26: The Importance of Having Contracts in Place for Your Creative Business (The Systems & Workflow Magic Podcast featuring The Legal Paige)

Are you legally legit in your business? In my own experience, I’ve seen how important contracts can be in the process of growing your business. So today I’m sharing three reasons why you need to incorporate contracts into your creative business. Plus I’m even sharing my favorite place to grab contracts—The Legal Paige Contract Shop. If you’re on the fence about purchasing a contract for your business, now is the time to get on it. 

The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast is brought to you by Dolly DeLong Education. This is a podcast for creative business owners who want to learn tangible steps to automate their business through workflows, systems, tools, and strategy in order to go from scattered to streamlined with purpose. Because even muggles can become automated wizards.

The Legal Paige Contract Shop

Today’s episode is brought to you by The Legal Paige Contract Shop, my go-to shop for all things legal in my business! Plus, if you’re listening to this episode during the week it airs, the shop is currently running its biggest sale of the year! That’s right, from May 23- 26, 2022, you can find contracts for up to 40% off! Don’t wait, because the best sales happen at the start of the week:

May 23 & 24 2022 | 40% OFF
May 25, 2022 | 30% OFF
May 26, 2022 | 20% OFF

Plus when you use the code DOLLY10, you’ll get an additional $10 OFF!

Shop Now at The Legal Paige Contract Shop >>

Review the Show Notes

Contracts serve as a record of commitments (2:37)

Your business should not be treated like a hobby (5:22)

You are most likely not a lawyer (8:42)

Bonus tip on why you need to incorporate contracts into your business (11:55) 

Setting up systems for your contracts (16:05)


The Legal Paige Contract Shop

Contract Blog Post


Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the systems and workflow magic podcast where I help entrepreneurs go from scattered to streamlined in their creative businesses. I’m your host, Dolly DeLong, a wife, a mom, and a photographer turned systems educator. Join me every week as we have conversations centered around creating tactical workflows, and automations in your business. Now, let’s make some strategic workflow magic. Hey, systems and workflow magic podcast listeners,

I’ve got some amazing news for you. If you are listening to this episode live, it’s May 23, you’ll want to tune in because TLP shop or the legal page contract shop is having their biggest sale of the year this week only. They are not just doing one 40% off day, but who days where all of their contracts and clauses are going to be 40% off. So if you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a contract for your creative business, this is the week to get on it, my friend. And again, be sure to go to the show notes to click on my affiliate link to take advantage of this 40% off sale. And again, it only happens two times a year. So take advantage of this is something that you are wanting to implement in your business ASAP. A quick recap of the sale states. So there are three different sale dates. So Monday and Tuesday, which is May 23 and May 24.

It will be 40% off all contracts and clauses. And then on Wednesday, May 25, it will go down to 30% off all contracts and clauses. And then on Thursday, May 26, it will go down to 20% off all contracts and clauses. So if ever you take advantage of Monday and Tuesday, May 23 and 24th of 2022. And again, be sure to head on over to the show notes to click over on my affiliate link, since I love representing TLP and you will get instant access to the sale. So let’s get into the three reasons why having contracts in place for your creative small business is important as you grow and scale your business.

Reason number one is contracts serve as a record of commitments for both parties. So at its very core, a contract is basically a relationship. And this relationship involves two or more parties, which have agreed to work together to accomplish a task. So for example, individual copywriters signing a contract to work with a company for one month, or a speaker agreeing to come to a specific conference on such and such date, etc. The contract should work to hold each party accountable to their original agreement. So in other words, Long gone are the days of just taking a person for their word. Yes, you may fully trust a person and like them, but they are still human, and both parties still should be held accountable for their words and work, especially when conducting business. So contracts help prevent conflicts and hopefully mitigate some risks. Yes, you may still have a conflict between parties because of unforeseen, unknown circumstances. But I am a firm believer that you should have a way to record your commitment to the service or job you will be committing to. And the client needs to know the terms and conditions. So it’s a two-way street. I even send out contracts to clients who I’m offering complementary services to Yes. So at least like one to two times a year. I gift a family with a family photography session for a variety of reasons. But I still want them to know that I will show up professionally and treat them with the same level of professionalism that I show with my paying clients. Plus, I want them to know that this is a job okay? Even though it’s an unpaid service, even though it’s a gift, I’m still providing a service to them, mostly so that there is no confusion. Nobody takes advantage of each other.

That’s never happened to me but I still want them to know like hey I’m going to be treating this, like a professional job like you paid for it. And here are the terms and conditions and they know going in. But number one, again, repeating a contract serves as a record of commitments for both of the parties involved. And it’s a two-way street. Reason number one leads me to Reason number two, that your business should not be treated as a hobby, alright, if you’re running a small creative business, this may seem very obvious to you. But you should be treating your small business, like a business and not like a glorified hobby, okay. Part of the operations of a small business is setting up contracts in place to not only protect you, as a small business owner but also to protect the people you are working with the other party. So again, it’s a two-way street. In addition, this also shows your future and potential clients that you are professional, and you are taking your job very seriously, you’re not joking around. So I remember when I started implementing contracts in my own business, remember, I am a family and branding photographer, in addition to systems and workflow educator, so when I started implementing contracts for my photography clients years ago, that shift really helped elevate my brand in so many ways. I even had clients emailing me telling me how impressed they were that I was now operating in such a professional manner, it really meant a lot to me, because I, you know, you know that imposter syndrome can kick in.

But once I started taking these steps, even with contracts, people started to notice. And I know this may seem very extreme, but I will not work at a session unless that client has signed a contract because I want to protect both sides, I want to protect myself, and I want to protect that client as well. And I also want to have a clear paper trail of our working relationship. I don’t want it to just be confirmed verbally or through a text message or through an email thread. I’ve wanted to be confirmed on a contract. And so that, again, there’s a layer of professionalism and they see that this is not just a hobby, this is my livelihood. So that’s another reason why I have implemented contracts in the past four years of my business I want to elevate my business and show people this is not a hobby anymore. Yes, it was a hobby. For me, it was a hobby from 2006 all the way to 2016 2017. But now it’s an actual business. And so I want you to think about your creative business the same way people might think and say about your creative business. Oh, that’s so cute that he or she is doing this on the side. That’s so adorable.

But it’s not adorable. If you are actually bringing in money and you are serving a purpose. With your creative business, you are taking care of yourself, your family, and your loved ones. So again, treat it like a business, not like a hobby. So this leads me to point number three of why contracts are essential. You are most likely not a lawyer. So I’m assuming if you are listening to this podcast episode, specifically this contract episode, you’re not a lawyer, you’re probably wondering, okay, well, Dolly, how can I start incorporating contracts into my creative business? Or why should I incorporate contracts into my business, like this reason may seem very silly and very simple? But I’m just going to point out the obvious you’re not a lawyer. And I get it. I don’t understand legal verbiage. And sometimes it makes me feel a bit queasy thinking about someone suing me or getting upset at me and taking you to court. I think it’s most small business owners’ nightmares like every small business owner has this dread that somebody is going to sue them even in the beginning stages of their business. You should have contracts set up in a 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 because you know every state has its own regulations and policies.

So I would argue this is one vital step you should not put off. Alright? So yes, I know hiring a lawyer to look over your contracts to ensure that everything falls in line with your local city and your state policies. It is pricey. But let me ask you this, 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 loopholes in your piecemealed contract you put together by copy-pasting it from a Google search because I feel like I hear so many nightmare stories about this scenario over and over. And it makes me so sick to my stomach. So I don’t want you to listen to this episode and say, well, Dolly said, I need to hire a lawyer right now right off the bat and have them create a contract for me. Because most likely, you’re starting off, you don’t have a really big budget within your creative business. So my advice is to purchase a template from a contract shop that has been created by a lawyer who has contracts that are based on your line of work. And so again, the legal page contract shop is a great place to start. That’s where I purchase all of my contracts for my own business. And that’s something that I love promoting and telling other creative business owners about.

So this is one step that I highly recommend looking into. And then later on down the line, have a lawyer who is within your city and state and who knows all the rules and regulations of your specific city and state, they can help you update the terms and conditions. Okay, so I know I said that I would have three reasons. But I just thought of another reason. So Bonus Tip number four, this may seem obvious, but contracts also lay out the details of the services and the job you will perform. So yes, I know I went over this a little in point number one. But something I noticed with a lot of creative business owners is this. They want to be so approachable and be more of a friend rather than a business, which is fine, I think it’s important to be friendly and very likable and approachable. But you should still establish what your services include in a contract so that you’re not taken advantage of. So I have two examples of like what I mean by taking advantage of so example number one, let’s say you are a branding and logo designer, designer, and you are hired out by another business owner, to create a cohesive brand identity designed for their business, I’m probably butchering the terms, but just go with me on this. So if you do not have it stated in your contract, how many revisions can take place, there may be an issue with that business owner never being satisfied with how something looks. And they may go back and forth with you about constantly having you design and redesign something for them long after their time with you ends. So in your contract, you’ll need a place to explain your process. And just what all the expectations are, how many revisions are included in this design process, and so on and so forth.

And again, let me just repeat that, yes, like there might be a verbal agreement. But just because somebody agrees to something verbally, they may change their mind, or they may forget that they have agreed to something. So it’s called being human and also like, things change. And so you need to make sure to have your processes in place in the contract so that there is a clear paper trail for you. A second example could be you are a family photographer. And let’s say you are hosting many sessions for a very specific date and time. So in this specific contract, you may have a family photography contract that you always use, but maybe you can create a specific mini-session contract. And you may want to outline in that contract exactly how many images a person will get and how this differs from a full session. Just so that when the family or the couple arrives, they don’t make you feel like you have to deliver all the images and they make you stay for a two-hour session when it’s just a 15-minute session. So I’ve heard this happening to so many beginner photographers who just feel bad for the client and they feel guilty. And so sometimes you have to set your feelings aside. And you have to establish what the terms and conditions are in the contract and treat your business like a business. And I know that’s really hard for a lot of creative business owners because they want to be friendly and seem friendly, and you can still be so full of grace and be incredibly friendly.

But you also have to be very firm with your boundaries and with your contracts. So a contract helps you establish that I could go on and on, there are so many reasons why having a contract in place for your creative business is important. And I’m not trying to scare you into buying, like hiring all the lawyers and getting all the contracts, I’m just trying to encourage you to start thinking of contracts in a new way, especially if you have not established that for your business quite yet. Now, as a systems person, now I’m putting on my systems hat. Once you have a contract in place, make sure you are taking full advantage of your CRM, like Dubsado were HoneyBook. And you can have your contract in your CRM, and you can have a workflow setup. So a contract is sent out to a client once they confirm that they want to work with you, or it can be automated once they pay a deposit. So this workflow client journey is entirely up to you.

Plus, having a contract in your CRM helps you not have to feel so scattered, and you can stop having to scan and send off PDFs for a client to sign and then wait for them to scan them and send them back to you. You can easily streamline this in Dubsado Very, very easily. So to wrap up our conversation, the four points of why you should consider having contracts in your business include one, they serve as a record of commitments to both parties. Alright, so they’re protecting both you as the business owner and your client. Reason number two, your business should not be treated as a hobby. All right. Reason number three, you are most likely not a lawyer. So consider investing in a contract template from a lawyer who has a contract shop within their business that actually sells contracts that are in alignment with your business or right. And then, later on, you can have a lawyer within your city or state, look over your contract to see if it fits your city and state’s terms and conditions. And number four contracts. Also, layout the details of the services and job you will perform. So again, the terms and conditions and it establish a professional relationship between you and the party that you are about to serve.

Now, again, if you are listening and are a creative business owner, and you are ready to find a solution to implement a contract in your business, remember TLP or the legal page is hosting their huge contract shop sale. So for this week only, and from Monday, May 23 to Thursday, May 26 of 2022 they are going to have a contract and clause shop sale for 40% off for two days. And then on the day, three will go down to 30%. And on day four, it’ll go down to 20%. So take advantage of Monday and Tuesday’s sale for sure. And again, be sure to go to the show notes to click on my affiliate link to be taken to this 40% off sale. And let me remind you this only happens two times a year. So please take advantage of it. I’m going to be taking advantage of it send me a DM and let me know what contract you decided to purchase. So overall, I hope this encourages you in so many ways. But mostly I hope and encouragement to you to start thinking about how to incorporate contracts in your creative business.

I will talk to you all next week. I hope you have a wonderful stream-lined week. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to the systems and workflow magic podcast. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at dolly DeLonge photography.com forward slash podcast. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcast player, be sure to screenshot this episode, share it to your stories and tag me at dolly DeLong education over on Instagram. Until next time, go make some strategic workflow magic.

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