The Inspiring Journey of Barbara Weltman and Her “Big Ideas for Small Business”

How can small business owners navigate legal and tax challenges to achieve their big ideas?

In this episode, Barbara Weltman, founder of Big Ideas for Small Business, shares her transition from attorney to small business guru. After hearing the same questions from her clients over and over, she decided to close her law practice and focus on writing to reach a wider audience.

Barbara discusses the importance of partnership agreements and buy-sell agreements to protect businesses from potential pitfalls. She also emphasizes the need for small business owners to understand the tax implications of their decisions, even if they work with a professional.

As the author of “J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes” and “Smooth Failing,” Barbara aims to educate entrepreneurs on legal and financial best practices. She shares real-world examples of business challenges and offers practical advice for overcoming them.

Barbara sees continuous learning as the key to success in business and in life. She keeps inspirational quotes on her monitor as a reminder to stay engaged and curious.

Mentors that Inspired Barbara:

  • Sidney Kess – Barbara’s partner for 45 years who taught her to “do the best you can in the time you have”
  • Larry Summers – former Treasury Secretary who continues to engage in learning and discussion at age 100+

Tune in for insights on navigating non-compete agreements, the Corporate Transparency Act, and the importance of separating your personal brand from your business.

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Transcript

Intro  

Welcome to another edition of inspired stories where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges they’re facing.

Anthony Codispoti (02:51.174)
Welcome to another edition of the Inspired Stories Podcast, where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes and be inspired by how they’ve overcome adversity. My name is Anthony Cotaspodi and today’s guest is Barbara Weltman, founder of Big Ideas for Small Business, which publishes Idea of the Day and the e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business. She is an attorney, a trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

a guest blogger, and a prolific author of several important books that we’ll reference in the show notes. She creates continuing ed programs for accountants and attorneys, and has been named one of the top 100 small business influencers in the country. Barbara has been honored by Marquis Who’s Who and serves on the advisory board for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post,

and CNBC among others. Now, before we get into the good stuff, today’s episode is brought to you by my company, Ad Back Benefits Agency, where we offer very specific and unique employee benefits that are both great for your team and fiscally optimized for your bottom line. One recent client was able to save over $900 per employee per year by implementing one of our proprietary programs. Results vary for each company and some organizations may not be eligible.

To find out if your company qualifies, contact us today at addb Now back to our guest today, the CEO and founder of Big Ideas for Small Business, Barbara. Thanks for making the time to share your story today.

Barbara Weltman (04:30.87)
Well, thanks for having me here.

Anthony Codispoti (04:32.458)
Yeah, so I’m curious to hear about the arc that brought you here. I see from looking at your LinkedIn page, you were an attorney for 20 years, had your own practice, but now you’ve been doing big ideas for small business for just about as long. What was that path? Talk us through that.

Barbara Weltman (04:51.014)
Sure. I loved practicing law and most of my clients were small business owners and I worked with them to help incorporate, to do partnership agreements, buy-sell agreements, succession planning. And over the years, I continually heard the same questions over and over again. And so…

once as someone once said, once my kids were off the payroll, I was able to close my practice and transition to writing, which is what I really enjoyed and felt that I could address those questions and share them nationally rather than being limited to my local area. And I had some people that I had worked with and I was familiar with newsletters.

And that’s kind of what I started out back in the day with a print newsletter. And yeah, and learned a lot about, about that and marketing it and, uh, have. Kind of broadened my reach in terms of what I have been able to do. I had through my, through this activity, I’ve had, I had a radio show for 10 years where I had the opportunity to have wonderful guests. It was a once a week.

radio show, Build Your Business Radio, and I would have people from government, people from industry, and people in small businesses sharing their unique stories and challenges. And I just find it inspiring for me. I just, every day is a wonderful new experience. Never know what opportunities are going to occur, who I’m going to meet and connect with.

and that’s why I’m still doing it.

Anthony Codispoti (06:48.202)
So here we are a couple of decades after you made this transition. You’ve got a big following. You’ve got a process down where you’re putting out a lot of content. I’m curious to understand what those first days, weeks, and months looked like as you were making that transition. Probably not quite as scary. Like you said, your kids were off the payroll, so to speak. So maybe not quite as much economic pressure to keep producing it in your own practice. Let you take a step back.

do something that you really had a passion for, but were those first days, weeks, months a little bit scary as you weren’t sure what the future held?

Barbara Weltman (07:24.334)
Yeah, not that much because throughout my career, even while I was practicing, I was still doing writing for certain, certain venues. And so I had connections already. So it was kind of a soft launch, if you will, where I already had some means of bringing in revenue and I had connections and

I began to work with, in particular with one person. First I worked for him and then we went into partnership and for various projects. And I worked with him for, well, I’ll get to it later. I’m gonna say that story for later when you, I know we’re gonna talk later about mentors. And so I would like to go into detail with that a little later. But again, it wasn’t, it wasn’t

that I mean, I didn’t replace the income initially, but I wasn’t starting from zero. Exactly.

Anthony Codispoti (08:29.566)
You weren’t starting cold. You had been doing some of this work. You’d had some connections, maybe a little bit of revenue coming in from this model. And so how in those early days were you kind of building your list? It was a printed newsletter to start with, right? How were people finding you?

Barbara Weltman (08:36.662)
Right.

Barbara Weltman (08:47.186)
Right. Well, back in the day, it was, you know, the old networking and personal and going to events and meeting people. And I was doing a lot of speaking engagements at conventions. And so I was out there. And for many years, I can’t even remember how many but I used to go to the annual eBay convention, where, you know, I was able to build a list.

in that way and you know it just it just works.

Anthony Codispoti (09:21.13)
And were people paying to receive the newsletter? Or was this a free newsletter and there were advertisements in it?

Barbara Weltman (09:24.186)
Well, it’s a great question. Initially, it was a subscription model. And I did have subscribers. But then as the internet started to take off, people just expected everything for free. And I couldn’t continue with the subscription model. So it’s free. And that’s how it has remained.

Anthony Codispoti (09:49.299)
And what was the point where you decided to make the transition from a printed newsletter to now just fully online? Was there a crossover where it was both for a little while?

Barbara Weltman (10:01.09)
No, there was no, I made it a clean change. The problem with the printed newsletter was cost. I mean, there was the cost of printing, there was the cost of mailing, and there was the time involved. So that’s a cost too, for putting on labels and going to the post office and such. So there was a time factor as well. And

Once it became clear that people had that access to the online information, then it became a no-brainer to make the switch.

Anthony Codispoti (10:43.938)
So I understand that a big part of the impetus, the desire to make the switch was you’d been hearing the same questions over and over again from your one-to-one clients. You thought there’s common threads here. There’s things that it seems that most small business owners are not aware of that they need help with. I feel like I’d really help a much bigger audience if I had a bigger stage, a bigger microphone.

rather than all this one-to-one work, let me switch to the one-to-many model. What are maybe just a couple of those really common things that you kept running across with small businesses that they just didn’t seem to know that made a big difference for them? They were big levers that they could pull.

Barbara Weltman (11:29.35)
Well, I would say one of the biggest questions for businesses that are just getting started is What kind of entity should I be? You know, should I be an S corporation? Should I be a regular corporation back when I was first practicing? There weren’t LLCs. There weren’t limited liability companies and then they came along in the in the 90s and They really didn’t gain a lot of steam. There wasn’t recognized in every state

for a while and now they’re in, it’s a fair comparison. Should I be an S corporation? Should I be an LLC? And so that was one kind of question. The other kind of question that I got frequently had to do with an owner that’s looking to exit and how to do it in the best way and what are the tax implications of it.

And what do I do? Many of the small businesses had family involved and what do you do? Let’s say the daughter is working for the business but the son is not, and then how can you be fair? And so these issues came up all the time and I had to address them. And then another problem had to do with

Businesses where there were multiple owners and then there were issues and then there were problems and then there was a desire to get a divorce so to speak and what do you do and how do you handle it and Seeing that how do you prevent these problems from getting from happening in the first place? so going forward with other businesses making sure that the problems that arose here would not arise from my other clients and for

now, my viewers.

Anthony Codispoti (13:24.226)
So what is a big piece of advice you could give to somebody who’s in a situation where they have a business partner? And maybe things are going well now, maybe they’re not, but they want to be prepared for what may eventually happen. Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

Barbara Weltman (13:39.93)
Right. Well, you know, it’s just like a marriage where if you’re going into a marriage It’s not a bad idea to have a prenuptial agreement Not that you want the agreement so much But you have to talk out the issues and you have to do the what-if what if you know, what if this happens? What if that happens? Especially when I know for example, I had a lot of clients that were younger women and they had to consider well what happens when

One of the partners has a child and maybe wants to take time off for pregnancy or for child rearing. And what does that mean for the other partner? And how do you handle these things? And again, it’s not really having the piece of paper, so to speak. It’s really more having the discussion and thinking about, well, what happens if one of the co-owners becomes disabled?

And what happens if one of the co-owners has financial problems, divorce? You know, what, what would divorce, how would that impact the business? And so you really need to think about these things. And, um, again, it’s something that if you haven’t done it when you went, when you started, it’s really never too late to sit down and think about these things.

Anthony Codispoti (15:01.382)
Years ago I heard somebody, they gave this piece of advice in social context, but I think it also applies to business. They were like, as you go into a relationship with somebody and you’re starting out and everything is hunky dory and you’re both like wide-eyed and love with each other, right, that is a great time to ask the question, how would you like me to break up with you? Which sounds so awful. It’s like, why would you throw, you know, like…

Barbara Weltman (15:16.5)
You’re in love.

Barbara Weltman (15:24.664)
I’m sorry.

Anthony Codispoti (15:29.582)
this wet blanket on a great situation, on a great relationship, that’s the time to have the conversation that if it ever comes to this, how would you like for this to play out? And I think it’s really good advice in a business situation too, because it’s the same way when you’re starting out a business partnership, you’re excited, pie in the sky, like everything’s possible, and you haven’t gotten into those really hard times, and you haven’t had a cash call yet, and you haven’t had…

Barbara Weltman (15:47.174)
precisely.

Anthony Codispoti (15:58.986)
you know, whatever stresses are gonna, you know, come at you from a work scenario. So do you, do you sort of coach clients through kind of a similar thought process?

Barbara Weltman (16:07.406)
Well, that’s exactly what I used to do was deal with that. Also, even not only just breaking up, if you will, but also maybe you have two people and they’re two different people and one person likes to spend money and the other person doesn’t. And that’s an issue that you really wanna think about at the beginning and who’s gonna ultimately make decisions. And there are different strategies for handling the situation.

giving certain areas of final decision making to one owner versus the other owner. And that’s, you know, that’s a big issue to address. Another issue that I really hope that I’ve been still in my audience, at least certainly in my clients in the day, were the tax responsibilities and all of the back office

matters. I mean, that’s kind of where what I concentrate on tax financial and legal issues is what I write about, what I focus on. And I think that too often business owners just focus on their sales, their customers, the fun part of the business, and they don’t like to do the record keeping, you know, tax filings, that kind of stuff. And so I really want to make clear what

they need to do and how they can do it simply and the consequences of not doing it so that they’re sure to do it.

Anthony Codispoti (17:43.758)
And so I get what you’re saying because as a small business owner and I’ve got lots of friends who are small business owners, right? We know like how to run our business, right? And we know how to sell and talk about whatever product or service it is that we’re offering. That’s really what we want to focus on. You know, the bookkeeping, the accounting, the tax stuff, like it has to happen, but it’s not our strength. It’s not, you know, our strong suit. What advice do you have? Like do you…

I know that you’re not in the business of directly providing those services anymore. Do you advise somebody, hey, go find a fractional person who can sort of fill that role for you or just hire a CPA that can advise you on that? How do you talk through that?

Barbara Weltman (18:27.046)
And each situation is different. So it’s not one piece of advice for everybody. But I think it’s a great thing for business owners to keep their books and records using – you don’t have to be a numbers person. You don’t have to know – you don’t have to be good at math and school to be able – all you have to do is enter your income and expenses. It’s not too hard to do. And the reason I think it’s good for business owners to do themselves, at least for a little while –

is that they really see what’s happening in the business. I think so often, and I’ve seen this so many times, business owners have no clue about what’s really happening in their business. They think, oh, I made this sale, things are going great. Yeah, but your expenses are out of control and you’re not making any money. You’re not even breaking even, you’re losing money. Every sale is costing you. So I think that’s a good way to go. I also…

highly advise small business owners and most do work with a tax professional, the CPA or such, whether it’s just for filing returns, but even better for getting tax advice. And a good tax professional can be really an important tool for your business. For example, if you’re a business with inventory, working with a tax professional can help you

maximize how you do things and minimize the tax results from that. So I think that’s certainly a way to go. And again, even if you have, maybe you have somebody in the company who can handle this, it doesn’t have to be the owner who does it. And especially as your business scales up, you don’t have to do these chores yourself, but the buck stops with you and you’re ultimately responsible and you want to make sure that things are getting done.

And so you have to kind of decide who’s going to do what, and then you oversee and make sure that things are getting done.

Anthony Codispoti (20:32.046)
Do you have any advice for a small business owner who’s looking for a CPA that’s really skilled in that sort of tax advice component of it? Because I’m sort of reminded of a conversation I had years ago with somebody. They’re like, do you know what they call the person who graduates last in their class medical school? I’m like, what? They’re like, doctor, right? That’s like, you can get the person at the… Right, so I mean, there are CPAs that, you know, they’re…

Barbara Weltman (20:52.59)
Right. Yeah. You’re still you have the title, right?

Barbara Weltman (20:59.482)
Right.

Anthony Codispoti (20:59.818)
maybe just covering the basics, and then there are people who are up here really skilled, they understand sort of the ins and outs, the different creative strategies, but how do small business owners vet that out?

Barbara Weltman (21:11.014)
Well, sure. Well, there are several ways. One is just like if you were looking for a pediatrician for your child, you could ask your friends and neighbors, who do they use, who’s good around? So certainly, you can ask other small business owners in your area who they would recommend and who have been helpful to them, especially even your competitors. Because I have found.

in the small business community at least, people are kind of willing to share and work together in a sense like that. So I think that’s a way to go. You can also ask for referrals from other professionals that you work with. So if you have an attorney, if you have a banker, you have an insurance agent, ask who they might recommend. And then of course, you might meet people through

through your local chamber of commerce or a networking group, and you can vet them and see if they aren’t suitable to you. I think for many business owners, it’s not only a matter of expertise, it’s also a matter of cost and availability. And so I think you have a lot to check out, but I think you’re not committed to anybody.

for the long term. It’s not like your phone plan, you know, your Verizon plan where you sign up and you’re committed, you know, here, you don’t like the person, move on.

Anthony Codispoti (22:46.294)
I want to go back to something we were talking about just a couple minutes ago, sort of this business partners and having sort of that hard conversation about how to break up. I know that you guys have produced a lot of really great content. I’m wondering if there’s anything on your site that people will find that might be a framework for kind of having these conversations or thinking about them or if not on your site, maybe something else that you can point people to.

Barbara Weltman (23:14.083)
Um.

First of all, you can Google the questions and find answers to it, and that might be helpful. And what I find is sometimes when I’m Googling something, my articles pop up, and so I’m giving advice to myself. I’m the answer, yeah, exactly. My daughter did that too, she found that too. She’s in business and she…

Anthony Codispoti (23:33.909)
You’re the answer to your own question. That’s great.

Barbara Weltman (23:44.826)
that happened to her and it was pretty funny. But that’s one way to go. Sure, there’s a lot of information out there and you just got to really put in the time to learn. That’s all I have to say. There aren’t easy answers for a lot of these questions and it takes time and trial and error in many cases.

I think there are good solutions for everybody, but it’s not necessarily the same solution for everybody.

Anthony Codispoti (24:22.818)
Robert, let’s talk about one or more of your books here. In the pre-interview, we briefly touched on one called Smooth Failing. I’m looking at it now on Amazon over four star ratings. Tell me about this book. What was the inspiration behind it, first of all? And then what would somebody get from reading this? What’s the content about?

Barbara Weltman (24:44.482)
Well, I think it’s clear that you don’t necessarily learn so much from success, but you’ll learn a lot from failure. And there are a lot of lessons out there. And so what the book is about is failures that some very well-known people in the small business community experience. And by laying out their failures, hopefully you won’t make the same ones. And then of course I related my own.

experiences to a lot of these failures because unfortunately they’re common. For example, being trusting. We talked about going into business with somebody else, but it might be an investor, it might be a customer, it might be an employee, and I know I’m a very trusting person, but…

Trust but verify, you know, as the saying goes. And I think that many times we’re so anxious to get that customer that we don’t really check out if this is really a good fit or if this is gonna really work out. And I think that that’s, for example, one common error. And so by sharing experiences like that through the book, I think that people can learn what not to do and certainly what they should do.

to avoid problems.

Anthony Codispoti (26:09.47)
And so one of the examples that you just referenced was, you know, this, this idea of trusting, maybe being a little too trusting, whether from your own experience or the one that you referenced in the book. And you give a specific example of somebody who got burned there. I know everybody listening is going to say, Oh yeah, like I’ve been through something similar.

Barbara Weltman (26:29.706)
Well, in the book it had to do… Well, I will tell you my experience. I had this project going on where we were trying to develop a TV show and I worked with an Emmy-winning producer and I was kind of awed by his credential and I was very trusting and I was the one putting up the money and I learned my lesson.

Anthony Codispoti (27:01.358)
I think there’s probably a lot of business owners out there who can relate to, and this may be part of what you’re after, and maybe it was a little bit different, but I’ve been in situations before where I’ve had partners who their investment was sweat equity. And it’s not the same emotional, psychological dynamic if you’ve invested time versus invested cash and time.

Barbara Weltman (27:18.679)
Yes.

Barbara Weltman (27:29.982)
Yeah, absolutely. And I would never go into a deal now unless everybody had something at risk. I just wouldn’t.

Anthony Codispoti (27:30.378)
found the same thing.

Anthony Codispoti (27:39.79)
There’s something about the human psychology where we fear losing money more than we are motivated by earning it.

Barbara Weltman (27:51.143)
I think that’s true and I think that…

Barbara Weltman (27:55.99)
I think you have more intensity because, you know, okay, so I don’t put in the sweat, I don’t get, you know, it’s like what’s the big deal? But if you’ve invested your dollars, you don’t want to lose it.

Anthony Codispoti (28:11.946)
Let’s grab one more example from this book of a good story somebody shared that’s a powerful lesson that a lot of business owners would need to hear.

Barbara Weltman (28:21.494)
Well, this was a lesson that I heard from somebody and then, and it did apply to me as well, which is many small businesses are identified with the owner. And so it’s, you have to really decide what your brand is. Is your brand the owner or the business? And if it’s the owner, then what do you have to sell when it, when it’s retirement time or the owner exits at some time?

And so you have to really, now with that said, many businesses do have, I mean, think of, you know, Zuckerberg and Metta and Tesla and Musk, and I mean, and Tom and Steve Jobs and Cook now with Apple. So yes, there is a face to the business, if you will, but that’s not the brand. And I think that for small businesses that,

I think you have to really be careful what the brand is.

Anthony Codispoti (29:26.758)
And so the lesson there is really, yeah, for a small business owner, think about separating themselves from the brand a little bit so that when the.

Barbara Weltman (29:31.86)
I identify that.

Barbara Weltman (29:37.47)
Exactly. Identify, yeah, like, just a minor thing, but, you know, I used to have on the social media sites, it was, you know, it’s all about me and no, it’s about the business. And so I have to make changes in what’s displayed and how things are displayed and what the logo looks like and all that kind of stuff.

Anthony Codispoti (30:00.29)
So maybe before Barbara’s picture was a little bit more front and center. You’re, yeah, you’re, you’re the person, you’ve got the expertise, you’re, you’re the one who started this. And, and then you got to thinking, well, but I want this to outlive me. I want this to outlive me. And how do I do that? And so you’re still the engine that makes this run, but, uh, it would be easier to replace that engine at some point. Yeah. That makes sense.

Barbara Weltman (30:03.535)
was you bet. Yep. You got it. You got it.

Barbara Weltman (30:11.086)
Right. Well, what do I have to sell? Right. It’s precisely, precisely.

Barbara Weltman (30:26.978)
Yeah, precisely.

Anthony Codispoti (30:29.97)
What’s another one of your books here that we should give voice to? I know you’ve got several of them. I’m going to ask you to pick from amongst your children here.

Barbara Weltman (30:35.032)
Well…

Barbara Weltman (30:39.098)
Okay, well JK Lassner’s Small Business Taxes is a book that I’ve been doing for Wiley for more than 25 years. Every year I updated. I’m currently working on the 2025 edition because taxes change every year. And I really try in the book to help business owners understand taxes, not so that they become

tax experts or know how to prepare returns, but that’s so they can understand the implications of their business decisions. So what does it mean tax wise if you buy versus rent something? Or if you use an employee versus an independent contractor? So those are a consequence or just now, for example, buying a vehicle, do you buy an EV?

and the tax breaks associated with it versus a fossil fuel vehicle. And the point that I try to emphasize, and I try to have more of a holistic approach, that it’s not just the taxes, it’s cost and your needs and things like that. But again, the point of it is to show, make you able to make good business decisions.

good business policies in the retirement planning area. And there’s so many plans to choose from and what’s best for your situation. And do you have employees that you have to cover and what would work for them? And what are the incentives for you going with this kind of plan versus that kind of plan? And so I think that’s really the motivation behind the book. It’s not, like I said, it’s not to make you.

be able to prepare your return because most small business owners do use paid preparers, but it’s to help you run your business throughout the year.

Anthony Codispoti (32:42.978)
So you feel like this content is accessible to the average business owner? I mean, I think most business owners I know, you start talking taxes and unless you’re like, here’s how you save on taxes, they start to glaze over.

Barbara Weltman (32:47.187)
Oh, definitely.

Barbara Weltman (32:52.678)
Thanks for watching!

Barbara Weltman (32:56.774)
I know, I don’t want people to break out in a sweat when they open the book and be intimidated by the fact that it’s so big. There’s a lot to cover. Not everything applies to every business. And so you don’t have to read. It’s not like a novel where you start on page one and go to the end. It’s more of a book that you read on a particular topic that might maybe you maybe you’re dealing with issues for medical coverage in it for your

for yourself, for your business. There were so many different choices and with different tax implications. And so reading that chapter will kind of help you get what it’s all about. And you don’t have to get down in the weeds. You can just kind of get a view of what’s going on. And again, if something is confusing or you’re not sure if it’s right for you, well, that’s when you turn to a professional.

but at least you have the questions to ask. And I also think that many small business owners are reluctant to ask professionals about things because it costs money. I think you’re gonna pay a fee for every question you ask. And so the more that you know, and the better able you are to hone your question, the less it’s gonna cost you for professional advice.

Anthony Codispoti (34:23.91)
I really like that. Yeah, I like a couple of things that you said there a lot is it’s like this Don’t think of this book like a novel you don’t pick it up and read it from start to finish Especially for the average business owner. That’s just gonna be information overload, but it’s more of a reference It’s like okay. Now I’m gonna flip through the table of contents and see yeah, I’m dealing with an issue Oh, there it is chapter four. That’s what I need to educate myself about So I’m gonna do a deep dive into chapter four and then at least I know the right questions to ask I know the right

framework to start having this conversation. Right, so when I contact my attorney or I contact my CPA, I’m not having a four hour conversation so that they can get me up to speed on everything. I’m having a 30 minute conversation because now I understand what the options are and I want to get their advice on my specific situation.

Barbara Weltman (35:14.726)
Precisely because maybe you didn’t know about certain things at all You didn’t know that this was an option or this was a problem and so I think that it’s sort of Open your eyes in here and here it is So that’s kind of my goal about things in the book and it’s written in simple language. So it’s not Usually it’s not legalese

Anthony Codispoti (35:39.818)
It’s highly accessible. Yeah. Good. Kind of put you on the spot a little bit, but this is something that’s very timely, and I’m curious if you’ve got an opinion on this, is here we are recording this on April 25th, 2024. I think it was just yesterday. The FTC made a big announcement about, they say, hey, non-competes are not enforceable anymore. What do you think of this? What’s…

Barbara Weltman (36:01.702)
The non-compete, yeah. Well, okay, let me explain what this is. So the FTC said that other than certain high executives, no more non-compete agreements. And in fact, existing non-compete agreements are gonna be out in, I think 100.

80 days out, about six months from now. Once the final rule is published in the Federal Register, then it’ll be 180 days from then. And employers must notify their employees about this. They have to tell them that this is so. Again, other than for the very highly compensated, high executives, I forget the language that was used.

The reason behind this is that the FTC thinks that this is an unfair competition, an unfair competition to have this and that more businesses will be formed because people will be free and not bound by their agreements. But there are already lawsuits and they’re going to be more.

challenging the rule, saying that the FTC does not have the authority to do this and that there are in fact good reasons in certain situations to have non-compete agreements. In recent years, many states have already said this, so this is not new in a lot of locations, but this is a national rule now and again we’ll just we’ll have to see. I…

You know, I’ve known of situations where I think a non-compete agreement is appropriate. And, you know, it’s not meant for a rank and file person. But if you have somebody who’s highly unique to your business and you don’t want that person going to work for your competitor or starting a competing business. I know, for example, I knew this one business owner who his business was repairing pottery.

Barbara Weltman (38:24.886)
It was a highly skilled activity and he would train people to do this. And then poof, as soon as they got trained, they went out and were in competition with him. And you know, was that fair? He put in all this time to train them. And a non-compete agreement would only be legal if it was limited in time and location. So if his competitor moved across the country,

it wouldn’t be banned by the agreement, but if the competitor was opening up across the street, you know, maybe that waiting a year might be a reasonable thing in a non-compete agreement. So the bottom line is, yes, we now have this national rule. It’s going to go into effect. And again, the existing agreements, other than that exception, will become void, but.

We have the legal challenges and we don’t know what the result will be.

Anthony Codispoti (39:22.746)
Any predictions you’d care to throw out there? How do you think it’ll play out?

Barbara Weltman (39:27.534)
You know, you never know, you never know. I mean, I’ve been wrong in my prediction so many times where I thought, gee, this can’t stand, this is not right. And yet the court upholds it. So who knows? And then, you know, usually when it comes to things in court, it could take years because it starts in a lower court and then it goes up through appeals. And it depends if the lower court will issue an injunction.

keeping the law from going into effect while it moves through the court, while the issue moves through the courts, we don’t know yet. So too early to say.

Anthony Codispoti (40:04.014)
Fair enough. It’ll also be interesting to see if it does go through what the language is that says, okay, here are the exceptions, right? How do we sort of carve out that non-competes can still exist for these people?

Barbara Weltman (40:18.242)
Well, it’s very, very limited. I read the rule. And so the language is there and it just hasn’t been published yet, but I read the language and it’s just that one exception. That’s it for the hype. It’s online.

Anthony Codispoti (40:22.246)
Oh, okay, is the language is already there that carves? Okay.

Anthony Codispoti (40:34.423)
How did you get access to the language? Oh, okay. Well, you said it hadn’t been published yet. I didn’t know if you…

Barbara Weltman (40:39.474)
Oh, it’s an effect. It has the rule is out. You can get it through the FTC.gov. They have a press release with a link to the language, but it doesn’t become official until it’s published in the federal register. So even though the rule has been voted on, it has to go through that process.

Anthony Codispoti (41:00.283)
Well that was a fun little tangent there to talk about the recent FTC ruling. Are there any other recent developments, recent announcements or things that you think are coming that would be kind of fun to give voice to?

Barbara Weltman (41:10.462)
Yeah, yeah, another rule and this the Corporate Transparency Act, and I don’t know if people have heard of it. But it was, it was a law from 2019 I think and then what, whatever, as a January one of this year, under that law, it requires,

Barbara Weltman (41:38.354)
go through an organization at the state level. So it would be a corporation, a limited liability company, but not a sole proprietorship, not a general partnership, not an independent contractor, must register with the treasury, with FinCEN, the financial crimes unit of the treasury, and just provide information about business owners, who they are.

their address, you have to give a driver’s license and such. And the impetus for this law was the thinking that many small businesses are used to, for nefarious reasons, money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and all of that. And so they want businesses to register so they know who the owners are. The reason I say small businesses is because there are.

more than 20 exceptions of types of businesses that don’t have to register. And one is a business that has 20 more employees and has $5 million in revenue. So it’s not even that big, but that business doesn’t have to register. So it’s really for the very small business. The registration time is for 2024, a new business has 90 days to do it.

An existing business has all of 2024. So if you were in business in 2023, you have all of 2024 to register. You don’t need an accountant or anybody to do it for you. You just go online. It’s very straightforward. It’s not a big deal. No cost to register or anything like that. But there are a lot of challenges, a lot of legal challenges going on. They think the…

Corporate Transparency Act is unconstitutional. They think the way the law has been implemented is not right. And so I know some professionals who have been helping clients already register. And certainly, if you’re a new business, don’t take a chance. You might as well register. But if you’re an existing business, you might want to take a wait and see approach and see what happens during the year to see if you need to.

Barbara Weltman (44:02.266)
to do this. And so this is another really good area to keep an eye out and see what happens.

Anthony Codispoti (44:11.286)
You know, I’m glad that you brought this up because a few months ago I started getting contacted by a company who was trying to sell me services to register for this and I just thought this is a scam. And they were very persistent. They emailed, they texted, they called. Finally, they got me on the phone and I’m like, this sounds like a load of bull. Like I’ve never heard of this before and you’re telling me that all businesses need to do this. I feel like this would have hit my radar. And so I started to do some research.

Barbara Weltman (44:20.517)
Yeah.

It is.

Barbara Weltman (44:35.109)
Yes.

Anthony Codispoti (44:39.558)
And you’re right, and I brought it up here now and we’ll put it in the show notes, fincen.gov forward slash boi, beneficial ownership information, right.

Barbara Weltman (44:46.694)
Finson, yes. Correct, correct. And they have a small business guide, which is very helpful. If you go through the small business guide, it shows you who has to do it, when you have to do it, what you have to provide. Like I said, it’s not a big deal to do it. But personally, I’m a little skeptical of the law accomplishing its aim, because

Businesses that are nefarious to start with. You think they’re going to worry about complying? I don’t know, especially offshore businesses. I’m kind of dubious about how many will actually comply. The penalties for not doing it are very severe, including imprisonment. So if you have to do it, then for sure, do it. But

Anthony Codispoti (45:46.218)
And I wonder where the checks and balances are, because it’s kind of strange that you said a company with 20 employees or more or $5 million or more in revenue doesn’t have to register for this. That seems like a bizarrely small cutoff.

Barbara Weltman (45:53.375)
And yeah.

Barbara Weltman (46:01.53)
I can’t explain that that’s what it is. Like I said, there are over 20 exemptions of businesses that don’t have to register.

Anthony Codispoti (46:02.796)
Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (46:09.47)
And I wonder what the checks are going to be. How are they going to see if a business is registered? Are you supposed to provide documentation of it when you file your tax returns? Or?

Barbara Weltman (46:21.354)
No, no, I don’t know. I guess, I don’t know how they’re going to catch people. I guess, I guess it’s kind of, you know, currently, if you have foreign financial accounts, and they’re over a certain amount, you have to report that to FinCEN annually, again, forever, right, right. FBAR reporting is what it’s called in tax parlance.

Anthony Codispoti (46:26.495)
Okay, all right.

Anthony Codispoti (46:43.662)
That’s something that’s been in place for a long time, yeah.

Barbara Weltman (46:51.334)
And if you don’t do it, severe penalties. They’ve been catching people, tons and tons of people. So I don’t know how it will work. But again, it’s just something they have to do for business. And that’s kind of where I’m coming from in terms of trying to provide information to business owners that

Anthony Codispoti (47:04.386)
Well, I-

Barbara Weltman (47:18.414)
These things are out there and it may apply to you and find out more.

Anthony Codispoti (47:23.734)
This is really good, Barbara. I think you’ve just done a lot of people a good service here because when I found out about this a couple of months ago, I mentioned it several of my friends who owned businesses and they just furrow their brow at me and they’re like, I’ve never heard of this. This doesn’t seem real. Like I don’t feel like enough people are talking about it. It’s not getting enough press. So this is real. It’s here and who knows how it’ll play out, but.

Barbara Weltman (47:45.462)
It’s real and I and I and you know, um, you mentioned that I do an idea of the day I post I have a list that it goes out on and then I it’s also on my website every day and What I it’s you know, just a sentence or two about something that you need to know about and so I continually put these kinds of things out there as Reminders and I get feedback from people saying oh, thanks for reminding me. Thanks for telling me. Oh, I didn’t know that and

That’s kind of the whole point.

Anthony Codispoti (48:17.674)
Any other golden nuggets you want to drop on us here that, yeah, sort of things that people should be aware of that a lot of people aren’t?

Barbara Weltman (48:24.962)
Well, another thing that’s going on now, the House passed a tax measure in December. It’s never been brought before the Senate. The tax measures would make some of the change, some important business tax rules, favorable rules retroactive for 2023. And we’ve already filed our 2023 returns. Most businesses have, some are on extension, but.

most businesses have. So we really need to watch what’s happening in Congress if they get to it and if it would be beneficial to us and whether we will need to file amended returns or whether the IRS will automatically deal with it. For example, one of the provisions to offset the business breaks.

they have an increased child tax credit. And they, IRS said, don’t worry, if you pass the child tax credit, we’ll just send everybody refunds. Don’t, you won’t have to do anything, you want to file. So on the business side, we’ll have to see what happens. But that’s, there were some really good breaks out there that could be in effect and could impact 2024 as well. So we need to watch for that.

Anthony Codispoti (49:47.014)
Is there a precedent for the IRS sort of retroactively going back through and saying, yeah, okay.

Barbara Weltman (49:53.27)
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. They’ve done it when several years ago when they made retroactively unemployment benefits to be tax free and so they were funded money and they did it with child tax credit remember they were sending money and all the Rebates that we got during COVID that was all kind of sent to a lot of people

Anthony Codispoti (50:19.818)
And so this law that passed the House hasn’t been put in front of the Senate may go into effect retroactively. Is the only thing that it contains are tax breaks where people would be getting checks? Or is it a situation where we may have to restate our taxes and owe more?

Barbara Weltman (50:40.265)
No, I don’t think there’s nothing in here that would make you owe more.

Anthony Codispoti (50:44.61)
Does it seem unlikely that this is to go through considering it seems like the IRS is kind of broke?

Barbara Weltman (50:52.098)
Well, you know, the problem with where we stand with taxes right now is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was enacted in 2017, is set to expire at the end of 2025. So, and it had many, many breaks for individuals and businesses. And it may be that, and this is just, I’m just guessing, not that I’ve heard this or anything, but it may be.

that Congress will wait and not act on that measure that I referenced and kind of roll it all together in some major bill that will address a lot of the expiring provisions, keep the ones they want, get rid of the ones they don’t and have a comprehensive measure going forward in 2026. But who knows, who knows? And you know a lot.

may depend on what happens with the election and that makeup of Congress going forward. And so, never dull.

Anthony Codispoti (51:57.718)
It’ll be fun to revisit this interview in six to eight months and see where things landed that we were talking about today.

Barbara Weltman (52:07.73)
Yeah, see, you’ll have to give me a scorecard on how I did.

Anthony Codispoti (52:12.854)
Well, I like how you’ve sort of stayed relatively neutral. Like it could go this way, it could go that way. Like we just, we don’t know because we can’t predict the future. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know if you do. But I think this would be a fun time to talk about because you referenced before a mentor. Who is that? Somebody that’s had an outsized impact on your life.

Barbara Weltman (52:17.882)
Well, that’s true. We don’t know.

Barbara Weltman (52:36.806)
So I worked with a man called Sidney Kess. We worked together for 45 years. Yeah. Initially I started working for him and ghostwriting for him. And like I said, doing that work while I had my practice. And then over time, we developed projects and things and we were 50-50 partners. We never had an agreement. We had a handshake. We never had…

a problem. We never had an issue and it was fabulous. But he gave me a lot of good advice along the way. He was a real, he was in the true sense, a mentor and you know, I learned from him.

Anthony Codispoti (53:25.046)
What is one of the more impactful lessons that you hold close even to today?

Barbara Weltman (53:30.542)
Well, I keep in my head every day. My day is busy and I have a lot of different things going on and I really strive for excellence. But his message was always do the best you can in the time you have. And I’m like, you know, don’t beat yourself up. You can only do what you can do. You have deadlines. With what I do, there are continual deadlines.

and the deadlines don’t get extended. You have to submit and that’s what happens.

Anthony Codispoti (54:06.398)
I’m curious, you know, I’ve got, as I’m sort of thinking through a problem or a challenge and I’m, okay, how do I want to approach this? Sometimes I feel like I hear the voice of certain people, like asking me questions, sort of prodding me. One of them is my dad, who, very influential character in my life, wonderful person, full of love, lots of business experience. There’s another one that was an old business partner.

that used to really challenge the traditional ways that I would look at things. Is Sydney sort of that voice for you? Is it, you kind of find, what would Sydney do?

Barbara Weltman (54:39.937)
Definitely. What would Sydney do? First of all, family was everything. Family is the most important thing.

Barbara Weltman (54:53.734)
I keep that in mind too. That’s something that’s been very important to me. And also maintaining relationships. And that’s been a wonderful part of my whole career. I still have connections with people from 40 plus years ago that we still are in contact with, 20 years ago, 10 years. I continually have made these connections.

and continue to interact with them, ask them questions. They can ask me for anything and keeping up with our families. And it’s just been, it’s a wonderful aspect of being in business that you’ve made that you have the opportunity to make these kinds of connections. And, you know, what else is there really? I mean, you know, once you get past having a business and having enough.

money to meet your needs, meet your family’s needs, do the things that you want, your charitable obligations and things like that, then you’re really in business for the fun of it, if you will, for the challenge, for the interest, for the, for the, and for mostly for the people.

Anthony Codispoti (56:12.746)
You mentioned family and the importance of family. I’m curious if you have either any advice or maybe any anecdotes, any stories to share about balancing work and family as you’re growing multiple businesses.

Barbara Weltman (56:26.726)
Sure.

Absolutely. Well, I started my business from home. I built an office onto my home, a professional office with a separate entrance for my law practice, while I had three children in the house. And so it was, I was, the good thing was I was able to organize my schedules and be able to be there when they came home from school and take them to activities and do that. But on the other hand,

When I had clients and I had to close the door and make sure that they didn’t disturb us. And I used to say to them, if there’s no blood, just wait. And they kind of knew. But on the other part, the flip side of it was it was great for them.

because they got to use my copying machine. And back when that was a novel thing or a fax machine or, you know, those kinds of things were not around. And it was great for them. And they also saw mom working and doing. And when my kids got older, they became, when they were, after they were 18, they could be witnesses to the wills I was writing for my clients. So they got, you know, a little involvement.

Anthony Codispoti (57:47.31)
Good education.

Barbara Weltman (57:48.454)
Oh, yeah, they kind of knew what was going on in the business world, and that was good for them. And, you know, maybe I could have done better if I had been with a major law firm and then a big, I was in New York, right outside of New York. I mean, you don’t know, it’s the road less taken and you don’t know the results and you don’t know which is the better choice or what. But.

I have to say that I’m content with the results that I experienced.

Anthony Codispoti (58:22.642)
Now I’m curious how you used to handle this, because I’ve been in similar situations where I have to work from home, maybe I’ve got an important call, maybe I’ve got a podcast interview that’s already scheduled that day, and I, yeah, like kind of like you’re saying, if there’s no blood, let it wait, try to entertain yourselves for a while, but I’ve got the advantage of being a parent of young children in an age where there’s all kinds of entertainment options. You know, there’s…

multiple TV programs if I really need to make sure they’re fully engaged I can put you know a video game in front of Them for a little while you know your kids are fully grown What what were the options to make sure that they were kind of often in occupied for a period of time?

Barbara Weltman (59:07.77)
Well, first of all, when I started working from home, it wasn’t the rule. It was something that you did try to hide. It wasn’t considered professional, if you will. So when you were taking calls, you didn’t wanna hear the barking dog in the background. Well, everybody, exactly. Exactly. In fact, I wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business.

Anthony Codispoti (59:26.166)
We hadn’t gone through COVID where everybody had worked from home. Right. Yeah.

Barbara Weltman (59:38.206)
And so back in the day, you know, when it was kind of a novel idea, of course, I tell everybody that the president works from home. So, you know, the Oval Office is in his house. So, so it’s exactly. So exactly. So, uh, you know, it, it was, um, it was challenging. Uh, I will say that it was easier to get my kids to.

Anthony Codispoti (59:49.698)
So no shame, right? The leader of the free world can do it, so can I.

Barbara Weltman (01:00:05.95)
understand and cooperate with what was going on. Then my husband who would wanna barge in cause he couldn’t wait to tell me something. So that was a little more challenging.

Anthony Codispoti (01:00:17.282)
You had one extra big kid that you were dealing with. Yeah.

Barbara Weltman (01:00:19.655)
Precisely.

Anthony Codispoti (01:00:23.262)
And I’m curious, you also mentioned when sort of talking about that voice in your head and like what would Sid do kind of a thing, the importance of relationships in your life. And you know, as somebody who has had so many clients and you know, now you’ve got this big stage, this big microphone, you’ve got so many people that you have the opportunity to meet. How do you juggle like trying to maintain close relationships with so many people?

Barbara Weltman (01:00:49.198)
Well, obviously you can’t be close to so many people, but I do stay connected through my publications and through social media. So there’s a way to stay connected to some extent, but there are more than a handful of people that I regularly communicate with and throughout that I’ve developed these relationships through my business. So, yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (01:01:16.83)
Any other mentors or books, philosophies you want to…

Barbara Weltman (01:01:20.142)
Yeah, well, I’m a sure I’m a big reader. And I, you know, I just, I write and I read and I just I love to read and I have I have three quotes taped to my to my monitor. So Ben Franklin, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Leonardo da Vinci said learning never exhausts the mind. And David Rubinstein said who had

investment firm and whatever. You can never read too much. And certainly there are a lot of books that I’ve learned various things from, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. I read a lot of biography, I do a lot of fiction. One book, for example, that I just loved was grit. Duckworth, I think wrote the book. And I don’t know. I…

Anthony Codispoti (01:02:12.718)
Todd Herman.

Anthony Codispoti (01:02:16.95)
Oh, I’m thinking about a different grit, sorry.

Barbara Weltman (01:02:18.846)
Yeah, okay. So this is, yeah, she wrote this book and I really, I kind of relate to it because I never thought of coming from school or whatever. I never thought of myself as, you know, the smartest person in the room or anything, but I did kind of have that determination. And so I really enjoyed that book and I kind of keep, I could relate to that. But there are a lot of books that I, that I’ve read that are

Wonderful.

Anthony Codispoti (01:02:49.718)
Now I’m wondering why I got that tripped up, but yes, you’re right. It’s Angela Duckworth and I’ve heard her on multiple podcasts as well. She’s yeah, she’s, she’s very bright. Um, I haven’t, I haven’t read her book, but that I’m going to add that to my list. Yeah.

Barbara Weltman (01:02:57.262)
Duckworth, that’s right. She does a TED Talk, right?

Barbara Weltman (01:03:09.974)
Yeah, it’s worth the read because you really get to see it. I’ve, like I said, I read a lot and it’s not only for enjoyment, but I really, I do have a lot of takeaways from it.

Anthony Codispoti (01:03:26.43)
I have just one more question for you Barbara, but before we get to it, what’s the best way for people to either get in touch with you or get familiarized with all your content? There’s so many books, there’s a website, there’s a newsletter, what’s the best starting place for somebody?

Barbara Weltman (01:03:48.623)
Well, bigi is the best place because that has the links to all the social media platforms. You can see the idea of the day. You can subscribe there. And the blogs are posted there and other information is contained. The books, there’s links to all the books and such. So through the website is the best way to go. Bigi

Anthony Codispoti (01:04:13.794)
Okay, and this last question, we kind of touched on this a little bit as you’re sort of thinking about separating you from the overall brand, but I’m curious, where do you see your business going? What’s sort of the goal for it here?

Barbara Weltman (01:04:28.782)
Well, people ask me, are you ever going to retire? And I was at a talk the other day where the speaker, Larry Summers was talking, Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary, was talking about, he was in this monthly or weekly group with Kissinger, who was over 100. And he would still be asking, oh.

what’s what does this mean? Could you send me that book? What’s that article? And he was continually engaged and interested and with it. And I think that’s kind of the way to go. So I’m not really embracing the idea of retirement, although I have cut back considerably. I’m not doing as much as I used to do. I’m not doing conventions and speaking in that kind of thing. But I’m going to do it as long as I can.

Anthony Codispoti (01:05:22.026)
I think that’s such a smart approach. My father, he’s owned his own businesses forever, and he’s in his mid-70s, and he shows no signs of slowing down. And we would all love for him to just take it down just a little bit of a notch, but I’ll tell you what, he’s as sharp as ever. And I think the brain, it’s like anything else in your body. It’s like a muscle, like the more that you use it.

The stronger it stays, the sharper it stays, the more with it you are.

Barbara Weltman (01:05:52.278)
Well, I will just mention that my mentor, who I talked about, was 97 when he died. And I spoke to him just a couple of days before, and he was as sharp as ever. It was just, it was amazing. And part of it has to do with staying engaged with something that you love.

Anthony Codispoti (01:06:12.11)
great message to end with. Barbara, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. I really appreciate it.

Barbara Weltman (01:06:17.822)
Oh, it’s been my pleasure.

Anthony Codispoti (01:06:19.882)
That’s a wrap on another episode of the Inspired Stories Podcast. Thanks for learning with us today.