When I see the posts in forums and groups, they often start out the same way.
I’m starting a new business.
I know I need to have a contract.
I don’t have a lot of money to spend right now.
Then the big question… “Does anyone have a contract they can share with me?”
Often followed by a second comment, “I don’t want my contract to have a lot of legal speak in it. I don’t want to scare clients away.”
If you ever want to see me respond to a post with fists of fury, speed typing as fast as I can? Post a version of this post. I’ll try to film what happens, but no guarantee that a modern-day camera could even document it. It is THAT fast.
Get Your Contract from a Lawyer, Not Your Peers
Let’s say you’re a wedding cake baker, and you’re asking another cake baker to share their contract with you. Did they go to law school? Did they write their own contract? Where did it come from? How do you know it is even legally binding?
You don’t. You know that she makes a bad-ass buttercream frosting, but you do not know that she knows the law. Stick to recipes here, ok?
Lawyers go through a number of classes to help them learn the exact words to use in a contract. Every. Word. Matters. Words in contracts have nuances that you and I have no clue about. (Unless you are reading this and you went to law school.) Changing those words up has an impact on you if you should ever find yourself in court with a client.
An important thing to remember – your contract doesn’t just protect you, it also protects your client. So if the wording is unclear, and a client takes you to court, it could end up protecting them MORE than it protects you, and you could lose everything. All over the spoiled buttercream frosting – you really should have stuck to getting a good recipe from that other baker.
Think I’m crazy? You can read here all about the comma that cost a company almost a million dollars: New York Times: The Comma That Costs 1 Million Dollars (Canadian).
You need to know WHERE your contract came from, and that it is a trusted source that could support you in the court of law.
You don’t want clients getting out of payments because of a loophole. Or really, any other number of things that might happen to your business. Just don’t do it. Do not ask your peers for a contract.
I know you think that you can’t afford to do it — but you also can’t afford NOT to do it and to lose it all!Feel like you can't afford a business contract from a lawyer? This thinking could cost you MORE! Click To Tweet
Starting with a contract from a lawyer? So much safer than trying to do it yourself and ending up in legal trouble! Rachel is a lawyer who also has her MBA and is an entrepreneur. Want to know more about her? She was a guest on the very first Business, Brilliantly podcast.
About the Legal Speak Thing in Contracts
Adding another layer to the possible mess of this whole contract situation is if you take a well worded contract and decide that it needs to not be so scary.
After all, you don’t want someone to be intimidated by all of those legal terms and not sign it, right?
I’ve already covered above the initial problem with thinking like this – it could land you in hot water and cost you a fortune if something happens and things go wrong.
There is a secondary problem here as well, looming in the background. When was the last time you purchased something that had a long contract attached and you said, “Nope! Too many legal terms. Forget it!”
Most people buy a car or a home while barely reading what the contract even says. Once you have made the decision to purchase something? The legal wording isn’t of much consequence. You might ask for explanations of paragraphs, but beyond that you just sign your name so many times your hand cramps up.Legal speak in contracts protects you & your clients. Don't edit it in fear they won't sign. Click To Tweet
If you believe in what you are selling, you know that it is accurately priced, and that you will provide the service requested? You have nothing to fear when it comes to presenting that contract. They have already agreed to work with you, the contract is simply a formality.
I get it. Putting yourself out there is scary. Never apologize for it though, and do not fear that your contract will turn them away. Want to talk more about your business? Let me know!
If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to climb on my soapbox here.
It is an epidemic in the business world. Especially for those of us online.
We worry about if we are going to make $37,000 in the next 4 days. We compare how much traffic our website receives compared to a mega-site like Huffington Post. Every day I see more and more posts online that are driving us to feel this way, and it is crushing our morale. Not only that – it is keeping you so hyper-focused on getting everything right that it is paralyzing you from just getting going.
Here is what I have to say about it all. (The post below is not a transcript of the episode itself. I have a lot to say on this topic!)
Stop comparing yourself to someone months or years ahead of you in your business.
Stop letting someone else’s version of success define what your success looks like. You are allowed to declare what your success looks like. It will not look like anyone else’s.
Stop focusing on the money, and instead focus on the STORY. What inspires you? Why did you get in to this business in the first place?
Stop trying to hide behind all of the rules that you feel your business, your blog posts, your social media accounts must abide by, and get out there and start to CREATE CONTENT.
More than anything, this all applies to you if you are building something new. Whether it is your first business or your tenth, when you start a new business endeavor, it takes time to shake out your voice so that it rings true to YOU.
All of the rules that we have around how to write the perfect headline that will be clicked 1700 times, or the most Pinterest-worthy pin that will be shared 324 times an hour do not matter if they are stopping you from getting your story out there in to the world. At the heart of it all, your story matters.
Those rules are based on numbers, statistics, data – not on you connecting with your ideal clients & readers. While lists may be the most amazing things ever for Buzzfeed? Your audience may hate them.
Find your voice, worry about the rules later.
This may seem like strange advice from me, considering that fact that I am a Social Marketing Strategist. The “social” part is very important for me though. If abiding by all the rules is what is paralyzing you from moving forward in your business? I want you to stop. Find what is the correct fit for you. Write your own rules.
Lean in. I want to tell you something. Just between us, ok? You have my permission to not be perfect. To choose the social media platforms that work best for you, or to skip them all together. To write your blog posts in the style that speaks to your heart, or to create podcasts instead. List posts, perfectly crafted headlines, all of those things? Skip them all of they don’t feel right. Try things. Break things. FAIL. Fail fast and course correct. Learn what the options are, but then choose which ones you will embrace that are right for you. Be you. Define YOUR success. Set your own goals that support the life AND the business that you want.
Embrace who you truly are, and know that we are all cheering you on. More than anything, we need you to stand up and raise your voice. Be seen and heard.