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Protect Blog and Online Business Legally
Would you ever sue someone for putting too much ice in your beverage or not giving you enough napkins with your meal or using their phone while you’re on a date with them?
While this sounds ridiculous, people have filed lawsuits for those things. You can Google it.
Nowadays, people like to sue people for everything and anything.
While a lot of these cases are dismissed or dropped, the defendant still loses in a sense by having their time and sanity taken away by something frivolous.
As a blogger and entrepreneur, you don’t want to get caught in the middle of a ridiculous lawsuit that could have been prevented or dropped if you had legal protections in place.
Even if someone still insists on taking you to court, having contracts or legal pages in place can help increase the chance of having that lawsuit dismissed or increase your chance of winning that case.
If you’re not sure what legal protections you should have in place, then this episode is for you.
To help you get a better understanding of the law, I spoke with Amira Irfan, a lawyer and six-figure blogger & entrepreneur, about the legal side of blogging and running an online business.
In this episode, you will learn about:
- [03:16] Amira’s journey and the lawsuit that motivated her to become a lawyer
- [14:43] how Amira became a blogger and entrepreneur
- [17:30] time management tips and strategies
- [23:52] Amira’s legal templates (who they’re for and what sets hers apart)
- [27:54] three legal pages bloggers need to have on their websites
- [32:32] legal pages that hobby bloggers need
- [34:43] free legal templates and if they’re okay to use
- [38:35] my experience with free legal templates
- [44:29] how to get a legal template that you need but don’t see online
- [47:52] what legal documents podcasters need
Please note that although Amira is a lawyer, she is not your lawyer. All content and information provided is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or professional advice of any kind and does not establish any kind of professional-client relationship with me or Amira. You can read my full disclaimer at jessicadukharan.com/disclaimer.
Who is Amira/ASelfGuru?
Amira is a business lawyer who works full time as a lawyer and runs a successful online business. Her business is about helping entrepreneurs (e.g. bloggers, freelancers, coaches, course creators) protect their online businesses legally and teaching them how to make money online.
When she started her business, she took it from zero to six figures in her first year. Now, she helps new bloggers achieve that same success and milestone with business coaching and tons of other legal, blogging, business tips on her website. Amira has helped more than 10,000 entrepreneurs across the world through her affordable legal templates and legal services.
The Lawsuit that Motivated Her to Become a Lawyer
Amira wasn’t always a lawyer. She was a model and teacher before she became a business lawyer. What caused this shift? Her dad’s $90,000 lawsuit.
“That was a very stressful, tumultuous time in my life, but at the same time, it ignited the desire in me to become a lawyer because I saw the struggles that business owners go through, especially experiencing it firsthand. It really hit home that even a simple small mistake can really cost you thousands and thousands of dollars.”
What was that mistake? Her dad hired a friend as a freelancer to help him out with his business. However, there was no legal contract in place, and nothing was put in writing. It was just a handshake deal. A couple months later, Amira saw her dad getting served with a $90,000 lawsuit.
“I think the hardest part was just dealing with the fact that how could somebody do that to him? That’s why I really emphasize the importance of contracts and protecting your business legally because I’ve seen it, I felt it, I’ve gone through the pain.”
Why are Documents Important for a Business?
As Amira shared, business is business. People change when money gets involved, so put precautions in place even if they’re your friend, relative, spouse, or neighbor. A legal document is a protection for you and the other person involved because you’re laying out your terms.
“You would think you can trust the person, but the bottom line is no matter who it is, just protect yourself, and like you said, protect the other person so the relationship is clear, and this way both parties have something to lose.”
When we’re doing business, we have to think about the consequences of our actions. How will your family be affected by this? How will your business be affected by this? It’s not just you. It’s really everything that you love that could potentially be affected by a business transaction or business deal. That’s a huge reason you should have legal documents in place.
Protect yourself, protect the other person involved, and protect the people that you love.
Legal Pages for Blog and Website
It’s there to protect the people who visit your website by letting them know what personal information you’re collecting from them (e.g. name, email address, credit card information) and how you’re going to use that information.
The biggest purpose a Disclaimer serves is that it prevents lawsuits. The last thing you want is to publish something on your website, then someone takes it the wrong way or suffers negative consequences and then comes after you and sues you because that does happen.
You may have seen medical disclaimers, health disclaimers, fitness disclaimers, etc. Those disclaimers are there because people don’t want to get sued, and that’s why a Disclaimer is really important.
Also, if you’re going to share affiliate links on your website or write sponsored posts, you’re required by the Federal Trade Commission to give disclosures that state you’re going to earn an affiliate commission if someone makes a purchase through one of your links or you were compensated for that sponsored blog post. Those disclosures are typically part of that disclaimer page where people can read your full policy.
Terms and Conditions
This is a legally binding contract between you and the people who visit your website and the people who purchase from you. It outlines your refund policies, exchange policies, and your other rules and regulations that you want people to be aware of when they are visiting your site or making a purchase.
You want to clearly outline your website rules in your Terms and Conditions page such as:
- what’s considered lawful use of your website
- your intellectual property rights
- how and where you will resolve legal disputes
- termination of someone’s use of your website
Do Hobby Bloggers Need Legal Pages on Their Websites?
Short answer: YES!
Here’s a more detailed answer from Amira:
The law doesn’t preclude you just because you’re a hobby blogger.
Even if you’re a hobby blogger, I’m sure you don’t want to be held liable for the content that you’re publishing. Let’s say you’re providing health tips, medical tips, fitness tips, personal finance tips, legal tips, business tips, etc. It doesn’t matter what the niche is—you don’t want someone to just rely on that information and then come after you and sue you, do you? That’s why a disclaimer is very important for you, even if you’re just a hobby blogger.
My point is these pages have nothing to do with that—whether you’re a hobby blogger or a serious entrepreneur—their purpose is to ensure your legal compliance and protect you from lawsuits and disputes.
Even if it’s not a lawsuit, it can still get ugly. You could get into an email war with a customer or a visitor on your site. You want to have that professional look and you want to make sure that you are, at the end of the day, safeguarding your business or your hobby blog through these policies.
Free Legal Pages Templates for Websites
There are a lot of free legal templates and free legal pages generators online, so you might be wondering why you should pay for Amira’s legal templates or another lawyer’s legal templates. I asked Amira this question and here’s what she had to say about this.
For the last 10 years, she’s been auditing legal documents as part of her job, and one of the things she noticed with free legal templates is they’re very deficient. Meaning, you get a generic template instead of a professional, comprehensive template that covers all ends and gives you that protection and peace of mind that you’re meeting all your requirements.
There are many key legal provisions that are always missing, and if you want to add additional requirements (e.g. GDPR compliance, California law compliance), then you will see that the template is no longer free.
“These free generators or these free websites, they’re going to charge you money, so don’t think that it’s free. It’s just a very bare bones policy that they’re giving you, which is free, but when you want to ensure your compliance with the different laws out there, it’s no longer going to be free.”
For more clarity, check out this blog post to see why 50 different entrepreneurs don’t trust free legal templates (and Amira’s audit results of free legal template websites). You can also look at Amira’s customer reviews on Facebook to see feedback from her customers who compared her paid legal templates to free legal templates.
Podcast Legal Documents for Podcasters
Of course, I also asked Amira if there are any legal documents that podcasters need to have in place to protect ourselves. Here’s what the pros don’t tell you in their free guides and courses:
Another legal document that you need is a Media Release Agreement. You might refer to it as a podcast release form, podcast guest contract template, podcast guest agreement, or audio interview release form. It doesn’t matter. You need one if you’re going to interview people.
“It gives you legal rights to use that person’s name, images, photos, videos, audio, just about anything possible that you can think of without owing them any money, and it also releases you from legal liability so they can’t come after you later on and be like, ‘Oh, you did this, and I didn’t allow this.’ People get sued over this all the time.”
If you have or want sponsors for your podcast, then you will want to get a Sponsorship Agreement template as well.
And as Amira shared, depending on what else you’re doing with your podcast, you might need additional contracts in that regard.
Best Online Legal Documents: Amira’s Legal Templates
It’s no secret that I’m one of Amira’s customers and affiliates, so of course I highly recommend that you get your legal document templates from her. I’ve seen and used her templates for my websites and online business because they’re:
- written by a business lawyer who is also a blogger and entrepreneur
- affordable and well-priced (especially the bundles)
- sold by someone who is customer-centric and has 10 years of experience
- professional and comprehensive (and you get updates for free)
- easy to customize for your needs (you can reach out for help if needed)
- 100x better than free legal templates
How to Connect with Amira of ASelfGuru.com
The easiest way to reach Amira is via her Facebook group, ASelfGuru Biz Blog Community, since she’s more active there. You can also visit the Work with Me page on her website and set up a call with her or send her an email.
“I’ve collaborated with hundreds and hundreds of bloggers and entrepreneurs, so it would be an honor to work with anyone that reaches out if they need something specific that they don’t see.”
Links + Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Disclaimer Template
- Terms and Conditions Template
- Starter Legal Bundle (includes the three must-have legal pages)
- Media Release Agreement Template
- Independent Contractor (Freelancer) Contract Template
- Sponsored Posts Contract Template
- ASelfGuru – Biz Blog Community (Amira’s Facebook group)
- Why 50+ Savvy Entrepreneurs DON’T Trust FREE Legal Templates to Protect Their Business
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Over to You: Legal Pages for Bloggers and Entrepreneurs
What’s your biggest takeaway from this interview? How do you plan to legally protect your blog and/or online business? Let me know in the comments below!