Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row with Small Business Bodyguard

Small Business Bodyguard

Most of us solo entrepreneurs and freelancers are really great at doing our thing, but behind-the-scenes business tasks can throw a wrench into our smooth-running operations.

The worst of those dreaded business chores? Legal issues.

Many entrepreneurs pretend legal considerations don’t exist because they don’t want to deal with lawyers. You’re just designing a logos or selling knitting patterns . . . do you really need to pay an expensive lawyer?

Not necessarily. You do need solid legal advice, but you might not have to shell out thousands of dollars to a business lawyer. Enter: Small Business Bodyguard.

What Small Business Bodyguard is all about

Small Business Bodyguard is a resource for anyone doing business in the US . . . and “doing business” includes everything from selling ebooks or running an Etsy shop to writing a blog that includes the occasional affiliate link.

SBB was created by Rachel Rodgers, a practicing business lawyer and intellectual property expert. She’s on a mission to bring affordable legal protection to entrepreneurs everywhere and in plain (if irreverent) language anyone can understand.

This comprehensive guide covers the most common legal questions entrepreneurs and bloggers are likely to run into, including a handful many people are unaware of! Chapters on setting up your business, recordkeeping, writing contracts that work, and managing your intellectual property do a fantastic job of communicating what you need to know about doing business legally, without giving you a headache from all the tricky lawyer-speak you might hear elsewhere.

The best part? The Small Business Bodyguard includes copy-and-paste templates and scripts for you to use in your own business! You’ll be able to whip your biz into shape in no time with done-for-you contracts, privacy policies, and more.

All this legal goodness is available as a PDF download for $595 (or two payments of $327). Note: that’s a lot cheaper than hiring a traditional business lawyer!

How this real-life entrepreneur uses the Small Business Bodyguard

I grabbed the Small Business Bodyguard for my editing and content marketing business in early 2014. I’d been operating for more than a year without knowing exactly what I was doing legally, and I knew it was time to step up my game.

Since I jumped into the SBB after my business was already up and running, I skimmed over some sections (like how to set up recordkeeping, or deciding which business entity is right for you), but I dove into others headfirst.

The chapters on staying safe and successful in the online world prompted me to finally get my blogging shiz together with a privacy policy and terms and conditions. (Are you blogging without these legal terms publicly posted? If so, you’re breaking the law!) Next, I made sure my contracts were airtight by combining some of the phrasing from the done-for-you contract template into the contract I was already using. Last but not least, I learned about the inner workings of intellectual property and copyright so I’d be prepared when I published my first ebook (and so I didn’t accidentally violate someone else’s copyright!).

I don’t need to look at the SBB as often now that my legal ducks are all in a row, but it still comes in handy from time to time. If someone stole my writing or images or I needed to brush up on the finer points of advertising laws, you can bet that the SBB is the first place I’ll turn. If my business ever reaches the level where I’m ready for personalized legal advice, the SBB has my back with a list of additional legal resources in each state.

How to know if the Small Business Bodyguard is right for you

So, is the Small Business Bodyguard really going to be worth it for your business? It depends. If any of these scenarios sounds like you, getting the SBB is a good bet:

  • Your business operates out of the United States
  • You’re a fairly new or aspiring business owner
  • You’ve never been clear on exactly what’s expected of you legally as a business owner
  • You hold your breath every time you send a contract because you have no idea if it would hold up in court
  • You’re unsure about when it’s okay to use someone else’s writing/photo/recipe/etc. on your own site and how to give proper credit if you do use it
  • You’re producing intellectual property like ebooks or courses with no idea how to protect your products
  • You don’t have time to Google the answers to all your legal questions (or you don’t understand the answers you find)
  • Your legal strategy up until now has involved crossing your fingers and hoping no one sues you

New or established business owners who have been steadfastly ignoring the legal side of business would do well to hear what Rachel Rodgers has to say in the Small Business Bodyguard.

Then again, this resource isn’t for everyone. If this sounds like you, you may want to think twice before buying:

  • Your business operates outside of the United States, or you do business with many international clients
  • You’re an established business owner who has already pieced together a solid plan for your business entity, contracts, copyrights, and recordkeeping and tax paying
  • You run a business that has special legal considerations, such as licensed therapists or accountants
  • There’s no doubt in your mind that your business and website are operating legally
  • You already work with a reputable business lawyer

The information in Small Business Bodyguard is only applicable to the US, so it won’t do much good for international entrepreneurs. And if most of your clients are outside the US, it’s probably best to hire a lawyer with international business experience to make sure you’re complying with laws in those countries especially when it comes to taxes.

SBB is a general primer to doing business legally. If your business is already well established (as in, you know for a fact that you’re rock-solid legally) or your business has special considerations that won’t be addressed in a broad overview, you’re better off getting personalized help from a lawyer in your area.

The bottom line

Lawyers are expensive, but so is getting sued. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law (unless you’re totally okay with paying fees, settlements, and overdue taxes).

Every entrepreneur needs to know the legal implications of running a business (even if you think you’re just small potatoes). Ignorance is, unfortunately, no excuse for not running your business according to the laws of the land.

No one is excited about paying for legal counsel, whether it’s thousands of dollars for a business lawyer or $595 for Small Business Bodyguard. But I’ll leave you with one final caution: getting your business set up legally from the get-go is a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for it down the road.

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Small Business Bodyguard. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from!

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Ashley Brooks is the content marketer and strategist behind Brooks Editorial and a cohost of the Chasing Creative podcast. She’s on a mission to help intentional creative entrepreneurs make their blogs work for them, starting with the Blogging for Business workbook, a DIY resource that helps busy creatives turn their blog readers into paying customers. Ashley works from home with her toddler daughter in tow, and you can always find her with an iced mocha in hand and a spare book in her purse (just in case).

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