When it comes to starting a new business, we all think of the product, pricing, social media, branding, website…
The legal side barely comes to mind.
Some of us trademark their business name, and maybe get an insurance. But how many of us, especially as service provider, think to create a contract? I heard crazy stories about how entrepreneurs ended up in a tricky situation because of their lack of contract or breach in contract.
It is your duty to protect yourself and in the same time your client’s best interest.
I know what you are going to tell me: “it is too expensive, I don’t see the value now, I wouldn’t even know where to start!”
To bring answers and clarification about the risks and what you can do to protect your business, I interviewed Mairin. She is the anti-lawyer lawyer.
A little bit of background
After 15 years experience as a corporate lawyer, Mairin didn’t feel aligned and fulfilled in her corporate job and knew something better was ahead. She decided to quit her firm and sold her house. She hit the road and has been travelling since then while helping entrepreneurs get legally compliant and protect their business, with ease and no billable hours.
She launched her own business after noticing the massive gap between lawyer services costs and what small business owners can actually afford. There was a way to avoid that and Mairin figured it out.
How does it work?
Mairin created contract templates so that business owners can make all the contracts they need as quickly and painlessly as possible. She also does some courses and provides a lot of free resources.
Legal can be overwhelming, intimidating and expensive. That’s why many entrepreneurs will not legally protect their business : “I don’t have any clients yet, I’ll deal with it later”, “I don’t know how it works, I’ll find out later”, “I’ll download a free contract on the internet”,…
How many of us have been ghosted by a client when it’s time to pay? Often, business owners end up not doing anything about legal until they already lost money. And if you get into legal problem, it’s going to cost you a lot more.
Prevention is key.
Disclaimers is also often forgotten. It’s like a legal shield that basically says that the client takes the information as it is and you don’t guarantee any results.
No refund policies
Refund policies also need to be in contracts. You need to be really clear about refund policy EVEN if you don’t give refunds.
No notice prevision
There’s only a certain amount of hours in a day, so obviously you can only accept a certain amount of clients per month. If one of them was to cancel, you need a clause in your contract that specifies the notice period.
And the list goes on…
LEGAL, TAX, PAYING SYSTEMS
Legal, tax and paying systems HAVE TO BE your three tiers foundation. Without your foundation, your business can’t grow, can’t scale, can’t prosper.
When you don’t protect your business, you also might be playing small because you are afraid to diversify or take on higher ticket clients.
How to prevent legal issues
- Make sure you have a good proposal. Although, the proposal doesn’t have any legal protection. That’s why you also ABSOLUTELY need it to be attached to a contract.
- Have a good payment system : whether you are automatically charging or invoicing, have it set up so it’s streamlined and systematised. You could find yourself in a situation where you forget to invoice your client, or you invoice them 3 months late. Then you bound to get people ghost you.
Contractually speaking, make sure you have very strong payment terms. Say exactly what you are charging, when you are charging and how often. Also include what can happen if the payments fail…
Any other legal documents?
Contracts set aside, if you have a website, you need 3 website policies :
- Terms and conditions : protect your intellectual property. That’s how you protect that is on your website.
- Disclaimer : protect yourself from anyone using or misusing any information on your website.
There are many more legal documents you could need aside from a contract. Check which one is relevant for you and download the free checklist created by Mairin.
To hear more details about what you can do to finally get your business legally compliant, go listen to this episode. It is full of precious information and relatable experiences. Any entrepreneur should listen and learn from it.
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Of course, this article can’t cover everything about legal and what some entrepreneurs have been facing while running their business. Neither can a podcast.
If you need help to legally protect your business, get in touch with Mairin. She is definitely your best option to get compliant and relax about legal.