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Web Designers: Will the 5 minute quick fix kill your business?

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As a web designer, you pride yourself on being friendly and accessible. You are often tagged in Facebook groups and on LinkedIn for being helpful and supportive. In fact, you’ve built your business on recommendations and referrals. You often help people out with a five-minute fix.

Did you know the 5-minute fix could kill your web design business?

Imagine for a moment you’re in your favourite Facebook group. Somone can’t align their header image correctly on their website.

You know exactly what their problem is and how to fix it. You offer to go and fix it. It will take just 5 minutes and it helps grow your reputation as a friendly and approachable web designer. You adjust the header image and the site now looks gorgeous. You’ve been thanks profusely and you even were given an amazing video testimonial.

Sadly for you, this story does not have a happy ending.

The site gets hacked 4 months later, and you get a letter from ICO. You’ve processed data on that website and you’re jointly liable with the website owner for the data breach. Ouch.

5 minutes was all it took to destroy your business and your reputation. 5 minutes where you were being a helpful and friendly website designer.

How many people do you help this way each week? 15? 20? What if a third had a data breach? What would the impact on your business be then?

As a professional, you might have some sort of insurance. Does it cover you for a data breach?

It’s times like this where you remember your website terms of business.

Surely they will protect you! Alas, they were last updated before GDPR and don’t take security and privacy by design into account.

You’re thinking about your options

  • You can hire a lawyer
  • You can talk to ICO yourself and explain it was just 5 minutes…
  • You can be a future-thinking web designer and have the right website designer terms of business
  • You can fold your limited company and attempt to skirt any repercussions (we don’t advise this option, we’re advocates of prevention being better than a cure)

Now, this post isn’t written to stop you helping people and building your business through being friendly and helpful.

There are steps you can take to help protect your business even when you help someone quickly, and don’t charge them for your time.

  • Issue the booking form to the person you’re helping – if they don’t complete it you can’t help them
  • Make sure you send them your terms of business. It doesn’t matter if it’s a link on your website or as a PDF via Facebook messenger send your terms of business.

When you have these, save them to your “help outs” folder in One Drive under the person’s name. Then when you get a letter from ICO around the data breach you have all your ducks in a row, and you can access the documents quickly.

Now, you might be thinking where can you get GDPR terms of business for web designers, and we’re here to help you with this.

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