A WELL Entrepreneur’s Legal Checklist
You’ve set out to create the best wellness brand you can build – but is it legally protected?
In between the marketing meetings, social media posts and branding decisions, you’ve thought about how you’re going to legally protect your business. But as those other to-do’s pile up, the “Get legal” one falls further and further down the list.
I get it. As an attorney for over 5 years before I left the law to start my own online legal business, I was one of the last people new entrepreneurs wanted to talk to.
You think legal’s going to be expensive, super confusing, and a giant pain.
You don’t want someone telling you all the things you can’t do or all the stuff you’ve got to worry about — how #notgoodvibes is that? You’re here to focus on wellness. And wellness = positivity.
But what if I told you that legal didn’t have to be so complicated? That it’s been made WAY overcomplicated, expensive and boring by lawyers for way too long.
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m Sam Vander Wielen. An attorney-turned-entrepreneur who helps wellness entrepreneurs legally protect and grow their brands through my DIY Legal Templates and Fearlessly Legal™ Ultimate Bundle program.
Today, I’m going to share a WELL entrepreneur’s legal checklist that at least gets you pointed in a #legallylegit (as I call it!) direction.
Here are 5 steps to take to legally protect your wellness brand:
1. Form Your Business
First thing’s first, you have to form your business to have a business. Registering your business should be done as early as possible, in the state where you live and work.
You have to pick an entity type (i.e., LLC, sole proprietor, partnership, etc.) that best suits you and the type of business you’re building (services, products, etc.).
If you plan to raise capital, seek funding, have partners in the business, etc., you need to carefully select the type of business entity that allows you to do that. A sole proprietorship, for example, doesn’t allow for business partners or raising capital, so that wouldn’t be an entity choice for a 2-person business who hopes to go the VC-route.
2. Business Insurance
Every business needs business insurance. Business insurance is just an umbrella term for a bunch of different types of business insurance: errors & omissions (also known as professional liability), commercial general liability, etc.
Which type(s) of business insurance you need really depends on what your business does: if you provide services, see clients in person or at an office, host live events, serve food, teach fitness, etc.
But overall, the goal of business insurance is the same. It financially protects your business if you are sued for something covered by your insurance policy.
For example, if you’re a health coach who gets sued by a client because the client got sick off your recommendation, your business insurance would provide you with a defense attorney, pay that attorney’s legal bills, and pay the judgment or settlement found against you or your business (minus your deductible, and of course subject to what’s covered under the terms of your policy).
It’s really important that you don’t just get business insurance coverage, but that you actually get coverage for you and what you do. A good policy doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but a super cheap policy might not be the best fit, either.
If you already have business insurance, find out (1) what your deductible is, (2) what type(s) of insurance you have and what it covers and (3) what your policy limits are.
3. Protect Your Website
As your online storefront and business card, your website deserves some serious legal protection. Sadly, we have to protect ourselves from people who read our content, browse our site and who download freebies or purchase products there.
Whether you’re working with clients or selling products to stores, you always want a contract to memorialize the terms. A solid contract is attorney drafted and customized to you and the situation at hand.
Take the time to put together a set of contracts for any way that you work with people and go back to those contracts to update them as needed as your business evolves.
5. Content Thieves
With so much of what we do online, there’s only so much we can do to legally protect our content from copycats actually swiping the content itself. What’s most important is that you put the legal pieces in place so you can have the content removed if someone refused to take it down herself.
As your brand grows, you could consider trademark or copyright registration to give your brand an even stronger legal claim to your brand’s logo, tagline, or written materials.
And just like that, you’re 5 steps closer to being legally legit than you were when we started a few minutes ago.
These 5 steps may feel overwhelming now, but I encourage you to close your eyes and picture how much better you’ll feel knowing your business baby is legally protected by these few simple steps.
Remember: you’re building a serious business on a serious mission — to change people’s lives.
You deserve the protection and peace of mind, and so do they.
Thanks so much for getting legally legit with me here! I hope to get to know you better online or at WELL Summit this April!
Important: Although Sam’s an attorney, she is not your attorney. The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. This is not legal advice and it is not a substitute for seeking advice from your own attorney near you. This is not an exhaustive list of all of the things you must do, because that would be way too long and boring (and it depends on where you live!). Thank you for reading!