Systems, Business

Why Your Business Needs a Systems Audit (If You Want to See Growth)

Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.

Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you.

Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.  Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you. | Think Creative Collective

But it’s not as scary as you think!

Running a systems audit on your business simply means carving out some time (perhaps an entire day) for you to check in with the way you run your business. It’s a deep look under the hood so you can spot problematic areas that are sucking too much time or energy away from important tasks. It’s designed to help you quickly notice areas of improvement so you can implement new systems that will ultimately save you a ton of time, frustration, and make you more money.

You see, as creative small business owners we relish when things are working, even if they aren’t working well. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re creatives first and business owners second so if there’s a system we’re using we’re usually sticking with it to the end of time.

Even if we hate the system.


Even if the system causes us frustration.

But there is so much value in taking a second look, truly knowing how long it takes to do a task, and always asking ourselves if it could be better.

For instance, take how you onboard a new client.

Let’s go to the very beginning stages. How does your client initial contact you?

  • Perhaps through a contact form on your website
  • Maybe they find your direct email and open communication there
  • Perhaps they message you on social media

What’s your next step for each of these ways of communication? What’s your preferred method that you want every client to use? How are you redirecting them to that preferred method?

To go from initial contact to scheduling a discovery call or consultation meeting could look different.

  • Perhaps you get the contact form in your email or you see their email directly and you respond back asking when their availability is. This results in a few back and forth emails for you both to set a time that works.
  • Maybe you’ve seen their message on social media and you take the time to answer a few of their questions first and you communicate for a day or so on Facebook or Instagram. Then you share your email or you ask for theirs so you can move the conversation there. This then results in a few back and forth emails for you both to set a time that works.

What if in your systems audit you realized that this took you a total of two hours per inquiry to even get them on the phone for a meeting? Wouldn’t you want to streamline that a bit?

  • Perhaps you set up an autoresponder on your email that acknowledges their inquiry, introduces yourself and provides a link (in the email) for them to book their discovery call or consultation with you.
  • Maybe you set up an auto response system inside Facebook or one to use for Instagram that acknowledges their inquiry but lets them know you’d rather they fill out your contact form or email you to start the process (thus, triggering the auto response with your booking link).
  • Perhaps you skip the autoresponder all together and provide the booking link for your free consultation inside your contact form itself.

These are all variations of time-saving system hacks that you can find in your own processes by doing a systems audit. And there’s plenty more where that came from! We’re talking taking a look at every nook and cranny. In fact we listed all the places you might want to automate in your business over here.

Still not convinced? Perhaps there’s some tweaking we can do to your social media posting, specifically Instagram. Here’s what your process might look like:

  • Take picture
  • Edit
  • Upload to Instagram
  • Write Caption
  • Post
  • Type out your 30 hashtags individually

If you’re doing this for every single picture and every single post you’re wasting a lot of time.

Try this:

  • Batch shoot pictures
  • Batch edit pictures
  • Batch upload to Later using the app on your phone
  • Open Later on your desktop to batch schedule
  • Batch write captions inside Later on your desktop
  • Post as Later alerts you on your phone
  • Type in one phrase that auto-populates your 30 hashtags for that image

Boom.

None of this is rocket science, it’s simply looking at each and every process with a fine-tooth comb. It’s asking yourself if you’re using the systems and tools you already have to the best of their ability or if there are systems or tools you need to look into that can save you time and energy.

It’s when we save this time and energy for big and small tasks that we begin to open up our day to other things. It’s when we have a process for things like client onboarding or posting to social media that we stop resenting it when these things pop up.

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re rolling your eyes about a new inquiry because you are dreading the process that comes with booking them then you know you have a problem on your hands. We know, cause we’ve been there.

It was when we dreading blogging, dreaded being on Instagram, dreading posting in our Facebook group, dreading when someone asked us if we offered a service we had discontinued that we would groan and complain.

Once we got a stack of those dreadful tasks we realized it was on us to look at our systems and do better.

Is it time for your business to do its own systems audit?

We’ve got good news for you: you can use the same format we used for our own systems audit for free. We’ve put together a totally free course called Your Biz On Autopilot because we know how many of you need to do this. But most of you won’t. Because it isn’t sexy or creative or fun...yet - until you free up loads of time to spend on tasks you do find fun.

Well, it’s gonna help your business run smarter not harder so it’s time you do it anyways.

You can enroll for free by heading to Your Biz On Autopilot.

We can’t wait for you to dive in and have some major a-ha moments about the areas of your business that need your attention. We’re literally giving you time back in your everyday after you take this course. You’re so welcome!

Get your booty inside Your Biz on Autopilot right now.


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Business, Organization & Productivity

How to Have the Most Productive Biz Year Ever

Abagail here. If you twenty somethings are anything like me, you are constantly on the self-improvement train. You immerse yourself in self-help articles, download every new app claiming to improve productivity, and you find yourself swirling with ideas and never really knowing what the heck you accomplished.

Not only am I on a mission for self improvement (dude, even good can always get better), but I want to help you accomplish more in life in business. Consider it our personal agenda to have you crushing goals and taking names.

Now, I definitely don’t have it all figured out. But after the year we had (building a multiple six-figure company, growing our team from 2 to 11, and still managing to shut down my computer everyday at 5:00 p.m.), we think we may have mastered a few things.

If your twenty somethings are anything like mine, you are constantly on the self-improvement train. You immerse yourself in self-help articles, download every new app claiming to improve productivity, and you find yourself swirling with ideas and never really knowing what the heck you accomplished.   Not only am I on a mission for self improvement (dude, even good can always get better), but I want to help you accomplish more in life in business. Consider it our personal agenda to have you crushing goals and taking names. | Think Creative Collective

Implement Healthy Habits

Clear Distractions

As much as I wanted to hold onto my paper notes, iPhone FULL of apps I didn’t use, and a consistently messy desk, I knew I needed to simplify. I said goodbye to SHIT. Yes, I said it: SHIT. I cleared the clutter both literally and figuratively. How can you get rid of what is bogging you down?

  • Donate clothes you don’t wear anymore - Pro tip: hang your clothes on the rod backwards, and once you wear them hang them normally. Go back in 3 months and see what you still haven’t worn once - immediately head to donate (unless it is completely out of season).

  • Eliminate items on your desk that don’t serve a purpose or inspire you to do more or be better.

  • Turn off all the damn notifications - you don’t need to know when someone emails, tweets, instagrams, facebooks, pinterests, etc. You just don’t, so turn ‘em off, all of them - on both your computer and phone.

  • Organize your computer - everything should have a place and if it doesn’t it, delete it. Your desktop should be cleared off at the end of every day. You will be shocked how much junk you are letting pile up.

  • Walk through your home (don’t be a crazy person) and start thinking about what you actually need to survive. You’d be shocked about what you are “storing” or letting “sit pretty” on a shelf that doesn’t serve a purpose. No, I am not knocking knick-knacks, I just prefer simplifying.

Ok, stop your judging. Yes I still own things I don’t need. It isn’t practical for me to live in a shoebox and have a swiss army knife with a built-in toothbrush. I still have plenty of things I don’t need, but I dedicated a couple days to eliminating as much as I could handle. And have plans to do it again in a couple of months.

Set Daily Affirmations

It sounds silly, but by writing these things down, miraculous things have happened. We’re talking record sales months, family members surviving stage-4 cancer, and watching Emylee get the call about adopting. For some people affirmations feel like lying, but for me, telling the universe what I want just seems to make it that much more likely to come true. Need ideas on what you could affirm? Here are a few of our favorites:

  • We’ll make $8k from this launch

  • We’re not going to have any tech difficulties on today’s workshop

  • We’re going to be productive and create valuable content today

  • We’re going to get 5 “yeses” from the email to influencers we send out today

Keep in mind these aren’t goals - these are just statements of truth. They may seem a little unorthodox, perhaps even a bit woo-woo, but just try it.

Write what you want on a piece of paper or in your Trello calendar and reference it often. Occasionally review your affirmations and see what has come to fruition.

Make Gratitude a Priority

Recently, Emylee and I both started writing a Daily Gratitude Statement. It simply lives like a card in Trello, much like our Affirmations, and we write about what we are thankful for. It may be a big win in business or it may be something small. But having this little slice of graciousness allows us to reflect on how far we’ve come.

I decided to take this a step further and go out of my way for others. Not because they particularly needed thanks, but just a happy word of encouragement. Every Monday before I can officially close out my day I write two letters to friends, family, or #TCCTribe members. Sometimes it’s “Happy Birthday”. Sometimes it’s “thanks so much”. Sometimes it’s simply “thinking of you”.

I don’t expect anything in return, but I figure it’s the smallest thing I could do and it only takes me a couple of minutes a week.     

Know Yourself

No, not a literal mirror. A figurative one. Do you like the woman you are becoming? Do you like the path your life is on? Is your business headed where you want to be headed?

If you don’t know yourself, like gut check, know, then how are you ever going to get to where you want to be? I encourage you to really spend some time thinking through what your personal mission is. If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want to leave behind? What legacy would you want to live on after you?

Sometimes this can feel yucky. Sometimes we don’t like what we see. Babe, I have so been there. There are times in my life where I hated my work, my body, my lover, my life. So much so that I even wrestled with depression and considered suicide.

No, my life isn’t a walk in the park. But I am way more self aware than I used to be. When things start conflicting with my personal values in other parts of my life I know I need to reassess and see if I am still on the right path.

So now that we have done the physical decluttering (throwing away all the shit), metal decluttering (spending some time knowing what we really want), we finally have space for some biz chat. As much as I would love to chat business all the time, I realize you don’t just walk into a room and leave everything else on the other side of the door. We carry baggage with us EVERYWHERE and hopefully by implementing some healthy habits you feel a bit lighter now and have some room to give your business.

Create Systems

Emylee and I could literally chat systems all day long. They are our jam. They are our zone of genius.

In order to reach optimum productivity mode you need a central system in your business, a command center so to speak. For us, Trello has been the magical solution. First of all, the system is FREE and the program that we created to teach you how to use it is only $29 bucks. Winner winner, chicken dinner (and save me some dark meat).

Get your systems in order with Trello For Business >

Trim the Fat

Once you have a system in place it is super easy to start to see what is and isn’t working. Not to mention what you keep avoiding (because you loathe it) and what is just not your cup of tea (because you know someone else is better at it).

Trello allowed us to see the fat. The blubbery stuff that was either slowing us down, wasting our time, or costing us unnecessary money. And because we had a system, all of a sudden we could see “ok, well this isn’t adding any value so it can go” or “we definitely still need this, but let’s find someone to take over that chunk”.

In a matter of months our team went from just us, to 11 people. I know that can seem excessive, but we put people in place who we know are the bomb diggity at their one piece of the puzzle. They help us with everything from blog post formatting (ain’t nobody got time for that) and Facebook group moderating (keeping 6,000+ women - and a few dudes - in line is not a task for two people).

Identify what simply is bogging you down and what you potentially need to delegate. Then set some dang dates for when you are going to make that all happen. Ready? Go.

Know What You’re Working Towards

How do you know you’ve reached your destination without a destination in mind? You have to know what you are working towards. You have to set goals. You have to set dates. You have to hold yourself accountable.

I could go into lengthy detail about why it’s important, but instead I am asking you to trust me. Why? Because I’m awesome, and I know what the heck I am doing! Do you?

Have Monthly Check-ins

Team or not, once a month you need to have a meeting with yo’ self! Put it on the calendar. Reflect on what has and hasn’t worked. See where you can improve. Check your analytics and go over the numbers. Were you a hot mess and yet somehow profitable? Or were you distracted and let things slip?

Without a monthly meeting days slip into weeks and weeks slip into months. Before you know it a whole season has gone by and you were so busy doing the work you didn’t take the steps to improve what was already in place.

Automate Everything You Can

I was absolutely baffled with how I went through life before I started automating EVERYTHING. I was so busy, I didn’t even have time to realize just how busy I was. I was doing everything 5x slower than it needed to be done.

Why?

Because there wasn’t a system. There was no workflows. I didn’t have a checklist. And I sure as hell didn’t know what Zapier or IFTTT could do for my life.

I’m not asking you to change everything (yet), but what I am doing is asking you ever so kindly to consider what you could automate. Take, for instance, blogging. It has the same steps every time (your process may be different, but here was how I used to do it):

  • 7:00 p.m. - shit, I haven’t written a blog post

  • 8:00 p.m. - why am I still on Facebook, I need to write a blog post

  • 9:00 p.m. - husband shouts from bedroom, “you coming to lay down honey?”

  • 10:00 p.m. - outline and part of draft written

  • 11:00 p.m. - need a snack

  • Midnight - ok, let’s format this thing

  • 12:05 a.m. - WHY DID I NOT TAKE A PICTURE FOR THIS?!

  • 12:15 a.m. - scour the internet for free images I could use for the blog image

  • 1:30 a.m. - finally have it formatted

  • 1:35 a.m. - schedule it to post at 5 a.m.

  • 3:00 a.m. - still can’t sleep because I got myself so worked up about writing that dang blog post, and

  • Rinse and repeat

If this seems all too familiar, I promise there is a better way. You can:

  • Create a content calendar and know what you are writing weeks (or months in advance).

  • Have a system from outline to published that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out.

  • Actually spend time with family and breathe knowing everything you planned is actually taken care of.

This may feel like a pipe dream. But I promise if you take steps to systematize it all, it can all get done!

Be Mindful

A well laid plan is only just a plan until you mark that off as DONE! I am sure you have good intentions, we all do. But we get distracted. Life pulls our attention. Barking dogs wanting to eat dinner pull us away. We totally get it. Life happens, but you still need a plan. And you need a plan to fall back on should something happen.

We want you to know there is a better way. We want you to know you do not have to operate in a constant state of stressed out. Organized and productive is possible. Are you ready to have the best year ever?!

Babe, you can do this. And sometimes we know you just need a little extra nudge to get you there. We’re here to help you. Yes, you.

We created a totally free brand spankin’ new audio training and you can have it right now.

Inside you’re gonna figure out how to have your most productive year yet.

We’re sharing 3 no BS strategies that will give you the structure and the confidence to accomplish more than you ever have before in your business.

Because this is what you need to learn first. You can take all the topic specific courses your little heart desires, but they’re just going to sit there until you learn how to be productive.

Because you can learn it, babe.

So if you’re ready to say buh-bye to lackluster productivity and hello to freaking rockstar status then you need to get your hands on this free audio training right this second.


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Business, Goals, Entrepreneur

25 Tips to Take Your Business Seriously

When you begin to treat your business like a business, things start to shift. It’s really simple. If you’re still treating your business like a “hobby” or “side hustle” it will only ever be one of those things. Even if your business isn’t exactly where you want or need it to be today you can still treat it like it’s on its way to getting there. Just because your business hasn’t reached the figure you want it to (yet!) doesn’t mean you can’t treat it like it’s the next best thing since the dollar section at Target! Here are the ways we treat our jobs like the big biz they are.

When you begin to treat your business like a business, things start to shift. It’s really simple. If you’re still treating your business like a “hobby” or “side hustle” it will only ever be one of those things. Even if your business isn’t exactly where you want or need it to be today you can still treat it like it’s on its way to getting there. Just because your business hasn’t reached the figure you want it to (yet!) doesn’t mean you can’t treat it like it’s the next best thing since the dollar section at Target! Here are the ways we treat our jobs like the big biz they are. | Think Creative Collective
  1. Write a business plan: it may seem pretentious, or as if you are trying to be something you aren’t ready to be, but it helps you get in the right mindset, create a clear guide for what you are going to sell and a system to make it happen – need help getting started, try the easiest business plan ever.
  2. Create SMART goals: these allow you to hold yourself to something that is actually achievable! Plus who doesn’t love checking all these things off as DONE? If you’re not sure what a SMART goal is or how to make one, start with this exercise.

  3. Have a designated workspace: it doesn’t matter if it’s a table in your living room corner or you take over the extra bedroom. You need a place to stay organized, spread out, and get to work.

  4. Set office hours: this is a tremendous help for all those people in your life who think you can just chat all day. Set your hours and stick to them! Tell friends and family, add them to your email footer, and put them on your website. It’ll help you stay focused during work hours and “turn off” from work afterwards.

  5. Have a separate bank account: how can you know what’s your business’ money if it’s mixed in with grocery trips? Plus, this helps the tax man and other legal stuff be legit and easy to organize.

  6. Keep track of your expenses: do you know if you made more money last quarter than this quarter? What about comparing holiday seasons? You won’t be able to track this if you aren’t keeping track of your income + expenses. Whether you use the old fashioned pen and paper, digital spreadsheet, or a software application, you need to get it organized.

  7. Utilize contracts: it is all too easy to get yourself in a pickle. If you are selling services, contracts can really save you time, headaches and money. It lays out the scope and protects you from client retaliation if something were to go south.

  8. Send out invoices: this not only keeps billable clients organized but helps act as a receipt for both of your records.

  9. Know your one sentence: I love Nikki Elledge Brown’s tips for this one. Know your sentence that describes what you do in a way that leads conversations.

  10. Quit working for free: it’s time you get out of the “portfolio building” phase and put dollars in your bank for what you do.

  11. Invest in yourself: need some mindset shifts, an accountability partner, or cheerleader? Consider hiring a business coach to help you stay on track.

  12. Invest in your business: maybe there’s a book out there that can teach you selling strategies or an e-course that can teach you how to master MailChimp. Learning from the experts may costs money, but can save you loads of time and patience.

  13. Talk about what you do: there’s no reason to hide what you do! Talk about it, shout it out, tell everyone, and be proud.

  14. Have a beautiful (and functioning) digital storefront: there’s no magic level or certain amount you need to be selling or bringing in before you worry about your digital storefront (i.e. your website). The time is now.

  15. Plan out your content: whether you write a blog or just have social media accounts, tailoring a plan not only will save you time, but give you a more holistic take on your messaging, focus and calls to action. Start tracking with this handy worksheet.

  16. Measure your success: It’s hard to know where to spend your time if you don’t know what is working. Make sure to check your analytics to see what posts are most popular, where your traffic is coming from and what just isn’t working. You might be surprised about what you find.

  17. Order business cards: you never know where or when you’ll run into a future client or customer, so be prepared!

  18. Ask for help: we don’t expect you to be a pro at everything. Recognizing where you might need some extra help is key to moving forward. Consider hiring out things you don’t have time for or haven’t mastered.

  19. Join a mastermind or networking group or creative club: having a support system can make all the difference! Find a group in your area to start connecting.

  20. Change what isn’t working: is there a certain marketing strategy that costs big bucks but just doesn’t work for you? Cut it out. Being in business is all about learning from trial and error.

  21. Give yourself a title: want to be called Boss Lady, Creative Director, CEO? Whatever makes you feel most legit, go for it.

  22. Order merchandise: there’s nothing like seeing your logo on your notepad every day or on the mug you drink from. Once you see a part of your business in real life like that it changes things.

  23. Pop up at must-attend events: be in your community. Snap amazing pictures and share your experience. People love connecting with people, so be a person and stop hiding behind what you sell.

  24. Know when to turn away business: it seems goofy that you would ever turn away a paying client, but if they aren’t the right fit, going to cause too much of a headache, or it isn’t the work you love doing, it is ok to turn people away. We give you permission to say no.

  25. Grow a tribe: There is strength in numbers and people love being a part of something bigger than themselves. See how you can start connecting with your clients or customers on and off line. Grow a community. Want in on ours? Join our secret society here.

We realize that these steps are just tiny pieces of the gigantic puzzle that makes a small business successful. Sometimes before we can even begin to learn or implement things like contracts and business cards we’ve got to take it a few steps back a lay the foundation. We’ve created the best FREE tool for you to do this! We’d love to have you map it all out with the Easiest Business Plan Ever!!

Stop wasting time and turn your dream into a reality. Let’s turn your side hustle into a soul fulfilling, goal-crushing, freaking profitable creative business. We get it. You work all day and then you come home and you hustle even harder. Balancing essentially two full time jobs is not for everyone. Let’s make a plan, simplify and start earning what you are worth.

 


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Organization & Productivity

Uncover Your Personal Productivity Spirit Animal

You’ve tried planners, apps, notebooks, post-it notes and even set up entire walls of “organization” in order to master your productivity. Babe, quit trying so hard. You just need to know your productivity spirit animal and you will be set for life. You’ll know the environment you thrive in, where you get stuck and what you should do next.

But first, it only seemed right that we arm you with a few tips to get more done right away!

You’ve tried planners, apps, notebooks, post-it notes and even set up entire walls of “organization” in order to master your productivity. Babe, quit trying so hard. You just need to know your productivity spirit animal and you will be set for life. You’ll know the environment you thrive in, where you get stuck and what you should do next.   But first, it only seemed right that we arm you with a few tips to get more done right away!  |  Think Creative Collective

Define what you want. Like, for real, what do you want to actually accomplish?

Seriously, have you spent some time thinking about it? You should, or this might just be a giant waste of your time.

Break those dreamy goals up into doable chunks!

Now doesn’t that seem a little less daunting and a bit more doable?

Schedule the most important tasks for when you are most productive.

Morning person, hack it out then. Night owl, work it out girl.

Stop stressing over making everything perfect!

Good is good enough. You’re ready. Take your quiz now.


P.S. Stay tuned for Thursday’s post where you can learn how to make your own quiz.


Come tell us your results on Instagram!

Business, Entrepreneur

5 Ways You Should Legally Protect Your Business

You pour hours and hours of hard work into your latest content, course, product or service only to wonder, “what if someone steals this and sells it as their own? Can you contact them and ask them to remove it? What if they don’t take it down? Or what if they’ve been selling it as their own and making money off it?”

You pour hours and hours of hard work into your latest content, course, product or service only to wonder, “what if someone steals this and sells it as their own? Can you contact them and ask them to remove it? What if they don’t take it down? Or what if they’ve been selling it as their own and making money off it?”  Or you’re 3 months into a 6-month service contract with a client when they suddenly change their credit card number and bails. Now what?  |  Think Creative Collective

Or you’re 3 months into a 6-month service contract with a client when they suddenly change their credit card number and bails. Now what? You were relying on that money coming in and can’t afford to just let it go. But you didn’t have them sign anything, so how can you hold them accountable?

What’s a girl to do?!

No worries, I got you. First, let me introduce myself: I’m Sam, a corporate-attorney-turned entrepreneur who empowers women with the legal info and education they need to confidently run their own businesses and create content they really love. I don’t want you to hold back anymore. Create that course, write that post or offer that new product.

My goal is to make legal easy, accessible and yes - even fun! Or at least more fun than it normally is.

So today we’ll take a look at the most important ways you can legally protect your business online. There’s no “right” time for you to get #LegallyLegit (as I call it!). If you’re in business, then legal is one piece of the puzzle you have to take care of.

And it’s not just about being worried about getting sued either. I’m all for empowering you to be proactive, not just reactive. You also need to protect your content, get paid and establish boundaries with your clients.

Here are 5 ways you should legally protect your business:

Start With Your Website

Start by protecting yourself, your business and its content through your website. Each website should ideally have a privacy policy, terms and conditions and website disclaimer.

A privacy policy is more than likely legally required if you collect email addresses or have a “contact me” form on your site. In a nutshell, a privacy policy tells people when you collect information, why and what you do with it. A website disclaimer is a very clear statement to your readers about who you are, what you do and how you’re qualified. Finally, your terms and conditions page/contract is the place to set the rules and regulations of using your site.

On the one hand, it’s amazing we can reach people all around the world through our websites. But on the flip side, we really have no idea who’s reading our content or what they’re doing with it.

In the health/wellness/fitness/business world, this can seriously be a problem and the best way to address it is by having our website covered with these essential legal documents.

Client Contracts

As tempting as it is to text, email or Facebook message prospective clients, this is one area where old school pen and paper (or digital paper) still rules. Any agreement to enter into working together for services or products should be done in writing and via a client agreement (contract).

The contract should be clear about what is/isn’t included, payment terms, your disclaimer and what your company’s policies are. That way, if any issues pop up, you can always point back to your contract. Your clients will also pay on time, abide by your policies and be clearer on what’s included if you have them sign an “official” contract.

Stay Within the Scope

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your business is to always operate within the scope of your practice. This is different for everyone depending on who are you, what you do and what your qualifications are.

If you’re in the health and wellness space, it makes a big difference if you’re a nurse, registered dietitian or health coach. If you’re giving out business advice, it’s important someone knows you’re not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor.

It’s not just enough to cover this in your website disclaimer or a disclaimer included in your 1-on-1 contracts. You actually need to operate your business in accordance with your scope of practice too. If you’re a business coach but not a lawyer, don’t give out legal advice. If you’re a health coach but not a doctor, don’t give out medical advice. You get the idea! Create a reliable network of other professionals you can refer to or reference and you’re all set.

Set a Sharing Policy (and abide by others’ policies)

One of the easiest ways to ensure you get credit where credit’s due is to have a clear “sharing” policy on your site, preferably in your terms and conditions. This is where you should outline what steps someone has to take if they want to share your post, recipe, photos etc. Do they need to email someone at your company? Who? Can they just go ahead and share, as long as they link back and give credit? Can they use your photos? These are all questions that your sharing policy should address.

Have it clearly available and set out on your site so no one visits your site, sees a post they want to use on their site and just copies and takes it because they don’t see a sharing policy on your site. You can also use the fact that you have a sharing policy set out in your terms and conditions for when you need to contact someone who did use your content in a way that contradicts your sharing policy.

Protect Your Online Course

As your business grows, you might create an online course or group program to try to maximize your reach. We want to make sure your business is ready and protected for that kind of growth first.

Online courses and programs bring up a host of new legal issues. What is your policy about sharing login information with people who didn’t pay for the course? What if someone downloads your content and shares it online? And what about installation (monthly) payments? These are all issues you want to address with clients before they sign-up and purchase your course or program. You can do this through a terms of use document that people have to review before they can purchase. Even better, have them check off a box to confirm they’ve reviewed and agreed to your terms of use before they purchase.

There are so many ways we need to protect our businesses and ourselves in business. You might think these things would never happen to you or that you can’t really get “in trouble” for something you’re doing.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent the last 5 years finding out how wrong that is. These things can happen to any of us in business at any time. And I don’t say that to scare you. I say it because we have the option and the opportunity to be proactive and protect ourselves the best we can. I believe that makes us more professional, confident and empower entrepreneurs. And I hope you do too.


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