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What key legal documents do you need for your business online?
Find out how laws work online, new documents to have on hand, existing documents to update, how to get consent from your clients and more.
Going online is an apparent necessity in spiritual business, especially since 2019. There are specific considerations to planning and building your business online that you want to be aware of that impact your risk, and decisions.
How Laws Work Online
Laws are designed to reflect our cultural values and are territorial in nature. Territorial means that they reflect the geographic territory that they cover (govern) and people or business activities within those territories.
There are international treaties that countries can agree to provide a minimum standard of protection to their citizens. Some countries will seek to enforce their laws outside of their jurisdiction to protect their citizens from untoward online practices.
This means that you want to:
- Always check that your business meets your local laws and regulations with a local business lawyer.
- When you grow online you might expand your audience beyond your geographic reach. If you do this, you may need to meet a legal standard in another country. You can choose to phase your expansion into those areas or look to meet higher international legal standards agreed in international treaties.
- Check with your insurer if there are limits for which countries they cover your offerings. You may need to add wording or pay additional fees to cover this offering in your business.
Existing Documents to Update
There are specific risks online that are not present when we are in person with our clients. Depending on your practice these will vary, so write out the different risks online in what you offer and then update the following:
1. Waivers - Often given upfront to new clients on their first sign up, we ask them to agree to be responsible for themselves during the session, whether in person or online. This will need to be updated online to include additional risks for technological damage, or physical risks in their own space that the instructor cannot see.
3. Videoing your Clients - If you wish to record your sessions then you need to get the individual’s permission on each video, never automatically record the session. Tell them what you will use the video for at the outset. If you seek to use the videos in marketing then be clear about how and where you intend to market using these videos.
4. Client Terms and Conditions - Your business terms of sale may change with online offerings - perhaps a more flexible cancellation term or to bring the waivers into your client terms, plus any jurisdictional terms required by your insurer.
New Documents for Online
Specific online documents that you might choose to consider in building your business online are:
1. Website Terms - This is to protect your business website and its content. You can combine it with your client terms but principally your focus is to disclaim your content on the website from any professional advice, protect the intellectual property on your website (images, copy and videos), and provide clear instructions for user comments on your blog posts.
3. Disclaimers - If you offer pre-recorded content then this is to protect your business from someone using your content that may do or not do something as a result of using your content. Place this up front at the start of the content in a way that matches your risk. Be specific with the liability being disclaimed or else the disclaimer will be invalid, so really consider the risks in your offering.
5. Affiliate Marketing - If you are making money from any links, posts or share then most countries require that you place a clear disclaimer at the point of the links that the customer will click upon of what benefit you receive from their click (and possible purchase).
Get Consent for Your Updates
It can seem like a lot of work to update these documents, but you also need to ensure that every time you update your legal documents that you inform your customers so that they can agree or not to the new terms. It is good practice to review your legal documents every 6-12 months depending on how frequently you change service providers or your service offerings.
How do you do this?
1. Send emails informing your clients of the changes made with a summary and full link to the new terms.
2. Add a banner to your booking pages with the update for clients scheduling sessions, and if possible an option to consent.
3. If there are no ‘core terms’ changed then you may not need them to agree to the changed terms.
4. If there is a change to your core terms (i.e. cancellation, waivers or payment terms), then the clients should take an active step to agree or else they continue on your old terms.
If you are an audio or visual learner, you might find Nid Ra's video on this topic helpful.
Protect and Grow Your Business Online
Protect and Grow Your Business Online with Nid Ra over 8 weeks in her guided journey that includes detailed videos on all the above templates, special guest speakers on branding, marketing and technology to get your foundation secure.
Just want to dip into this legal-marketing topic? Enjoy a free monthly webinar with her on various spiritual business topics at www.spiritlaw.net
Article written by: Nid Ra
About the Author:
Nid Ra is a Karma Guide who supports others into their fullest spiritual embodiment in this lifetime through wellbeing tools and business consulting. As a practitioner and consultant she keeps her approach pragmatic and simple, whilst deeply energetically aligned to her clients. A former commercial technology-media lawyer in the USA and UK, she has supported wellbeing and spiritual businesses since 2014 whilst she built and sold her first wellbeing business with retreats. Protect and Grow Your Business Online with Nid over 8 weeks in her guided journey that includes detailed videos on all the above templates, special guest speakers on branding, marketing and technology to get your foundation secure.