June 29, 2020
At its very core, a contract is basically a relationship. This “relationship” involves two (or more) parties which have agreed to work together to accomplish a task (i.e. an individual copywriter signing a contract to work with a company for one month, a speaker agreeing to come to a specific conference on so and so date, etc.)
The Contract should work to hold each party accountable to their original agreement.
In other words, long gone are the days of just taking a person for his/her word. Yes, you may fully trust a person and “like” them, but they are still human and both parties still should be held accountable to their words (and work) especially when conducting business. Contracts help prevent conflicts and mitigate risks.
So I’m assuming you are reading this article because you are not a lawyer, and you are wondering why contracts are important for your small business!
Listen, I get it, I don’t understand “legal” verbiage and sometimes it makes me feel a bit queasy thinking about someone suing me (yes it is every small business owner’s nightmare). But even in the beginning stages of your business, you should have contracts set up in place by a lawyer who is local to your area (so that they can communicate the terms and conditions of your city and state in your contract since every state has its own regulations and policies).
This is ONE vital step you should not put off. Yes, hiring a lawyer to look over your contracts to ensure that everything falls in line with your local city and state policies will be pricey, but would you rather have peace of mind knowing that as you move forward in your business you have excellent contracts versus just “hoping” that no nightmare client will come along and tear your business apart and find loop-holes in your “piece-mealed” contract you put together by copy-pasting it from a Google search? (I feel like I hear so many nightmare stories about this scenario over and over…and it just makes me sick to my stomach)
If you are running a small business, this may seem obvious to you, but you should be treating your small business like a business and not as a glorified hobby. Part of the operations of a small business is setting up contracts in place to not only protect you as the small business owner but to also protect the people you are working with (the other party).
In addition, this also shows potential clients that you are professional and you are taking your job very seriously (and not joking around). I remember when I started implementing contracts in my own photography business, that shift really helped elevate my brand in so many ways. I even had clients email me telling me how impressed they were that I was now operating in such a professional manner.
I know this may seem very extreme, but I will not work at a session unless the other party has signed a contract. I want to protect both sides (my business and the party/client) as much as possible and have a clear paper-trail of our working relationship.
So have I terrified you? I hope not. But I do hope that I have encouraged you to take the necessary steps to protect your small business by ensuring you have contracts in place. It is so necessary to have evidence and documentation to protect BOTH parties in the event “the poop hits the fan”.
Listen, I get it, you most likely are in this small business not to read over contracts and become a lawyer yourself, so I want to point you to an incredible contract shop: The Legal Paige. The Legal Paige helps you with “the legal side of small biz ownership. In fact, they have made it effortless and approachable so small business owners can protect themselves from all the ‘what ifs’…and get back to doing what they love which is running a small business”.
So if you go to The Legal Paige, you can actually use code “DOLLY” at checkout to receive 10% OFF ANY contract order (yes as many times as you need for multiple purchases)! I love that this shop is run by a lawyer who intentionally wants to help other small business owners out!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from my link I may make a small commission at no cost to you.
If you’re still feeling like you need some help understanding the ins and outs of why having contracts in place is essential for your small business, you can click on over to enroll in my course – The Revolutionary Lab. This course was designed to help the new business owner with foundational education on how basic automation and system processes work so that they can confidently build momentum and create a better business in the beginning years (yes and this includes contracts). It’s truly designed to revolutionize your business ESP if you are a new business owner wearing 25,000 hats as a solopreneur.
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family, elopement, & branding photographer and a business educator & encourager. Dolly loves serving families, eloping couples, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. She loves capturing the joy and emotion in both digital and film photos.
She also has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Pinterest, email marketing, and time management with new business owners in an encouraging and supportive way through Pinterest 1:1 training, helpful blog posts, and other resources.
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), eating way too many sweets, and listening to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, please email her at email@example.com or fill out her contact form here.