130. How Long Can You Get Away Without Legal Coverage?

How Long Can You Get Away Without Legal Coverage

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When it comes to business registration, that only applies to “real” business, not your online business – right?  In this episode, I’m here to answer a question listener Cara asked: “My online coaching business isn’t registered, and apparently it doesn’t need to be, but is there some kind of public liability or protection policy I can add?”

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • Whether your online business needs to be registered
  • The importance of business insurance
  • How proper contracts protect your online business

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Why Registering Your Business is Crucial

This question came from Cara, and let me tell you, she’s not alone. Many online business owners have this same query. Here’s the truth — regardless of whether your business is online, in-person, or e-commerce, the law sees it all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re making 5 dollars or 5 million dollars, your business’s size, profitability, or any other specific factors. The law is applied uniformly.

You absolutely must register your business in your state of operation. It protects your personal assets and allows you to claim business expenses, setting the foundation for your business not just for today, but for your future growth as well.

The Importance of Business Insurance

We’ve got our businesses registered. What’s next? Insurance. Specifically, professional liability insurance. This is especially important for those in the coaching industry, course creators, and service providers. This type of insurance helps cover costs that could crop up in the face of a lawsuit, like attorney’s fees and settlements.

No one wants to be caught off guard with those unexpected expenses, so it’s best to be prepared with insurance. It provides that extra layer of protection that keeps you from dipping into your own pocket in the event of an issue.

Don’t Skip the Contracts

Another protective measure you should consider is having lawyer-drafted contracts in place for your clients. These contracts are more than just a piece of paper. They protect your content, make sure you get paid, and maintain clear boundaries between you and your clients.

Remember, every interaction in your business that involves an exchange of services or products should be backed by a contract. It not only protects you but also establishes credibility with your clients.

If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! I’ve got a free legal workshop called “5 Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business,” that can guide you through this whole process. From setting up your business legally, getting contracts in place, determining the insurance you need, and so much more, this workshop is your ticket to navigating the legal landscape with confidence.

Episode Transcript

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Sam Vander Wielen: Hey there. I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re having a good day. Welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. If you’re new here, welcome. And if you’re a returning listener, thank you so much for being here. I hope that you love listening to these episodes or I hope they’re as helpful as I want them to be for you.

So, today, we got a question from our listener, Cara. Cara asked, "My online coaching business isn’t registered, and apparently it doesn’t need to be. But is there some kind of public liability or protection policy I can add?"

So, I’m so glad that you sent me this question, Cara, because my first thought was, why doesn’t your business need to be registered? And when I replied to your question on Instagram and I asked you just that, you said, "Well, because I’m just an online coach. I’m not an in-person service provider." So, you heard that online businesses just don’t need legal protection.

So, online businesses need every bit of legal protection, just like any other business would, because it’s a business. There’s no pass for being an online business versus a brick and mortar business versus being an e-commerce business or a coaching business. It really doesn’t matter.

The law also doesn’t care about whether you’re profitable, whether you’re new, how many clients you have, or whatever else is going on in your life. They don’t care that you had a small budget. It doesn’t matter. The law is the law and it applies to you whether you’re a coach online, in-person, you’re a baker, you’re a doctor. It doesn’t matter.

So, what does that essentially mean for you then? So, that means for you that you have to, number one, register your business in your state where you live and work so that you protect your personal assets and so that you can count business expenses. That’s really the goal with registering your business is to protect yourself or to get to be able to claim business expenses too. And we’re talking about protecting your personal assets now and in the future. So, don’t just think about what you have now, but I’m sure that the goal is to grow it.

And number two is that you have to get business insurance. So, something like professional liability insurance, depending on what you do. If you’re coaching, if you’re selling courses, offering services, you need that kind of insurance so that you don’t have to pay for a lawsuit against your business. Because what business insurance does is provide you an attorney, pay that attorney’s fee, and then pay a judgment or a settlement found against your business. So, that’s super important for your business financially.

The third thing you have to do is get legit lawyer drafted contracts ready to send to your clients or include a checkout so that you can get paid, protect your content, and avoid awkward boundary pushers.

So, if this is all news to you, I definitely recommend watching my free legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. The link is in the show notes down below. In that one hour workshop, I will walk you through how to set up your business, how to get legit contracts in place, figure out which business insurance you need, and so much more.

Obviously, I think the best part of it is that it costs you zero dollars and it gives you a gigantic sigh of relief. And I’m hoping it will help you to figure out the legal side of your business. So, click the link below to register now for my free workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business.

With that, I hope that this episode was helpful. If you have any questions at all, of course, you can send me a DM on Instagram, @samvanderwielen. And if you think a friend would like this podcast or this episode, please go ahead and forward it to them. And before you do, maybe hit subscribe on the channel or leave a rating or review wherever you listen. It’s so, so helpful to us in the show to be able to get this in the hands of more business people who need to learn how to legally protect their online businesses. So, thank you so much. I can’t wait to chat with you in the next episode.

Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms Podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.

Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.


If you’d like a shoutout (and a chance to win a $20 gift card), just leave a review on Apple Podcasts. And send a screenshot of it to me on Instagram via DMs!

Resources Discussed in This Episode

If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally legit right now!


  • Read Sam’s Blog for the latest legal tips, podcast episodes & behind the scenes of building her seven-figure business.
  • Listen to our customer stories to see how getting legally legit has helped 1,000s of entrepreneurs grow their own businesses.



  • Kajabi // use Kajabi to sell your course, program, or even build your entire website. Get a 30-day free trial with my link.
  • SamCart // what I use for my checkout pages and payment processing and LOVE. And no, not because it’s my name.
  • ConvertKit // what I use to build my email list, send emails to my list, and create opt-in forms & pages

DISCLAIMER: Although Sam is an attorney she doesn’t practice law and can’t give you legal advice. All episodes of On Your Terms are educational and informational only. The information discussed here isn’t legal advice and does not intend to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.

© 2022 Sam Vander Wielen LLC | All Rights Reserved | Any use of this intellectual property owned by Sam Vander Wielen LLC may not be used in connection with the sale or distribution of any content (free or paid, written or verbal), product, and/or service by you without prior written consent from Sam Vander Wielen LLC.

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