And what I recommend instead...
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Terms and conditions
These are two of the basic legal web policy documents that online business owners need to have in place.
If reading that just gave you anxiety, stick with me. I promise I’ll help you feel better by the end of this article.
Transparency notice – I’m not your lawyer
Before we go any further, I need to legally cover my butt and let you know that I’m not a legal expert and I’m not providing you with legal advice.
This article covers the very basic bare bones of what you need when starting your business, but if you have any legal concerns please reach out to a legal professional. Also check out GDPR info here, this isn’t the only privacy regulation out there but it’s the big one that most folks struggle with.
K, back to the article.
Basic legal web policy documents for your online business
If you’re doing business, or trying to start, there are a few legal documents you need.
Not only is this good practice but it’s required in most countries. It doesn’t necessarily matter where YOU live, it matters where your audience or prospective customers are accessing your website from.
Terms & Conditions
Next, when you’re taking money in exchange for offers, it’s also a really good idea to have your Teens & Condition set up. This can also be called Terms of Service, Terms of Sale, etc.
This protects you, and helps your customers know what to expect. Whether you have a website set up or not, or if you’re just using a money processing software like PayPal, or accepting payment in any form, your terms and conditions will be helpful (and possibly necessary).
The problem with copy-paste swipe files for legal web policies
Now, you may have seen “swipe files” mislabeled as templates for both of these types of legal docs floating around the internet.
Templates are great.
I love templates.
They save time that I don’t want to waste if I don’t have to.
You need to be confident that the swipe file or template you’re using is suited for your business.
AND you need to know how to customize it.
It’s only a template after all, they’re meant to be customized.
Just taking a copy-paste “swipe file” that someone offers you (or that you googled on the interwebs) can cause problems for you if you don’t know whether it is right for your business.
Auto-updating web policy services
There are a few services out there that I usually recommend, like iubenda and Termly. Both companies take you through a setup wizard where you enter some details specific to your business, and it gives you the personalized policies that you can link to. It also keeps them automatically updated for you.
Of course, if you change or add something to your business that affects how you handle data you’ll have to update the policies because those services aren’t mind readers that know when you change something. But other than that, the policies will stay updated for you on the legalese front.
If you have an established business, both of those are fantastic options to consider.
The downside to these services is that even though they offer free plans, their free plans usually aren’t enough. And although their paid plans are affordable, it’s a monthly expense that may not make sense for you when you’re starting out on a tight budget or don’t have enough (paying) clients just yet.
Customizable template web policies for your business
Enter Braden Drake, a legit lawyer who “love[s] teaching and empowering entrepreneurs to kick ass in business.”
Braden offers legal lawyer stuff without the 1:1 lawyer price tag.
Contract Club includes customizable legal templates (with easy-to-follow instructions) for the privacy policies and web terms that we’ve talked about so far, as well as contract templates for almost every part of your business that you may need… all for a low, one-time fee (no ongoing subscription costs!)
My favourite offer of his is his Contact Club, which includes legal templates not only for the privacy policies and web terms that we’ve talked about so far, but also contract templates for almost every part of your business that you may need.
We’re talking service-based client contracts, program & educator contracts, business contracts, how to make changes, client onboarding, employee onboarding (if or when you’re ready for that).
You can get all that cover-your-butt legal stuff for just $30.
NOT $30 monthly, just $30. That’s it. This is a one-time fee.
Getting so many necessary legal docs at such an affordable price was such an easy yes decision for me when I first found Braden. I couldn’t, in good conscience, share biz-starting resources with you and not mention his Club.
Interested in getting the cover-your-butt legal stuff taken care of and off your list without breaking the bank? Check out Braden’s Contract Club here.
In conclusion – legal web policies for your online business
Staying on top of your legal web policy requirements doesn’t have to break the bank or be overly complicated. If you need to get set up, follow the recommendations above.
If you have your own legal policies already, or you just set them up because of this article, remember to keep them updated. I recommend putting time on your calendar at least annually to do a quick review and double check that everything in there is still relevant and that nothing new is missing.
If you have any questions or want to chat, DM me on IG or TT @msclarissawhite.
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Read the Business Beginner Basics series
- 5 Self-Sabotaging Online Business Mistakes
- Does your online business have its own branded email yet?
- Why I don’t let my clients use copy-paste swipe files for Privacy Policies (you are here)
- The reality about growing an audience and email list for your business
- Email marketing – connecting with your audience and nurturing those relationships
- Start selling in your business, even if you’re not ready yet