How to Legally Protect your Online Creative Services

How to Legally Protect your Online Creative Services

A couple of years ago we were all crazy about the happy RGPD (General Data Protection Regulation), today many still believe that it is only necessary to comply with it by obligation.

But believing that legality is just a matter of rules is the most common mistake when setting up service business, be it online or conventional.

But if we talk about the online world...

I'm sure you know that selling services is about creating relationships that inspire trust and empathy so that the client can feel that you are the right person to help them.

And managing to inspire trust is a whole science because we can resort to various resources such as testimonials, authority, trajectory, portfolio, guarantees, etc. but almost always we omit the legal conditions of our website and our services, or we copy/paste from another website without giving it importance.

That little detail almost always gets us involved in projects where we painfully hook our fingers.

So how to avoid it? That is precisely what we will talk about in this article.

What you should take care of to make professional proposals for your services in front of your potential clients.

If you have a web page to show your work and work on your brand, then you should already know by now that you must comply with certain standards and I say "you must", because it's not just a duty given by law.

If not, how to protect your online services and look more professional thanks to legality; So, it's a step that you must take to guarantee better conditions in your work, take care of your business, take care of your time, and guarantee a better experience with each client.

Let's start with what your website needs if you sell online services, and then focus on what you should include in your service proposals, to protect them, since everything must be related:

What you need on your website:

To sell your services and according to the RGPD and Regulation (EU)

Terms and Conditions:

It functions as the intent declaration of your website so that your visitors know under what conditions they can navigate within your website.

Cookies policy:

Here you must explain the data that you collect from your visitors through your text files and those of third parties that are installed on their computer, even without having filled out any form on your website, just by opening the link.

Privacy Policy:

It's time to explain to your visitors how you collect the data on your website, what you use it for, what you do with it, and how to empower them so that they can exercise their rights under the GDPR.

Online dispute resolution:

You must add a link to this platform in the footer of your website, according to the European Commission it's a platform that helps online buyers feel more secure when making their purchases because it provides them with adequate channels to protect their rights such as consumers.

Recruitment policy:

Here is your opportunity to explain the conditions that you put for your services, it is the key legal notice where you should take advantage and imagine the worst things that can happen to you and the idea is to set your rules of the game to prevent those situations from happening.

What you need to include in your proposal to protect your online services

To create a service proposal that really provides the necessary information for your client to take action and not get lost due to excess information, you must take into account the following:

Include the expiration period of that proposal

It is not a good idea to pass a quote and that the client decides to try it a year later when you have probably already acquired more experience, better strategies, and your rates may be different.

Project duration

Ideally, you need to put the estimated time.

Define what it includes and what it does not: It allows you to properly manage the expectations of what to expect and not of your services and avoids the fact of taking extra mini-tasks without charging them.

Indicate the value of additional changes

Be clear that you will be able to facilitate a certain amount of changes, but that this does not give you an open letter to disrupt your work as many times as you want.

Although I am in favor that the proposals/quotes should include the minimum necessary, this information should also be included within your recruitment policy, to better manage the expectations of your potential client, it's always a good idea to link your recruitment policy to your proposal that the client can read all your conditions.

With this, you avoid extensive proposals that put you at risk that due to lack of time.

Besides, you must give all legal notices the same importance as a contract that you could be signing with your clients in person because the conditions that you put in them will be used to apply to each of your visitors and clients who come to you through the Web.

Why make contracts with your clients.

Keep in mind that the legal notices on your website have the same importance as a contract that you could sign with your clients in person.

The question arises:

Is it any use to sign digital contracts?

Totally true, because it's well known that there is a lot of ignorance, especially because it's not known if they could really be considered valid in the face of any problem with your client that may be abroad.

Each country has different criteria regarding the digital signatures of contracts, even in some countries it's not even mentioned in their regulations; therefore it's difficult to answer this question with a resounding yes or no.

The truth is that a contract is the will of all those involved to perform certain obligations, so to avoid these problems it's always a good idea to create contracts or legal notices (for these purposes they are the same) with self-executing clauses.

That means that you can claim your rights against that contract in your client's country, because that contract will be valid between you and your client, regardless of the mess that may exist between you.

But…

What do self-executing clauses mean?

Well, explained in simple language, they are conditions that can be met without the need to resort to a judge, a court, or any judicial process, that is, conditions that you can solve yes or yes with your client.

For example:

  • Charge your service in stages and before starting each stage the client may have paid you.
  • Explain that if he does not comply with sending you the briefing and the materials to do your work within "X" days, he may lose the shift for you to attend him or you will charge him an additional amount.
  • Or if he does not comply with depositing the total of your services, you will not give him additional bonuses (that you have indicated in your proposal).

Come on, here is a matter of creativity.

These clauses may also be called "penalties", a contract that does not include penalties is very difficult to serve to get you out of trouble, that's why it's important when creating a contract to start thinking about all the worst possible scenarios in your service.

How to include contracts naturally and easily in your processes.

Another pretext that I find mostly within the world of a creative business is that they believe that if they ask the client to sign a contract to protect their online services, they will automatically decide not to hire them.

There is nothing more false than this, especially since the confidence that people have when hiring services on the internet depends on several factors and one of them is knowing how to answer the questions that the client may ask when deciding to hire you or no; for example:

  • Will you fulfill your services?
  • How long will it take?
  • What if you scam me?
  • What if I don't like the first thing he proposes to me?

As you can see, you are not the only one who is afraid, your client also brings his backpack and most of those questions are resolved with the hiring policy notice or a private contract.

Include a check-box at the end of the payment

Here the trick is to include it naturally at the time of sale of your service, for example, include a checkbox in your cart when paying for your service.

Use forms

If you have more than one service and you want to avoid that the recruitment policy is too extensive or detailed or you only want to have it available for those who have already hired you, you can use this option.

Displaying your general contracting policy and leaving the conditions of each service available only for when you send quotes or have already contracted the service.

To do so, you can make use of plugins that allow you to embed forms within your website. Personally, it is my favorite option because, once the payment is made, my payment processor redirects them to my form where I explain the contracting conditions and ask them for the information I need to be able to do the contracted service.

I had this originally configured with the WPForms plugin but when Elementor Pro launched its advanced forms functionality I implemented it only with this tool, so I got rid of a plugin.

In your case, you can include your briefing and thus solve two problems in a single step.

It is important that before including the form fields you include an HTML block where you can write the recruitment policy for that service

Use external tools

Here is the power of imagination, you can use from an ActiveCampaing form to tools such as PDF 24 tools, Dubsado, Small PDF, Docusign, Dochub that allow you, in the case of Dubsado (paid), from sending proposals with buttons I charge to send PDFs ready to sign in the case of PDF 24 tools (always free).

As you can see, if you have not yet integrated the contracts into your services, it is due to a lack of will and carelessness, because they can even be easily integrated and make life easier for you at work.

Applicable regulations

Now you may be wondering, is this applicable to my business? That is why I must emphasize that everything that I have included in this article is applicable for businesses that are located within the European Union and those that want to trade within it or already have a commercial relationship within the European Union and this post is specially written For you who offer services, it does not apply to those who have a store, webmaster and other business models.

On the other hand, Regarding online dispute resolution, you should investigate what applies to your country in terms of "Protection of the right to the digital consumer."

So, having explained this detail, I have shown you how to avoid problems with your clients when paying for your services.

How to get your clients to pay you on time for your services and be happy.

Achieving customer satisfaction is a long-term job, but when done well it allows you to have great testimonials that help you build a powerful reputation online, so it is important not to neglect that.

But, how to achieve it and connect it with motivating the client to comply with your recruitment policy? This is mainly achieved by educating your client from the moment of the first contact with him.

Because, these issues should be communicated naturally and with a friendly language so that they do not perceive it as an imposition, but rather as something natural that benefits both of them.

Hence the importance of being clear about your entire process to be able to translate it into your legal notices.

I hope the post is helpful and remember that I wait for you in the comments in case you have any questions.

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