The Most Important Things In My Contract As A Creative Entrepreneur
I’m not a lawyer, and never pretend to be, however, I have done a great deal of studying to figure out what pieces I need to include inside of my contract to give me peace of mind and to make sure that I have myself and my business protected in case something goes wrong with one of my clients.
I’m very glad and thankful that I have never had to enforce anything inside of my contract and hopefully, I won’t have to do so. But, if I ever did, I feel confident in the fact that everything about how I work and what happens if that doesn’t work for myself or a client that everything is spelled out correctly and clearly. And more importantly, we’re both protected in the process.
It’s important for you to note that having a contract in place is not just helpful for you but it’s also peace of mind for your clients as well. They can know what will happen if you don’t fulfill your end of the agreement or if things don’t work out what they need to do in order to make sure that you both are clear on what’s happening and how things need to happen to end the relationship.
After constantly tweaking my contract, I’m finally at the place where I feel like it’s all spelled out. But, don’t think that this is something that you can set it and forget it. Whenever I have a client challenge arise and I feel like that’s something that I need to include in my agreement so that other clients are aware of this and I know how I want to handle it in the future, I add that in.
So, what are some important things that I have in my contract as a creative entrepreneur?
1 | The Specific Services That I Provide
Before when I was doing general virtual assistant work this had everything under the sun listed and that was okay then. But, as I began to specialize the services that I offer and how I offer them, this section was drastically reduced. I know how I want to work with my clients and even though we discuss the ways that I will help them when we decide to work together, it’s important to have it spelled out for them. In this section, I clearly list out the services that I will provide to my clients AND the services that I will not provide to my clients.
2 | My Work Hours and Time Off
While sometimes I do pull late work days and earlier mornings, I want my clients to know that this is not the standard and it’s not something that they should expect from me. In fact, even I do work weekends, it’s hardly ever on client tasks. I have it very detailed in my agreements what my work hours are, the process for how I will tell them when I am taking time off, and how we’ll handle sick days and emergencies. It’s important that you share these things so that your clients remember that you’re human and you have a life to live too and it doesn’t revolve around you working all of the time.
3 | Compensation
Ahh, the money component. It’s one of the more important parts of your entire contract if you ask me. In this section I (1) detail what their payment amount is, when payment is expected, and how I expect payment to be made to me, (2) what happens if they are late and the actions that I will take from the beginning all the way until when I void their contract for nonpayment, and (3) what happens if they go over their allotted monthly hours.
4 | Expected Timeframes
I don’t want my clients to think that I’m not here to help them move their businesses forward rapidly but they have to understand that they are not my only clients. This means that just because they want something in the next couple hours doesn’t mean that I can accommodate that. I do my best to get client tasks completed ASAP but I do let them know that most tasks require a two-day turnaround time and for longer projects, we have to have a timeline put into place so that we’re both clear on the expectations.
5 | Contract Termination
The final key piece is the steps and process for termination of our contract. While we don’t want to think about the end of a client relationship right when we’re getting started working together, it’s important to have the process and steps detailed for both yourself and your clients! If you don’t think this is important, ask any celebrity who’s gone through a nasty divorce how important having the end documented at the very beginning can be.
There you have it, these are the most important things in my contract as a creative entrepreneur. While there are certainly other standard pieces in my contract, like a confidentiality statement and handling extra expenses, these areas that I’ve walked you through are the ones that I spend the majority of my time tweaking, editing, and finding new ways to make sure that it’s crystal clear for myself and for my clients as well.
When it comes to these areas remember that more is better. So, while your contract may seem like it’s getting a little wordy or long, that’s okay. Much like when writing marketing content for your business, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of words out to get your point across. And definitely, have a lawyer look over your agreement to fill in any missing pieces that you may have to protect yourself and your business even more.
I think that it’s important that we make sure that we share this information with all of our creative friends so that they can make sure that they’re protected in their businesses as well. So, share this with 3 creative friends that you know and make sure to leave a comment below with any questions!