Bobby Klinck is a Harvard lawyer turned entrepreneur and the host of The Certified BADA$$ Online Marketing Podcast. In this interview, he shares his experience responding to COVID-19 and what he discovered was missing in client contracts that should be included to legally protect your business during good times and bad.

John Meese 0:03
You are listening to survive and thrive. I'm your host, John Meese. And I want to help you navigate the path towards building a thriving business in any economy, including this one. With that in mind, I've asked some of the best and brightest minds in business to share their experience and insight with me. And with you. Without further ado, let's dive right into today's interview.

Bobby, how are you doing today?

Bobby Klinck 0:26
I'm good. It's good to be here. JOHN. I'm looking forward to it.

John Meese 0:28
We ll good. I'm so glad. Thank you so much for joining me, I appreciate that. And for those who are listening, who don't yet have the privilege of coming across you on the internet, and your genius, would you please talk for a second about? Who are you, Bobby? What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Bobby Klinck 0:44
Well, so that's a long story. And I'll try to keep it short. What gets me out of bed in the

Well, so that's a long story. And I'll try to keep it short. What gets me out of bed in the morning now is I'm a lawyer by training, but I help online entrepreneurs build and protect their online businesses. I started out with just the protect piece, like I got into this space in the online world of helping people protect themselves with legal templates and training. And now I'm also doing business coaching, which I'm sure you've kind of experienced, a lot of people start in one place. And then people say, Well, how in the world that you build, build a business doing that. And so you kind of grow and do that. So I do that. And now my trainings are about the legal stuff, but also about, I'm kind of known as the email guy, I send wacky, really kind of story based emails that often get people. Some people get mad, but some people love it. And so it kind of either love me or hate me on that. But that's where I am now. But I was like a normal old boring lawyer for like 15, 16 years, something like that. Went, you know, I did the traditional lawyer thing that really kind of, you know, high end law firms here in DC after graduating from law school. You know, clerked for a judge, I was an assistant United States attorney, which meant I was, you know, got to stand up for three years and say, I'm Robert Klinc k. Didn't go by Bobby at that point. But Robert clink, I'm here on behalf of the United States of America. That's a cool thing to do. That's, yeah, but but I transitioned into what I'm doing now back in. I started in 2017, and really kind of full swing in 2018. So that's who I am. That's what I do. And that's kind of my short story.

John Meese 2:14
Well, that's great. So when I first came across you because I think probably, I mean, there's a few of we have a few mutual friends. But I think it was probably Amy Porterfield that yeah, I think when GDPR became a thing, yeah, we don't we're not gonna talk about GDPR today. But I remember, I think that's where your name first came up. Everybody was like, what do we do about the EU and the internet? So.

Bobby Klinck 2:35
Yeah, that was a that was a happy. I don't want not accident, but you know, happy serendipitous moment in my career kind of I was like, rising up in Amy's world, and I had embraced the notion of giving, right as that was happening. And she reached out to chat with me about something else. And I happen to be doing a free GDPR training, like a three day like thing for my community. And she was blown away, because most lawyers were trying to use it as an opportunity to like, yeah, may scare people and say, give me a lot of money. And she brought me on our podcast and like, overnight, I think my email list went from like, 500 to 5000. So, yeah. That was a nice little event.

John Meese 3:13
That's great. Well, I was probably one of those 5000. No. Well, anyway, so thank you so much for joining me. So Bobby, you bring a legal expertise. I mean, Harvard Law Attorney, you know, US government attorney, you know, you I think they're that's kind of us. As far as a from layman's terms, like me, that's as high up as the credibility goes, as far as I'm concerned. So, but you also bring this business strategy perspective, because you're an entrepreneur yourself, and you build your own business now. Not just the legal practice, but now, essentially, a consulting and teaching business. So I want to talk about that. But before we do I want to talk about the invisible elephant. That's hopefully not in the room, which is COVID-19. Hopefully not in the room. Um, yeah. So what specifically, I'd love to know when did you first realize that COVID-19 was a real threat? Do you remember where you were or what happened that caused you to pay attention?

Bobby Klinck 4:01
Yeah, so I do. And I don't remember what the exact dates were. But But I would say like March 11, was kind of the day that of the oval office address, the NBA canceled that season and Tom Hanks announced , so that was kind of the day that like it was a Wednesday. I remember that. And that was kind of a day that America went large. So Oh yeah, this is actually thing. But for me, about a week before that, I had started kind of looking at it. And the other thing that you need to understand about me is I'm a bit of a math nerd. My mom was a math teacher. I by I did very well in math. And so like, I like looking at numbers, and I started looking at the numbers. And then I started like reading things, and I was seeing this exponential growth happening. And so at that point, literally, we didn't even have a case a reported case of DC, but I was paying attention. Then that weekend before we had our first conferemed case in DC, a guy who is a pastor at an Episcopal Church here. And then on March 9, so March 9 was a Monday I had a quarter parents, I still have like one little legal case that and once that's done, I will be done with my actual legal practice. And I will just be a business person. But so I had had to go to DC Superior Court. And I go and I'm sitting there and a co defendants counsel walks in, he comes over and you know, this is when everybody's saying, okay, don't shake hands do the elbow, elbow, Bob. So we kind of do that. And he's an older guy, he is in the high risk group. And so you know, we're doing that and, but then he like leans in to talk to me, and I'm talking like, Seinfeld level of close talking like about something and he's chatting with me. And then he says, oh, by the way, you know, that, that that pastor at the Episcopal Church? I said, Yeah. He said, Yeah, you've heard he's been, he's been confirmed with COVID. So yeah, he said, Oh, yeah, I was with him recently. And I was like, d o what? And I mean, I literally like backed up back my chair up about six or seven feet, because I was like, what I mean, hey, that would have been information I'd like to know before you

John Meese 6:07
Before you got in my face, yeah.

Bobby Klinck 6:08
Yeah, yeah. So that was the moment that I kind of did it. And you know, and then I'll tell you, and I share this at some point on my platform a couple of about a month after it happened. I'm mean share that story right away. But two days later on Wednesday, I woke up with a fever, and question, and, you know, the guy said later, he said, Oh, right. It was weeks ago or something. And he claimed he never got sick. But that Wednesday to Friday, I was a bit worried. Because I was you know, it was never a bit high fever. But I was dealing with like, 100 degree fever, and I actually normally run low. And so I was like, Huh, please, no. But that was when I recognized COVID is the thing. And separately, that Wednesday, I think was when I or Wednesday or Thursday is when I was sending out invites to a webinar for my latest launch. And I was like, well, this is great timing.

John Meese 7:02
Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that story. So as a, as an individual, you backed up six or seven feet in the chair, that's kind of the immediate response. And after you had a minute to wrap your head around the situation, as a business owner, how did you respond?

Bobby Klinck 7:17
Yeah. So you know, I lean back away from the guy in physical space, but in my business I lean in and and and the reason why I did that was because like, it didn't hit me out of nowhere. I mean, I'd already been thinking about it for a week or more. And I'm pretty sure that like, even before I don't even know, remember before the 11th or not, I've been talking my parents who are in their 70s say, hey, high risk, you guys should be not you know, you guys should be staying. So I'd already been thinking about it. And I guess the way I looked at is I knew a lot of people who were like, Oh, you should just cancel everything. Don't watch, don't do anything. I'm sitting there. I'm like, Yeah, but this isn't something that's going to go away. This isn't something that's going to get better. I mean, literally, we had in the mastermind that I'm in people were were asking this question. And my responses like some people like well, I can really only wait to like mid April to launch Should I wait till mid April. I said, I think it's gonna be worse in mid April than it's going to be now. Turns out I was right. But so I just kind of figured that there was no way we could not, you know, not do business in the midst of this. Now again, if you are brick and mortar, if my business was serving brick and mortar businesses, I would have felt differently, but I serve online entrepreneurs.

Mm hmm.

John Meese 8:23
And I looked at it as this is something that we're just gonna have to live with. Right? And so we have to figure out how to live with it. And so I knew I had to keep going. And so like I said, I think March 11 was the day that you know, kind of everything everybody started to realize was a big deal. I'm trying to remember I think they moved my daughter's spring break up was what they did, or something and so like, it was like the next Monday, I think, was her last day of school. I just didn't know I have not like I have not been around someone other than my immediate family. Since March 9. That's the last time I've had contact with anyone because like here in DC, we're literally just starting to kind of be released. So I, I was dealing with it and over that next weekend, you know, I had my I'd already done my webinar deck, it was ready to go, but it didn't really mention it. And so I was like, hmm, like, What do I do? And that was kind of what I was dealing with at that point. And I said, You know what, I'm gonna lean into it. And I'm gonna lean into it the only way I know, which is, you know, I make light of things I make, you know, I joke that I'm Chandler from friends. I make jokes when I'm uncomfortable. And so I was like, I don't know what to do. And so I actually kind of, you know, lean into it. And I warn people in advance, I said, Hey, just so you know, I'm going to be making jokes about this hobby, obviously, not about people dying, you know, I'm going to be making, you know, like, I would say things like, you know, I had an email, I think about closing time. And I said, because it's the last closing, you know, we're not going to be at a bar anytime soon. So this is the only closing time you've got and yeah, you know, so I was doing things like that because I said, I had to deal with it. And I dealt with the fact of look as an entrepreneur, because I'm selling entrepreneurs. I explained why I was doing because I believed and so I Put it into my messaging from the get go. You know, that launch wasn't as successful as we would have liked. But given what was going on, I expected that right and and kind of what I saw at that moment was the people who were clear yeses were still yeses. The people who would have been on the fence, most of them fell into it no, instead of like, you know, normally you'd kind of have a 50/50 split, we probably I would say about, you know, 90% of them fell into No, just because people, I was literally doing it right as people were in that what's going on situation. And so I think a lot of people were pulling back. And that was what was kind of happening at the time. And that's what I was dealing with now. Separate from that launch. My team and I literally like two weeks before that two weeks before that March 11 day that I kind of says the big date. I shared with my team who are all relatively new on my team, like a clip of me speaking on Amy Porterfield stage last week, last year, she'd had me do a moment of inspiration. They were like, We have got to get you on more stages. So great. So that become what came one of our goals for the year that I was gonna stand on like lives, stages this year. And we're gonna host a live event this year, that of course, all went out the window or like,

I mean you can still stand on the stages. You're still on by yourself. Yeah.

Bobby Klinck 11:02
Yeah, yeah. So that all went out the window, that's clearly not happening. And so like on that we're obviously trying to figure out, Okay, well, how do we virtualize that? And how do we get back to you know, like doing this coming and chatting with you, which I was doing anyway. But you know, refocusing on these types of events, um, you know, and we decided we're gonna do a virtual live event, kind of basically like a three day live event, but virtually rather than live so you know, we are pivoting in ways like that, and doing what we can do in light of COVID.

John Meese 11:29
Yeah, okay. Okay, so let's back up for a second back to January or February 2020. And say, look, can you give us a picture of where your business was at in terms of the different types of revenue streams that you Have because um, I think the next question would ask us really, I'd love for you to share how the economic crisis has impacted the different areas of your business like we mentioned just stages right? If you're going going big on public speaking Okay, well that's maybe not as big right now but what is your business look like behind the curtain?

Bobby Klinck 11:57
So I mean my business and again I don't get paid to speak on stage that wasn't the goal. The goal was you know, to go and just you know, get exposure and things like that because I'm very established in in my basically in in our area of the internet as one of kind of the legal people that you know, I'm in not just want to legal people, I'm the legal guy, There's

John Meese 12:14
You're the legal guy for online businesses.

Bobby Klinck 12:16
Yeah, I mean, there's there's some female lawyers, but I think I'm one of the very few at the time who had that and so that was well established. And, um, it's, it's really kind of amazing because that business just clicks along like we, my, my number two, my integrator gets very upset, because we can't track revenue. Like we will just have people randomly like, come to our website and buy and she's like, how Was this happening? I said, I don't know magic. I'm gonna I'm just gonna like it. I'm bad about it. You know, I mean, it's it's realistically it's it's that I built a platform and I've done this over the last like two years and built up a bunch of goodwill. And so people like doing and I think we we figured out their land on my about page so they search my name on the internet, go to my about page and then buy. But so that business just kind of clicks along.

John Meese 12:56
What do you sell there? I mean, I'm..

Bobby Klinck 12:58
It's the legal templates. I sell legal templates that are you know, people can fill out for their their businesses online. And so that just people come in, you know, it's dribs and drabs. And I've got Facebook ads going to a freebie that then you know, brings people in but we will just randomly have people come in and just kind of buy and so that happens, but I've been like working more conscientiously on building kind of business stuff leads because my the stuff I've sold on coaching and business coaching and business side stuff right now. It's all been people who came into my world because I'm the legal guy and then they saw the stuff and then pivot. And so we said, well, that's great, but why don't we try to bring some people straight in on that. So we've been working on that.

John Meese 13:36

Bobby Klinck 13:36
And that's what we were actively working on and trying to kind of bring that side of the revenue up. And that was what the launch we were in. In the middle of COVID. It was we were launching kind of doing the first launch of my email marketing program, courses about about email marketing. And so that was where we were now something weird happened with COVID. And maybe it's not weird, but um, I actually had an uptick in the legal stuff sales, and I think it was because more people are like, Okay, well, I guess I'm going to do this online business thing. After all, that's the only thing we could figure out but I would say like in the first month or so, we were seeing like 50% above our sales and we weren't doing anything I mean, there was no promotions. There was no kind of you know, active thing it just saw we would just see people come in and it was all of these you know, you know, like my signature legal product I call my template library is a thousand dollar purchase. It's all of my legal stuff. And we would have people come in and I say cold, like, literally, I didn't recognize the name. So it wasn't someone that I remember dealing with on the internet somewhere. They weren't in my list who just come and buy $1,000 product from my website. And so I'm like, well, that's pretty cool. But we saw that happening. And like I said, on the on the business side stuff. You know, we've only had that one launch since so, you know, I don't know, really what's happened since we just wrapped up an affiliate launch for someone else for one of my coaches. And that actually went very well. It kind of it crushed. I mean, I said, I did another affiliate launch. In the meantime, back in April, and we weren't feeling that as much. And we decided to pull back but that was more a business decision than then COVID related but so that's what's happening. And like I said, I was I was anticipating speaking on stage in May that didn't happen. And and, you know, so, in some ways, it's nice, right? Because I was going We were planning to put on some live events, which were going to be high cost, right? You have to have the hotel, you have to do all of those things. So we're virtualizing it, which makes it easier and cheaper and all these things, but you know, we'll see how it pans out.

John Meese 15:28
Okay. Well, okay, so let's talk about how you're pivoting to pursue opportunity. So obviously, you're you're kind of you're, you're rolling with the punches, you're adjusting things as you go. Do you have a specific framework for how you approach which opportunities to pursue or not pursue in terms of like, how do you make that decision?

Bobby Klinck 15:43
Well, so. So it's kind of funny. I mean, yes, I mean, I don't say I wouldn't say we have a formal framework, but. Ironically, the affiliate launch I just finished for my coach James Wedmore. I mean, like, we weren't planning to launch out that we weren't planning to be an affiliate for that this year. Um, but we decided based just on some other things and some other business decisions we made partly as I was pivoting more into email specifically is kind of my front end product on the business stuff because before I still have it, I have a membership It's called fans first. And the problem is a lot of people don't really get what it is. It's, it started with the notion of the famous, you know, you need 1000 true fans concept and if you have that, and so I was like, I wanted to help people build that kind of raving fan base. But people think, oh, so it's list building. I'm like, No, it's not list building. I'm like, no, it's like this overall framework of nurturing and, and so I think it's been, you know, so that had been my front end offering we kind of decided to make email the, the hook that I brought people in on, which is part of why we then said, Okay, well, we'll promote James's thing. So we did that. And we just tried to, we tried to think through what fits with what's going on. And the other affiliate launch. I mean, part of it was we did pull back because, you know, it was for a program about building a membership. And at the time, we were seeing my membership numbers dwindle. And a lot of people were saying it was because of COVID. And so I just kind of felt you know, I was happy to promote it because the program is great if you want to create a membership. But you know, it's hard for me to kind of, you know, full throatedly say, oh, now's a great time to create a membership.

John Meese 17:10
Right, while watching your membership site cover

Bobby Klinck 17:12
Exactly, exactly. And this is the thing, like one of the, one of the things I didn't like that was happening during COVID, especially the first I don't know, month was everybody was saying, Now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. I'm like, like, no, no. I mean, now is a better like, I'd rather be an online entrepreneur than have a brick and mortar business right yet, but now is not a great time.

John Meese 17:33
No, no. It's not it's been very stressful. It's been very, and I know a lot of people who are getting paid a lot of money to I mean, I don't mean this, meanly, like they don't have any choice to matter. But I know a lot of people that are getting paid a lot of money to sit at home. And like, you know, that's kind of hard to get up and, you know, go to battle every day to build this business in the face of Well, I mean, I have friends who have told me like, Oh, I can't take on. So I have one friend who's a lead guitarist for A big Christian musician. They're normally touring constantly, right? And that's his main thing. And so of course, they're not touring right now. So he's getting paid unemployment. And he's at home and he said he's got to he just got two offers for gigs in January in August, sorry, in August for two small gigs, but paying gigs, but he said, He's gonna have to turn them down.

Bobby Klinck 18:14
Because he'd lose unemployment.

John Meese 18:16
Exactly. He's like, Yeah, he said, those two aren't enough to make up for. I mean, it's like the it's the it's the most messed up, like, yeah,

Bobby Klinck 18:24
Yeah. And, you know, like my thing, like I said, I, you know, I just like, and I actually did it at some point, I did a, I did a Facebook Live, I think I called it like the state of state of online marketing or something, you know, a state of the union of online marketing. I was talking about this and someone pointed out, you know, I think it's in good to great, was coined that phrase, the Stockdale paradox, which I don't know if you know, the Stockdale paradox, it's about

John Meese 18:42
I'm familiar with it, yes.

Bobby Klinck 18:43
You know, Admiral Stockdale, and it's this notion of like being a realist about how crappy stuff is right now, but at the same time being optimistic, and that's where I was. And that's like the approach I brought to my business and talking to people. As I was saying, Look, it's hard, right? But we don't have a choice. And so you know, we've got to keep doing these things. And anyone who is saying, this is a great time to be an entrepreneur, I said, No, it's not when people are scared. They spend less money. You know, it's just a natural thing. And you know, when you when you're every week, what were you seeing was it you know, 3million, 4 million people like losing their jobs. You're like, you know, that's gonna scare people.

John Meese 19:17
It got up to 30 or 40 million total. Yeah.

Bobby Klinck 19:20
Yeah. Like every week, every week, like another three or four million Yeah, you're like, yeah, yeah, that's just it's gonna scare people.

John Meese 19:26
This is the U.S. We're not talking about global unemployment. I don't even know how to capture that.

Bobby Klinck 19:30
Right. But so like that. That was my thing is I was saying to people, you know, let's not say it's the best time to be an entrepreneur. Let's say that it's better to be an entrepreneur now than something else. And, you know, do it that way. And so, you know, that's kind of the approach. I was taking an All my messaging and everything I was doing, and just really kind of pushing people to keep working through it because we had no choice. And that state of the online marketing union or whatever I called it, I don't remember what I called it. Like, literally, I think people told me afterwards they were crying because I actually like was being honest about it. And they were like, you know, not this fluffy. Oh, it's great buy from me. Yes. I was like, Well, I guess it's great, because I'm not really actively selling anything right now. So I can, you know, I don't have to be rosy but right. That was kind of what was what was going on for me in that April timeframe. I was pushing forward, but I was also at this place of like, yeah, can't really you know, yeah.

John Meese 20:18
So well, so Okay, so listening to this interview, we've got a mix of online entrepreneurs and more traditional brick and mortar entrepreneurs. I mean, I'm both I'm both personally so I actually own a physical co-working space that I opened in January, 58 days before things closed

Bobby Klinck 21:13
Good timing there.

John Meese 21:14
Yeah, I don't think I remember the conversation with my doctor. I called we have like a weed doctor. We keep on retainer just for like questions and conversation, and I called them and I was like, Alright, help me understand this COVID-19 thing like is this, you know, how big is this and he, he's like, one of the first things you should avoid is like shared workspaces. And that's it. I said, I said, there and that's my whole business model. So, but anyways, uh, we're doing fine now, I mean, but but let's back up and say we've got a mix. So people who are listening to this, we're both online entrepreneurs and brick and mortar. So I'd be curious to know what advice you have for other business owners about how to build or rebuild a profitable business. In any economy. I think you bring a unique perspective, with your focus on not just building but protecting, right? Because you're the only guests we've had. That's, that's got the legal background to be able to talk about that piece. So I'm curious about your kind of general business philosophy as far as how to build a profitable business in any economy, but I really would love to hear what you have to say to people are saying and how do I protect my business? Like if I have an existing business right now, how do I protect it?

Bobby Klinck 22:12
Well, so what I'm gonna I'll start with the protect piece because I That's, that's something we can talk about quickly. There is that like in almost every contract you have, there's what's called the force majeure clause, which it's, I think it's French, but it's something for Acts of God. And basically, it's this thing that says that if performance, so if one side can't meet their obligation because of an Act of God, normally it comes up in the context of like hurricanes is kind of when it comes up. But this was an example of where that kicked in. Now, one thing that everybody needs to think about is they need to look at their contracts and make sure that that causes written right based upon their particular business. So for us in our online business, any kind of force majeure clause would probably be fine because generally the money is not getting way ahead of the performance or the performance is not getting way ahead of the money. But there were a lot of people and I was on a panel kind of right as this was happening. with people who like we're in the event space, and a lot of contracts for these events and things like that they had a force majeure, that basically what it says is like your exclude excused from non performance and you can terminate the contract if it continues, but they didn't address what happens to the money, like a deposit that's already been paid down.

John Meese 23:25
Hmm. so many businesses struggling with figuring out how to respond to that, how did what to do with deposits or

Bobby Klinck 23:32
Right, right and so all of that stuff, like, you know, and again, like I would hope for like most speaker fees, were, you know, hopefully it's, you know, the two sides can kind of come together and, you know, can can work something out, but some of these deposits are big. I mean, we're talking six figure type of deposits

John Meese 23:48
Yeah, on the venue. Yeah.

Bobby Klinck 23:50
Yeah. And so, there is going to be a whole cottage industry of lawyers who like again, this this clause in a contract really only in the US ever gets litigated in the context of law. Like natural disasters, and then all of a sudden, we've got this. And I'll just say I had a lot of people like, you know, there were events that I was supposed to go to, that they didn't like, they weren't telling you that it was canceled. And I as a lawyer, I knew exactly what was happening. But all the other people's like, when are we gonna find out? When are we gonna find out and I'm sitting there, like having looked at them or so it's like, this event is not happening. You're not gotten through your head, they simply had to wait until California issued the order that made it illegal, and then they could go back to their hotel and say, Look, it's illegal for us to have this event, give us some money back, you know, because otherwise they were gonna be on the hook if they canceled like, and that was what was weird. Like, literally, if you cancelled beforehand. Most of the contracts you were you were out the money. I had like one of my coaching clients. I mean, it was a much smaller thing that and she was in Alabama, and she was trying to sign her event was in May. And so I was like, Well, is it you know, I was like, nobody's gonna want to travel at that point. But I don't know if you're gonna be at a stay at home order and I think she just works something out. With the hotel and how to split the difference, but what those are gonna be the kinds of things so you need to look at that clause. So just look in contracts, it'll say either acts of God or force majeure. If you want to try to do a shelf great or find a lawyer who can help you with that, and make sure that it actually is specific, because one of the things I tell people with legal stuff, especially like, the point of contracts is as much as possible, get rid of the gray areas, make it a black or white yes or no, very clear what the rules are. Because when you get people like me involved, it gets expensive, and it only helps the lawyers. And so that's kind of as you're coming out of it, think through that. The other piece is I would, you know, in online entrepreneurs. If you are, if you have a program, where you are offering a live event as part of the program, while I would have language in there, that I mean, I would basically Now make the going assumption that you are entitled to a virtual event. And in the event that we can hold it live, we will hold it live in person, right. So I would tweak the language like that just so that Just because

John Meese 26:02
it's by your terms,

Bobby Klinck 26:03
Right, exactly, because I mean, this happened, like I had a lot of friends and then, you know, they had a live event that was like, part of like, you know, for one of my, one of my friends for Amy Porterfield, for example, she had a one day live event scheduled in July. That was one of her bonuses for launching it something as an affiliate. And, you know, obviously, she's in California, California is not going to allow a gathering of hundreds of people in July. So you know, having to do it. And, you know, I just would like, you know, going forward to tell people Hey, why don't we just like put something in there that will do it virtually. But if we can do it live, we will, and we'll give you details, that way that no one can complain. And again, that was an affiliate bonus. So I don't think someone could complain. But I don't want somebody buying like a two or $3,000 course from me on the promise. They're getting a ticket to an event and then I can't hold the event they said we'll get my money back. So, that's the kind of thing I would be careful. And look, I'm gonna be honest with you, most people aren't gonna do that, because most people are like, Hey, we get you. Yeah, we understand not a problem. But I mean, I'm a member of a coaching program that I was entitled to a live boot camp that was supposed to happen in April, down in Texas, and they just made a virtual, and again, I wouldn't complain, but theoretically, you know, I mean, I, the lawyer in me said, Hey, you might want to get people to check a box to say that they accept this. In lieu of, you know, as a replacement for

John Meese 27:21
Well, yeah, cuz I guess they could. Well, we don't need to go into all the should of, would of, could of

Bobby Klinck 27:24
Yeah, right. Right.

John Meese 27:25
But, but yeah, okay, so that's, that's it. What about outside of COVID-19? I mean, maybe we're going to talk for a second about kind of like general business protections. I mean, what's, where do you recommend people start if they're thinking you know, what, I you know, I'm not going to hire an attorney for three hours of their time, but I just want to Like, what's the what is not necessarily the bare minimum? But what's the minimum viable product for protecting your company?

Bobby Klinck 27:44
I mean, again, like I can, I can make this into a couple of quick areas. Number one, create create an LLC. Just do it don't have somebody say, but I don't have to. Yeah, you don't have to, but just do it. It's not a silver bullet. But like, in your case, like with your, especially with your facilities based business where somebody trips and falls, you don't want them sue you personally, right? I mean, you know, so you want all that your LLC kind of separates you in that now I'm just gonna be clear to you coaches and everything like that, like, if you give bad advice, people could still theoretically sue you. I don't know what they get, but they can still sue you. So it's not a silver bullet, but create an LLC. It's cheap. It's easy. I should say that it's cheap, unless you're in California or it's like 800 bucks, but it is relatively easy. The next thing is you've got to like deal with the legal stuff on your website. You mentioned GDPR earlier, we're not going to get in the details. But you've got basically the bare minimum you have to have a privacy policy that tells people what you're doing with their private data. When you collect it, so that's kind of the the next area and there are other things you should have on your website. But that's the bare minimum. But really the place that I tell people, the bare minimum, is get your agreements in writing. This is something that that I will preach from the rooftop any agreement that's important your business should be in writing, because otherwise you're just asking for disputes. And again, I talked earlier, like you want to have a clear Yes, or a clear no. dDon't have gray areas. That's that's the point of your written agreements as much as possible. And there's kind of a hierarchy of like, you know, quality written agreements, like going and hiring a lawyer who works very specifically with exactly your business to create a custom contract just for you just for this particular deal. That's the best, but that's gonna cost you five to $10,000 probably so very few people are gonna do that, right. I mean, you just don't, it doesn't make sense. And just just to give you like, some sense of this, like I have a will and a trust that was created by legal zoom. I mean, cuz I'm not gonna go pay someone to do that. I'm like, I don't you know, I can, we can get that done. It's simple. Um, so so the highest levels of direct one, then like you could get templates. Like, that's kind of what I sell there I live in because it's scalable, it's easier to do. But even if you're not there, what I would say is like, just put the essential terms in writing. And be as specific as possible about what is, you know, the person who's buying What are they getting and be specific? And what are they paying? And when, I mean, those are the things that have to be in it. And when I say be specific, I mean, be specific, like if you're hiring someone to provide a service for you don't say to provide marketing services, right? Because that's so amorphous and you could never dispute it, list out what they're going to do. That way there is no dispute and like I use copywriters as an example, like, Be specific. How many revisions do they get one none, set. I mean, you need to be just specific, so there's no dispute. So that's kind of the that's the baseline. And the other bad news is you got to get at least a little bit of knowledge about things like copyright and trademark law. So you don't mess things up. I don't care about like, I want you to protect yourself, but I'm more interested in making sure that you don't step in it by violating someone else's rights and then get sued. That's kind of what we got to make sure people don't do.

John Meese 30:40
Right? Well, okay, I'm sure there's a lot more to learn about all of those topics. Yeah. Yeah. And I can say personally that I've used your What do you call it exactly. Your contract library? Is tha t the name of it?

Bobby Klinck 30:50
It's, it's the it's The Online Genius Template Library

John Meese 30:52
The Online Genius Template Library. So I know I'm a customer of that. And I've used your templates for privacy policies, disclaimers, and client most recently a client contract. So it's good stuff. I even, I tell this to Platform University students whenever you come up that I tell when they say like, well, I don't know. I mean, what should I do for like a privacy policy on my website? I'm like, Look, I bought Bobby's Bobby clinks privacy policy template, but then here's what I did. Then I paid my own professional attorney. for three hours of time to review it in detail, I'm not saying everyone should do this, to review it in detail and give me detailed feedback. And we basically came out and said, it's actually phenomenal as it is. So, yeah, so we

Bobby Klinck 31:29
well, there we go.

John Meese 31:30
Yeah. So there you go. So there's at least two attorneys. So I've already paid so you don't have to, you know, audit the template.

Bobby Klinck 31:36
Yeah right. And that's what I tell people. I tell people, like, if nothing else, the templates are like a starting point, so that you're not going to someone from scratch. And again, like, I just want to be like, again, like the privacy policy, you got to be careful on that. Like, I had some, I had some people come to me, like in the midst of the GDPR mess, which by the way, now I give my privacy policy away for free. It's the only one that you're legally required to have. And I give it as my freebie but That's great. Uh, but during GDPR I had people coming to me who had like had a privacy policy created by some lawyer, they literally just went to the random business lawyer. And I heard similar stories for both of them like basically the the lawyer said, Well, I don't really know anything about that. But if you bring me an example like do you agree copy someone else's from the web and bring it to me I can tweak it and then they charge him like thousands of dollars to do that. And like I looked at, I was like, No, this is like, I think you pulled the wrong one but it's completely wrong. Like it would be like you know, you're in the coaching business and you pulled one from like someone who's doing something completely derelict

John Meese 32:27
Selling supplemen ts or Yeah.

Bobby Klinck 32:28
Right, and I was like it. That's not the way it works. And then the funny thing, like someone actually hired me to do their their privacy policy during GDPR. And that was back when it's actually still practicing. And that's what you want me to look at your terms of use to make sure it was a homebuilder of all things like a random thing, but it was for their website. And so I look at it and I'm like, it's like they're in North America and it's talking about like Swedish law applying and I'm like, What in the world and then it like starts referring to the company is Spotify, which I guess is a Swedish company. Someone had literally gone and copied the Spotify Terms of Use and put it on to a homebuilders website

John Meese 33:03
They said, "this probably is the same"

Bobby Klinck 33:05
Yeah. that's the kind of stuff that happens

John Meese 33:07
So your advice is don't do that. Yeah,

Bobby Klinck 33:09
don't do that. Yeah.

John Meese 33:10
Okay .Well Bobby this has been a pleasure and super helpful thank you for your time I appreciate it Where can we go to find more about you and learn more about you online and what you offer.

Bobby Klinck 33:19
Well so now simple, I'm just I so I used to be my brand used to be Your Online Genius which was a play on actually my first course I ever created was called safeguard your online genius so I wasn't saying I was the genius I was saying protect yours but

John Meese 33:33
I've been referring to you as my online genius.

Bobby Klinck 33:35
Yeah, that's right right and so people do that it's kind of has become this kind of joke but like my legal stuff like I still call it The Online Genius Template Library and things like that. But my I'm Bobby Klinck everywhere online, my website, Instagram, which I kind of stink at him. I'm working on it, but I'm not really doing much there. And then Facebook and I've got a really active Facebook group. where, you know, I answer questions, it's free. I just, you know, habit that's actually under my kind of new branding, it's now called the badass online are Badass Online Marketers, which is just fun. It's kind of a cheeky because there's nothing badass about me. I'm just kind of a but but Well, yeah, but I'm like, I'm not cool and I've never been cool really in in any circles, but it's also kind of tongue in cheek because my belief is like building a successful business isn't about doing anything. You know, any kind of secret strategy or ninja tactics, it's you know, it's about doing the basic stuff, right. You know, build a platform, you know, you know, figure out what your people want, bring them in your world, then sell them what they want. And it's just kind of that simple.

John Meese 34:35
That's great.

Bobby Klinck 34:36
So well, that's where people can find me

John Meese 34:37
Thank you so much for your time and your perspective. Appreciate it.

Bobby Klinck 34:40
Thank you. It's been fun. Thank you.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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