New Year’s Day, Samana, Dominican Republic
Happy New Year! Hope y’all got a chance to relax over the break and took one of my best tips-be either 100% on or 100% off-to heart. 😉 In honor of the start of the new year, I put together a list of 22 tips for online business owners.
In no particular order:
1.If you’re collaborating with another business owner (course, group program, etc.), you need a contract. Among other things, if 2 people contribute to a work, under copyright law, it’s a joint work (so that guest speaker who contributes a 15 minute session now has copyright rights in what you’ve created and has the right to dictate how it is used, sold, etc.). I see this all the time. Especially if you plan on evergreening your course/program, you need a contract. To date, I’ve been doing these custom because many times there’s a profit-sharing arrangement involved. Working on a template but there are a lot of nuances.
2. If you’re hiring someone to work on behalf of your clients (subcontractor) you either need to be using your independent contractor agreement that has an NDA (best) or, using theirs after getting a lawyer to review it and executing a separate NDA.
4. Hosting a paid workshop or a challenge in your FB group or on another social media platform? What happens if everything goes down like it did in Oct? That’s a lot of refunds you have to issue unless you have a contract that says everyone will automatically be enrolled in the rescheduled date. Click here for the contract you need for workshops.
5. You can’t have dueling contracts, meaning you can’t have a client agree to your contract while simultaneously agreeing to a contract a client gives you. If you’re hiring someone, either use your independent contractor agreement (that preferably has an NDA like ours) or have a lawyer review theirs before you sign theirs.
6. A proposal is not a substitute for a contract. You can have a client agree to a proposal, but it has no legal protection for you. Have them sign a contract before starting any work.
7. 1:1 work and group programs require different contracts.
8. Some contracts need to be custom drafted by a lawyer. Examples: profit sharing, partnerships, etc.
9. Don’t take shortcuts when drafting your scope of work. Everything you’re doing for a client needs to be in your SOW including who, what, when, where, for how long, deadlines, milestones, rounds of revisions allowed, TAT from client, what client needs to provide you and when, etc.
10. You need to be thinking about trademarks before you launch anything: your brand, a new course, etc., to ensure you’re not infringing on anyone else’s ™ and that you’ll be able to ™ the name yourself to prevent anyone else from using it.
12. Don’t make business logos on Canva; it’s against Canva’s policies and they can’t be trademarked.
13. Make sure you have a policy in place if a client ghosts. Do you have late fee/default/early cancellation policies in your contract? If you invoice, do you have payment reminders automated? What’s your policy if a client still won’t pay?
14. U.S. based businesses need an EIN even if they’re sole props.
15. A legal audit is one of the best investments you can make in your business.
16. GIFs are copyright protected and technically, Giphy GIFs aren’t supposed to be used in business. Use them carefully. Give credit to the creator wherever possible. Disney is very litigious so avoid using GIFs with Disney characters.
17. Be careful using stock photos. Photos you purchase are best. Always make sure you have commercial license to use photos in your business.
18. Don’t make business logos on Canva; it’s against Canva’s policies and they can’t be trademarked.
19. Rethink offering “lifetime access” for your programs or courses. Whose lifetime? What if you want to switch platforms? Stop offering the course? A much better option is “lifetime of the course.”
20. If you’re in health or wellness coaching, be aware of scope of practice. If you’re also a licensed professional, make sure there’s a crystal clear division between that work and your coaching. You should consult a lawyer about this. Your contracts and website policies need to reflect this.
21. Don’t make guarantees (e.g. “through working with me, you will double your income/get 5 new clients/triple your IG following/quadruple your email list,” etc.).
And most importantly, #22: don’t cut corners with legal. There’s no better time to start than now. Seriously. Avoiding legal, using free or borrowed contracts, not thinking about trademarks, etc… will come back to bite you. Invest now and set your business up for success this year! Contact me through the Contact link in our footer with questions!