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Thinking of Going Into Business for Yourself? Make Sure You Are Prepared
By Janet Alston Jackson (Contributing Writer for the Sentinel)
Published September 23, 2009

James E. Nobles, Esq.  


Thinking of Going Into Business for Yourself?

Make Sure You are Protected


By Janet Alston Jackson

Contributing Writer for the Sentinel


More Americans are being forced to choose between the prospects of unemployment or self-employment due to the current job market and economy. This is especially true for African Americans who are suffering from job losses that are twice the national rate. The benefits of starting your own business is fast becoming a viable option for generating income.


Self-employed adults are significantly more satisfied with their jobs than other workers even though they have virtually identical family incomes as other workers and have more financial stress, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center Social & Demographics Trends project.


Still, they like their jobs. Nearly four-in-ten self-employed workers (39%) say they are “completely satisfied” with their jobs, compared with 28% of all wage or salaried employees. And, only 5% of all workers who are their own bosses say they are dissatisfied with their employment situation, half the proportion of other workers who are dissatisfied.


The Pew Research survey found that self-employed workers are more likely than salary or wage employees to say they work in order to live independently (84% vs. 76%), feel productive (75% vs. 67%) and “to help improve society” (55% vs. 46%). They also are more likely to work to give themselves “something to do” (50% vs. 39%) and to be with other people (43% vs. 34%).


If you are thinking about going into business for yourself, or currently own your business, attorney James E. Nobles says to protect yourself especially dealing with contracts.


“Most business owners, whether the business is small or large, enter some type of agreement or contract with their vendor, manufacture, distributor, supplier, and even with their employees,” says Nobles who specializes in contract law. “One of the things I have noticed in the corporate world and in my own practice, is that many business owners’ don’t confirm if the party they are doing business with has a legal status.


“If you are you are going to enter an agreement with another company to provide you the services or products you need to make sure that the company you are doing business with has a legal status in the state of California, and is not suspended. That happens more often than you think,” says Nobles. “Businesses have been suspended, but they continue to do business. If you are doing business with that company, you are not going to be able to take advantage of the legal rights you thought you had if something goes wrong and you want to sue them.”

The driving force behind Nobles becoming a lawyer was to make sure people got their due benefits, and for him, it all started with advocating reparations for slavery when he was in high school.


” I think African Americans are entitled to reparations from the abuse and slavery.  I want this done, and I thought if I became a lawyer, it would make my voice at the table louder,” says Nobles. “Each year the Reparations Bill is being introduced in the House of Representatives. I am hoping to do my part in getting it heard and ultimately getting it passed.”


Nobles who received his law degree from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, was the former Assistant General Counsel for Irwin Naturals, a huge global dietary supplement company. He handled complexed transactions for manufacturing, distribution, marketing and media, as well as business litigation. Today he owns his firm and deals with an array cases including entertainment, Personal Injury and Employment.


Nobles gives the following contract advice to entrepreneurs and business owners:


·         Make sure the parties names are correct and spelled correctly on contracts.


·         Check out the other companies you are doing business with. Are they legal in the state of California? Has their license been suspended? (A background check

·         can be done on the Secretary of State website:


·         Make sure there is an “out clause” in any contract you sign, so that you can get out of an agreement under certain circumstances. Some contracts only have an out clause for the party who wrote the contract. Make sure you have one too.


·         Beware if the contract states you will have to travel to another city in an event of a legal dispute between you and the other party. A contract may state you have to travel from your home in Los Angeles to New York. A fair clause would be: If I sue you, I have go to your town. If you sue me, you have to come to my town.


·         Read the contracts, or hire a lawyer to go over the language for you. If you handle the contract yourself understand the legal terms. Judges will not be sympathetic if you claim you didn’t understand the contract, but you signed it anyway. Visit Black’s Law Dictionary is the definitive legal resource for lawyers, law students and laypeople alike.


·         If you receive a long 15 page contract, ask the other party to shorten the contract to two or three pages.


·         If you hire employees, make sure you comply with the labor commission standards. Any violation can impose huge penalties, and put you out of business. (Visit: California Employment Law )


For more information

Law Offices of James E. Nobles

James E. Nobles, ESQ

818 284-3159

(available for speaking engagements and consultation)




Categories: Local

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