This is the third part of the Business Legal Systems series that discusses the bedrock business and legal foundations you need to address when building your modern business. If you’ve had that inkling that you need to get some contracts in place or make updates to the ones that you use, this is the episode for you.
Part 1- Where Do I Start? discussed how to properly setup your business and Part 2 – How to Get Your Site Legit covered how to make sure your website has everything in it that you need. In Part 3, host Brittany Ratelle, attorney for creative entrepreneurs will explain the importance of contracts including what you need and how you can respond if you get any pushback when using them.
In this episode you will learn:
- What the most common agreements are that you need for your business
- Why you need contracts even if you work with people you trust and why you definitely need them when working with friends and family
- The advantage of making your contract the “bad guy” when doing business with others
- The importance of defining roles, boundaries, and expectations when working with everyone from contractors, affiliates, and clients.
- Why anything is better than nothing and where you can get help creating contracts
- The importance of knowing the top legal terms
- Why you should NEVER sign anything that you don’t understand
- The most common agreements that creative entrepreneurs need to protect their business
Business Legal System Part 1 – Where Do I Start?
Business Legal System Part 2 – How to Get Your Site Legit
“No one ever plans on there being a problem. There’s never a problem until there’s a problem, guys. And, then it’s too late. Not too late like you’re going to die, but too late that it’s going to cost you stress and heartache and probably money and time and lots of other limited resources that you’d rather not spend.”
“To think that you could have a conversation with someone, especially about a complex deal or long-term vision you had for your company or a project or something else and that you would remember the conversation the same way, or multiple conversations, is just a bit naive.”
“If someone is so put off by signing a contract, you don’t really want them as a client.”
“Please don’t sign anything if you don’t know what’s in it. Never be afraid to ask for more time. Never be afraid to ask for a version you can edit… It is always OK and professional, and not weird at all, to say, ‘Hey, can I get this in an editable version.'”
“If you’re in business with someone and haven’t signed an operating agreement, it’s not too late. Now is always better than later.”
Most Common Agreements
Operating Agreement of Founders Agreement – This is like the prenup for your business. If you have a partner, you 100% need to have this in place. This can be an awkward conversation, but you need to address it anyway and be upfront about it. This will detail how you work together in business, who does what, along with what happens when you are decide not to continue in the partnership any longer. This document can help save relationships between you and your partner.
Client Service Agreement – This is what you need if you provide 1:1 services for your clients. This will cover the services provided, details for payments, how revisions work, and things like confidentiality. You can find a template for this in my store here.
Licensing Agreement – This is important any time you are splitting ownership rights with someone. It’s often seen in book deals and merchandising. I don’t sell this template because these tend to be very specific for each situation. It’s important you understand the terms along with what you’re getting and giving up when signing one of these. Checkout episode 13 for more information on the terms you need to know.
Influencer/Brand Sponsored Content Agreement – This is newer and something that a lot of local attorneys might not be familiar with if they don’t typically work with online business owners. This is the agreement you want if you’re doing creative campaigns and collaborations. I have this agreement and related documents in my shop including the following:
- Influencer/Brand Sponsored Content Agreement
- Podcast Guest Release Template
- Testimonial Release
- Model Release Bundle for Photography/Videography
Talent Agreement – I don’t sell these, but I do review them for people. If you want representation, then you want to know what you’re getting and what you’re giving up. (contact me for contract review pricing!)
Remember that the biggest thing you can do to protect your revenue stream is to put the right contracts in place.