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Legal Protection for Your Online Business: When to Start?

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Welcome to our weekly blog series where I (former attorney-turned-entrepreneur here!) answer reader-submitted questions about legally protecting an online business. Today’s question comes from Julie, a solopreneur mindset life coach who’s just getting started in the business world.

If you have a question of your own, click this link to submit it, and we’ll add it to the list of possible upcoming topics!

When do you need to legally protect your online business?

Here’s Julie’s question, “At what stage of the business building and planning process should a solopreneur mindset life coach in the just getting started stage of business who has no audience, email list, offers, or market reach yet (but is very active on social media), apply for a EIN, get a business address, business bank account, and form an LLC?”

Answer: Right Now (or, as soon as possible)

How’s now sound, Julie? You might not feel like you have a business yet because you don’t have an email list, offers, etc setup quite yet. But I imagine you’re working on it, right?!

3 Reasons Why You Need to Legally Protect Your Online Business Right Away

Let’s walk through the three reasons why you need to get your legal ducks in a row as soon as possible (now) — and how to make it happen.

Online business owners are liable for free content

Even when you’re “just” posting actively on social media – you need to have legal coverage already. You can get sued for what you say/post on social. Just because it’s free content doesn’t make it any less liability-inducing.

Online business owners MUST register their business

You’re already posting on social – which is great! Now you can use this time to get your EIN (free from the IRS), form your business, and setup your business bank account (here’s a quick breakdown of how to get these 3 steps done).

Online business owners need to future proof their offers, assets, and content

One of the most common “myths” I hear is that “you don’t need to legally protect your online business until [THIS MILESTONE] happens.” This could be 1,000 Instagram followers, or a five-figure month, or 100 email subscribers.

But, really the opposite is true. You need to legally protect your business BEFORE any of that happens. Why? Keep reading to find out.

Why you need to legally protect your online business first

What if one of those 100 emails subscribers is from the U.K. and you don’t have a GDPR disclaimer on your landing page? What if you have a five-figure month and then someone submits a chargeback claim — and you don’t have the right contract to protect your offer and have to give a refund? What if one of your Instagram followers steals your content?

You’ll want to know how to legally build an email list (you can’t just add anyone you want!), have your website policies on your site when you go live, and have your contract ready for your first offer before anyone sets foot in your digital door.

Starting with the basics leads to confidence and courage to grow

Many of my customers use this “quieter” time in their business to get the basics set up — and it often gives them the confidence and courage to get started and put themselves out there! As your business grows, you can layer on legal protection layers as needed and keep your contracts updated.

The point is: you want to legally protect the business you’re growing. Not necessarily the one you have right at this moment. The whole point is for it to grow. (I talk about this a lot here!)

As I always say — one brick at a time! You’ve got this.

Get the templates, training, and support you need to grow your business

As an online business owner, you know first-hand that questions like Julie’s come up almost daily. That ongoing need for legal and business information and resources is exactly why I created my signature program, the Ultimate Bundle™️. It’s the go-to, soft-spot, place to land whenever you have a question about running your business — from start-up to scaling.

The Ultimate Bundle™️ gives you all the legal contracts & policies you need, plus access to me in our Private Community for support, and loads of video trainings on every question you’ve ever worried about (like what to do if someone doesn’t pay you, whether you can work with minors, what to do if someone steals your content, how to form an LLC, how to get biz insurance & so much more).

Learn more about the Ultimate Bundle™️ here. If you’re ready to Bundle up, shoot me an email with “I want the Bundle” and I’ll send you a link for $400 off, plus 3 free extra legal templates.

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