Avoid This Entrepreneurial Disaster — Start The Trademark Process Today

Avoid This Entrepreneurial Disaster — Start The Trademark Process Today

Every day I run more and more trademark searches that end with bad news. It’s honestly the worst part of my job, when I have to tell someone their name is already taken. Once I deliver that news, it sets off a domino effect of difficult actions for my client. 

In many cases, she has to start from square one:

  • New name
  • New logo design
  • New messaging

… She has to redo all of her graphics. All of her social profiles. Her email signature. All of her PDFs and handouts.

EVERYTHING

It’s quite literally a nightmare. And it’s happening more and more often as the online business space continues to expand.

Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Schedule your free trademark consultation call today, before you create any more content, graphics, or valuable assets around a name that may already be owned by someone else. 

Of course, I am hopeful that we’ll uncover happy news, and we can get your trademark secured with ease! 

Either way, you can’t afford to wait any longer — book your call now to snag one of my few remaining spots this year.

Are you ready? 

✅ If you wait to apply, I can promise you WILL NOT receive your trademark until 2025. Processing takes 8-12 months, meaning we have to file this quarter if you want your trademark within the next year. 

June 03, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
3 Easy Steps to Protect Your Online Empire

3 Easy Steps to Protect Your Online Empire

Online presence is everything these days. From your website to your social channels to your email list, your e-presence is crucial to your visibility and success as an entrepreneur. 

Have you ever wondered: Is all of your online real estate actually safe and secure?? 

Most of us do a darn good job keeping our physical real estate safe. We lock doors and windows, install security systems and cameras and ask our friendly neighbors to keep an eye out when we leave on vacation.

We put up window coverings to protect our privacy. We know where the boundaries of our property are so we can be sure we aren’t encroaching on our neighbors, and they aren’t encroaching on us. 

Guess what? Your online real estate needs the same kind of protections! Without three key pieces in place, you are leaving the door open to legal drama.  And it is my mission to make sure entrepreneurs like you don’t make that mistake! 

Today, I’m sharing the top 3 ways you must protect your online presence - the what, why, and how of it all. Let’s dive in!

First, you need to have your Website Terms and Conditions clearly posted on your website. Basically, the terms and conditions language sets up all the ground rules for your website. It tells anyone who visits your site how they can and can’t use your content (no swiping allowed!). It covers your online commerce policies, how you handle disputes, and it declares a limit on what your financial liability is in case things go off track. 

This is your #1 most crucial line of protection that you must have before going live with a website. 

Next up is your Privacy Policy. This lets everyone know how you collect, use, share, store and protect your visitors’ information on your website. Basically, it’s a promise to your website visitors that you won’t share or misuse their personal information, like selling email addresses to spammers. Having your privacy policy posted gives people confidence that you respect and will protect their privacy. Also, failing to have a privacy policy that is GDPR compliant can result in hefty fines. Not good!

Lastly, you need to have a Website Disclaimer. This is a statement that tells people who you are and what you do. More importantly, it tells people who you are not and what you do not do. This clearly defines what you will (and will not) bring to the relationship, preventing you from being blamed for any negative results. It’s like a very important asterisk declaring *I am not a medical professional/This is not an attorney-client relationship/My marketing advice does not guarantee your launch success/Consult a qualified CPA before acting on the financial education I provide…etc, etc, etc. 

If you already have these things in place, amazing!! I suggest taking a quick peek at each of them to make sure everything is clear and up to date. 

Missing something? Don’t panic! But do take action ASAP so you don’t get yourself into any legal hot water. You can grab my customizable templates via the links below:

Website Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

Website Disclaimer

Better yet, you can grab the Legal Foundations Bundle and save yourself loads of $$ and headaches! It includes these 3 key contracts, plus 7 other foundational agreements, including a 1:1 client agreement, testimonial release, and more.  

You’ve worked hard building your online presence. Take action to keep it safe, secure and drama-free. You will be so glad you did! 

Questions? Comment below! 

May 01, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Overwhelmed With Legal For Your Small Business? Start Here

Overwhelmed With Legal For Your Small Business? Start Here

There are several reasons you might be tempted to continue running your business without proper legal protections in place. 

 

  • You don’t know where to start.
  • You don’t know what you need to protect now, and what can wait until later.
  • You assume it’s going to cost too much.
  • You’re happy to just swipe generic language from the internet.
  • You’ll worry about it later. 
  • Everything will probably be fine anyway, so why bother?

Does any of that sound familiar?

Here’s the thing, dear reader. Everything is always fine…until it isn’t. And the degree to which you leave your business exposed and vulnerable will dictate just how un-fine it will be. After serving clients for over 26 years as a small business and trademark attorney, I know firsthand that, eventually, most business owners’ luck will run out. It might be in the form of client drama, stolen content, or worst-case scenario legal issues, and it is never fun to clean up the mess after the damage has been done. 

Think about it. The best time to take care of the legal side of your business is when everything is bright, sunny, and calm. If you wait for the gray clouds and angry skies to roll in… you might find yourself in the middle of a legal thunderstorm, and you’re gonna have to do some serious clean-up afterward.

I hope you are finding yourself in a bright, sunshiny place right now, and I sincerely hope you’ll stay there forever!

But is it worth risking all that potential damage, just because you “hope” the weather won’t take a turn? 

I want to make it as easy as possible for you to get your business buttoned up nice and tight. Let’s finally cross LEGAL off your business to-do list! 

Just keep reading, and choose what best fits your current business situation:

If you…

Work With Clients: you must have a written Client 1:1 Agreement in place. This gets you both on the same page before you start working together. It creates clear boundaries around money, scope, and your shared content. With all of the housekeeping handled upfront, you can begin your working relationship with clarity, harmony, and immediate trust.

Sell Digital Products, Courses, or Group Programs: you need a written Terms of Use agreement. This sets up all the rules for the purchase of your group programs, digital downloads, online courses, evergreen products, and more. It covers the use of your content, payments, and more in any transaction when you have less direct communication between you and your customer.

Want to Hire a Team Member: you must use a written Contractor Service Agreement. This powerful agreement covers the scope of the working relationship, definitions of the nature of the relationship of the parties as Independent Contractors, Intellectual Property ownership provisions, confidentiality provisions, termination of the relationship, dispute resolution, and more.

Speak on Podcasts, Stages, or at Live Events: you need to use a Professional Speaker Agreement. It covers your entire agreement with the host, including whether and how you may make an offer from the stage, your requirements for audio-visual support, ownership of the Intellectual Property created at the event, cancellation by either party, coverage of expenses, and much more.

Want to save even more with a complete bundle to fit your needs??

Check out 3 of my core foundational bundles. From just-the-basics-ma’am for the beginner to the whole enchilada for course creators, I’ve got a bundle that’s perfect for every stage of business:

Just the Basics: #1 Priority Mini-Disclaimer Pack

For the entrepreneur who wants (or needs) to take baby steps, your Mini-Disclaimer tells people what you do, and more importantly, what you *don’t* do. It is the number one legal protection you must have in place to stay out of hot water! Post your official legal disclaimer on emails, your website, social channels, client handouts, and more.

Protect My Website : The Big 3 Website Protection Package

Protect your online real estate with the three essential agreements you must have before hitting publish on your website: your Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, and Website Disclaimer. Stay compliant with international privacy laws and keep your business safe.

Create & Launch My Course Legally : Course Creator Bundle

Everything you need to create, launch and sell your online course legally. This bundle includes the 7 key agreements you need to protect your content and your profits: Terms of Use, Testimonial Release, Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, Website Disclaimer, Contractor Service Agreement, and Affiliate Agreement. Launch your course with confidence and peace of mind!

Want the ultimate one-stop solution, a bundle with everything you need to build a strong legal foundation?

You need The Legal Umbrella® Foundations Bundle.  

This suite of 10 extraordinarily protective, lawyer-drafted contract and agreement templates offers you the security to run a successful business with peace of mind that legal issues aren’t going to rain on your parade.

It includes ten essential contracts, many of which were listed above as à la carte options. Save big by grabbing the whole bundle today! 

  • Website Terms and Conditions
  • Website Privacy Policy
  • Website Disclaimer

 

#1 Priority Mini-Disclaimer and #1 Priority Mini-Mini-Disclaimer

  • Client Agreement 1:1 
  • Terms of Use for Group Programs/Digital Products/Online Courses
  • Extended Payment Plan
  • Credit Card Authorization Form
  • Testimonial Release
  • Live Event Publicity Release

Read more about how each template protects your business, and why each one is so essential: The Legal Umbrella® : Legal Foundations – Layne Lyons Inc 

I know it’s tempting to continue operating your business in a legal gray area. It can feel intimidating, overwhelming, and like a whole lotta work when everything is probably going to be fine anyway, right? Well…you already know how I feel about that 😉 

Trust me, it is not worth the risk to remain unprotected in your business, especially when you have the perfect solution right here, ready to use! 

Have questions about which contract or bundle is right for you? Just leave a comment, or reach out to layne@laynelyons.com and my team will be happy to help! 

April 03, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
4 Reasons You Need Your Trademark Like, Yesterday!!

4 Reasons You Need Your Trademark Like, Yesterday!!

You might be wondering… 

What can a trademark really do for me, Layne? Do I really need to do this now? 

Let’s talk about it! 

Here are the key benefits to securing your trademark now: 

  1. You stake a claim to your brand identity, meaning no one can force you to take everything down and start over again with a total rebrand. A forced rebrand can be devastating for a small business. All the time and money you invested in growing your audience, poof! Gone in the blink of a cease & desist letter with solid grounds. 
  2. You OWN your brand identity. See a copycat? Is a new podcast being mistaken for yours? Is there a new user on Instagram with your trademarked name? Your circle R gives you the power to issue takedown notices to anyone who infringes on your brand. 
  3. Your trademark shows others that you are LEGIT and your brand is VALUABLE. You are in this for the long haul, which makes potential clients, investors, and collab partners all the more confident in working with you. If you want to partner, leverage, or license your business assets, registering your Intellectual Property is the first necessary step you have to take. #HelloPassiveIncome 🤩
  4. You can safely grow your brand with confidence, knowing that the reputation you are building will never be separated from the mark your audience knows you by. 

All of this boils down to one key benefit: FEARLESS CONFIDENCE 

Confidence to share

Confidence to create

Confidence to grow

Confidence to scale

Confidence to dream 

Can you really afford to wait much longer, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best each time you press “publish” on new content? 

If you are ready to explore how trademarks can offer you next-level protection and some serious confidence boosting, let’s chat. Your shiny circle R is waiting. 🤩

Yes, Let's Talk Trademarks

Don’t wait to book that call

🚨  If you wait to apply, I can promise you WILL NOT receive your trademark until 2025. Processing takes 8-12 months, meaning we have to file this quarter if you want your trademark within the next year. 

 

March 04, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
How Much Do You Love Your Brand?

How Much Do You Love Your Brand?

It’s February, and that means the season of love is upon us! Whether you’re making googly eyes at your significant other, planning a Galentine’s bash with your besties, or ignoring the holiday altogether, the hype around Valentine’s Day got me thinking: 

 

How much do you LOVE your brand? 

💖 Do you get a big smile on your face when the name of your business rolls off your tongue? 

💖 Can you remember how you felt the exact moment when you knew you’d landed on THE ONE??

💖 Would you be left in tears, absolutely broken-hearted if someone told you that name was now off limits, that you could never be associated with it again?

 

If you answered yes to any of the above regarding your brand name, program name, podcast name, logo, etc… you need to run, not walk, to your initial trademark consultation.

 

I’ll be perfectly honest – not every entrepreneur is there yet. You might not be there yet. If you still feel kinda “meh” about your name, you probably don’t need a trademark. 

If you’ve been stuck in an endless cycle of brainstorming, but you haven’t quite landed on something you’re in love with yet, you probably don’t need a trademark. 

But trust me, you’ll get there one day, and when you do, I’ll be here ready and able to help! 

There is nothing that breaks my heart more than telling a client she has to go back to the drawing board with her brand name or logo. 

It’s a devastating blow, and it’s one that can become even worse when someone invests so much time and money into growing a brand they don’t actually own yet…

I’ve had clients spend thousands of dollars on brand development, product creation, website building, podcast production…all to find out they have to start from scratch with a new name, crossing all the fingers and toes their audience follows them. 

It’s the absolute worst news I have to deliver, and it’s why I’m so passionate about making sure we head off that disaster anytime we can by being proactive with brand protection.

Bottom line? If you’re in love with your brand, or even feeling those first butterflies-in-the-stomach, I-think-this-might-be-it jitters, reach out for a trademark consultation. 

It’s better to lock it down now than always pine for the one that got away. 

 

Schedule your consult here → Book A Trademark Consult

February 01, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
This one legal move could land you a dream client 🤩

This one legal move could land you a dream client 🤩

Big things are happening here at Team Layne Lyons! I had the pleasure of hiring a couple of new team members this past summer. I’m sure you can appreciate how daunting the hiring process can be, but it’s also super exciting. 

As I reviewed loads of applications and portfolios provided by so many talented women, I knew I had to start narrowing my list. After all, I simply couldn’t conduct individual interviews with dozens of applicants. 

One thing became clear, almost subconsciously at first: 

The applicants who ran their business as an LLC stood out from the pack. My attention was immediately drawn to them, and when I noticed this, I started to reflect on why. 

Here’s what I landed on. Keep in mind, this is not scientific or psychologically proven at all… it’s simply how my mind worked as a business owner looking to hire a couple of independent contractors.

1 - Anyone with an LLC already in place showed me that they take their business seriously and plan to go places with it. It’s not just a side hustle or a hobby. Rather, they view it as a real career. 🚀

2 - It showed me that they care about conducting business in a safe, legal and professional manner. 🙌

3 - By obtaining their LLC, they’ve proven that they are resourceful, attentive to detail and have the ability to follow through on a not-always-straightforward process. 🤓

 

Again, these are simply my impressions as an entrepreneur looking to hire other entrepreneurs to work on my team. I also considered plenty of other factors, but I thought this little glimpse into my hiring process might help some of you land a future client.

If you’ve been pondering the question of should I or shouldn’t I when it comes to establishing your business as an LLC, perhaps this is the little nudge you need. 

Are you wondering what the heck is an LLC, and why would I need it?? You’re in luck! 

I’ve written an article on how LLCs work and how to figure out if you need one. Check it out for all the details: Is It Time for an LLC? Ask Yourself 4 Simple Questions

Already convinced? 

Team Layne Lyons can help! Simply comment below, or email team@laynelyons.com, and we will connect you with dedicated pros who can help you complete the process. 

Already have your LLC? Kudos to you! If you’re curious about your next legal move, I’d love to chat with you about it. Comment here or email layne@laynelyons.com

 

Hats off to all of you business-building pros out there - you’re doing amazing! 

January 23, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Time to Get Your Legal House In Order

Time to Get Your Legal House In Order

Welcome to 2024!! It’s a new year, full of new plans, hopes, and ambitions. 

After a wonderfully relaxing holiday break, I’m ready to hit the ground running to chase some big dreams and goals this year. How about you?

A common goal this time of year is to spend time decluttering and cleaning our homes. As we pack away holiday decorations and find space for the new gifts we receive, many of us take stock of what we have. 

We attempt to bring order to our homes so we can enter the new year with clarity, a fresh perspective, and a sense of order. 

I’d like to suggest that your business deserves the same care and attention. 

Now is a great time to get your business’s house in order, to make sure you have all the proper protections in place. 

Is your content safe from swipers? 

Is your brand name truly your own?

Are your payment policies clear and easy to communicate?

Will your clients understand and respect your boundaries?

I’d love to help you start 2024 off with a solid legal foundation. Here are some easy steps you can take today: 

✅ Download and complete this Intellectual Property Inventory. It will walk you through all the valuable assets that belong to your business and help you identify how to protect them.

✅ Complete the 6-Point Profit & Protection System: a training that will show you the six key areas you need to protect in your business so you can grow & scale safely and confidently.

✅ Book a free consultation call with me. During your Rainy Day Readiness chat, I’ll get to know you and your business and will offer actionable advice for how you can get all the legal stuff buttoned up for the new year. 

"Before I worked with Layne, legal protection felt confusing and challenging. I often brushed it off because it felt expensive and lengthy to personalize, yet I really didn’t want to rely on general protections. Layne nailed it! … Now I feel much more protected and even more professional, like I have up-leveled my business! Taking the steps to protect myself and my clients feels like true business growth. And, it was so easy ... I am forever grateful to Layne for making me feel so secure in my biz!"

~Brandi Mackenzie 

Let’s make 2024 the year you truly reach peace of mind with the legal side of your business!

https://www.laynelyons.com/the-legal-umbrella

January 02, 2024 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Your Key to Avoiding Legal Disaster ☂️☂️☂️

Your Key to Avoiding Legal Disaster ☂️☂️☂️

Have you ever gotten caught in a downpour…stuck without your trusty umbrella to keep you protected??

We’ve all been there at some point or another. Sometimes, it’s a minor annoyance. We sigh to ourselves and vow to check the weather apps before going out again, but usually, it’s not a big deal.

Other times, we can even turn our drizzly frowns upside down, transforming the unexpected downpour into a positive experience. Stomp some puddles, create some funny memories, look into the sky and see a fabulous rainbow.

But then…there are other times when the situation becomes much more dire. 

Say, for instance, you’re walking to an important interview for the job of your dreams. Now those soggy pant legs, muddy heels, and rain-slicked hair have the potential to wreak havoc on your hopes and plans for the future. 

Your confidence is shaken. 

Your meticulously prepared resume is splotchy and barely readable. 

You’re on the verge of tears, but suck it up knowing puffy red eyes will only make things worse…

Dear reader, we must avoid this last, worst-case scenario AT ALL COSTS!!

When the stakes are that high, we have to take ALL the precautions. We assemble an emergency prep kit:

Leave an hour early? ✅

Grab the hair & makeup supplies for emergency touch-ups? ✅

Print a half dozen extra copies of your resume? ✅

Throw a change of clothes into the car? ✅

Gather your rain gear, especially the umbrella? ✅

Will you need all these items and all that spare time? Hopefully not. But if you do, and you’re caught unprepared… YIKES.

Leaving your business exposed to the elements, without your Legal Umbrella up, is like tempting fate. 

The stakes are simply too high to continue without solid legal protections. 

It’s time for a quick checkup: 

Can you honestly answer a resounding “YES!” to these U.M.B.R.E.L.L.A. questions? 

👉  Is all of your Unique content safely protected from dishonest copycats who missed the lesson in high school about plagiarism? And if someone does steal your stuff, are you confident you can legally make them take it down?

👉 Do you have clear policies and systems to prevent chargebacks, ghosted payments, or refund requests? In other words, are you doing all you can to protect your Money??

👉 Are you 100% confident that your Brand name and/or logo isn’t infringing on someone else’s trademark? That it isn’t just a tad too close to a competitor’s name? (Hint: No, you can’t legally call your program “The Digital Courses Academy” to get around Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy trademark)  And, on the flip side, are you sure no one else is riding your coattails, promoting their program with a way-too-similar name to yours?? If you have a huge following under the brand name The Happy Healthy Housewife, are you sure there aren’t any copycats using the name The Healthy Happy Housewife??

👉 Do you have clear boundaries in all your working Relationships? Do your clients know what they can expect when working with you? For example, do they know when they can (and cannot) expect to hear from you? Do they know what process to follow if they want to stop working with you? If you offer done-for-you services, do you have a clear scope of work and timeline for delivery, so everyone knows who should do what, and when? 

👉 Does your online empire, including your website, emails and social media platforms, have all the proper notices, policies, and disclaimers posted? Your entire E-presence needs to be protected with clear terms of use, privacy policies, and disclaimers about what you can and cannot do (ex: coaches are there to support clients in reaching their goals, but clients are responsible for all results).

👉 Is your Love-Life-Attitude protected? Do you feel free to set your own hours, work on your own terms, work with who you want, and do the tasks that light you up? Is your business set up in a way that is drama-proofed?

Dear friend, if you are hesitant to answer any of those questions in the affirmative, it’s time to batten down the hatches! 

First the bad news. 😱

Your business is currently vulnerable to potentially devastating, business-dream-ending storms that can crop up without warning.

Now the GOOD NEWS!! 🙌

The fix is easy: you simply need your trusty Legal UMBRELLA™ to keep your business dry in even the wildest of storms. 

My signature suite of 10 lawyer-drafted, solid legal agreements will secure and cover each and every corner of your legal foundation. 

From client service agreements to payment policies, content protection to website security, and everything in-between, the Legal UMBRELLA™ package has you covered, to get your business buttoned up and legally compliant.  

Head here to purchase this package of industry-specific, fully customizable, easy-to-understand set of 10 foundational legal agreements → The Legal Umbrella 

Not sure this is what you need? Book a free Rainy Day Readiness Call with me, and we’ll get it figured out in no time! 

Together, let’s make 2024 the year you never leave home without your trusty UMBRELLA ☂️☂️☂️☂️

December 04, 2023 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Just Google It = Worst.Advice.Ever.

Just Google It = Worst.Advice.Ever.

Google is one of those quintessential double-edged swords in our rapidly-evolving digital age. On the one hand, we have a world of information at our fingertips! On the other hand… we have a world of information at our fingertips…

Just the other day, I got curious and googled “what contracts do I need for my online business”? Even knowing ALL the things about this topic, I felt overwhelmed by the results! 

 

First of all, the ads. So many ads!! 

  • Ads for CRMs like Honeybook that offer contract templates…
  • Ads for Big Box Legal (side note: try searching “Legal Zoom horror stories”…that’s a terrifying rabbit hole!)
  • Ads for online document signing tools…

Then came the blogs. 

  • Essential Contracts Your Small Business Needs
  • Contracts You Need For Your Online Coaching Business
  • 6 Essential Contracts For Your Startup…

 

 

How do you know which to choose??

Am I a small business? An online coaching business? A startup? Do I need the contracts for a small and growing business? Or will the brand new business contracts do the trick? 

At this point, I was too overwhelmed to click on the Videos tab. I can only imagine the endless amount of content on Youtube.

I sat at my desk, imagining myself in my potential client’s shoes. In your shoes. 

How could you possibly know where to begin? Even if you narrow it down to the type of contract you need for your particular kind of business, which of these 1,842,975 websites is legit? Which is going to get you legally-sound, easy-to-use contracts that actually protect you in all the ways you need?

This is why I am such an advocate of NOT DIY’ing your legal. 

There’s a lot of stuff you can google and get away with early on in business – play around in Canva yourself until you can afford a graphic designer. One lopsided IG square isn’t going to make or break your business! Write your own content and follow some templates until you can outsource your copy to a professional. Whip out your calculator and crunch your own numbers until it makes sense to find a bookkeeper. 

But your LEGAL STUFF?? All those behind-the-scenes agreements that keep you safe from unreasonable clients, wild refund requests, dishonest brand swipers, and other bad actors? 

You can’t responsibly DIY that stuff. 

 

So what should you do? 

My advice is this: find a lawyer you trust – someone who has worked with lots and lots of businesses like yours. You’re one of my subscribers, so it’s safe to assume I’ve earned at least some of your trust. Contracts for online businesses, service providers, coaches, podcasters, course creators… 100%, totally my JAM, and I’m passionate about serving entrepreneurs like you.

Of course, there are other lawyers who have contract templates for businesses like yours, and you are obviously free to use their products! I know several who create some really high-quality work. 

Once you settle on a lawyer you trust (hi, is it me you’re looking for?), it’s just a matter of doing the dang thing, right? Presumably, this lawyer you trust has put out plenty of educational content to help you make an informed decision. Read up! Consume their free content. If necessary and available, reach out personally with a question. Any legit lawyer will be happy to answer your questions (within limits, of course) so you can make the best choice for your needs.

And then click that BUY button. The only truly wrong decision you can make here is to make no decision at all, continuing to float in legal limbo for the foreseeable future.

Get the contracts you need now, so you can start growing, sharing and scaling from a place of freedom and peace of mind, knowing you have solid protections in place to keep you out of legal hot water.

 

Here are some of my resources you can dive into to get familiar with how my legal templates can work for you: 

Read this article if you're not sure where to get started.

Discover The Legal Umbrella® method – all the foundational contracts you need to build your business. 

Browse contracts for business owners who don’t have the basics yet. 

Browse contracts to business owners who are ready to scale.

 

Still have questions? Reach out to layne@laynelyons.com, and we will be happy to help!

Now, step away from Google, and start taking some action to button up your legal 🙂

November 27, 2023 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Website Legal Disclaimer

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Website Legal Disclaimer

Today I have a quick legal tip to help you keep the drama away. That’s our motto this year, right? 

Drama-free in 2024!

Alright, let’s dive in with two quick questions:

  1. Do you have a website?
  2. Do you currently have a Website Disclaimer published on it?

If you answered yes to both, YAY!! 🎉🎉🎉

I’m so proud of you for having this key legal component already. I suggest taking a quick peek to make sure everything is clear and up to date. 

If you answered yes to #1 but no (or I’m not sure?) to #2, then this part’s for you!

 

What is a Website Disclaimer? 

Good question! People toss around the word disclaimer often but aren’t always clear on what it actually means. 

Let me explain with a simple example. You and I walk into your living room and see a giant grape juice stain on the new white rug. 😱

Your first question is Who spilled this? 

I can either say: me, I spilled it, I take responsibility, aka, I CLAIM responsibility.

Or, I can say: it wasn’t me, I didn’t spill it, I DISCLAIM responsibility. 

In your business, whenever you teach anything, give advice, share tips on social media or via email, you are making yourself vulnerable to someone using that advice, getting a negative outcome, and then coming back to blame you. 

Having a DISCLAIMER lets people know that you are not legally responsible for the actions your clients and website visitors take, and that you can’t be blamed if someone applies (or misapplies) information from you or your website. 

Basically, it puts your website visitors and clients on notice that they are responsible for their own actions, and it’s up to them to determine whether your information is applicable to them or not. 

 

Who needs one? 

Anyone doing business who has a website. Yes, really!

 

Can you give me an example? 

Of course! Your disclaimer is like a very important asterisk declaring something like: 

*I am not a medical professional

*Working with me is not a guarantee of results or future earnings

*This is not an attorney-client relationship

*My marketing advice does not guarantee your launch success

*Consult a qualified CPA before acting on the financial education I provide…etc, etc, etc. 

 

How does this disclaimer protect me?

Your disclaimer tells people what you DO, and more importantly, what you DON’T do. It defines what capacity you’re working in, and what capacity you are NOT working in. A good disclaimer should clearly outline whether you are a licensed professional or not (aka, a health coach ≠ a doctor, therefore cannot provide medical advice). 

It differentiates between professional advice and education. The legal tips I share here and on social media? They are for education NOT legal advice. 

Anyone who works in the wellness industry definitely needs to state that they are not qualified to diagnose, treat, heal or cure any illness or disorder. 

If you do any mindset work with your clients, it’s vital that you are crystal clear that you’re not a licensed therapist or counselor. That way, they understand that you are not providing mental health services

If you provide marketing advice or services, you need to explicitly state that your work and/or information is not a guarantee of future earnings. 

The key piece to this is that, when you are protected with a solid legal disclaimer, you can feel free to show up online with confidence. You know that the things you say, share and put out into the world aren’t going to be used against you in a negative way. And if someone tries…well, you have a rock solid legal foundation to quickly and easily handle it, sans any drama or fear. 

 

What if I don’t have a disclaimer yet?

Don’t panic! But do take action ASAP so you don’t get yourself into any legal hot water. 

You can grab my customizable template here, or better yet, you can grab the Legal Foundations Bundle and save yourself loads of $$ and headaches! It includes 10 foundational agreements you need to keep your business protected, including a 1:1 client agreement, testimonial release, and more.  

November 20, 2023 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Living Your Passion 😍

Living Your Passion 😍

Do you ever see a cool new resource somewhere online, enter your name and email, and then a few months later, realize you have no idea who is really behind the emails you've been receiving each week? 

Guilty! 🙋♀️

The online business world is jam-packed with so many AH-mazing free resources, it can be easy to go on a freebie-collecting spree. 

Maybe that’s how you wound up on my email list. If so, welcome! If you landed here some other way, also welcome!

I hope you’ve gotten value out of my resources up until now, but I have one nagging little concern…

I’m worried you don’t really know me. That I’m just another anonymous online-preneur filling your inbox with legal tips you’re not sure you’ll ever use. That you aren’t sure I’m really here to help you as best I can (spoiler: I am!) 

Truth be told, that makes me a little sad. 

Because I really, truly care about each and every person I encounter on this wild business-building ride. I want to get to know you, your business, your passions, your WHY. 

That’s why I’m going to break the ice first. So here goes! 

Hi! I’m Layne!!

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Adventure-loving digital nomad (currently on the Big Island in Hawaii!), partner to my husband of 20 years Grant (an uber-talented artist), & business and trademark attorney for women entrepreneurs.

But wait, hear me out — and this is important!! — I am NOT “that” kind of lawyer. Trust me, in my 26+ years as a practicing lawyer, I’ve been around more than my fair share of that type.

You know the ones. Grumpy demeanor punctuated with gruff, pointed questions. Slightly (or totally) condescending tone when “explaining” legal stuff to laypeople. Monotone wardrobe of generic navy and grey pinstripe “professional” suits. Always seated behind big, imposing desks. 

No thank you!

I left behind the “traditional” world of litigation and law offices long ago, striking out on my own to follow my passions. 

And so, for the past 20 years, my husband and I have hopped all around the world, living the nomad life, mostly internationally, mostly on tropical islands, living life vibrantly and fully. 

I founded Layne Lyons Legal, a boutique law firm all my own, true to my personality and sense of purpose. Everything I do today is centered around one singular mission: to help women entrepreneurs put solid legal foundations in place so they can grow and scale confidently and without fear!

I want each and every one of you to never fear: 

  • Sending a less-than-professional contract to a new client, causing them to judge you (or worse, back out!)
  • Having your online course swiped and duplicated, without any recourse to stop it
  • Realizing a client never made payments on their payment plan and having to get into drama with them, just to collect money that is yours
  • Hiring a less-than-honest (or less-than-competent) contractor without clear protocols for ending the relationship
  • Private clients or group program members encroaching on your boundaries, to the point that you’re spread too thin because you’re way over-delivering
  • The threat of a lawsuit, any lawsuit, because of a legal gap you’ve allowed to linger

THIS is my passion. 

What’s yours? 

If I had to wager a bet, I would guess that your business is based in large part on that passion. And if that’s true, you have found yourself in the right place. Welcome to my little corner of the internet, where you’ll find support for your passion-led business, where I’ll make legal stuff less overwhelming and (dare I say?) FUN!

Legal stuff is serious business, it’s true. But I believe wholeheartedly that when you are empowered to build and fully understand your legal foundation — when you know your business is buttoned up and legally protected…

  • You show up with more confidence
  • You say YES! to more opportunities
  • You feel true peace of mind & security
  • You become free to grow by leaps and bounds! 

Stick with me, dear reader, and I promise to send you loads of value. I regularly offer bite-sized,  easy-to-immediately-apply legal tips; stuffy lawyer jargon explained with ease; funny anecdotes from life on the Big Island; and, of course, lots of GIFs. You can find all of this good stuff right here on LinkedIn, on Instagram, Facebook, or personally delivered straight to your inbox

Comment below and let me know a little bit about you! Tell me what lights you up, tell me about the WHY behind your business. This kind of stuff is why I am here, so share away! 

PS: If you’d like to hear a little more of my backstory, head here to check out my full bio!

October 24, 2023 — Layne Lyons Pecoff
Quick, check your contracts for this super important clause!

Quick, check your contracts for this super important clause!

You know I love a good, solid contract — but did you know that up until this darn pandemic struck, many contracts were missing one very important piece?

Yep. It was a little piece that we in the legal world once thought didn’t really apply to online businesses. But 2020 and its ensuing chaos taught us differently…

I’m talking about the FORCE MAJEURE.

Today I’m going to explain what the heck that means, why it’s soooo important these days, and (bonus!) I’m going to give you the language to add to your contracts right now, for free!

 First, how do you even pronounce Force Majeure?  [FARWS] + [MA] + [ZHUR].  It’s French, so feel free to get a little fancy 💫

 Now, let's get down to business…what is Force Majeure and why do we need it? In French, it translates to “greater force,” and it basically refers to an act of God. As in, a force greater than we could anticipate or overcome. 

In the legal world, Force Majeure is a clause in a contract that allows parties to be excused from performance due to unforeseen circumstances. 

 Force Majeure is kind of like your “get out of jail free” card to use when events happen that are out of your control. Examples include acts of nature such as hurricanes and floods, and acts of people such as riots, strikes and wars. 

Add to that list government lock-downs, travel suspensions and other unexpected restrictions from a global pandemic. 😷

 When you can’t complete your promises under a contract because of an interruption that is totally out of your control, a Force Majeure clause in your contract will release you from the obligation.  

Sounds pretty important, right? So why did so many pre-covid contracts fail to include this clause?

Basically, it was the conventional belief among us lawyers that Force Majeure clauses weren’t really needed for online work. In theory, online work is flexible enough that you could still complete your obligations in spite of outside challenges. 

Covid smashed that theory into pieces pretty quickly. 💥

Now, all of my contracts include a Force Majeure clause as a standard, and because you know I’m committed to making sure your business is buttoned up and tight as a drum, I’m going to give you your very own version for free.

First, open up your current agreements and scan them for your Force Majeure. Do you see one? (spoiler alert: if you’re using one of my templates from the past two years, it’s there!)

If it’s already there, yay!! Now you know a little more about why it’s there and when you may need to use it.

Not there? 

Good news! You can add your Force Majeure clause to any new contract going forward.  If you are using one of my older contract templates, then just copy the paragraph below and insert it towards the bottom, just above the GOVERNANCE section.

In case your contract is missing this very important clause, here’s my gift to you: 

Your brand new, super-powerful Force Majeure clause → 

 FORCE MAJEURE.

<Insert your Company name here> shall not be liable for any costs or damages due to delay or nonperformance of this Agreement due to a Force Majeure, including acts of God, acts of people, government-imposed restrictions and safety measures, quarantines, travel suspensions, and any other event beyond <insert your Company name here>’s control, whether foreseen or unforeseen.   

That’s it! Now, should you ever need to terminate an agreement for qualifying reasons, you can do so with peace of mind knowing you are legally within your right to do so. 

 If you need my help updating your contracts, or if you have any questions about Force Majeure, just comment here or shoot an email to team@laynelyons.com. We are always happy to help!

  PS - Need some of your very own top-notch contract templates, expertly drafted by yours truly? Check out my contract kits at The Legal Umbrella™ for all the details! 

September 04, 2023 — Layne Lyons Pecoff