Artwork for podcast Not So Risky Business
Ep. 15 - Legal Essentials for Starting a Coaching Business
Episode 1518th May 2023 • Not So Risky Business • Mariam Tsaturyan
00:00:00 00:38:58

Share Episode


In this episode, Mariam talks about something you should never ignore, the legal essentials for starting or scaling your online coaching business.

You will learn:

➡️ The importance of online business protections

➡️ Choosing the right business structure for your online business

➡️ Protecting your intellectual properties in the online space

➡️ All the foundations and security measures you need to enforce to protect you and your clients

If you want to learn more about my signature program, get in touch with me at

>>>>>Join our Waitlist<<<<<

Listen to the full episode of Not So Risky Business podcast on your preferred platform!

Pick your favorite platform to listen to the full episodes of my podcast. If you’re getting value out of Not So Risky Business episodes, please leave a review to help out with the discoverability of the show.

Apple Podcasts

Spotify Podcasts

Stitcher Podcasts

Google Podcasts

If you take the time to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, for which I’ll be super grateful, please take a screenshot and either email me at or send it to me via Instagram @mariamtsaturyan for a chance to win $30 Amazon gift card.



Like and Follow us on Facebook:

Follow us on Instagram:

Get Contract and Agreement Templates for Your Business:

Interested in 1-on-1 Legal Services? Contact me here.

Legal Disclaimer: Although Mariam Tsaturyan is a licensed attorney, she is not your attorney. Any information, tips, or materials in these podcast episodes are for educational and informational purposes only. No attorney-client privilege or relationship is established by your subscribing, downloading, or listening to any of Not So Risky Business podcast episodes. The information shared in the Not So Risky Business podcast episodes is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed as such or as a substitute for getting legal advice from your attorney. If you need specific legal advice, consult with your attorney.



podcast where we make legal easy for you by unlocking access to essential legal

information, training and strategy for online businesses, coaches and

entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Maryam Saurian. Welcome. Welcome back for

another episode at Not So Risky Business podcast.


meaning I'm not interviewing anyone, I guess I'm interviewing myself where I'll

be talking about the legal essentials for starting a coaching business. Now,

majority of my audience are coaches, consultants, creatives. In other words,

online business owners. So it's important that you understand all the legal

essentials, the basics that go into starting your coaching business, your

consulting business, your online business.


might have little bit more legal necessities that you need to take care of versus

somebody who's just starting out. But the foundation of a business, protecting it

legally at the foundation level is common for most businesses out there, and

something that you should never ignore because while internet made it

incredibly easy for anyone to create a business and make money, it also made

incurring liability a lot easier.


business is making the money for you that you love and wanna keep making,

then I suggest protect that business legally. Take care of the legal essentials so

that your business can have a long life and continue earning the income that you

need in order to live your life.


with, we will address some of the beginner questions like business structure for

your business, money bank accounts, and then we'll go on to some other topics.

So why is it important to have business protection for coaching businesses?

Because as coaches or consultants, your business is actually more prone to incur

liability than most other businesses.


likely what we call digital products nowadays, you know, such as online

courses, online memberships, or online programs, you also have a life

component to your coaching program. That means you either meet with your

clients one-on-one or in a group setting. Either way, you are meeting with



you have people who work for you. Now, whether they are employees or

contractors, makes no difference because these are still people that are

associating with your business in an employee or contractor capacity. All of this

basically means that you are open to liability from your clients, from your

contractors, from your employees, for your digital products, as well as your

online presence.


secure. Legally protected so that you can actually work, you can scale, you can

take on clients. You can scale your business to new heights without worrying

about these legal, legal headaches that can come up as you grow, as you scale,

as you appear online more and more.


choosing the right business structure for your online business. Now, as we

know, there are different business structures out there from the simplest one of

being the sole proprietorship to partnerships, to LLCs, corporations, and then

within the corporation there are also types of corporations, you know, such as

C-Corp and S-Corps and.


partnerships and LLCs have partner, types of LLCs and so on. So what is the

right structure for you to pick and kind of roll with to build your business upon?

Now, the simplest structure, of course, is. Sole proprietorship. However, this is

the case where simple doesn't always mean the best.


proprietorship for your business, especially if you're a coach, a consultant, a

creator who deals with people. In their business. Sole proprietorship is the type

of business where your personal assets, your personal identity, is mixed with

your business identity.


same thing. You even file taxes as the. Same entity as the same person. So

nothing is separate. It's an easy form to have. In fact, a lot of business owners

initially, when they start, they choose this because it's very simple. It's quick.

There's almost no or very little paperwork involved to get started.


wanna call it a form of business because it's really not. But this business

structure does not protect you if you have to be responsible for something. So

hypothetically, if somebody sues your business for whatever it is that you've

done or didn't do.


from this lawsuit. So if your business incurred debt, a liability that you are

supposed to pay back, your personal assets can come into play to pay for that.

So if you have a house or if you have a luxury car or a bank accounts, savings

accounts, all of those could be touched too.


business debts and liabilities. So as a coaching business, stay away from sole

proprietorships. a lot of businesses go with either LLCs, limited liability

company or corporations. Either one is fine. They both have their advantages

and disadvantages, and it kind of depends what your goals are connected with

your business to decide which one you should go with.


businesses start with LLCs. One, it's simple to form. A lot less formalities to

form an LLC than a corporation. It's faster to get started. , yet it gives you the

limited liability protection that you want as a business owner because this is an

entity, a business structure that will keep your personal separate from your

business as long as you treat them as separate.


I love LLCs. Simple to form, faster form, have less formalities that you need to

abide by than corporations, and they offer you that limited liability protection.

Corporations on the other hand, they're still kind of easy to form as far as the

formation is concerned, but they definitely have more formalities that you need

to abide with.


annual meetings, meeting notes, you know, accountability and worrying about

shares and all of that and your board and directors and whatnot. So with

corporations there are more formalities and with formalities there comes a need

for. Actual compliance because if you're not complying with the formalities that

are in place for that particular business structure, well then you might lose that

limited liability protection that that particular business is offering you.


place where corporations are preferred over LLCs. Rather than forming an LLC

or a multi-memberLLC, sometimes corporations are best. For example, if you

are in the business, if you're growing a business that you intend to sell, Let's say

selling that business is something that you have in mind from day one.


sell for profit. Then corporation is a better structure to go with if you intend to

franchise. Your business in near future, again, corporation is a better structure to

go with. And if there are multiple people, sometimes it makes sense to have a

corporation rather than a multi-member LLC, in order to determine which one

will be best for your particular situation.


attorney for them to be able to figure that out for you through some,

questionnaires and questions that they need to ask you. But LLCs and

corporations both great forms of business structures to have as a coach. Now,

aside from the sole proprietorship that I said to avoid.


partnerships. Partnerships are very risky. They do not. General partnerships do

not afford you the limited liability protection. Even the kind of partnerships that

have limited liability protection in them still are not as secure for coaches and

consultants and online businesses as LLCs and corporations.


corporations as a business structure when you're just starting out or maybe

expanding or scaling. The other part of making sure that all the legal essentials

in your business are covered are to take care of all the licenses and permits

requirements. Now, some businesses, not all, and in some locations, you might

need to obtain specific permit to do business in that particular town or in that

particular state.


research, make sure to look up your particular field. Is there a permit that you

need? Does your city or county require a specific type of license or a permit that

you need to have in place before you can do business? Regardless what kind of

business? Now, sometimes online businesses have little bit less requirement

when it comes to this.


lot of the counties and cities, they haven't upgraded their way of thinking to

online businesses yet they're still thinking brick and mortar. But make sure to

double check just in case if you need to have some form of a permit or a license

in place, take care of that beforehand.


Right. With law. With legal protections in general for any business out there, not

just coaches, not just consultants or online businesses in general. , it is easier,

less time consuming and definitely a lot cheaper if you're proactive versus when

you are reacting to something that already went wrong.


fix that. You will have to find an answer to that, a solution to that, and this can

be a costly process to go through most of the time. However, being proactive is

easy. It's cheap, and it will prevent a lot of headaches from happening in the

future if you just take a few precautions along the way before anything goes



you need to worry about, and this is a step that you need to be almost religious

about, is protecting your intellectual property as a business. Now, every single

business bar, none has intellectual property that they need to protect. Not

everyone knows that they have intellectual property.


have as much of an intellectual property as they actually do. So one of the

services that I offer in my law firm is doing an IP audit for businesses, and by

the end of that audit, they're surprised that they actually have like that amount of

intellectual property that I have uncovered for them because they think all they

have is a trademark for their brand name or, you know, copyright in the articles

or videos that they have produced or something along the line, along the lines of



to protect. So make sure to identify your ips. Your intellectual properties and

puts them in an order of priority. What are the most important pieces that you

need to protect first, and then what are sort of like the least important pieces?

Even though as a business owner, everything is important, but there's always a



have in your ip. So make sure your intellectual property, Is protected and make

sure you enforce this protection. Now, I cannot stress the number of times I

have come across advice from non attorneys where let's say somebody was

asking, what should I do? I found, so and so.


or something along those lines. And then I hear from other people saying, I

wouldn't do anything at all because, you know, flattery, imitation is the biggest

form of flattery. Or you know, they're just jealous. So they copied you. They

can't touch you.


oh, like I know that person. She's so nice. It's okay. Like, you know, just do a

good deed and don't do anything. Like what? Like no, absolutely not.

Somebody copies your ip, somebody infringes your intellectual property. You

need to act, you need to protect your intellectual property because if you don't,

there is a very good chance that you might lose.


concept of diluting your rights. If you're not protecting them, your rights get

weaker and weaker and weaker until at some point somebody can come along

and challenge that and say, number one, you didn't protect your rights. You

didn't enforce your rights, and your mark is at this point, diluted.


protect it, protected by registering your trademarks, protected by registering

your copyrights. If you have a patent. Make sure to protect that as well. And

then once you register them, it doesn't end there. You need to actively enforce it,

so monitor it, public it, enforce it.


owner must do when it comes to their intellectual property rights because your

IP. Is what actually brings the value of your business up. Your IP is what makes

your business valuable. It's what gives you that aura of serious business owner

because you have IP, because you have these rights, because you have this

protections in place.


of the most important things, there is another asset of your business, another

part of your business that is equally as important, if not more. We're talking

about your client agreements, your contracts now as a coach. You deal with your

clients, either one-on-one or in a group setting, you probably have employees or

contractors working for you, which means you also have to deal with them

working in your business, with your business, right?


agreements in place with your clients or prospective clients, and you need to

have. Contract and agreements in place with your employees and your

contractors. These are going to be different kinds of agreements. You know,

clients versus employees or contractors, but these are both the types of

agreements that you need to have in place, and these agreements need to be



be strong, legally binding and enforceable above all else's. This means for your

contract to be enforceable. Both parties need to agree to it. There has to be clear

meaning of the mines. This is a legal term. It means like both parties understand

what it is and they agree to the terms it needs to be fair.


contract, while it's meant to protect you, it cannot protect you to the level where

it puts the other party at a great harm or disadvantage. There needs to be

fairness built in or cooked in with your agreements and contract. And third

requirement that I personally think is very important.


it is in business. Make sure your contracts are understandable now. Several

years ago, and a lot of the old school attorneys still do this when they're writing

a contract. They take pride in filling their contracts with a lot of legal mambo,

jumbo and legalese.


Latin terms that have meaning. If anybody watched the movie Legally Blunt,

they have probably seen that scene where she just. Connect bunch of legal terms

together, legal terms, you know, Latin words and phrases together when she's

trying to get the dog from Paulette's ex-husband or boyfriend or whatever, and

you keep watching her and hearing her and you're like, What did she just say?


even remember what she says at this point, but like a lot of Latin terms that Yes,

to an untrained ear, they sound like it's important. It sounds like, oh, like this is

legal. Oh, this must be legally binding. But what is happening in reality is that.

The person reading your contract might not understand what they're reading.


might not understand their obligations. They might not even understand like

what limitations they are in your contract, what they're allowed to do and what

they're not allowed to do. And they might sign that contract just because they

wanna be part of your program or they wanna buy your product or they wanna

be coached by you.


agreements to be understandable. By an average client. By an average

consumer. So when they're reading it, they're actually understanding it. There's

no reward for having a contract that cannot be understood by anyone, right there

is there, there is no benefit to that.


written by a human being because a human being is going to read this contract

and agreements. So make sure that they're understandable while getting your

point across, while protecting you legally. So solid. Client contracts and

agreements, solid agreements with your independent contractors and employees.


from the ones that you need to have with your clients because with independent

contractors and or employees, you also need to worry about things such as.

Business secrets, trade secrets, NDAs, you know client list, customer list your

leads, your processes, your methods, because these people working with you

will be privy to all of that information within your business.


competitor and give all this information to them or start a business with your

information and becoming a direct competitor of yours. With that knowledge in

mind, that is unfair. So, agreements as far as clients as are concerned,

agreements as far as employees and or contractors are concerned.


detailed. Make sure that they're written in a way that people will understand

when they're reading it. The next kind of legal requirement that I wanna talk

about concerns your data privacy and collection tactics. Data privacy is a big

thing for online businesses.


there, but it is even bigger. I would say, or more important for online based

businesses because we come across, clients online. We come across certain

information online that you don't have in the physical world. For example,

things like IP addresses, things like, Email addresses, you know, and so on and

so forth.


history and their shopping history, or retargeting them for certain things that

they wanna buy, abandoned carts and whatnot. So all of this are data that you

can collect online when doing business, and we need to be very careful about

how we're collecting this information for what purpose and.


there that you need to abide by. One of those laws is the G D P R, which is the

General Data Protection Regulation Act coming out of the European Union.

Another one is the C C P A California Consumer Privacy Act, which is.

California's version of GDPR almost. We have one that's coming out of



Utah. Like, so different states nowadays and different countries have their own

privacy regulations and versions. So I'm not saying that you need to sit down

and you need to research every single country or every single state for privacy

regulations, but at least at the.


and C C P A are as big as they get. This means you need to have a privacy

policy for your website, for your online business that outlines your data

collection, storage and use practices. So how are you collecting? Data, how are

you storing it? For how long?


for what purpose are you collecting this data? Now your privacy policy needs to

be G D P R compliant. It needs to be CCP,CCPA compliant. And I would go

even as far as, say, make it a Privacy Act compliant, and VCDPR compliant,

which is the Virginia's privacy regulation.


policy, the type of information you collect, the type of personal data you collect.

For example, are you collecting first names, last names, emails, phone numbers,

addresses. Birth dates, social security numbers. I don't know, whatever it is that

you are collecting.


need to collect some se sensitive data, like about their diagnosis, about their

health, about their statistics, like health, height, weight, you know, I don't know.

Skin condition and all of that. So whatever it is that you're collecting, make sure

is absolutely necessary for you to do business.


creatives out there when you're trying to protect your business legally, so that

you can scale, only collect the information that is absolutely essential for your

business to function. In other words, if not having a last name, You know, is.

Not going to make or break your business.


phone number is not essential for your business to carry out. Its everyday

business purpose and functions do not collect the phone number. Same is true

for other personal data like date of birth, like driver's license numbers, like

whatever your business is. If a piece of data is not absolutely essential, I would

say collect less or on a side of collecting less than more.


worry about and unless kind of practices that you need to have in place to be

legally compliant for these things, you also need to have certain security

measures in place when you're collecting personal data. When you're storing

this data, for example, do you have a practice in place?


somebody gets their hands on this data that you've collected. Do you have a

security measure in place? Number one first, have you done everything in your

power reasonably? In your power to make sure that a breach like that would not

happen. So have you protect your content?


you have maybe double authentication in place? Have you limited the number

of people who will have access to this? Is it password protected? Like meaning

it's not just open all the time. When somebody can click on something and get

access to this data, it's actually protected, like with a password.


necessary. Well, the next step is to have a process for addressing a breach. If it

happens, you usually need to notify everyone involved that a breach happened

within 48 hours. So make sure you have a process in place for doing exactly that

and minimizing the damage as much as pods possible.


legal requirements for coaching businesses, we cannot talk about this topic

without addressing your obligations when it comes to your finances, record

keeping and bank account as a business, whether you are an LLC, whether

you're a corporation, doesn't matter.


proprietor, I would still recommend you do this. Have. Separate bank accounts

for some business structures. This is absolutely required by law such just for

LLCs and corporations for sole proprietorships. It's not legally required, but I

would say have it. Have separate business bank accounts for your business and

never mingle personal funds with business funds.


business account. Do not. Get cash out of your business account. Always use

proper legal methods of paying yourself, paying your employees, writing a

check, creating an audit trail where that money went, and for what purpose. So

this is essential recordkeeping, bookkeeping when it comes to your bank



important. It falls under the the formalities that you need to abide by in order to

maintain that limited liability protection that most business structures provide

you, such as the LLCs and corporations. So be sure to follow through. Be sure

to do everything the way you're supposed to do when it comes to your accounts

and never.


funds. This is a surefire way of losing that limited liability protection and

making sure that your personal is not protected from your business debts. If you

keep do that, doing that, then even if you have an LLC, even if you have a

corporation in place, process of piercing the corporate veil, which is what we

call it, will take place, which means now your business and personal are no

longer separated by a veil.


assets can trickle down to your. Personal level and your personally, your bank

accounts, your house, your cars, anything you have can be used towards paying

your business debts and liabilities. So make sure to keep everything separate so

that you don't have to worry about your personal assets being used for any of



you about. Insurance is very important to have. If you're a physical business,

you have different insurances that you need to worry about. For example, a

premises liability insurance. If somebody slips and falls, for example, you need

to have that kind of a protection in place.


you're a coaching business, you don't really need premises liability. What you

do need are business insurances, liability or malpractice insurances. Your policy

limits and the types will usually depend on the type of business you are, the type

of topics you talk about, meaning how high is the risk level in your business if

you are in.


loss, legal money. Then the, these are initiatives that automatically carry higher

liability with them, higher risk with them, because the chances that somebody

will take a advice that you've given them or information that you shared with

them and use it for their own businesses is high.


person will be put at a disadvantage because of your advice. Or hopefully at an

advantage. But if they're put at a disadvantage, like they can come after you. So

you wanna have that insurance in place, a mal practice or business liability

insurance in place to protect yourself against any future claims and causes.


you know, rocket science, everybody should know this, but stay updated on

current practices and laws that change, related to your business. So, if a law has

changed that now requires you to, let's say, obtain specific type of certification

or pay specific type of fee at a certain time, you need to make sure that you're

kept updated and you do this because, you know, as they say, Ignorance of the

law is not a defense, so do your best to stay updated, to do everything that you

are supposed to be doing in your business to make sure it is legally protected.


this is highly important and connects back to a lot of the points that we've

already talked about, such as having contracts, detailed, understandable

contracts that will be legally binding, having Insurance in place, making sure

that you're kept updated.


wanna make, and that is to know your scope of practice, to know your scope of

knowledge, and to stay within that scope when you're offering coaching

services. When you're offering advice or group coaching. Your scope is the field

within which you are the expert.


expertise, or experience to share with other people to give legal advice. Your

scope is also can be geographic in nature if you are limited to working with

particular types of clients in a particular area. Stay within that scope. If you are

required to only talk about particular topic in a particular way, stay within that



coach that's your. Scope, you talk about branding. What's not your scope is to

talk about taxes, to give legal advice on taxes or to talk about, legal advice on

intellectual property because that's not your scope. You might know basics

about it. You can mention it, but you cannot talk about it in a way where you are



because chances are the advice, the information that you share can be taken and

used in a way that will put your clients at a disadvantage or at a harm level. So

know your scope, define it for yourself, and stay within your scope to avoid a

lot of legal headaches that otherwise will come into play.


today when it comes to legal essentials for starting a coaching business or for

scaling a coaching business. Make sure that you have listened to this. Make sure

that you have taken note and you can go back and fix what needs to be fixed.

Now my law firm is available to help you with any of the services that you

might require.


with you or a program with you that, I'm launching very soon. This is my

signature program, business Lawyer at Your Fingertips. This is meant to act as

if you have. A personal business attorney on retainer for your business. So this

program is comprehensive.


agreements. It includes a lot of guides, checklists, educational instructional

videos on how-tos, for example, Somebody infringes your copyright. What to

do instead of going into various Facebook groups and asking people or typing

something to search on Google for a response.


go into the copyright infringement section, and follow the steps that are there

for you one step at a time. So this program is comprehensive. This program will.

Be useful for your entire business. If you're somebody who's earning multiple

five to six figures and you.


as long as you know how to do them. Then this program is a goldmine. There is

nothing like that out there. And I say nothing like that out there because there

are some programs that are similar to this, but they're different because mine is

as comprehensive as it gets.


topics that I teach you are topics that I offer as services in my law firm. And

because I'm a currently practicing attorney, my level of liability is high. That

means anything I put out as a product needs to have certain standards attached

to it.


For providing incorrect information. So if you're interested, make sure to

connect back to me. Send me an email, uh, or a comment below if you're

watching this or if you're listening to this episode on my website. If you're not,

send me an email at


you. If you wanna learn more about this. I have a beta launch that is coming up

for 10 people only. You can be part of the beta, or you can wait a month for the

full, big launch that's going to happen. That will give you access to everything

your business needs to be legally protected, legally compliant.


like, if somebody came to me, to my law firm to hire me to do everything that

I'm going to provide you in this program, I would charge no less than $50,000 to

start with. So I am not joking when I saying this is comprehensive and includes

so much in it. Anyways, I'm going to conclude today's episode.


know that that program is available and it is available for a beta launch very

soon. So if you wanna find out more, get in touch with me. As far as today's

episode is concerned, I hope. That what we talked about, you know, all these

legal essentials, the foundations that you need to have in place as a coach, if

you're starting your coaching business or scaling it, that everything we've talked

about is clear and understandable, and if you require clarification on.


an email away from you. I'm also available to you on social media. It was a

pleasure talking to you. We'll talk soon. Next Thursday. Bye-bye.




More from YouTube