Hi, love! I hear this question about your contract all the time…
Think of a contract like an exchange of promises between two parties. One party is agreeing to provide a service or product, and the other is agreeing to provide payment for that service or product. Sans legalese, it’s like the world’s most official pinky promise. 🤭
How do I know if my contract actually protects me?
You want solid legal contracts because you want to…
- Get paid
- Protect yourself from getting sued
- Look legit
But what if your contract doesn’t do any of those things? And what type of contract do you need based on the relationship you’re going to be having with the other party involved?
That wouldn’t be good ; )
The problem is if you’re using a contract that isn’t tailored to you and your business, it may not be a legally binding contract and it might not actually cover you.
I see this a TON with small business owners, when you use free contracts, contracts your school provided, or those you “borrowed” from a friend.
Luckily, I studied contract law, so today I’m sharing 6 things your contracts need to ensure they actually protect you.
Let’s do this!
1. Industry Specific Contracts
There’s industry-specific language you need in your contracts to explain who you are, what you do, what you don’t do, and the scope of your work with the client. If you’re a coach, it’s especially important that your contracts flesh out your scope of practice.
If you don’t, your contract may not actually cover the work you’re doing with your client (and therefore, may not protect you).
2. Business Specific Contract Policies
No matter what type of business you have, you should have your own business policies. One of the things I teach clients the most is how (most of the time) there’s no 1 right policy — but rather that you have a policy that’s written (correctly) into your contracts. That’s what makes them enforceable ; )
Want to know a secret? Contracts are usually slanted in the person’s direction who provides the service (and contract) to the client.
That doesn’t mean it harms your client — it’s just that your business needs certain protections your non-biz client might not need.
Obviously, I’d love to see your contract written from your perspective.
Heck, I’d even take a neutral one.
But sometimes what I see is someone using a (freebie or “borrowed”) contract that actually advantages the client, and HARMS them, just because they didn’t know what it said.
4. Legal Language
Contracts don’t have to be all fancy lawyer language. I actually prefer to mix in lots of regular old English so they’re easily understood.
But the truth is, if there ever is an issue, courts are going to look for some of that fancy lawyer language in your contracts. Without it, the contract may not protect you.
5. Plain English
It’s super beneficial to have certain terms (not all) written in plain English so you and your client clearly understand what’s being agreed to. When your client better understands the terms, she’s more likely to pay correctly, on time, respect boundaries, etc.
6. Contract Process
Contracts need to be sent, signed, and completed the right way to be enforceable. (Is just just me or do you also sing “sign, sealed, delivered — I’m yourrrss!” every time you read this??)
How much would that suck to learn your contract is no good because you missed a step in the onboarding process (or maybe you skipped over something in your state law that is required in your contract)?
Luckily, I’m here to make sure you send out legit contracts that actually cover what you do + how you work with people so you get paid, protect your biz, and sleep tight at night.
And as always, you can always get in touch with any questions. I’m always here to help!
PS. Not all contracts are created equal. If you’re not sure your contracts have what they need to protect you, head to the DIY legal template shop to browse my fill-in-the-blank, instant-download contracts + website policies. You get lifetime access to your template, email access to me, and a ridiculously-helpful How-To Video Tutorial with each template.
PPS. If you need help learning how to register your business + get paid + protect your business AND you need contracts and policies, learn more about the Ultimate Bundle™.