Legal Protections to Consider as a Freelance Worker

Freelancing means you own a business and work under your own terms and conditions. It includes jobs such as data entry, blogging, programming, copywriting, graphic design, and online writing, to name a few. As a freelancer, you are not protected by employee rights; as such, you need to protect yourself and your business by yourself. It would help if you had protection from failed payment, discrimination by clients, content theft, premature contract termination, and many other challenges facing freelancers. Here are some of the ways you can legally protect yourself and your business:

workers compensation

Contract

A legally binding contract will protect you from exploitation by clients. It is essential to send the clients a contract that you have tailored personally to cover everything aspect of your business and service. The contract should state all the services you will offer, the agreed price, when to be paid, and the period of the contract. You can also include a policy to protect you in case an issue arises, and you are forced to cancel the project.

Having a contract for reference will protect you from being assigned duties that you did not initially agree upon. Since it also states the period of the contract, you will be protected from an early termination. If the clients sign the contract, you can use it as proof in case they fail to pay you the agreed amount on time. They will have no choice but to comply with everything stated in the contract. 

Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Did you know your audience can sue you for misleading with your content creation? This is why you have to include a privacy policy, terms of service, or disclaimer section in your work. It should provide information such as eligibility, how to collect and withdraw consent, the security of personal data, how the information was collected, contact information, possible questions, disclosure practices, and third party services. As a freelancer, you need these to protect you from an audience that may use your content against you.

Licensing

There are various aspects of licensing. You can decide to give license to other entities to grant them ownership of your content’s copyright, allow them to use, as well as sell or copy your content. Without your authorization through licensing, breaching your copyright is illegal.

It would help if you also considered getting a license for your business, although it may not be mandatory. This depends on your country’s regulations and your profession. For instance, freelance accountants, estheticians, attorneys, and contractors require a license permit to show proficiency. In some regions, you are required to have a general business license from the city, town, or county council to run your business. Adhering to these requirements protects you from crossing paths with the government.

Copyright

Copyright refers to the rights you have as a freelancer to claim ownership, claim financial compensation, and reproduce the content you have created. However, if you reveal ideas you have not used to produce any work on, someone else is free to create anything from them. In this case, you have nothing to show you are the copyright owner. You do not need to register with any copyright office. The second you publish something original, you automatically become the copyright owner.

 Trademarks such as brand names, logos, and slogans are also subject to copyright. To avoid being sued in a federal court for trademark infringement, you can hire experts to assist. The entire process of getting a trademark will set you back about $1,000 for both government filing and trademark search. Copyright ownership will protect you from people who want to steal, sell, or make copies of your work

Insurance

To protect your freelance business, you may need to purchase freelance insurance covers. There are different forms of insurance covers, including general liability insurance, commercial insurance, professional liability insurance, cyber liability insurance, and so on. You need to do a lot of research or get an expert to help you come up with the perfect cover for your business.

Professional liability insurance coverage will pay for losses and an attorney fee in case a client sues you for errors or delays during your services. Cyber liability insurance, on the other hand, will protect you from a data breach lawsuit in case you collect sensitive client information, and your data is stolen. General liability insurance covers claims of slander, copyright infringement, libel, or any other damage caused by your work.

Business Registration

If your profession requires you to choose a business structure, do it wisely. You can register it as a sole proprietorship or a corporation. You must select a business category that defines your business to prevent yourself from incurring enormous tax charges that don’t match your income. In a sole proprietorship, you are the owner of the business, thus personally liable for it. In a corporation, the company is a separate entity from you as the owner. If a client sues your corporate business because of debts, your personal property and bank accounts will be protected, unlike in sole proprietorship.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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