83. Legally Protect Your Online Biz: The Bare Minimum that Produces Results

Legally Protect Your Online Biz: The Bare Minimum that Produces Results

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When we don’t know what we don’t know, we tend to build stuff up in our head. That’s especially true with legally protecting your online business. Let’s slow down the conversation and stop the overwhelm. Whether you’re concerned you haven’t done enough or you simply don’t know what to do first, I’m going to break things down and share my layered legal approach to getting your basics covered.

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • The three foundations of legal protection
  • How to get out of analysis paralysis and start moving forward
  • Layering on legal protection as your business grows

3 Things You Need to Do First to Protect Your Online Business

If you’re just getting started legally protecting your business, or you’ve done some things but aren’t sure if they’re the right things, I’ve got you covered. Every business should have these three things in place to create a strong legal foundation:

  • Register your business to personally protect you
  • Get business insurance to financially protect your business
  • Create a contract for whatever offer you have

If you have these things in place and just do one thing every few months after that, you’ll have everything you need to start growing your business. Even better, you can have these three things knocked out in an hour or two.

Stop Analysis Paralysis and Get Your Business Growing

The reality of being in business is that the legal work is never “done.” Updating contracts, adding new policies, and keeping up with new laws is a part of being a business owner. While that may be discouraging to some of you, the flip side is that you don’t have to get everything figured out before you start your business.

You don’t have to get things in place that you don’t need yet. For example, if you don’t have an affiliate program yet, don’t spend valuable time stressing about how to legally protect it. If you have the right foundation, you’ll be ready to protect new offers and assets as your business grows.

Layering Legal Protection in Your Online Business

Once you have the basics covered you should feel secure in your legal protection. But where do you go from there? I would challenge yourself to ask: “What’s one thing I can do to make my business more legally protected this month?”

As you’re planning out the rest of the year, if you’ve already taken care of your foundation, keep track of what you’re going to need to tackle as things unfold. If you’re adding in an affiliate program, you can get a contract for that; if you’re hiring for the first time, brush up on how to do that legally. You can approach each of these as they come up, or set goals for yourself to look ahead to and know what’s coming up.

Legally protecting your business is an ongoing process, and one that every business owner faces. And you want the legal stuff to get more complicated, because that means your business is growing.

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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 protected right now!

Episode Transcript

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Sam Vander Wielen: Hey there and welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. I’m an attorney turned entrepreneur who helps online coaches and course creators, and service providers legally protect and grow their online businesses using my DIY legal templates and my Ultimate Bundle program. So, I am so excited to share with you, speaking of the Ultimate Bundle. Big news, breaking news, the Ultimate Bundle will be on sale coming up very soon from January 29th to February 6th only. So, this is the absolute best financial deal of the entire year.

So, the sale that I’m going to be running on the Ultimate Bundle from the 29th to February 6th will be the absolute best you’ll be able to get this entire year and including a payment plan that we’ve never offered before and won’t offer outside of this live promo. So, I’m kicking things off with an all-new live legal training that kicks off just very soon here in a couple of weeks. Make sure that you’re on my email list. You can use the easy email link sign up below to make sure you’re getting my weekly emails and make sure that you’ll be able to sign up for my free legal workshop that’s coming up.

All right. So, in this week’s episode, we’re just talking really quickly about what happens when we don’t know what we don’t know, we can tend to build things up in our head. And sometimes I see this when it comes to legal stuff and legally protecting your online business.

And today, I was hoping to just slow down the conversation, slow down any overwhelm or maybe some anxiety that you might be feeling about all of what you need to legally protect your business. Whether your concern is whether you’ve done enough, or your concern is like, I don’t know what to do, it just feels like there’s so many things. I’m really hoping that today we break it down and really go through my kind of layered step by step approach, sort of what I’m known for. So, let’s go dive into this week’s episode, all about legally protecting your online business with the bare minimum that will still help you produce results.

So, this morning I was doing all this stuff for my dad’s estate. Like even six months later, there’s still so many things to do for my dad’s estate. Luckily, there are a lot like smaller things now than they were in the beginning and a lot less stressful. But I woke up this morning probably at like four in the morning and I was like, oh my goodness, I have to do this, this, and this for dad and I have to do this for his taxes, and I have to contact the motor vehicles and I got to contact the lawyer about this and the accountant about that.

And I had this big thing running in my head about how difficult, especially one or two of the tasks I have left for my dad’s estate are going to be. Right. Built it up, built it up. How long do you think it actually took me to get these things done? I would say 30 seconds. I spent more time tossing and turning in bed this morning worrying about the stuff that I had to do than it actually took to do it, right.

And how many times can you say that about probably so many different things that you worry about in your life or that we just have a little bit of anxiety going into? I think like when we don’t know what we don’t know about things or when they’re just kind of high stress, high anxiety type things, right, we can really build them up in our heads. And we make them more complicated than it actually is to just accomplish the thing. Right?

I always think about this when it comes to pizza dough that like making pizza dough or making pizza from scratch is literally one of the easiest things in the world. There are like three ingredients in the dough. You mix it, you let it sit, or you can put it in the fridge overnight. You take it out, you let it rest and come a little bit to room temperature and you stretch it out. It’s like the easiest thing, right?

And when I tell people I make my own dough, or when I tell people I make my own pasta, heaven forbid, their heads explode, they’re like, oh my gosh, you’re like Mario Batali. I don’t know. That’s a bad example. But like people think that you’re like, it’s like this big deal, right? Because they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know what the steps are to doing that, because if they did know, they would know, I swear, it’s easier than ordering a pizza. It probably takes me like less time to throw together than the amount of time I’d have to spend ordering or definitely going to drive somewhere. Right?

Our brains like to, I think in general, like to fill in the gaps for things with bad stuff, like kind of the worst-case scenario. The you can’t do that gap. The that’s too hard gap, that’ll take so long, that’ll be so expensive, that’ll be so hard, that’ll be so intimidating, right? So, I think that’s just what we tend to do. I do this all the time about other stuff.

And I think when it comes to legal stuff for your online business, I think we make it over complicated because of the fact that I mean, come on, legal is intimidating and is a little scary, right? The consequences are real. They feel real and it’s scary. I get that. And we then because we might not be super familiar with what this process of legally protecting our businesses really looks like, I think we kind of build it up and we make it something that it’s not entirely. And that leads us to not getting legal stuff in place.

Or I actually even see the extremes on both sides where I see people who reach out to me and they have way too much legal protection, in the sense that it was like they didn’t need all of it, right? It’s unnecessary. Or they got totally the wrong stuff. They went off and got a trademark, but they haven’t even done the basics that they needed to protect themselves. Right.

So, I see this all the time and I see it leading people to spinning their wheels and not really growing their business like they want to, because maybe it keeps you from like actually talking about your business that much if you’re not super legally protected or if you’re not sure if you’ve done everything you needed to do or it keeps you from creating that online course because you’re like, I’m not sure if I create a course, how do I legally protect myself with something that people can buy from me at any time? Side note, it’s super easy. I can help you, right? So, these are all the kinds of things that go through our minds. And I think when it comes to this legal stuff, people just blow it up because it can feel really overwhelming.

So, I’m hoping that today we can just like break this down a little bit more and we can make sure that you know what the foundations are, just the simple steps that you need to take, the simple things you need to do to get your business registered. So here are the three things, kind of like the three foundational things. If you haven’t done this to legally protect your business, we have no business moving on and addressing some of the bigger legal pieces, right?

The three things you have to do are register your business because that’s what’s going to personally protect you. Get business insurance, the kind of business insurance that you need because that’s what’s going to financially protect your business. And then you need to get a contract for whatever offer you have, like whatever the way is that you’re working with people or the thing that you’re selling. We just need to get that contract because we need to have something in writing that will provide the proof that you need to protect yourself.

But if you only do one thing per month or one thing per quarter after that, you’ll have the resources that you need to continue to grow your business. The three things I just mentioned, the registration, the insurance, and the contract, those are things you can knock out in a day. Not even a day, right? It’s like a few hours, but we can knock those out really quickly. And those are your foundational things. And then from there we can kind of layer on.

One thing I think people don’t understand about legal stuff is that it’s not a one and done with legally protecting your business. This is going to be part of you being a business owner, is going to be being familiar with having to go back and update your contracts or realizing that you want to create a new policy in your business or keeping up with law changes. I mean, this is just kind of part of being a business owner now, right?

So, it’s also just like more than just having a contract. It’s about understanding that we are really building a legitimate business here. And so, legitimate businesses take care of not only this foundational stuff, but then as the business grows, we add things on and we layer on legal protection as we need it, right? So, we don’t have to create something, we don’t have to get all these contracts in place that we don’t even need yet. I’m a big believer in being very practical and getting only what you need.

So, if you’re just starting out, you don’t need to be creating an affiliate program quite yet. You might not have somebody affiliating for you. You have to establish your own stuff first, right? So, instead of you worrying about but I don’t have my affiliate program set up and I’ve got to get an affiliate contract because I heard that that’s a good way to make money. If you don’t have those three foundational things that I just talked about, then again, we can’t go down that path yet. That’s something you can layer on as you go.

When you create the affiliate program in your business, then we can get an affiliate contract and get an affiliate program legally set up for you. But right now, let’s just focus on those basics. This is going to be part of your day-to-day business moving forward. This is going to be alongside with taxes and networking with people, building out your client list, learning more about your finances and how to manage your money and budgeting and your business expenses. This is all part of being a business owner. This is going to be part of your new life, right? This is your current life. If you’re already in business, this is part of being a business owner.

That is why so many years ago I sat down, and I created the Ultimate Bundle because I wanted to give people something that really felt like a resource library that they could go back to, that would be a continuous resource. So, not like a book that you have to start and finish, but the Ultimate Bundle, my signature program that gives you legal templates and over 35 trainings on everything from how to register your business to getting business insurance, to protecting your content and so much more was really meant for use that as you’re continuing to build and as you continue to have questions, you open up the bundle and boom, what do you know, there’s a resource for that, right? So, I just always wanted it to be something that you had in your back pocket.

So, something I think about a lot is that we often in life are, and I’m so guilty of this and it’s just something I’m becoming more and more cognizant of, but we can often be so black and white with our thinking and with our approach to things. And so, sometimes people will come to me, and they’ll say, well, I’m not starting my business until I have like 9 million legal things in place. And then they feel like the legal stuff is really overwhelming and intimidating.

And that’s why I’m here to say and I was hoping that today the point of this conversation would really be like, let’s get certain things in place and then we can add on as you go. So, instead of viewing this as something that you’re supposed to get in place and finish and then start your business, instead, we start seeing it as, yes, you need a foundational part to get started, but then we add on as we go.

So, that’s when I’m really hoping just to open up that conversation. I would encourage you to ask yourself what’s one thing that you could do to make your business feel more legit this month, this quarter, this year. So, maybe as you’re doing some planning and as you’re looking forward to the rest of this year, you start thinking what have I done for my foundation, like the things that I’ve gone over? Have you done all of that?

And then if so, what are the things that you’re going to tackle as they unfold? If you’re going to add a affiliate program, then you add on, you get an affiliate contract, or if you’re in the bundle, you can go into the bundle and you can learn about how to do that and you get the affiliate contract if you’re going to hire for the first time. Well, again, if you’re in the bundle, you get a contract for that and you get a training on how to hire people properly. You can tackle these things kind of as they unfold, but I do think it’s really helpful to set goals for yourself so you know kind of what’s coming up and what things are going to tackle when.

But at least today, I’m hoping you walk away with the shift in the mindset that this is an evolving process. Legally protecting your business is an evolution. It’s a part of being a business owner. And I always say to people, you hope it gets more complicated because the bigger and better that your business gets in a way, legal stuff is going to get more complicated. I mean, you don’t think Target’s legal stuff is way more complicated than my business? Of course, it is, because there’s so much more going on. There’s so much more at stake.

And that’s what I’m trying to do, is I’m trying to build a really, really big business. And so, with legal getting more “complicated” or layered, multi-layered, is probably what I would say is a sign of growth. It’s not something to be afraid of. So, it’s something that we’re going to continue to be open to, to open our mindset to that as we evolve, we can layer on and make things better.

And that’s hopefully what I’m here for. That’s what the ultimate bundle is here for. But I would love to hear what’s one thing that you could do to make your business feel more legit this month, this quarter, and this year? You can send me a DM because I would love to know what your answer is. I asked people on Instagram like what was one thing that would make their business feel more legit? And I got some super cool answers. So, one person said getting contracts for their clients, which I think is a great one.

Another person said using Hello sign for official e-signatures on their contracts because of me. Well, I’m really glad about that one. And I could see how sending contracts with e-signatures would make you feel more legit too because even like receiving a contract that looks like that and is presented in that way can really, I think, connote some professionalism.

Another person said sending a one-to-one contract with a new client and paying taxes each quarter, which someone else actually said something about quarterly taxes as well, which I found really interesting that I think when you start paying quarterly taxes, you do start to feel very, very legit as a business owner. Another Instagram user said being registered as an official LLC and saying, “Okay, let me send you my contract”.

Yeah, I think like being empowered with knowing that you know exactly what the next steps are to onboard a new client and you know what to send them. And then you have everything already lined up and prepared. You never want to be in that situation where you get a new client and you’re like, oh, sure, let me send you your contract and then you have to go draft something and get it to them. Instead, you can just like have something ready to go.

Last but not least, someone said of the thing that would make them feel the most legit, or it did make them feel the most legit was getting an LLC and a bank account after they got the Ultimate Bundle. I swear this is what this person said. Well, I really appreciate that. And I think that not only is that super legit feeling to get an LLC, I think having that kind of certificate of formation or registration makes you feel like a very established and legitimate actual business.

But getting the business bank account is not only a requirement for having an LLC, but it’s also a really good way to start treating the money very separately, which I think is a very good mindset shift or maybe even just a mindset delineation for you to really start treating like your business’s money is your business is money, and then like your personal money is separate. So, that’s good for both personal and legal reasons.

So those were really fun. I appreciate everybody submitting those on Instagram. I hope that you’ll send me a DM and you’ll let me know what is one thing that you could do to make your business feel more legit this month, this quarter, and this year. I can’t wait to read your responses. With that, I will drop all the resources of everything I talked about down below and I can’t wait to chat with you next week.

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 podcast. 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.




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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 isn’t intended to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.

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