6 Legal Must Haves for Going Virtual

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Need to know how to start an online business legally? With everything going on in the world, you might be scrambling to get your business up and running online. But you want to make sure it’s legally legit, right? Watch my free training below to learn the 6 legal must haves for going virtual and you’ll know exactly how to start an online business legally.

Legal Must Haves for Going Virtual

First thing’s first: how are you doing, friend?

I don’t know about you, but I needed most of last week to process what’s happening.

Everything online felt so… loud. So many lives, posts, and tips about how to make the most of this “opportunity”.

But I had so many other things on my mind:

the healthcare workers on the frontlines, the support and janitorial staff keeping things running, grocery & food service workers, people out of work or without food, friends’ cancelled weddings, and small businesses in need of support.

I’m not going to pretend like I built my business to survive a pandemic — but I did go through some stuff in the past 3 years that pushed me to create an online-only, flexible business.

You can build an incredible online business and give yourself time, flexibility and tons of fulfillment–

But life’s still going to throw you curveballs.

Pre-corona, I navigated 2 huge ones thrown my way:

Curveball #1: unexpected brain surgery

Just 4 weeks after I started selling DIY Legal Templates over 3 years ago, I found out I had to have unexpected brain surgery.

I didn’t have a thing prepared — no funnel, blog or Instagram posts. Nada.

I’d made $2k in sales those first 4 weeks and didn’t have anything in reserves.

Ryan tells me that when I woke up from the surgery a few days later, I begged him for my phone so I could write a blog post (I can only imagine how good that post would’ve been!) ?

For a year after my surgery, I worked hard to get back on my feet (literally), write evergreen content, start speaking on podcasts and stages and sell 1,000s of legal templates to online entrepreneurs.

Curveball #2: a serious family illness

But I hit another huge roadblock last year when, just as I was getting into the groove, my Dad was diagnosed with end-stage leukemia.

I had a few more things in place and cash in reserves. But I wasn’t prepared for what would come after his diagnosis.

My heart and mind were split between “doing” mode (get him health insurance, the meds he needs, take him to chemo, etc.) and being really sad.

I needed time to process what was happening and how sad I was. Being on Instagram was the last thing I thought about or had energy for.

My business still did great for the first month or two after he got sick — and then all my quietness caught up with me.

Sales nearly stopped — and so did my heart.

Was I going to lose everything I’d built? What was I going to do?

I worried that my business was over and that all my hard work went down the toilet.

But I dug deep, got laser focused with my business (2 core offers, consistent messaging, showing up on 2 social platforms everyday, etc.) and things shifted in a big, big way.

As my Mom says, “out of bad comes good.”

(please don’t get me wrong: there are a lot of people right now for whom this isn’t true. That’s not lost on me, trust me.)

Those totally unexpected curveballs were painful — but they both led to new ideas, more streamlined processes and yes, more sales (unintentionally TBH).

I hope that out of this awful experience, there’s some silver lining for you. You might not be able to see it now, or even think of what it could be, but be patient: it’s marinating.

Maybe it’s new experiences, spending more time with your family, reassessing how you spend your time when you’re not in social isolation, learning a new hobby or taking time just to “be.”

Or maybe it’s finally starting that online business that’s been on the back burner, or taking some of your services or products virtual.

In this IG video, I’m sharing 6 legal must haves for going virtual with your business.

Legal Must haves for going virtual

I’m breaking down what you need to know about taking your business virtual.

Ready to learn what 6 legal must haves you need to go virtual in your business? Tap below to watch now:

samvanderwielen instagram

Once you watch, comment below and let me know if you have any questions.

To recap – here are the six things you need to keep in mind when taking your business online:

1. Your scope of practice changes when working with clients online

Your scope tells you what you can and can’t do based on your certifications, qualifications, licenses and location. While working with clients online might not look all that different than what you do offline, your scope can change based on where your virtual clients are located. Some licenses don’t permit you to work with people outside of your state. Because every industry is different, it’s extremely important to know the legal limits of what you can do for your clients. Get an attorney who is familiar with your field—whether it be healthcare, fitness, life coaching, or anything else—so they can properly advise you and keep your business completely legal. On top of that, if you’re an educator yourself, this will make sure you don’t run into any lawsuits yourself for providing incorrect information! 

2. What type of business entity an online business should have when working online

An LLC for your online business can provide you with a shield of protection. In theory, an LLC separates your personal assets from your business liabilities, limiting your personal risk and level of exposure in case of legal issues or financial troubles within the business. Moreover, an LLC can also offer tax advantages, flexibility in management structure, and a professional image for your online business. Typically, it’s a smart move for business owners looking to safeguard their personal wealth and manage their online ventures efficiently. (Note: always consult with your own CPA/accountant and/or lawyer to understand the legal, financial, and tax implications that an LLC would have for you.)

3. You need business insurance for virtual services

If you’re running an online business, you absolutely need to get business insurance. What kind of insurance you get will depend on what kind of business you run. If you offer coaching or consulting services, you typically get professional liability insurance. Business insurance will provide you with a business defense attorney if your business gets sued and pays the associated (very expensive!) fees for you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need insurance just because you’re operating online.

4. How to legally protect your website

Running an online business, in many ways your website is your business. Not only is it the main hub for selling your products, courses, and services, it’s home for your content and where you’ll cultivate a loyal email list. Your website is more than a business card, it is your storefront. It’s a resource to attract attention to your brand, nurture them, and turn them into customers. The three major website safeguards you need are: privacy policy, website disclaimer, and terms and conditions.

5. What client contracts + checkout contracts you need for online services / products

Despite popular opinion, contracts are not just for client relationships. Yes, if you’re coaching or consulting, you need to have contracts available for customers to sign, but you should also have contracts for every other way you might work with someone, or for every product or program that you sell. Anything that people pay you money for, you need a contract. Make sure you know which kinds of contracts you need for each service you provide. People have a right to know what they are agreeing to before they pay you, which means you’re obligated to present the “terms”, in some way or another, before you take their money.

6. How to get those online payments to your (business) bank account

It’s essential to Separate your personal finances from your business finances by opening a dedicated business bank account for your LLC. This step ensures that your personal assets remain protected, and it simplifies financial record-keeping for your online business. Once you have a business bank account, you will also need a payment processor to accept payments online. There are several options to choose from including Stripe and PayPal. Whatever processor you select, you will want to be sure it can accept credit cards and even set up recurring payments depending your payment structures.

If you are ready to take the next steps watch my free on-demand legal workshop (‘The First 5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business’) I mention in the video, tap here to pick a time that works for you. You can watch it now or pick a time later.

I’m here to support you as you legally protect and grow your online business — always.

PS. This IG video teaches you the 6 legal must haves for any virtual business to be legally legit. You can watch it here.

PPS. I help online service-based businesses legally protect, grow & scale their businesses through my DIY Legal Templates (a la carte contracts and website policies) and my Ultimate Bundle® program, which gives you 13 DIY Legal Templates and 35+ video trainings on how to get paid, form your business, get business insurance, and protect your content online.

Next Step: Watch my free legal workshop

If you’re ready to legally protect your business and have the legal knowledge you need to know what to do with difficult clients, watch my free workshop ‘5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business’ right now by saving your seat here.

In that workshop, you’ll learn: 

  1. How contracts can actually save your (vegan, GF) bacon — if you have the right one.
  2. What your website needs to be legally protected.
  3. How to keep copycats off your content.
  4. The mindset shift you’ve got to make if you want to actually grow your  business without looking over your (online) shoulder.
  5. The only way to form your business so that you’re personally and professionally protected.

Ready to watch? Sign up for my free legal workshop right here:

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So What Do you think?

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  1. Do you have a HIPPA consent form? I have one but it seems really long… longer than what I fill out at my MDs office.
    Also, how about a Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability Policy for patients to sign prior to a session?

    I listened to you on a webinar with Stephanie Clairmont, MHSc, RD from The Leveraged Practice and plan to refresh my memory, listen again and hopefully purchase templates from you.

    1. Hey Angela! Thanks so much for stopping by. Such a great question! Are you located in the US? feel free to send me an email (you can click on “Contact” at the top of the page!) so we can chat more about this. Talk soon! xo, Sam

Register for my FREE legal training

5 Steps To Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business


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