There are over 250 different occupations that the state of New York licenses today. Dozens of others jobs require certification of training and education. 

If you are already licensed in the state of New York, take note. You carry your occupational license with you into every activity and business venture in which you participate as a principal, owner, director, employee, consultant, independent contractor, or operator. 

Licensed occupations, and in particular, the professions, are regulated by a series of authorities that have varying degrees of oversight, including the New York State Department of Education, Office of the Professions, and State Professional Boards, national occupational and professional organizations rules of conduct for ethical behavior, and state and federal laws. For example, there are laws for licensed occupations on anti-discrimination in the marketplace, fair hiring practices, on audio and visual advertising content, product or service claims, use of testimonials, labeling, print, web, and social media marketing and content, client and customer privacy, workplace safety, and anti-harassment, to name a few. 

Health providers are also overseen by the participating provider agreements they sign, the rules of conduct of their practices, and of the health care facilities in which they have privileges and see patients and clients. 

These rules and regulations of a side business may directly involve licensed activities. Engaging in these activities or other regulated endeavors without the proper license is a state law offense. Hiring others to engage in regulated activities without the proper licenses is also a separate offense. In some cases, these are felonies. 

Many other regulations over business ventures reach into all aspects of a professional's life including their veracity, financial integrity, and even whether or not they are current on any court ordered child support. 

The irony is that untrained, unlicensed individuals making claims about their services or products are held to fewer standards than a professional is. Licenses carry with them standards of conduct, honestly, integrity, and the responsibility to always place the needs of their client ahead of their own financial interests. 

Your occupational license is like a hat that you cannot take off when you go participate in your side business. Everywhere you go and every encounter you have, particularly if there is overlap in the two, carries heightened scrutiny. 

A licensed professional and their side business may not overlap much at all: if a licensed accountant becomes part owner in a craft brewery business, for example. The veracity and financial responsibilities are similar to those of any other person in commerce. 

Or, the side business is significantly related to a person's licensed profession, and some of the same people may become clients and customers of both enterprises. 

This is especially true for those carrying one of over 50 different health care licenses in the state of New York. In these situations, the license reigns supreme. All its regulatory, financial, ethical, professional responsibilities, limits, and constraints, will follow you into any other business you enter. It can make side businesses, especially selling a wellness related product or service for an already licensed health professional, fraught with potential traps and risks to your primary occupation.

The current explosion of health and wellness products and services has many people eager to start their own side businesses in the field of lifestyle improvement: yoga, meditation, lifestyle or wellness coaching, supplements, aromatherapy, beauty, hydration or oxygenation products, blogging, vlogging, podcasts, social media posting, classes, and retreats, to name a few. 

Some entrepreneurs have no prior experience in the lifestyle industries, others are already licensed in massage therapy, behavioral health, nursing, or even medicine. 

Every wellness service or product claim or promise of successful result will have to pass scrutiny with state and federal truth in advertising laws and the FTC or the FDA. For individuals licensed in a profession, especially in a health care field of any type, it may involve scrutiny from the state licensing board as well. 

If you are found to be making unsubstantiated or false claims, or have a product liability problem in your side business that involves your veracity, the public safety, or other regulatory violations, you will be held to the higher standard of knowledge than an untrained person. You may be required to notify many of the entities regulating your professional license and those with whom you have contracted, about allegations or violations from your side business, and they may find you have violated the standards of your occupation. The stakes for licensed occupations are therefore much higher. 

Before launching a venture, it is recommended that you consult with professionals knowledgeable about your risk exposures. 

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