This question comes up a lot, as most coaches these days have an online presence which means that they can have clients based in many different countries. Coaches I speak to are often worried that this is going to make running their businesses very complicated - surely you will need different versions of your contracts depending on the laws in the countries that your clients are based in, right?
And this misconception causes 2 different problems for coaches:
So let’s sort this out right now. You need clarity on this so that you can start moving forward and get those all-important contracts in place.
The basic answer is…
You decide which law is going to apply to your contract. And by the way, it doesn’t...
So, you did all the soul searching work on finding out what your why is. You created your business to allow you to follow your true purpose. You nailed your message to speak to your ideal customer. You spent long days and nights creating your programme. And you actually have some clients!
You should be feeling on top of the world, but you can’t shake this underlying feeling of worry which is spoiling the fun. You feel vulnerable and exposed and it’s stopping you doing your best work.
You are not alone in this, my friend. I have heard this from my clients many times and two of the main reasons for this underlying yucky feeling (technical term!) are:
If you don’t know where to start with your legal foundations: this is it!
I mean, if I were your fairy Godlawyer, and I could grant you one thing, a great client contract would be it.
It is the handsome prince of the contract world. It is the one thing that is most likely to lead to you and your coaching business living happily ever after!
So instead of continually placing it at the bottom of your never ending to-do list, put on your positive pants and start to take action. You will feel so good when you have a solid client contract in place: I promise you.
To help you on your way, here are the 3 main areas you need to cover in your coaching contract:
This is what sets a solid foundation for your relationship with your clients and will save you hassle further down the line.
The main place where you create this beautiful clarity is in the description of your products and services.
In a one to one...
For my first blog post of the year, I thought it would be useful to set out the lowdown on how Brexit affects UK based coaches. Spoiler alert: this is quick, to the point and in plain English!
The UK government ads with lots of stuff being unloaded from big containers and people with hardhats and clipboards were hard to relate to for service providers, I thought - we were told in no uncertain terms to get ready...but if you are anything like me it felt tricky to even know how to begin!
If the whole topic has left you with an unsettled feeling and an open loop playing on repeat, stick with me: here is a simple summary in plain English of some of the things you may need to explore further if you are a UK based coach. With a link to where you can find more information if you need to.
The good news is that in most cases you won't need to do anything at all! What a relief right?!
1. Let's start with your contracts - because contract law is for the most part 'common law' that is...
I am going to let you into a secret that most lawyers will not want you to know… it’s actually fairly simple to register a trademark in the UK! And therefore in most cases you should be able to do it yourself with a little bit of guidance and hand-holding (see why they don’t want you to know?!).
But first, why register a trademark? It is so important to protect any name which is connected with your business, whether it’s your brand name or a product name, or perhaps even a slogan or strap line, as it will stop anyone else from using that name and piggybacking on your goodwill as you build your brand. Registering a trademark is one of the most effective types of protection.
So here are three things that you can start doing to take those first steps to register your trademark:
1. Do a search on the Trademark Registry, to see whether someone is already using that name - and in particular whether they’re using it for a product or service that is...
This topic comes up a lot with my clients and members, and can be quite an emotive issue, which is understandable as your name is personal to you. So it is vital that you do these three simple things to protect your name - and the second tip is such a game-changer, everyone should be doing it!
1. Make sure you do your research
This will save you so much hassle and heartache in the future! Before you invest in branding, logos and everything else you need for your business make sure that no-one else is already using the name for something similar. Make sure that you check Companies House and the Trademarks Registry to see if someone has registered it, and also do a good old Google search. If someone is already using the name you have your heart set on, it doesn’t always mean you can’t use it, but it is definitely worth checking.
2. Start using the letters TM
This means an unregistered trademark...and the crucial thing is that you do not have to have a registered trademark...
We spend so much time and energy on creating great content for our businesses and often significant money too.
We know there is intellectual property in that content which belongs to us and which we should be protecting – but that means spending hundreds if not thousands of pounds on specialist lawyers and complicated legal processes. Or does it?
Stick with me because I am going to share with you 3 things that you can start doing straight away to improve the protection you give your intellectual property by 100% AND that won’t cost you the earth.
1. Copyright Notice. When you create copy or images for your business, it is very likely that there is copyright in that copy or those images, which belongs to you. You don’t need to register copyright formally in the UK – that is one of the great things about it – but you should let people know that you own the copyright so they can see you are on top of your game and they...
I can guarantee you won’t be expecting this!
Spoiler alert: your programme or service description is almost (note I said almost!!) as important as the rest of your contract put together. Legit.
Now I know that might come as a bit of a shock – especially from a commercial contracts lawyer – but in over 20 years of advising clients about their contracts, my experience tells me that when the chips are down, and a client has a wobble, this is often the aspect of your legal foundations that will either have you punching the air with relief, or experiencing the bitter pang of regret.
And that is because, when a client has a wobble and wants out/starts making noises about a refund, their usual starting place is with the complaint “you haven’t done what you said you were going to do…”
So when that happens, we want to make sure that you have headed the hassle off at the pass with a decent programme/services description. What we are...
The world needs you on your A game! Now more than ever, we need light-workers like you going all in with your clients and working your magic. So let’s get you sorted with your essential legal protection - so you feel safe to do your best work
Here is my no frills list of the three non-negotiables you need in place as a coach:
This one is not up for discussion! Even if you are just starting off. Even if you are still at the family and friends/ friends of friends stage (arguably it’s even more important at this stage).
Every day I hear my members tell me that they used to:
all because they didn’t have a client contract, or they had something they pulled together themselves and couldn’t rely on it.
You know there are legal documents you need on your website. You might have copied some terms you found online or maybe you haven’t quite got round to putting anything on there at all. But it’s difficult to get to the bottom of what you really need, the terminology is confusing and now the fuss about GDPR has died down, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Actually, yes! It really does!
Almost every small business website I look at has big gaps in their website legal documents - or maybe even nothing at all!
There’s a lot of confusion out there. In this article I am going to spell it out for you in very clear terms, so you can take simple action and get it sorted. Job done!
But before we dive in I just want to share with you why it’s so important to get this right.
First, of course, there are certain things you need on there to be legally compliant and meet obligations under GDPR and other legislation.
Second there are...