I was recently scrolling through social media and I saw this line “Contracts are only good for honest people.” and nothing could be truer. I would love to share with you this perfect one-page contract template that just makes people do as agreed to. The truth is there isn’t any such template.
The truth is that in today’s age intellectual property and work is the main commodity yet people don’t see the value in paying you for it. They think if you put it out there then it is just as much their idea now as it is yours. NO. Nope. Noda.
No matter if we are talking about contracts to protect intellectual property or a simple work agreement, some people will honor it and some people won’t it is just that simple. So you must make your contracts to protect you first then your client. Yep, this is one of those situations where you must put your own oxygen mask on first.
Now there is no such thing as a perfect contract. At least I have never seen one. Long or short, super detailed or more inspirational- something is always missing if an issue arises.
Here are my top 3 things every effective contract needs.
1. Forget about the length go for the logistics. Besides listing the deliverables and what that means detail out work styles and acceptable behavior. On one level you are being very clear about what to expect and you are giving them a mental framework of how they should behave
2. Give mile markers out. Yes, this can be scary for you and them to know that at these mile markers the relationship can be over. But these mile markers also allow you a legal way to back out if the relationship just isn’t working.
3. Make it in your favor. From the city and state it is executed in, to limiting revisions and defining your role in the project - write the contract so that it creates a relationship structure that allows you to win and work most effectively. The truth is your contract needs to be common sense first and legally binding second. It is this combination that transforms your contract from just a formality to the basis of your working relationship. This way your contract becomes your guidepost on what is to be done, when, and to what standard.