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We’ve all heard stories about stolen content. One person had an image stolen. Another had a valuable brand name copied. And we’ve all heard of the business owner who had entire website or course copied and reposted on another person’s website. It’s enough to put you on high alert and ready to protect yourself from copycats! So let’s look at some ways to protect our valuable content. 1. Use Terms of Use Terms of Use (also known as terms and conditions) outline what visitors can and cannot do on your website. For example: No, they cannot steal, copy or reproduce your content; No, they cannot infringe on your copyright rights; and All of the content and related intellectual property on the website belongs to you. Website terms put copycats and trolls on notice. This is why large brands and companies have terms and conditions. You have to control all the…

So who doesn’t love to hear some good news about their business? It’s the juice that fuels your sales. It gets the FOMO going. It’s how you gather hoards of fans for your brand. As a business owner you actively keep tabs on feedback for your products or services. And if you’re smart (which you are!) you know how to repurpose this content in your marketing. But you know if this message is coming from me there’s a legal angle to all of this… And that’s to do it in a way that gives you rights to the content! 🙌🏾 It’s a win-win because your customers get to rave about your work and get some free promotion for their business and you get to show off how valuable your biz is to others. But how do we get testimonials legally? And what could possibly go wrong? It’s just a review.…

Did you know that almost 50% of independent contractors have problems getting paid on time? It’s a known struggle among those who work with clients that sometimes sending out an invoice is simply not enough. And combine that with the fact that many do not use client agreements makes it a lot worse. So what can you do to get more consistent payments get paid faster? Here are a few tips: Use a Contract I’m always surprised by the amount of folks providing services without a proper client agreement in place. But on the other hand, this is how business attorneys make money. The phone calls are endless about someone not getting paid because a customer didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. So get it in writing. Start the relationship off right with a well written contract. And don’t use just any bare bones agreement you find online.…

What happens when a client DOESN’T respond? You’re ready to do your part. They’ve even paid you but they haven’t given you what you need to complete the deal. It’s frustrating because you’re not sure where you stand legally. Can you keep any deposit or money paid? You can’t wait forever for them to cooperate. What Does Your Contract Say? The business relationship is defined by the contract. Everything else is just talk. The contract with your client is the road map and foundation of your relationship. So you should start there. Look at your contract. Does it have a refund clause? Are you allowed to keep payments or deposits in certain circumstances? The refund clause may state that there are no refunds for deposits or payments made for work already completed. Which would be good news to you. Or it may allow refunds of a certain percentage within a…

What are Website Disclaimers? Let’s talk Website Disclaimers! I get asked about these rather frequently and I’m excited to start highlighting their use. First, what are they and how do they differ from terms and conditions? Glad you asked! Terms of Use (aka terms and conditions) focus on what your website visitors can and cannot do on your website. For example, they cannot steal, copy or reproduce your content. They cannot post false or inappropriate content to your website. Your Terms of Use is also important because it can limit your liability for content provided on your website and disclaim warranties where permitted. Disclaimers, however, are specific waivers and you may or may not choose to use them depending on the products or services you provide. Do I Need Website Disclaimers? It depends on what products or services you’re offering but yes, they can be a great addition to your legal toolkit. For instance, are you…

Hope you’re hanging in there with all the quarantines and social distancing. Whenever I get a little restless, I remember that there’s always an email to write, a video to film or contract template to create. That keeps me busy! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about change and how abruptly it can occur in life and business. Let’s go over a few steps you can take when negotiating changes in a business contract or relationship. 1. What’s your Goal? When negotiating a business arrangement, consider your ultimate goal first. You may have several. Write them down and prioritize their importance. Before having discussions with the other party, distinguish between your wants and actual needs. Get clarity on the necessary components of your business deal, i.e. your true non-negotiables vs. what you can actually modify to complete a transaction. 2. Consider Alternatives Perhaps pre-lockdown you would have been able to…

A well drafted contract covers all bases. Business attorneys receive calls requesting “iron clad agreements” or “rock solid contracts” regularly. These descriptions always humor me because ultimately we’re talking words on paper not impenetrable mountains. But, I get it that clients want the strongest protection possible. So what does that look like?  For the average small business, you want the following 5 contract must haves: 1. Detailed Services This section has many names: scope, services or duties. It’s usually the first clause in the agreement and rightfully so. A contract represents a legal exchange of products or services for money. We want to describe that exchange as accurately as possible. What type of service are you providing? What is included / excluded? Will it be delivered all at once or in stages? You want to be as specific as possible so there is no confusion between you and your client…

Many of us make personal resolutions at the start of a new year. But what about resolutions for your business? And specifically, those legal to-do’s that you’ve been putting off? The New Year is the perfect time to get your business matters in order. It has to be done anyway. So get those tasks completed now when you’re refreshed and ready to start the year off big! Here are some common tasks on a business owner’s to do list: Create an LLC If you have not created a business entity and you’re operating as a sole proprietor, now is a great time to consider adding more protection to your business. LLCs offer limited liability protection by separating you from your business. If your business is sued as a sole proprietor, your personal assets are vulnerable as there is no shield from liability. LLCs create a division between your personal and…

Does your online business need an LLC? At some point most business owners contemplate when to form a business entity. It’s usually not a question of whether to form one, instead they consider what type of entity to form. But for online entrepreneurs there’s often hesitation when it comes to formalizing the business side of their operations. Questions such as, do I need an LLC for my online store, or does my blog or consulting business need an LLC, come up frequently. Let’s look at some reasons in favor of forming an LLC. Liability Online businesses whether seasoned or just starting out are susceptible to claims just like brick and mortar businesses. They may be of a different sort (ex. copyright infringement vs a slip and fall) but the need to respond to a court when there is a claim is the same. What does an LLC do? It limits…

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