How to Build A Legally Protected Online Business

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After reading and thinking about business opportunities and deciding it’s time for you to take the plunge, you’ve built up this amazing business idea — and now you realize you’ve built something worth protecting.

But you have no clue where to start with your small business.

You feel like legal is expensive and super confusing, so you keep shoving it under the rug. Maybe you’ve consulted search engines down to the 100th page of results in hopes of finding legal advice that isn’t a higher price than free. 

But you know how much calmer it would make you feel to know that you and your business are protected — so you can focus on the big picture stuff?

The problem is that most legal resources out there for business owners aren’t geared toward women who do what you do.

You’re right — traditional legal help IS expensive and confusing. And it’s not tailored to online business ventures.

How to build a legally legit online business in 3 ways

How To Build a Legally Protected Online Business

Whether you’ve started an online store, have taken on the interesting world of drop shipping, decided to start a blog (and become an affiliate marketer), or have begun to work at home as a coach (especially wellness/fitness coaches after 2020), there are a number of ways to get involved in an online business opportunity.

Before you get crackin’ on outlining your business model, exploring marketing strategies / your target market, and starting a social media presence, you’ll need to make sure you’re legally protected, especially if you’re exclusively providing services or selling online.

Here are 3 HUGE tips about how to build a legally protected online business to cut through all that confusion and overwhelm…

1 // Setup Your Business

Yes, before you even work with potential customers — you should setup your business properly. This applies to every online entrepreneur, from virtual assistants, to graphic designers, or coaches and those who sell products or any services.

The key is to have a business formed *before* you work with someone, so that if there ever was a problem, you would have been working with that client as a *business* and not as an *individual* (that is – if you go with an LLC as an entity type!)

Each state has pros and cons to each entity type (LLC aka limited liability company, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.) It’s important to find out what those are, what that means for *you* and the steps you need for registering your business.

2 // Website Policies

When you start an online business, as soon as you choose your web host and website goes up (or as soon as you can thereafter) you should have a solid, professionally written WEBSITE DISCLAIMER, PRIVACY POLICY, and TERMS & CONDITIONS as links in the footer of your website (FYI: I offer all 3 website policies in a discounted bundle HERE!). These policies tell your customers that you care about their experience and offer great customer service.

These should be tailored to you and your business as much as possible. In other words, stealing from someone else’s website, or borrowing from a friend, is not only illegal — but it’s just simply not going to help you.

You need a contract for each way you plan to work with people

3 // Contracts

As you get closer to being ready to work with clients full-time, you should have a professionally written, tailored contract ready to go.

Working with people 1-on-1 through coaching or creative services? Then you need a 1-on-1 client services agreement.

Running a group program? Then you need a group program contract.

Have an online course that’s evergreen and can be purchased anytime (hello, passive income!)? You need Terms of Use — which is like a contract – but instead of people signing it, they ‘acknowledge’ it. Here’s the one you need if you’re in the wellness field or business (or business-to-business services!) field. 

Voila! See — not that bad!

Of course, there’s always more to do. You might want to learn more about how to protect your content, figure out whether you need a trademark, or learn about your scope of practice so your programs stay within legal bounds.

But in the meantime — this is a great start ; )

Free legal training on how to protect and grow your online business with Sam Vander Wielen

Learn more about my DIY legal templates (including all 3 major website policies and any contract you need!) and video trainings in the Ultimate Bundle™.

And you can always get in touch with me HERE. I’d love to hear from you <3

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