We all know that getting involved with someone without protection is a bad idea…so why do we ignore the need for contracts.

Over the years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a rather odd bird when it comes to how much I love working with contract language. (I swear I’m cool! Realllly!)
I love digging into a big, messy legal document and emerging with a refined, elegant version that reflects some pretty damn fine negotiations.

I know, I know, I’m kinda alone on the island on that one.

Most people aren’t a huge fan of contracts, or contract language, so they avoid using them in their own business. They decide to accept clients on a wish and a prayer that everything will go smoothly. And sometimes it does. Other times it doesn’t.

You need a contract.

BUT – that doesn’t mean you need a 100-page epic agreement. It may not even mean you need a 3-page term sheet. There’s no use in using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

How can you tell if a heavy-duty contract is required?

Though I’m not a lawyer (and this is not legal advice), my rule of thumb is that the intensity of a contract will correspond to the risk of the deal.

  • $100 piece of work that won’t break the bottom line if it goes unpaid?
  • Straightforward assistance for a long-time business bestie?

The risk there is pretty low, so you may be a-ok with just the terms on your website.

  • $50,000 12-month consulting project?
  • 35 different deliverables for a brand-new client?

Pass the sledgehammer please. The impact to you and your business if something goes hairy with these deals is significant. This is where you’ll want to capture all the nitty gritty of your deliverables and the client responsibilities in a contract. Complete with signatures.

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I have 2 resources for you to check out.

My video on the tried and tested contract review technique that’s helped me through hundreds of documents, and my article on using plain old English in your contracts – because we don’t need highfalutin legalese to protect ourselves.

How To Review A Contract Without Losing Your Mind

Why You Should Embrace Plain Ol’ English For Your Contracts

Your homework this week is to check out those 2 resources! Got it? Good. See you next time.