Are You Taking Responsibility for Your Business?

A few weeks ago we asked several work at home moms a fun question – Would you do something illegal, even if you probably wouldn’t be caught?

Of course, everyone said “absolutely not!”. This is the response you would expect from most anyone in the work at home mom community. We have to set an example for our children, of course.

However, it amazes me how often I see others involved in illegal activities or not taking responsibility for their business. No matter if it’s using excuses to not deliver products on time or running a business without proper licenses – it’s unethical, irresponsible, and sometimes illegal.

As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse. It’s true even online, and you could be subject to fines or even lose your business. The following are some examples of illegal or unethical practices you may be faced with, and how to handle them.

– Running raffles or illegal contests

Every state has different laws, and in most states it’s very illegal to run a raffle without a permit. In some states, raffles are considered gambling and you may not hold a raffle unless it’s for charity. There are many raffle groups online, but that doesn’t mean they are legal. Avoid!

– Selling food without a licence

Did you know in some states it’s illegal to sell food without a licence? This applies to those who rep for food companies like Watkins, Gabby Goodies, Homemade Gourmet, and many others. It should also be especially noted that even if you don’t sell the food itself you may need a license. For example, let’s say you’re selling food choppers. Let’s say you’re demonstrating your food chopper and you let people sample the food … you need a license to do this also. Check your state laws before selling anything related to food. (Thanks to Kerri Knack of Homemade Gourmet and [] for this piece of information)

– Spamming, or sending advertisements without consent

Obviously, spamming is a big no-no. There are strict spamming laws that everyone should know before doing any kind of email marketing. Do NOT send advertisements to those who didn’t answer it. You can be fined and loose your email address.

– Copying ideas, websites, or ads

While it may not be illegal to copy an idea, it’s extremely unethical and not well received. Many have had ideas stolen from them, and do not like it in the least. Copying ads and websites on the other hand is illegal. It’s called copyright infringement, and can get your website shut down. Hosting companies won’t think twice about pulling the plug on your website hosting if there is a complaint.

– Using excuses for poor service

Not illegal, but definitely unethical. Everyone should have a back up plan for emergencies. Customers will usually understand if you have a serious emergency, but not always. Word of mouth travels far – remember that.

There’s many other unethical and illegal business practices out there, but this is just a few. Let us say this again – ignorance of the law is no excuse! Check with your local government if you are unsure of anything, or ask on a message board or group at the very least.