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5 Must-Haves For Your Online Membership Contract So That It Serves You (and Your Clients) Best

June 13, 2024

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If you’re an online business owner of any kind, chances are your story looks a little something like this…

You started your business and primarily served clients through 1:1 services.

After that, you quickly realized that you can’t scale your business with only 1:1 services.

So naturally you start thinking of ways that you can serve 1 to many AND have consistent recurring revenue.

And that’s when you decide to launch a course, program, or membership offer to help you achieve just that. 

How’d I do?!

I’m not saying this is every online business owner’s story, but it is the MAJORITY! I’m also not saying that you can’t be successful as an online business owner if you only have 1:1 services.

I’m simply saying that this is the reality for many online business owners – regardless of your industry. 

Let’s take a copywriter for example. When they first launch their business, they’re typically selling 1:1 done-for-you copy projects, like websites or sales pages. 

After a few months (or maybe even years) of serving clients in that capacity, they realize that they can only serve so many clients in this way and want a way to serve more people at once. 

So they might launch a course or membership that teaches people how to write their own website copy and provide support through the offer – it’s the done-WITH-you version of the 1:1 services. 

It’s a great strategy as a business owner because it allows you to serve more people AND diversify your income streams. 

But like anything in the business world, launching something that promises “passive income” for you could actually end up being more trouble than it’s actually worth if you aren’t careful. 

In this blog post, I’m specifically diving into memberships and how to make sure you have a solid legal foundation in place so that it can grow into a service offering that serves you and your clients best!

5 Clauses Your Membership Contract Needs

1. Scope of Membership

When launching your membership, it’s CRUCIAL that your potential members know exactly what they’re getting when they join.

What’s included in their purchase? What’s NOT included in their purchase? What can they expect? What are the limitations of their membership?

All of these things need to be clearly detailed in your Membership Contract so that there’s no confusion or misunderstanding when people join. 

What’s important to remember is that a membership is a type of digital product and digital products unfortunately tend to see a lot of misuse in the online world. Your Scope of Membership can help protect you from potential misuse of the contents in your membership by stating what members can and can’t do with the information they receive when they join. 

For example, if your membership includes templates or other digital downloads, your Scope of Membership clause can set rules and restrictions for how those can and cannot be used.

(For more ways to stop misuse of your digital products, CLICK HERE!)

2. Disclaimer

A disclaimer clause in your Membership Contract is a statement that is used to limit or exclude liability for certain information or actions and is typically included on websites, documents or other materials to provide information to your customers about the limitations and conditions of use.

When you include a disclaimer for your membership or other services that could lead to
growth, you are essentially claiming that you aren’t responsible for how the customer
implements or uses the information they’re given.

With this disclaimer, you are clearly stating that the information provided is for educational purposes only and you aren’t promising any specific results.

A disclaimer also protects you in the instance of any mistakes or errors in the information you
provide or if the information isn’t exactly up to date. Overall, the disclaimer clause is your legal bestie if someone tries to come after you claiming the information you provided did not help them or was incorrect

3. Termination

As business owners, we like to think that people will never want to cancel our services, but that simply isn’t the reality. It doesn’t matter how amazing your service is, the fact is that business ebbs and flows and the needs of your clients will too.

With this in mind, it’s important that you have a clear policy for how someone can terminate their membership when or if they choose to do so.

But a termination clause isn’t only for your clients…

It gives YOU an out as well if you decide you ever want to shut it down! Because again, business ebbs and flows which means that you can change your mind about the services you want to offer at ANY time. 

Overall, a termination clause includes the grounds for termination, such as breaches of contract, non-payment, or misconduct, and outlines the process for ending the membership.

Additionally, it should specify the notice period required and any financial implications, such as refunds or outstanding fees, ensuring both parties understand their rights and obligations in the event of termination.

4. Scope Subject to Change

As a business owner, the scope subject to change clause serves YOU! This clause allows for flexibility in the membership terms over time because again, business ebbs and flows. 

This clause states that you reserve the right to modify the benefits, services, or terms of the membership as needed. As your business grows and changes, there’s a chance that you’ll want to add (or remove) things from the membership you originally launched. You’re allowed to do that… as long as you have this clause in place!

This clause should outline the process for notifying members of changes and the timeframe for implementing them. It ensures that the membership can evolve to meet changing needs and circumstances while keeping members informed.

5. Communication 

Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that your Membership Contract includes a communication clause that establishes how communication between you and your members will be handled.

It specifies the preferred methods of communication, such as email, Slack, phone, etc., the frequency of updates, and the type of information that will be communicated, such as policy changes, new benefits, important announcements, etc.

Clear communication channels help maintain transparency and trust, ensuring that members are well-informed and can easily reach out with any questions or concerns. 

The Contract Template Your Membership Might Be Missing

Overall, creating a membership can be one of the best ways to serve more people at a time and make recurring revenue while you do it! But in order to make your membership efforts actually worth it, you’ll want to have the above 5 things in place from the get-go.

Lucky for you, here at The Boutique Lawyer, we’ve made it super easy for you to implement ALL of these things through one simple Membership Terms & Conditions Contract Template.

Our plug and play template is ideal for educators, coaches, digital content creators, and any online business offering memberships or subscription-based services as it covers the 5 essential clauses listed above PLUS:

  • Acceptance of Terms and Subscription Process
  • Access and Delivery of Membership Content
  • Membership Fees, Payment Terms, and Promotions
  • Refund Policy and Trial Offer Terms
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Usage Licenses
  • Privacy, Data Protection, and Member Confidentiality

and MORE.

CLICK HERE to get yours!

And if you’re in search of additional resources for protecting your digital products, you’re in the right place:

➡️ The Purpose of a General Disclaimer as a Course Creator

➡️ 5 Must Have Legal Agreements To Protect Your Course

➡️ 5 Legal Must Haves For Your Course Sales Page

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If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hey I’m Amber – not a regular lawyer, but a cool lawyer that helps online business owners sell without getting sued. 

If you like what you just read and want more cool lawyer things in your life, here’s a few ways to stay connected:

Let’s be pen pals! Subscribe to my email list to receive all of my best biz tips and behind the scenes goodies to keep your business bringing in sales (legally of course).

Binge the blog to get all of the legal information you need about running a business in a way that actually makes sense to your non-legal brain.

Come hang with me on the ‘gram! I often do AMA’s on stories, so you can submit your specific questions when they come up.

And if you’re in need of legal resources that you can ACTUALLY understand? Here’s a few ways I can help:

Step into TBL’s free library of legal resources for creative entrepreneurs where we throw open the doors and spill the tea on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to legal protection, systems and sales.  

Browse the contract template shop to find what’s missing in your biz and easily implement it with a plug and play template!
Need something else? Send me a DM! Always happy to lend a legal hand when I can.

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