So, you’ve decided to open your own fitness studio or gym or launch that personal training business. Maybe you are an established entrepreneur or fitness professional and just need some advice. Before you take that next step, send that proposal, or onboard that next client, it’s critical to speak to someone who understands the legal ramifications and has been there before.

Enter Dischino and Schamy – business and intellectual property law. In other words, if you are creating content, training someone, and/or opening a business, these are the experts you need to be speaking with to protect you and your business.

We sat down with Brenda Schamy – one half of Dischino and Schamy, to pick her brain and get some advice on potential legal pitfalls you could face.

Tell us a little bit about your firm – Dischino and Schamy

Dischino and Schamy was founded in 2016 when Chris and I merged firms. I brought my litigation background and experience, while Chris brought his expertise in transactional. We now service clients in many different industries like retail, fitness, entertainment, hospitality, nonprofits and much more.

Tell us more about your legal specialties.

Both Chris and I have entrepreneurial backgrounds, owning businesses of our own in many of the industries which we specialize – a boutique boxing gym, a yacht company, a well-established nonprofit, and more.

Having both a personal and professional connection to the industries of our core clientele is what we believe truly sets the firm apart from others in this space.

It sounds like you have a lot of experience in the South Florida Health & Wellness industry.

Yes – being an avid fitness enthusiast myself, and having previously owned a gym, I’m particularly acquainted with the Health & Wellness industry. We service a variety of clientele – fitness studios, fitness influencers, beauty bloggers, skincare and wellness studios and more.

Dischino and Schamy

What is a mistake you advise your clients from making?

Intellectual property is now one of the most crucial components of a business – not owning your brand is taking a big risk anytime you invest in marketing or PR.

It’s important to play both offense and defense when it comes to intellectual property by protecting what’s yours and being well informed to not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property. It can save you and even make you a lot of money.

Partnership agreements are also crucial, most people don’t understand the importance of partnership agreements when they are starting their companies. A lot of people begin companies with their friends or people they know, and they think putting things down on paper is unnecessary, you’d be surprised how often that winds up being the biggest downfall of a company.  

Is this mistake the same for those in the health and wellness industry?

The general concepts are the same for any industry when speaking broadly but the fitness world has some additional concerns regarding disclaimers, advertisement, liability, etc. that those in the health and wellness industry should be especially informed about. 

I’d also emphasize once again how often business owners and individual influencers fail to protect their intellectual property. Be it your name, your logo or slogan, or the branding of a new skincare product – your intellectual property is one of the most crucial components of your business. Not owning the components of your brand is like throwing away money every time you do any sort of marketing or PR.

What about for personal trainers who own their own business? Any advice for them?  

My best piece of advice to personal trainers who own their own business is to always consider yourself a business and structure yourself as such, even if you are operating as an individual.

It’s important to understand not only the benefits that come with operating as a freelance trainer but also the risks – taking the same precautions in regard to liability protection and insurance is essential. You want to make sure you are protected in all areas of your business, especially intellectual property matters which may include your branding, disclosures, consent, and content usage.

Take the time to understand that you are in fact a business as much as you are a “brand,” and that legal matters apply equally to you as a personal trainer.