The health coaching and wellness industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, growing rapidly every year. More and more adults are turning to health coaches, independent wellness experts, homeopathic remedies, and trainers to take control of their health, well-being, mindset, and fitness. Throughout my career thus far as a legal expert in the coaching field, I have been able to help hundreds of health professionals legally protect their businesses, and learn the boundaries and parameters of what they CAN and CAN’T do.
Plus (fun fact!) I used to BE a certified health coach as a part-time side hustle, when I was working as a corporate attorney. (It’s amazing what you can accomplish in your 20’s before you have kids).
So whether you’re just starting out, have a few consistent clients, or run a 6 or 7-figure empire, there are the SAME legal requirements in place, and the same issues for not creating a legally compliant, legally sound business. In my opinion, the BEST time to get these things in place is the beginning – set a strong foundation, and watch it grow as a stable, compliant, reliable business…not the house of cards that may come crashing down at any moment, with a lawsuit, FTC fine, or other penalty.
HERE are my top 5 Legal MUSTS for Wellness Professionals:
- Get the right documents on your website
Creating and launching a website is becoming easier and easier. And with the rise of digital businesses, virtually ALL businesses have a website or some kind of digital component, even if there’s also a brick and mortar store or studio. While it may be easy to create and publish a website, don’t forget, there are also a few CRUCIAL things to have in place legally, to make sure your site is compliant with privacy laws, and protected from reader lawsuits:
YES it is a legal-heavy document, and may seem boring to you. BUT, with the increase in consumer data awareness, and a general desire to know how our information is being used and shared online, your consumers will WANT this information on your site. Plus, the FTC legally requires it, AND dishes out some pretty heavy 6 and even 7-figure fines for failing to have this on your website.
- WEBSITE DISCLAIMER
This is the second of three documents that will be linked in your website footer, and is where you will remind your readers and website visitors that ALL information and content contained on your website and sales pages are just general information and education, and are NOT meant as medical advice, or any kind of substitute for medical treatment, mental health treatment, or any form of medical advice. As a wellness professional, it is VITAL to remind anyone who may be reading your content, that the information you’re providing may or may not be right for them personally. Perhaps they have a medical condition, allergy, physical limitation, or any other issue that would cause the information you are providing to be harmful to them, or otherwise not applicable to them. You want to make sure they are ALWAYS checking with their own doctor or medical professional before implementing anything they read on your website or contained in your free resources.
- WEBSITE TERMS & CONDITIONS
Last but not least, another important document that will live in the footer of your website is your website terms and conditions. Contrary to what many people think, this is NOT where you put the terms for your paid programs and services, and this is NOT the same thing as your contract. Your website terms and conditions act as the ground rules for your website only – it is where you will include language to protect your original content, your website, you will outline how people can and cannot interact with your site, how any disputes will be resolved, and again confirm your limitation of liability for your website content.
Click HERE for the Website Terms & Conditions template,
HERE for the website coverage bundle, that includes all 3 website documents, and
HERE for the full legal bundle.
2. Have a SOLID, Attorney-Drafted Client Agreement for 1:1 and Group Programs
As a business owner and professional, you want to make a good first impression, especially on new clients. When a new client is introduced to your work and decides to purchase a product or service from you, the onboarding process is CRUCIAL, to give them a good first impression of your business, and to make them feel secure in the investment they are about to make with you. You know what the biggest part of the onboarding process is? YOUR CONTRACT!
If your contract is well-written, easy to understand, looks nice and clean, and is presented before they issue payment, your new client will likely feel at ease, feel clarity around the services you are providing to them, and will think your business is credible and professional.
On the other hand, if your onboarding process includes NO contract (e.g. you’re just asking for money without any promise or confirmation that you’ll provide the services as discussed), or if the contract is not well-written, copy/pasted from other sources, or not relevant to the type of services you’re providing, this new client may be left wondering what ELSE you have left out of your services, or what other corners have been cut. They may also think perhaps you are too new, or that you simply don’t have your business organized yet…all of which are NOT the first impression you want to make, and not what your new client wants to feel right before they are being asked to invest a good sum of money to work with you.
Your Client Agreement needs to accomplish a few key things: FIRST – it will provide both you and your new client with a clear understanding of the services you will be providing, as well as the payments they will make, and all other details surrounding the relationship. SECOND – if you will be providing any services in the wellness industry, it needs very specific medical disclaimers, as well as clear limitations of liability with respect to the client’s health and well-being. As a coach or professional providing a non-medical service, you want to be very clear that your role is to provide them with education, information, support, and accountability…NOT medical treatment, a medical diagnosis, or therapy. The contract needs to clearly remind your client of this, and encourage them to see their doctor prior to beginning work with you.
CLICK HERE for my Legal Bundle drafted specifically for health and wellness professionals!
Getting your business legally protected using the above documents doesn’t need to be scary, overwhelming, or expensive. In fact, many of my customers have completed and placed their legal documents in the right places within the same hour they purchased them.
If you’re a wellness professional, make sure you check out my Beginners’ Legal Bundle for Health & Wellness Professionals — it includes ALL the documents I reference here, as well as a testimonial release template, step by step instructions for how to complete each document (and what each paragraph means!) and access to me for 30 days after purchase, for any questions, requests for customization, doc review, etc.
Want more free legal info?? Follow me on Instagram @christywesterfeld and grab your FREE legal checklist HERE!