Protecting Your Business
Alright, let's keep moving because trademarks are just one way that you can help to protect your brand from being taken by others or misappropriated in ways that you're not comfortable with. The other ways that you can make sure that you're not going to jail and that your business is legally legit and protected, I have five ways here for you to go through. The first thing that I want to talk to you about as far as protecting your business is contracts. And HoneyBook does a phenomenal job about this. We've collaborated and they have a great, they actually have a couple of great templates for you to choose from in their platform if you are interested, if you have no idea where to start with contracts because contracts are the first place I would start with any kind of business. They are so critical for you to have a great relationship with your client. They are the foundation for that relationship and if you do not establish the expectations and the boundaries in that contract with any k...
ind of client that you're considering working with then you are going to have a less than stellar client experience, you're not going to get referred, and you could be putting yourself at risk because the client could be disappointed with the results that were delivered, it maybe wasn't what they expected. So the second thing on here is insurance. This is something that isn't in my realm actually as an attorney. A lot of people confuse that with what I do but insurance is a great tool for you to use if you are interested in making sure that you are outsourcing as much liability as possible. So we have the LLC, that's great, it's separate and distinct from us, and we are able to absorb any kind of legal responsibilities over there but then the problem comes because if you do get into some kind of litigation, if you are facing likely some kind of settlement, probably not actually a lawsuit, but if you are in that situation and you are facing some kind of financial penalty as a result of a legal consequence. So for example, maybe somebody on Etsy is accusing you of stealing their designs or somebody is saying you used their photo or I'm trying to think of like the other common scenarios I see all the time. Those are situations where you might be paying money to somebody as a settlement and as the LLC, yes, it's not coming out of your pocketbook, it's coming out of your business' pocketbook, your business is the one who is responsible for responding and paying that settlement or that litigation amount that's due, but the great thing about insurance is that in a lot of situations, they will actually cover it. So I hope that all of you are familiar with things like car insurance and business insurance works very, very similarly to car insurance. So if there is a claim, you're handing it off to your insurance company and saying, "Have fun," and they're taking care of the rest for you. A lot of it is just paperwork that's passed back and forth and you don't have to worry about it anymore. So without insurance, you are still paying even though it's not coming out of your personal assets, there's no lien on your house, your business is the one who's paying for that. But with insurance you're able to outsource that liability a little bit more by saying, "Okay, I'm gonna pay this up front cost "of this insurance company and they are going to help "in case there is anything that comes up "later on down the road. "They're gonna find an attorney for me, "they're gonna help settle this matter." A third way to make sure that your business is protected is to use disclaimers. We are gonna be talking more about what this looks like online for you but if you are using any kind of disclaimer in your presentations or in your communications with clients or more likely on your website whenever somebody's coming and they want to learn more about you and your company. A lot of times what we'll see, especially with online entrepreneurs is some kind of earnings disclaimer. So maybe when you're buying your next course, you look and you see what kind of disclaimers are available to you, what the course is claiming you will and will not be able to do with the materials inside, and what you can expect as a result of enjoying that platform. So disclaimers are really, really helpful to help reduce some of the legal liability that you could otherwise be facing and they're really, really simple to set up and just put on your website. Okay, so finally, your terms and conditions on your website. These are something that you would be surprised by how many people are actually reading this stuff. I know it sounds really dry and really boring but these are really helpful in the instance where you want to know what you can and cannot do with somebody else's property. So if you're a blogger and you're putting together a round up post, your terms and conditions are a great spot to find what you can and cannot do with, for example, some big corporation like maybe a makeup company, I'm not gonna name any names, but like a makeup company or a department store. If you're using those images from their site, typically their terms and conditions will state something about the way that you are able to use their photos and what kind of things you have to do in order to do that legally so that you're not facing any kind of copyright infringement. That's the first place that I always turn to if I'm looking to use somebody else's images. And then the second would be permission. Terms and conditions are also helpful on your own website because they're helping you to explain to your audience what it is that they can and cannot do while they are on your website. What they can do with your photos, what they can do with your content. Can they copy your content and attribute it back to your blog? Are they allowed to do certain things while they're on your website? So the terms and conditions is kind of like your rules, your domain, and they are just an extra step to help protect your business while you are online. Ambiguity in your contracts or in your business is really the death nail, it's what we want to avoid. And so a lot of people are overzealous and when they create their contracts they might add in a layer of ambiguity and what this typically looks like is some kind of cancellation policy that shows up in five different places because they're concerned that someone hasn't read it the first time around. They may not have but the best way to deal with that isn't to introduce even more ambiguity with potentially conflicting cancellation provisions but just to have one very clear one that maybe is in bold and highlighted. So clearing up any kind of ambiguity as you go is a super helpful tool that can assist your clients and your potential customers to feel confident in their decision to purchase from you and to trust you as your are growing with them.