a server here at this office where all of your documents are stored so that your domiciles of your documents. You have a phone line that's answered with the 3 0 7 area code.
If that's what you want to have and a, you pay whatever business license taxes are here, franchise taxes, which are, you know, incredibly, incredibly low. So you've got the four points out of the five points of contact that you need to establish domicile. The last one is voting and LLCs and corporations can't vote.
So we're four for four, and you feel very comfortable that for what was it? 1200, $1,500 a year, which if you're living in California in New York, that's lunch money for basically a month, you know, and then you've got your insurance and you are domiciled Wyoming.
Andrew Pierce: [00:20:05] Yup. And I think mark did pretty well. He calls it the sweaty brow test.
You know, there's no list of necessary and sufficient conditions. Do I have domicile, do not have domicile, uh, the questions eventually you may get in front of a judging, you have to justify it. So if you can sit there and go, I've got physical space, I visited Wyoming. Once I've done this, I've done that, that feels substantial if you go, oh yeah, you've got $10 million in Wyoming and I have a PO box and I've never been and I don't rent and it's costing me $50 a year. They go out $50 a year for 10 million in assets. That seems a little incongruous. Uh, but you know, the more you can do, uh, and then it comes into the value of the assets that you have as well know if you only have 10 or $20,000 at $300 virtual office is probably sufficient for you.
Have you start getting into really substantial numbers. The nice part is you actually have the money to do it correctly. Uh, so you know, it's a little bespoke depending on what you have going on at the end of the day.
Mark Pierce: [00:20:57] Yeah, we basically charge a hundred bucks a month for the service, but we've had people come in and say, look, I, I wouldn't feel comfortable in front of a judge paying less than 500 a month for this, so, okay.
We'll pay 500 a month. So we take 500 a month.
Andrew Pierce: [00:21:10] That was a California resident because he'd be saving so much on taxes. He went, I can't save 10 grand a month in taxes and only pay a hundred. I need to be spending more. And he said, okay, well you tell us what you're comfortable with at that point.
Mark Pierce: [00:21:23] Yeah. And I liked the, I liked the sweating brow test, you know, I've litigated a little bit in front of tax course and that tax court judges a fairly sophisticated individual.
And when you get into small matters, like jurisdiction and domicile, you're not going to be able to look at him and say, oh yeah, you know, I've got a virtual office. I've never been there, but I think I flew over at one time on the way to LA you know, that one's not gonna work. So that's the sweating test I think, is what it is right there.
Joseph: [00:21:49] So it hasn't gotten to the point where people are physically coming to visit the office, just to sit in the desk, put their feet up and uh, and, and call it a day. Cause I feel like, you know, if I, if I, if I had the money to, to do this and it was imperative, I feel like I would just come pay a visit, you know, just to, uh, have the, have the experience.
Andrew Pierce: [00:22:06] Yeah. And you know, we're only two hours away from Yellowstone, which is just magnificent. And then from Yellowstone, you can get the Jackson and go skiing. So what we'll have is a lot of people during ski season kind of plan around that. So they get their trip in and out of Wyoming paid for, and then a couple of their hotels stays.
Joseph: [00:22:25] So it is, it is funny to me, just the thought were, um, a hundred dollars is basically what the fee is, but the extra $400, which in all intensive purposes is in the abstract still has to be paid just for that their own peace of mind. It's just that they, when they write it down and said, no, I am paying $500 bills instead of a hundred dollars for this.
Like it's it's. I just think it's interesting. Cause we talk about value all the time and this is. I can't put my finger on it. This is intrinsic value or intrinsic value. It's a subjective or objective, or they just say, well, I just need to pay this money because this is just how I sleep at night.
Andrew Pierce: [00:22:59] You're in front of a new Yorker, a California judge, and you go, I've got an office space rectum, it's a hundred dollars a month, California do you go, you can get an office space for a hundred dollars a month. That's sounds impossible. So if you live in Tennessee, they probably go. Hundred bucks. That sounds pretty good. Or in these other states, you know, it also depends on what state you're in. I, I live in Florida, it's very business friendly. I don't have to do a lot for them to say, okay, you're a Wyoming company. California, for example, their franchise tax board is very aggressive. New York is very aggressive. So if you're in those states, you have to be freed up a little bit more. If you're in a different state, that's not as aggressive, you don't have to do as much. So that's why it depends a little bit on where you're living.
Or if you're a nomad, let's say you're not spending most of your time inside of America, you need very minimal ties to Wyoming because you don't have ties to anywhere else. So there, the virtual office might be all that you need. So it depends as well where you're living. What states are you spending all your time stuff like that.
Joseph: [00:23:53] Now I'm going to feel a little silly asking this, but I'm, I am in Toronto. Uh, you know, I'm a, I'm a Canadian citizen, so are there limitations based off citizenship who would be able to, uh, acquire the, a virtual office in Wyoming or I guess in any state, but no, no, no. I corrected correction.
Wyoming is particular here, but just because of the rules. So like you're nodding your head. You're telling me that it wouldn't matter.
Andrew Pierce: [00:24:17] No citizenship.
Mark Pierce: [00:24:20] No, because you're not domiciling yourself here.
Right. You're not domiciling yourself here. You're domiciling the LLC or the corporation here. So the focus is on the corporation.
Wouldn't matter who the shareholders are. The membership interest holders are, you know, we've done. Here's some interesting stuff that goes on. You know, you've got a number of people throughout the world who would like to take, uh, take advantage of Wyoming's asset protection laws. And we've gotten a number of trusts here recently that these people are not US citizens, not US residents, and they don't generate US sourced income.
And yet they have a US trust. So we can domicile the trust here and they don't pay any tax because there's nothing to generate tax for them, but they have all the protection of the laws from that. So it's another way to go about it.
Andrew Pierce: [00:25:06] And a large number of our clients are overseas. So large number of clients are overseas.
I know for example, if you're doing a FBA, um, certain countries you're allowed to do it, but then if you're a, I don't know any off the top of my list, but let's say you're in a country where you can't sign up with Amazon and work around his US LLC. And then that can sign up with Amazon and you're good to go.
Joseph: [00:25:36] So I have two other pillars to this that I want to ask about, um, for my audiences and also for my own site too, if I'm being honest. Um, so I want to make sure that we have a clear understanding of what the LLC is. I, I believe limited liability either company or corporation liability company company.
Okay. Now this to me, uh, my understanding is that this is a a different pillar versus a, a corporation or so propriety, which for the record, I own a sole proprietor right now. Just cause I'm a, you know, I'm a one man operation and yeah, I've had a sole propriety for about the last, I don't know, five or six years just cause I do a web comic and it's just like, I don't know.
I, um, I'm an artist like I'm from the quirkier side. So we tend to not want to focus too much on this, but I understand it's important. And so this is why I'm here to learn it. But so the significance of LLC, I want to talk about what makes it special, makes it distinct, um, appealing and also in the e-commerce space.
Um, you know, when is it worth looking into?
Mark Pierce: [00:26:33] Yeah, the LLC is appealing because of its flexibility. You know, a corporation is very statutory, whatever the statute provides, that's what you have to comply with. They've got a great, great deal of case law behind it. Essentially what the Wyoming LLC statute says is that, you know, you put an operating agreement together and you can contractually agree to whatever you want or agree.
As long as it's legal, you're not, I mean, legal, like, you know, not criminal. And so in between two partners, three, four partners. And we said, okay, this, these people are doing these things. We're getting this distribution out of it that you can vary it. Whereas in a corporation, a lot of times you have a much less flexible structure coming out of it.
Andrew Pierce: [00:27:10] You got a board of directors, you've got officers that you absolutely have to have. You've got all those different layers there that most people just don't need.
Mark Pierce: [00:27:18] Yeah. And so with the LLC, get rid of most of that. You just have a manager, one or two managers to take care of everything. And you know, at the end of the day you can change it.
You know, with the drop of a hat and you want me to have the first LLC statute beginning, I think in 97, then we've evolved this thing over the last 24 years, like a single member, LLCs of efficacy in Wyoming. Whereas a lot of states, they don't view them as pass through entities and they go after the members in Wyoming that has efficacy in Wyoming and you are able to do things within an LLC structure.
You cannot do in a corporate structure. And because of that, it gives her all the flexible you need in business. And Wyoming has a closed, limited liability supplement. So you don't even have to observe the formalities of annual meetings and that sort of thing about the only thing that you can get really crossed up with co-mingling assets or treating it like it's your piggyback and then you'll end up in trouble.
Andrew Pierce: [00:28:11] Yeah. It's particularly important for e-commerce clients as well. Cause you do have some liability depending on the products that you're selling. Well, if it's t-shirts and hats, most likely not, but if you're selling baby toys or candles, or especially, I know because of competition, you know, people have gotten into manufacturing as well.
So that brings in additional liabilities that you can have when you're selling products. So it's nice to not only be able to, if one of your products causes harm, they can't go after you individually. But let's say that someone burns on their house with the candle where you don't want it to go ahead and affect your, uh, the toys that you've got going on.
Or if you're doing affiliate marketing, those are indifferent companies. So there's sewing one LLC, but it doesn't affect the rest of them. Something else that we've seen as well, as, you know, it might form one LLC and they're selling 20 or 30 different product lines. And then a lot of people like to go ahead and sell the website offers to sell that product line off.
But as you've had everything flowing into one company and all the expenses someone says, Hey, I want to buy it. It can be a little bit hard to figure out. Okay. What were the actual revenues? What were the profits that were going on inside of this company? So if you have a feeling that one of these is going to be big, you split it off into its own company.
The books are clean. Then you just sell that company, which has its contracts. It owns the domain as the suppliers and everything else. And it's a little bit easier to spin these things off. And I know that initially, when e-commerce, or starting off your notes, could I get a thousand or two in sales a month?
They're not thinking of this, but what will happen a lot of times is you'll hit this shield. Kind of explode and all of a sudden you're going, oh crap, it's a little bit late to plan. So, you know, you don't have to start off with 20 LLCs, start off with one, but as soon as it starts having any type of real volume, spin it off into its own company and you'll be pretty happy at the end of the day.
And it keeps, you know, different accidents from effecting this line of business. Won't affect you personally, with the corporate veil, it makes a little bit easier to expand and grow too.
Joseph: [00:30:04] Okay. So, um, just to tie this into, um, a lot of the discussion that I have with say a lot of, we have, we do get a lot of dropshippers on the show, like, cause like I said, this is drop shipping country and you know, we do discuss the, what is the initial budget for people to set up a Shopify store and, um, and, and have a fighting chance. And the consensus has been around 500 to a thousand dollars. I would lean more towards a thousand dollars because I mean, really 500, come on, just throw in the extra 500 w when we, we discuss say, and, and this is actually a long thread that I've had with say, like an accounting firm that I'd spoken to differently.
So we do have these other factors that are important, uh, in securing, uh, the foundation for our growth, but it can be intimidating in the sense that there was a lot of these other expenses that are going to, uh, factor in. And if I don't even succeed, if I can't even find a winning product or if I can't market it right, then that just means I've spent a lot more time and energy and resources into this.
So to simplify, the question is a, the question was about to be when should I start planning this, which is silly, it should really be like, what should I start planning right away? But B. Is when is it time for say somebody running a store? Like a lot of people that we've talked about here on the, on the program to reach out to you guys and say, okay, it's time. I need to form an LLC.
Andrew Pierce: [00:31:24] I'd say as early as possible. But realistically, you know, if your choice is between having the money to run Facebook ads and having the money to form an LLC, well, you need to run Facebook ads because if you only formed the LLC and can't run ads, it's not going to do you a lot of good. Uh, but I'd say as soon as you start to have just a little bit of extra cash and then depends on the riskiness of the product as well on your personal assets.
Now, if you have no personal assets and you burn a house down who cares, you know, they'll Sue you and that's that. But if you've got, you know, you're doing pretty well, this is kind of your side gig. You've got a nice W2, a home and a car and you start selling candles. You've got a little bit more to protect.
So that can be a bit of a personal choice, but certainly once it looks as though you're going to be profitable at that point, you should invest. Go ahead and put it into a company and do it sooner rather than later, because you just end up, there's less to clean up than waiting to be a year or two down the road.
Mark Pierce: [00:32:17] Remember we have an account in the other day is set up a single proprietorship. What do you call it? Flying blind or what did they call that?
Joseph: [00:32:25] And the w the, the term that I had used was sole proprietor.
Mark Pierce: [00:32:27] Yeah. A sole proprietorship in the United States. They call it flying blind or something like that, or the worst choice you can make.
You know, you just, if you're in business, you're in business and you should be in an LLC or a corporation, you shouldn't be out there as a sole proprietorship.
Joseph: [00:32:40] Yeah. I, I agree with that. I mean, uh, again, it was something that I had set up much earlier on just. Because the logic was well, it is just me at the end of the day, but I completely agree with what you guys are saying. Um, in regards to a sitting one of these.
Andrew Pierce: [00:32:55] The potential tax benefits, you know, if you have an LLC or a corporation and you're taking certain deductions, uh, they tend to look a little bit more favorably on if you went to lunch or did these other things. Cause it looks a little bit more like you're in business instead of treating yourself.
Uh, so I mean, with, you know, the cost of an LLC being 199, that's how much we charge any way. There's people, there are less, a lot of people that are more, but that includes the state fee. You know, the accountant should be able to get at least $199 in tax savings for you. So it should be at least neutral for you. If not something that saves you money.
Joseph: [00:33:30] So 199 now is that you'll have to forgive me. A lot of these questions are very like 101, but is it, is it a one-time fee or is it a recurring fee? Like the, it has to be renewed at a certain point.
Andrew Pierce: [00:33:42] Uh, it's 199 for the first year. It includes most of what you need.
We've got all the cart for some additional things. And then if you get your years, that's 149 and that keeps you open and private. Uh, if you don't mind, if you don't care about the privacy, it just be $99, 49 bucks stylus for an address, $50 to the state.
Joseph: [00:34:00] When you consider the significance of this and, and how much peace of mind it provides, it's not.
It's really not that much get a bunch of Shopify apps that could end up costing the same amount of money. So, uh, that, that alone is I think, quite a relief and I hope the audience feels that way as well. Um, there is something that I've been wondering this, and not just at the beginning of this conversation, but I've been wondering this for a while time when we talk about, uh, the advantage of both LLC and corporation is that if there is an incident, something gets set on fire or explodes or a mixture of those two or flood or whatever I can go on and on and on talking about all those bad things, because I have fun doing that kind of thing, but they want to, uh, they, they want to sue, they can sue a company and, and the individual is okay.
Now that, to me, sounds like at some point, depending on the severity of the incident, sooner or later, and individually individual has to be held responsible. Um, so what happens, what would happen to somebody seeking justice, where if the, an LLC or even a corporation, if it is a valid to the discussion here, If they say they declare bankruptcy and there's no, um, re compensation for the bereaved or the person or the victim in this case, uh, what happens?
Does it get to a point where they will, uh, go after an individual or, uh, how secure is a protection really?
Andrew Pierce: [00:35:20] Well, it's not really about the severity of it. It's about, was there gross negligence or was there fraud in that case? They can pierce it otherwise just because there was a victim in the tragedy doesn't mean you now get to make a victim and the tragedy out of the business owner, because of something unfortunate.
Mark Pierce: [00:35:36] Yeah. You know, you take the, take the idea that you're running a bus company. And, um, you know, you're an individual who is incorporated at bus company. You're running the bus company and the bus driver gets drunk and he runs over a bus full of school, children and slaughters 20 of them. Uh, that's tragic and no one would wish that on anyone.
But at the end of the day is the guy who put the bus company together as he liable. And the answer is generally no, unless he knew the guy was a drinker. Now, otherwise, you know, that's the reason that we got the LLC set up is to avoid that kind of liability. Now, the LLC whatever's in, it would go to pay those damages, including the insurance.
And that's what you have insurance for. But you know, no matter how horrific the liability, it's very difficult to break through that corporate veil. Now, you know, there's a comment benefit to that. That's how people raise money, put money together, go out and try businesses and they fail. And if you don't have that limited liability to break through, like, you know, the bank, doesn't like the fact they lost money, so they try to break through the corporate veil.
Well, good luck with it. Um, you know, you're not going to be able to, yeah.
Andrew Pierce: [00:36:42] We used to have debtor's prisons because of that. So treadmills pay the debt. So you went to jail.
Mark Pierce: [00:36:48] Yeah. Treadmills, workhouses, debtors' prisons. Um, you know, uh, up until about the last 20 years, those were completely gone. But I think the banking industry in particular, and this is kind of a pet peeve with me, the banking industry in particular has legislated themselves into a position where they're a super creditor.
So I look at it. If you've got a consensual lien with a bank, they're a creditor and you should endeavor to pay that lien off with whatever's available. If it ends up being short, that doesn't mean the bank has to Pierce the corporate veil and come after you. Because at that point in time, the bank becomes nothing more than a predator.
And that's something that you can get rid of with the LLC statutes or the asset protection statutes. You can keep them out of your pants pockets because they will always dry because every bank I've ever run into that loses money somehow thinks they've been to fraud. And it's just not the case. I've been doing this for 40 years.
You know, how many times I've seen as successful piercing the veil claim? None.
Joseph: [00:37:42] I was on the cusp of saying, like, to just, just to kind of like, give it, give it a, give it a fighting chance for a second there.
Mark Pierce: [00:37:49] They always make the climb. They just are never successful in prosecuting it. So the attorney makes a bunch of money to try to prove it and never proves it.
You know, they end up losing money over it, but you know, you make a loan, it goes bad. It doesn't mean you've got a right to collect against the individual membership interest holders. You know, you took a risk as well.
Joseph: [00:38:06] That's true. Yeah. Um, just going back to, to the bus example, even getting on the bus it's it's public transportation vehicles are dangerous, so there is personal liability involved as well.
So that makes a great deal of sense. Okay. So the, the last, uh, uh, actually there might be two pillars left. It depends on whether or not the, we, we, we covered it or not, but, so we also wanted to make sure that I give some, uh, time to the asset protection trust, uh, side of the business that you have to forgive me if like it's more or less been weaved into the conversation so far.
Um, but what would be the significance of asset protection trust and how you offer it as a service?
Mark Pierce: [00:38:42] Well, an asset protection trust is part of an overall estate plan that people will have essentially what they'll do is they put their operating entities down into LLCs. And then they will buffer that LLC from the asset protection trust and that with another LLC, so that you flow through the money through two separate LLCs, um, you leave enough money to provide working capital for those operating entities and anything that's left over there that you sweep up to the asset protection trust.
It's not a publicly disclosed, uh, entity. It's not really an entity at all, but it's not publicly disclosed. You have the rights and protections that are afforded by the statute behind it. You know, as long as you're not defrauding people, then just be able to strip the equity off of what you've got put into a safe place and reinvest it if that's what you want to do.
And you know, if there's a judgment against that, LLC, and they get through the LLC to another LLC, they get through the second LLC to the trust. You're not going to get through the trust, not if you're playing the game the right way. If you're involved in criminal activity, you know, tax fraud, child pornography, stuff like that.
Yeah. There's not much you're going to do this, going to keep from having liability, but just day-to-day economic and financial interests. Yeah. You'll be out the asset protection you need to have. So it's really a sophisticated tool for people or putting family businesses together just don't want to put the personal assets at risk.
And they like that additional level of protection.
Joseph: [00:40:01] When I have two of the two guests, I tend to pause a little bit longer just in case, uh, the other person wants to jump in for a second as well. All right. So next up, I also wanted to cover a holding company. Um, so this is where I, um, cause we, we mentioned that you it's almost like my ptosis, we're an LLC.
Once the business has expanded enough, you can actually set up another one, um, diverse of the assets to them there. So where does a holding company fit into the picture?
Andrew Pierce: [00:40:27] Yeah, I'll take that one. Uh, so generally the holding company is referred to as a holding company umbrella company or a, for the purposes of this, let's call it a parent child set up.
So you've got one parent, you've got a bunch of different children, obviously, if you're just starting your e-commerce store, we recommend give it a really generic name. Like e-commerce giants because if you call it Bob's t-shirts and your t-shirts don't work, you don't want to rename it. Bonds candles for people to want to wonder why they're buying cupcakes from a t-shirt store.
So you call it something generic. And then once that starts to do well and you go, okay, here's the name? Here's the brand identity that I've developed this significant enough revenue. Then you can go ahead, set up a child, LLC, uh, call it, you know, that specific product line, whatever you want it to be had to be owned by the parent.
And as time goes on, you know, you'll have multiple children out there. And then the nice part is when you generate cash from the children, you can move it up to the parents. So if the child's sued, it doesn't hold a lot of cash. Parent now has cash to either reinvest into existing companies or into new companies.
And the part that your accountants will really like is instead of having 10 LLCs and 10 returns, when they're owned by one parent, they follow what's called a consolidated return. So all the profits and losses are just reported through the parent. You've only had one return to file inside of 10 different ones.
So usually accountants will recommend them just to make the accounting easier and lower your expenses. And that's what you can do. And then the nice part with the anonymous LLC is, you know, let's say you, we've got people who are suppliers, they're manufacturers, and they want to go out and start selling that same product.
It's not against, they don't have a non-compete with the people that it's selling to, but. People that are selling to the retailers, wouldn't be happy. So they just set up a private LLC and they start selling as well. Then they get to be on both ends of the transaction. And you can do that through a holding company set up.
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One thing that I think ties all lot of this together is when in, in the, in the larger scope of the conversation, the advices. Keep them put, invest in the money, back into your business. Um, don't start taking out. Those are paying yourself. It has to, uh, evolve it. It has to be able to get to a point where it can even be automated and self-functioning, and, and I guess w you know, the, the overarching question has often been well, invest in what exactly like if I keep expanding my product and I'm just going to have to keep, uh, you know, um, selling more people and that's, and that's great, but exactly how much longer do I have to do this before I can start taking some of that money.
And really what talking to guys today has helped to demystify is it's it's elements like this. It said Amper LSE, it's your asset protection. It's your, it's your Domo style. These are all of the essential components to taking a business from say a hobby or an experiment into something that's legitimate.
And, uh, uh, and whether it's you're you're grasping it on a binder and hopefully you don't leave it on airplane or it's all in the, uh, in the cloud. Like it should be, this is all what you need in order to make that change into a, um, you know, a more, more conscionable and serious businesses.
Andrew Pierce: [00:43:57] Yeah. And I think as well, the whole holding company is, oh, one thing you can do is one, the children can be, you're a supplier, so they go ahead and they buy all of your inventory.
They hold the inventory. So if you do end up being sued at one of the entities, they don't hold inventory. They don't hold cash. You just fold that store and open up another one. So there's a lot of ways you can slice and dice it, but I cut you off there mark.I apologize.
Mark Pierce: [00:44:19] No, that's fine. I think he made a really good point.
Pay yourself. And, you know, at the end of the day, by putting these asset protection things into pace, you're paying yourself because if you have some sort of catastrophic event and one aspect of your business is not going to drag the rest of it down right at the end of the day, and that's what you want to do.
And, you know, I see entrepreneurs, I did a stint as a bankruptcy attorney in the eighties in Colorado, cause everybody was broke. And you know, I just watched people that took a business that had been a good business for a long period of time. And then it turned around and you couldn't save that business.
And people threw everything back into that business and went bankrupt as a result of it. Stop it. You know, if you're, if you know, like what was will Rogers said, if you find yourself in a hole, quit digging, save your money. And what this allows you to do is it allows you to get a stake, to get back in the game at some future point, without bringing yourself in a bad business deal.
You know, cause I've never, I've never gotten into a bad business deal, but I've ended up in 'em before and you've gotta be able to save yourself when you get to the end of the day, rather than just prostrating yourself in front of your creditors. And also what these LLCs do. If the property structure, LLC, particularly these e-commerce business, you know, a lot of people who've gotten into these things.
They're not, you know, they're dynamic, they're creative, they know what they're doing on the business end of things. And things are going well, but they haven't had the ups and downs. And a lot of people in other industries have hat. So they're really not as conservative in their approach to money, you know, pay yourself, minimize your liability, but the thing into place and when the bottom crashes out, you'll, you'll be okay.
So that's my advice at the end of the day. What do you think Drew?
Andrew Pierce: [00:46:00] Yeah, I think that's pretty accurate, you know, you've got to pay yourself, uh, put the structure together. So if you have a leak in one place that does it. In fact, the other kind of like ships where they make them air tight. So, you know, even though the ship hit an iceberg here, in theory, you can compartmentalize the damage.
Uh, but I do understand the pressures in e-commerce in particular, toward needing to move toward automation. Because if you start taking out too much money and living on it, uh, nothing stays good for too long. Someone else. This is going to reinvest. And it reminds me when I first started internet marketing, the big thing back then was to get a wholesale license with Nestle, for the ICS, because everyone could get it and then try to rank your eBay store number one and make the difference between the retail and the wholesale on it.
But the problem was everyone was doing that. So those opportunities kind of disappeared. So there's always a bit of a natural tension between the needing to re-invest to stay competitive, uh, but also being able to afford your lifestyle and not rack up credit card debt. At least this so you can put a bit of a nest egg away in some protection, and then it's up to you on whether or not you reinvested. If things go south things go south, you don't have to put them on the back end.
Joseph: [00:47:07] And one of the lungs standing criticisms of dropshipping is that it has been perceived to be a get rich quick scheme. And, uh, I, I, I'm not part of the, like one of the initial waves of it, where there was a point where yeah, you could, it was kind of a gamble, but it was putting, you could potentially make a lot of money and then shut your store down and make a run for it.
So, um, Facebook has somewhat to their credit, somewhat to their condemnation. They've adjusted the advertising rules basically every day in order to make sure that if people are advertising on it, they're running, this is running like a serious business, even if, or at least a serious hobby. So, um, it also speaks to the need for adaptation.
Um, w I think regardless of the industry, if it's not adapting, then it's not an industry, it's a Relic. And this is one thing that I've been wondering about. Um, and I guess I, this question leans more towards a mark, just because of, uh, your, your, your experience, but, um, in the law quote, unquote industry, I, I don't know if there was like a more accurate or in the industry.
Cause whenever I say industry, I think at some point someone's pulling a lever if that's because my brain is a cartoon, but what I I'm, I'm really curious about what are some of the, really the major shifts or adaptations that you've had to, uh, to, to deal with, um, uh, over the course of your career, like some of those, some ones that really stick out in your mind that almost made you had to like go back and hit the books or consider going back to school or anything, stick out along those lines.
Mark Pierce: [00:48:28] You know, I think that the ups and downs of the economy has had over the last 40 years has been something that's whipsawed people back and forth and made them. I think whether you're a liberal or conservative, you have to be progressive if you're not making progress, you know, die. And I think that in many respects, the practice of the law is like any other industry, you do have about 5% who are very creative with what they're doing the other nine 95% or just over the guy.
They make enough money to retire, you know, and into something other than a single why that like a double wide mobile home this time. So you got to look at that and you say, I think that's where the practice of law is. And that's the up and down. What I see going on right now with blockchain, with smart contracts, things such as that, they offer a tremendous opportunity for people to understand what the applicability of that is to implement it into a business, to structure, um, including the practice of law and do very well and have a very dynamic career as a result of it.
But, you know, the idea of going back into the practice of law and drafting contracts and meeting with clients, I think those days are gone. You know, I've had a number of people that said, you know, they really like lose using our services because at the end of the day, they don't have to get dressed up and come downtown and talk to an attorney.
And in this small community here, the attorneys are charging 1250 plus filing fees for an LLC. That's just such an outrageous fee, plus it would take you weeks to get one done. Yeah. You call us up. Give us a name, give us a, you give us your, give us your name. Give us the name of the LLC. And we've got one with you the same day for 199, 299.
If you want the employer identification number for you, but I've had a number of people said, you know, that's just a godsend for middle-class people because they can get up. They can get running a small amount of money and everything's done perfectly. We've done, you know, we've done. I don't know how many of these done a lot, you know, thousands of month.
So at the end of the day, kind of look at this stuff and say, how is it that somebody can still rationalize spending more than $200 on an LLC for most individuals. Now we can also do some fairly customized drafting for people. It goes back and forth, and we do that on an hourly charge after that, but we're still way under that 1250, because we've been doing so much for so long.
It doesn't take us very long to get it done. So, you know, that's how I see it in respect to this, like this, COVID-19 just accelerated, uh, a, uh, a tectonic change in the practice of law that have been coming on for a while. And you know, a lot of lawyers say, you know, I need to sit at the desk and look my client in the eye to feel comfortable.
Or a client says that we don't see that much. Do we drew, I do some fairly complex draws for people I've never met. And you just meet right here on zoom and it works just fine. And then I can live where I want to live. They can be where they want to be. They get, you know, top, top rated services and the price is a lot less.
So it's quick, it's efficient. And I think it's a, it's going to be something that most attorneys are going to have to get used to. And they, like I say, 83% said that, yeah, they're doing a great job on it. And 23% of their clients agree, would you think one in four would be an acceptable rate of acceptance?
I kind of think maybe not. I think, you know, this is kind of lost on a lot of these guys and we quit going to a lot of these seminars and whatnot, because we were so far ahead of them that when the COVID came in, we already had, we've got financial grade security with our client portals, which is far above what the ABA requires or your local bar association requires.
And so we've been on top of that from the very beginning, because it's just the pressure of the industry that requires that. And yet we find a lot of law firms, you know, now trying to catch up we're good luck. You know how technology is? You've got a one-year advantage next year. You got to your advantage.
So that's, you know, just accelerates. So I viewed as being kind of exciting, very creative. I think this blockchain is just fascinating. I mean, peer-to-peer network group is not hackable smart contracts coming out with automatic enforcement provisions in it. This could be pretty good. And I also think that the practice of law is going to have to get to the point where they realized is that a lot of judges can understand all of this and they're going to have to get trial.
Sorts of evidentiary considerations and conclusions done before they presented to a judge, or are you going to have to come up with, uh, judges or a legal system? That's very particularly devoted to one area or another area. And I think that Wyoming is doing that. We just came up with a chance to record.
This is going to deal with all of our trusts, which is a huge benefit for people because now you're not going to get hometown by a judge that, you know, their cousin got taken advantage of by one of these trusts one time. So they quit listening in the opening statement, but you know, you got these judges who are devoted to this thing.
They understand what that thing is. They know the players that are involved with it and they can come up with really good decisions. So I think that's additional criteria for selecting Wyoming as one of your domiciles.
Andrew Pierce: [00:53:27] I agree. And, you know, I think one of the things is in the legal field, they have a bit of a natural monopoly because of ours.
So it protects them from, you know, having too many new entrants and, uh, attorneys tend to be a little old and stuck in their way. So certainly COVID has moved a lot of along, but we'd go to these conferences and they were just so impressed. They started using DocuSign or Stripe and they thought, wow, we've really caught up.
No, you're, you're nowhere near being caught up. So I think over the next 10 or 15 years, you'll see, you know, in firms such as ours, where we're pushing the technology, we're able to give you the exact same service, much quicker for lower price. They just can't sure it took them five hours, but it should've only taken them one.
They can't justify charge in those five hours. So as firms like ours become a little more popular, I think the other people end up getting squeezed out and I think 199 fields without appropriate for what we do. You know what? I get 1250, I guess, but that's not going to last very long. So.
Mark Pierce: [00:54:21] Yeah. You know, the economist magazine came out here recently.
Again, they've been saying the same thing for 20 years. Is that the United States needs to become more competitive. Um, we used to believe that we were at the top end of everything. And I think that, you know, and the technology at the top end of the technology, that's true, but the service industry is not.
And what we've allowed certain professionals to do is to establish bulwarks that no one can get inside of, for the purpose of monopolizing, certain things and overcharging for them and slowing everything down. But I think that those walls are breaking down at this point in time. And I think that's accelerating as well.
I think COVID did a lot to push it over the top. I think you're going to see people that are going to try to legislate themselves into existence, and I think they're going to fail. So you're still got that battle back and forth. I look at it and say, you know, we compete with a lot of companies. Don't practice law.
They just provide these things online without any proof without providing any advice. Well, the thing that you give up is that attorney client privilege. Attorney client privilege is a big deal. So we get subpoenas from people saying, Hey, we want to see this stuff. We just throw them out. Because first of all, it has to be issued by a Wyoming court.
Otherwise we're not subject to the jurisdiction of that court. Second thing is, this is privileged information. How am I going to, how am I going to disclose it to you? So go down to a Wyoming court. We can have an argument about it. And I got to tell you no. So it gives you a bulwark that people have to get by that, that enhance your anonymity and enhance the disclosure of documents, the privacy of your documents.
So that's where you've got some value. And I think that's where you see that industry evolving over the next, like I say, next five, 10 years, you can't look out five years. Where were we? Five years ago? Where are we now? It's pretty incredible. So if people said they can see much beyond the next six months, I would like to see how.
Joseph: [00:56:09] That's a lot for me to, uh, to take in. And I, and I appreciate it, I, as a, as you're describing, as I am. You know, thinking about my own experience, just being in media and in this time, which, uh, has, uh, increased from loneliness and lack of social interactions. That was what I thought, you know, I should really go find a job and then I do, and now I'm talking to people like new, new people every, every week for the last six to eight months, like it be being a little ahead of the, of the curve.
Um, Can have, uh, extraordinary benefits, uh, down the line. So, uh, I, that's kinda like one thing that I just wanted to say to tie that part up with a bow, I guess, I don't know. I can't help, but wonder, like, if you have ever figured out if they, what was their justification for 1250 or if it's just a matter of, like, they just think they can charge that and they can get away with it.
Cause I will say by the way, when I w I, I try to make sure that I listen to at least one other podcast, if they've been on one, and I ended up listening to both of your episodes of a, the worst investment ever, because I found, I found a Mark's and I thought, okay, well, hang on a second. If Mark's been on and just probably been on lo and behold, Andrew was on as well.
So, and, and, and, uh, the audience is it's interesting podcast. I would recommend checking it out. And it reminded me about 10 years ago when I at first, um, try setting up my online comic and I had paid somebody a thousand dollars Canadian, which, you know, in the US is what, like 1250 this summer, actually, that's funny, almost the same amount.
And I later discovered I probably could have put it together myself or got somebody on favorite to, for like a fraction of the cost. And, and some of it is just like, when somebody charges that amount of money it's, is that prestige or is that a feeling that well, they have to charge that money. They must have the expertise for it, or maybe there'll be somebody that can direct it down the line.
And that's what I can think of, but I guess I don't really, that's all I can really say on the subject of, is there any justification whatsoever or is it just like inflated?
Andrew Pierce: [00:58:08] There can be, but I'd argue, you know, it's kind of like a doctor where there's supposed to be these specialties and doctors know that one's a brain surgeon, one's a pediatrician, the others and oncologists go through the list.
We've got attorneys, they go. No, we'll do your business for you. If you have a DUI, if you have a divorce, a speeding ticket, you know, uh, an oil and gas sale when there's nothing, they won't touch, but they're not actually good at any of them. So I don't doubt it takes them four or five hours. I just doubt that if you had someone who specialized it would take that person four or five hours, and you'll see, especially in smaller towns, um, because if they don't have the reach through the internet that we do, they can't specialize.
They have to take anything that walks through the door, personal injury claims, but you'll see our firm, all we do is estate planning and business formations. We don't practice any other type of law.
Mark Pierce: [00:59:00] Yeah. We spent a lot of years going down, rabbit holes. So I think, you know, at the end of the day, we got a pretty good idea of what's going on out there.
And I think that a lot of people buy something because I'll just give you an example, take, take the best car on the road. 10 years ago and what you paid for versus a so-so card today and what you would pay for it. You get a much better car than the best car, 10 years ago at a fraction of the price. And that's the same thing that's gone on with the practice of law as well.
And I think people will overpay for things cause they, as it gives them the benefit of security. So if you go to a large law firm and you have like, you're doing a single member, LLC, he goes to a large law firm because your father used the law and you come in and it's an Oak paneled room. And you know, everybody's just some beautiful suits and they've got the staff and they've got the, you know, 48th floor over the beautiful view of the mountain range or the ocean or whatever you got, you feel more comfortable.
But I think that that's breaking down rather quickly.
Joseph: [00:59:58] Yeah. It doesn't make the person also self inflates. The person's ego to think of like, well, I deserve to be in here. I'm a client. I can, I can afford this kind of thing.
Mark Pierce: [01:00:06] Yeah. Be like Chris rocks, Chris Roxa last, uh, you know, a comedy venture that was on Netflix.
And he said, he's sitting there and he's in a divorce court with his wife and he realizes, I've got three attorneys. She's got three attorneys, all these people here and I'm paying for every one of them. Isn't that he says. And that's when I realized I'd made it. I laugh well, but that was a compulsory procedure.
You don't have to go spend 1250 for a single member, LLC.
Andrew Pierce: [01:00:39] One of our bad reviews because they didn't like the furnishings in the office. We go, well, if you're walking by a Porsche and you know, a thousand dollar door knob, someone's paying for it, it's a bit like when you're in Vegas, you go, wow. These buildings are absolutely beautiful.
And I got a free hotel room. Like, no, not really. Somebody's paying for it. And it's you.
Mark Pierce: [01:00:57] That's a good point. I'd forgotten that.
Joseph: [01:01:02] Well, we, um, we, uh, we've hit the hour mark. Uh, and um, I got to say, this has been, uh, highly illuminating for me. It's helped me actually. I found it encouraging. I just, because I, here, I was thinking, going into this conversation does a lot of these essential components can actually end up costing thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.
Um, and the reality is, well, No, it's, it's not, it's actually a quite affordable and it's, it's quite, quite logical. So, so for that, I'm, I'm just personally grateful and I help the audience that feels the same way. Um, but I do gotta get you guys on outta here. So there is one less that I would like to hear from both of you, which is, is there anything else cool or fine or special about Wyoming?
I'm just like, I love the USA. I really do. And like over time I get to learn little bits and pieces about different parts of the country. Uh, so is there anything else you'd like to let the audience know about Wyoming?
Mark Pierce: [01:01:55] What do you think drew?
Andrew Pierce: [01:01:56] I think we're the least populated state in the second least densely populated.
The first goes to Alaska. Uh, so, you know, if you like the outdoors, whether it's there's that yeah. Uh, you can go do all those things in spades up here in Wyoming. I do recommend you visit during spring or summer. It's a little bit nicer unless you like skiing, then go to Jackson. Uh, Yellowstone's just amazing.
They got about 60% of the world's guys directivity. So there's some really crazy Geyser and geysers and animals out there, uh, that you can enjoy during the summer as well. So, But it's definitely you've come here for the nature there aren't a lot of people are Vegas city has 60,000 people. I think it's more of a town than the city.
Mark Pierce: [01:02:42] That'd be the first day, but I'll just give you an example. I think Wyoming is wildly beautiful, but people here are a little different and I'll give you an example. You know, I grew up here so I can say this right. I'm a native. So when we went to 55 miles an hour, back in the 1970s to save gas, Wyoming was the last state to go to 55 miles an hour.
Cause our attitudes basically nobody's telling us what to do. So when they turned around and went back to 70, 75 miles an hour, Wyoming, it was the last one to go back to 70, 75 miles an hour. Cause there ain't nobody going to tell us what to do. So you look at that and go that's Wyoming in a nutshell.
Joseph: [01:03:22] W w well thank you for that.
And thank you for the episode altogether. It was great to have you guys here. It was good, but the doors open more than happy to have you, uh, Jen's back, give it a couple of quarters and you can let us know how things are going.
Mark Pierce: [01:03:34] One last question for you. When is the Canadian team going to win the cup?
Joseph: [01:03:38] Which cup? I'm a nerd. All of this kind of thing. Stanley cup. Okay. I'm I'm no, I am really, I'm not, I'm not a sports guy whatsoever. And I knew that it was going to be a, um, a higher risk, no reward investment because I'm sitting at a burger joint in downtown Toronto, and I'm watching Toronto versus Boston.
I forget the exact numbers, but Toronto is winning, like. Like for one or something along those lines. And then, but, and just like, they, I don't know, they switched from the right hand to the left hand and they just nailed Toronto, like go after, go off the goal. So like, uh, uh, Raptors one a when the NBA championship, uh, what is it last year?
I believe so. Uh, we got that going first and then they, I assume that everything they could to hold onto the reason why they got the, the NBA championship. So, so there's that, um, Toronto is. Toronto is like, this is coming more from like a gamer's perspective, but Toronto is one of the best starters zones because it has a high cost of living.
There is a great concentration of talent and skill, but it is very difficult to take that skill and turn it into something that you can make a living off of. Uh you're either you're like you moved to the states or you worked for CBC and, uh, uh, that my tinfoil hat, um, spikes up whenever I think about working for the government.
So I'm going to leave that alone, but Toronto really is like a wonderful place to learn and to end, to cut your teeth and to develop the skill. So that's, that's one thing that I will say about it in its, uh, in his defense sports and how much I can.
Mark Pierce: [01:05:09] Well, Toronto is a world-class city. I've spent a lot of time.
There it is a world-class city, right? Yeah. We're good. Well, thanks for having us on. If you want to have again sometime, we'd be glad to show back up.
Joseph: [01:05:21] Oh, I, uh, I look forward to it.
Andrew Pierce: [01:05:24] And I think we're looking at our own podcast, so we'd love to have you on, and you can discuss your side of the business as well.
So I guess we'll be back up soon.
Joseph: [01:05:31] Okay. Yeah, that sounds terrific. All right. And to our audience, uh, as always, actually, oh, oh, I almost forgot. I got to ask you guys how they can find you online.
Andrew Pierce: [01:05:39] Sure. Uh, just Wyoming, LLC, attorney.com, or do you have a phone number up there. Uh, firstname.lastname@example.org is that email and there's a contact form at the bottom of every page as well.
Joseph: [01:05:51] Well, uh, to our audience as always. I hope you all, uh, got a lot out of this. I know I certainly did. And thank you as always for your participation. It means a lot. So take care and we'll check in soon.
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