As a very freelancer, you're most certainly collecting personal information from potential clients, including something as simple as an email address for sending in your invoices.
At Step 1, select the Website option or App option or both.
Answer some questions about your website or app.
Answer some questions about your business.
- 5. What Information Do You Collect?
- 5.1. How Do You Use the Information You Collect?
- 5.2. How Do You Store and Protect Data?
- 5.3. Do You Share Information With Third Parties?
- 5.5. Notification of Changes to Your Policy
- 5.6. Your Contact Information
- 6.1. Becoming a Client
- 6.2. Email Correspondence
- 6.3. Email Lists
- 8. Summary
Here are some examples of personal information that many freelancers collect about an individual (for instance, when someone completes an online form to download a free report):
- Email address
- Telephone number
Suppose you collect information through a survey or require in-depth demographic information before allowing someone access to more valuable content. In that case, you may ask for even more information such as:
- Marital status
- Religious beliefs
Just a few of the laws around the world that demand Privacy Policies are the following:
- Australia's Privacy Act
- Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
- Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its CPRA amendments
- The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
A website or business that collects or processes user data in a specific country or region must be fully informed about the privacy protection laws and data regulations in that area.
Larger companies like Facebook can pay immense, $5 Billion fines, sometimes without batting an eye. A court probably won't levee a fee like that against you, but depending on how many violations you've wracked up, penalties could easily put you out of business for good.
- What kind of information you collect
- How you collect and use that information
- How you store and protect that information
- Whether you share information with third parties (and if you do share)
- List of third parties with whom you share information
- Your contact information
As a freelancer, there may be a few more clauses you'd like to include. For instance, you may wish to address what happens with information you may collect when a client contracts with you. You might also have a clause on data collection through email correspondence and data gleaned through mailing lists.
Let's dive a bit deeper into each of these clauses.
What Information Do You Collect?
The bottom line is that users are entitled to see what sort of data you collect from them up front and from the very beginning of their interactions with you.
Here's a portion of one of the most comprehensive examples of this type of clause ever seen on a freelancer's website, courtesy of copywriter Ben Settle:
How Do You Use the Information You Collect?
Consider the fact that two freelancers might collect the same kinds of data. Say they both have forms on their websites, which collect names and email addresses. One may only use that information to provide a digital product to the potential client, while the other may also share that name and email address with third parties.
Clearly, these two freelancers don't use the information they collect in precisely the same ways. However you use the data you collect, always opt for full disclosure.
How Do You Store and Protect Data?
This is a big issue for freelancers since most don't have good Privacy Policies (which is a huge mistake), let alone methods in place to secure the data they collect. With that said, any personal information you collect from an individual should be kept safe.
If your freelance business is just you, you must have a way to ensure that only you have access to the data you collect. If you have others working with you, then you must use appropriate security measures to ensure that only authorized persons can access it.
The subject of data security is one that you cannot ignore. Recall that over the past few years, data breaches have affected millions of internet users. Many companies were subject to severe financial and legal consequences.
For instance, the consumer credit reporting agency, Equifax, was fined over $575 Million for a breach that occurred in 2017.
The point here is that if you store personal information, it is your responsibility to ensure that it does not get lost or misused. Further, keep in mind that you can gain or lose potential clients based on how they feel about your efforts to keep their data safe and secure.
Here's an example from Enchanting Marketing that's written in personal terms:
Do You Share Information With Third Parties?
This section can be as easy as listing the third parties with whom you share data along with your reasons for doing so.
Here's how Ben Settle writes this clause:
If you're a freelancer that uses any kind of advertising (such as through Facebook or Google's ad platforms) you must inform users about any tools used to collect information about them and track their behavior. That includes cookies.
Notification of Changes to Your Policy
Here's Enchanting Marketing's version:
Your Contact Information
You can provide this information in any format that you choose, including email addresses, postal addresses, or links to online forms.
Ben Settle names his contact section "Questions and Concerns" but he places all contact information there and so satisfies the need to provide those details to his clients:
Becoming a Client
This clause essentially outlines what happens with any information that a potential client hands over either online or offline in the process of engaging your services.
Precisely as it sounds, this section details how you handle information delivered to you by clients through email. Here's an example, again from Laurence Blume:
Similar to the email correspondence section, this is one that essentially acts as a notification that you typically add those who fill out forms on your website to an email list (one more from Laurence Bloom):
The footer of your site is static across every web page, which means people will be able to see it whether they're looking at your portfolio page, your rates page, or just reading more about you and your freelance services offered.
Here's an example:
If you collect data of any kind, there's a good chance that you're required by law or by third-party services to post that agreement to your website.
It's, therefore, a very good idea to be familiar with which privacy laws impact the geographic region in which you run your freelance business.
Finally, remember to include sections on:
- What information you collect
- How you use that information
- How you keep that information safe
- Whether you share data with third parties
- Notification of changes
- Contact information
First, you don't know whether they've written their policy in a professional manner that meets legal requirements. Secondly, their data practices may be completely different from your own.