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How to Legally Protect Your Business (As a Social Media Strategist)

Dec 15, 2021

As a social media pro, you’ve probably spent TONS of time brushing up your content skills, learning all the Instagram tricks of the trade, and getting down with analytics.

But have you taken the time to think about legally protecting your business?

Yep, we’re going there. 😳

It’s time to talk about LEGAL. 

Does just the thought of the word make you shudder? 

Now, when you first start your business, it might not seem that important. But I’m telling you, it’s one of the BIGGEST steps that you need to take. 

Protect your business baby at all costs.

It might seem expensive and confusing at times, but I promise you, these are things that you should set up absolutely immediately. 

Because listen, I learned the hard way… 🙈

Now before I continue any further, I do have to give you the disclaimer that I’m not a legal professional. I'm not an accountant. This is NOT my area of expertise. Always consult with a legal professional or an accountant to help you set up your business. 

In this blog post, I'm writing from my experience and what I know. I’m sharing a little bit of what I’ve learned during my entrepreneurial journey. 👇🏻

Setting Up Your Business (Sole Proprietor vs LLC)

Wondering whether you should set up your business as a sole proprietor or an LLC? What are the differences?

When I first started in the business world during my photography business days, I set myself up as a sole proprietor

This is typically the easiest route. 

You can do it on your own, you don't really need a professional to help, and your business is essentially considered an extension of yourself. 

When you’re a sole proprietor, it means you’re someone who owns an unincorporated business as yourself.

The danger about setting up your business in your name as a sole proprietor, is that you put your personal assets on the line. 

That means if, god forbid, someone was to sue me for something in business, they would be suing me PERSONALLY. 

Which meant there were a lot higher risks, and I needed to compensate for that. 

  • I had to have higher insurance 
  • I had to make sure my contracts were solid 
  • I had to be in SUPER in control of everything

It was stressful to say the least. 😰

I almost wish I hadn't set up as a sole proprietor in the first place and went straight for setting up my business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

I learned from my mistakes and that's what I did when I started A Creative Co. 

Now I have an LLC with a DBA ("doing business as".) 

An LLC protects its owners from personal responsibility for its debts or liabilities. Meaning, if something ever happens, my business would be sued. NOT me! People can't come after my personal assets if something goes wrong. 

That is what worked for me

I had a professional accountant set that up because, in all honesty, I was SO confused on how to do any of it. And I wanted to make sure that, especially here in the state of Florida, I was doing everything correctly. 

It’s NOT to say you can't do it on your own. I just weighed up the amount of money that it would cost to pay that professional vs the amount of time it would have taken me to do things correctly. 

Protecting Your Online Reputation 

This is where I learned the HARD WAY. 

For a very long time, I didn't have terms and conditions on my website. I wasn't putting disclaimers and statements saying that I might be receiving a commission from an affiliate link.

Nothing bad happened BUT, I had people start to reach out to me saying: 

  • “Hey, girl, this isn't right” 
  • “You're not protecting yourself here” 
  • “You might want to do X, Y, and Z otherwise somebody could come after you”

If you’re ever collecting any kind of personal information from your customers through your website, you have to have terms and conditions. You have to have policy statements, disclaimers, and no guarantees to make sure that they know that you're a professional and not misusing their information. 

These things are non-negotiable, friend. 

Not only will having the appropriate disclaimers and privacy policy info totally up your professionalism, it’ll also help you avoid getting into any messy legal trouble. 

By investing a bit of time in getting the proper legal pages up on your site and taking the time to include disclaimers in your content, you’re saving potentially thousands of dollars in potential lawsuits. Really. 

It covers your back!

Contracts, Contracts, Contracts 

Yes... It’s the big one! 🍾

If you're a coach, a service provider, or even if you own a product business, you are exchanging goods and services, for that, you NEED a contract, friend! 

Listen, if you’re anything like me, you would rather be in control and know what’s going on. 

I have a contract for EVERY scenario in my business. Whether I'm working with a small business owner or I am providing content creation services for a larger brand. 

The point is, you always want to protect yourself

You want to have clear expectations at the beginning with a solid professional contract. 

Whatever you do, DO NOT Google a contract template and copy and paste it together to make it look like you know what you're doing. 

That’s what I used to do!

There were a few times as a photographer, sessions would get rained out. At one point, I had a client where this kept happening and I had already collected a non-refundable deposit from her. However, I didn't state in my contract that it was non-refundable. 

She asked, “can I please have my money back?

I tried to tell her that it was a non-refundable deposit, but because I didn’t have an effective contract in place, I ended up having to give it back. I didn’t have a leg to stand on. 

Contracts not only protect you as a business owner, but they also help set clear professional expectations between you and the client.

It sounds expensive, but you know what's even more expensive? 

GETTING SUED. 

If you’re interested in having a go-to resource for contract templates, Coaches & Co. are my favorite. 

These templates are lawyer-approved and are SO DAMN EASY. They’re literally just plug-and-play, and their site has everything you need as an online business owners, including terms and conditions, privacy policies, contracts for your services, and everything that I've mentioned here. These contract templates take the stress out of it ALL!

⚡ Check out their lawyer-created contract templates here ⚡

Now go and get your business legally legit NOW! 💪

Xo,

Amber

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