It is with a sad heart that I announce that FGM Internet Marketing, LLC will not be converting legally to a worker’s owned co-op in 2023. Although we informally operated as a co-op for the past 2 years, when it came to final negotiations to joint ownership, we couldn’t strike a deal.
Our last update on the co-op was June 2022 and much has happened since then. In November 2022, we contracted Carolina Common Enterprise (CCE) and their legal services to help us draft an operating agreement that would formalize our conversion from a single person LLC to an LLC with members.
Thomas at CCE and Hasmik from the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) worked closely with Ben and me to draft this operating agreement between February and July 2023. I have so much appreciation for Thomas and Hasmik for their expertise in this type of law, and their patience in answering our questions on the many Zoom calls we had to get a clear understanding of this new (to us) legal business structure. I highly recommend both CCE, based in North Carolina, and SELC, based in California, as resources for anyone looking to start a co-op or convert an existing business into a worker’s owned co-operative.
Mid-summer, as we were nearing the completion of the operating agreement, it was time to figure out what it would look like to become a member-owner of this existing business. The business FGM Internet Marketing holds value based on our books and proven record of success, so in order to join as a member, there would need to be some sort of capital or sweat equity investment. These were the details that Ben and I would have to agree on and, unfortunately, we never came to a concrete agreement. That, plus a change in focus for Ben in how he wanted to shape his career, ultimately led to us deciding to not become joint owners of FGM Internet Marketing.
What Happens Now?
Ben will still be working with FGM Internet Marketing and our clients as a content strategist and copywriter, but he will no longer have an ownership stake in the business.