Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Hurry Up and Fail blog. Today’s blog is super special because I find that it’s incredibly important and I can count, like on both hands, over the last three days, how many times I have seen this fail happen in the creative industry. So that’s saying a lot. At least ten times in the last three days, I have seen this failure, time and time and again and, I’m not going to stop seeing it, which is what kind of breaks my heart, is that I see it constantly over and over and over again. So, without further ado, I want to give you all the goods right away and, that failure, is contracts and not having a contract or having a bad contract, but mostly, it’s about not having a contract at all.
I have seen way too many creative entrepreneurs that get into a pickle and they say, “What am I supposed to do now?” And, guess what? The first thing I ask them is, “What does your contract say?” And, when I get that blank stare of, “Yeah. I don’t have a contract.” Then, it breaks my heart because you’re not protecting yourself. You need a contract whether or not you are the one providing goods and services or you’re providing compensation for goods and services. It does not matter who you are in the party system, if you are the receiving end or the giving end, it does not matter. Either way, you need to have a contractual agreement between your two parties so, that way, you can say, “This is what we need and this is the compensation.” So that way, everyone knows that you’re on the same page.
And, it doesn’t have to be compensation base. It can be a trade base or it can be something that is a service that is provided for free in exchange for experience or knowledge. So, even though no money is exchanging hands, if there is a trade of some value or there is knowledge or skill of some value that is being traded for another, you still need to have a contractual agreement on there because, at the end of the day, if your other party decides that they don’t want to follow through on their part of the agreement, then that’s on you. That is a hard lesson that you have to now learn and move on with and deal with.
So, anytime that I see conflicts arise within different groups, within different conversations, about products and services being exchanged for compensation, the first thing that’s questioned is whether or not there’s a contract and that is where almost all of your solutions can lie if you have one, but if you don’t, the solutions are much, much, much more complicated because, finding resolution for something when you don’t have a contract, is going to be extremely difficult, heartbreaking, and painful.
So, today, contracts. Pay attention to your contracts. Even if you’re giving something away for free in order to get exposure or experience or whatnot, have a contract. Having a contract protects you and it protects them and it just lays out the who, what, when, and why and how of things. It makes it very, very general so, that way, at least you know what’s going on. It doesn’t have to be super fancy if you’re just a informal little contract or agreement or whatnot, but if you’re doing something that has a lot of terms and conditions or has a lot of different payment options or payment plans or, even just one payment for one small product or service, have a contract.
There are lots of lawyers out there. There’s a lot of contracts that you can purchase online. You can purchase pre-written contracts that you can just go ahead and plop in your name and your business and then plug in your products or services and let that go. If you have a certain customer management database that you use or interface, sometimes, those come with contracts or standard contracts that you can just go ahead and modify, otherwise, they usually have resources on lawyers that they recommend or places online where you can go ahead and buy templates, or you can shop locally.
I know I have two local attorneys here within my area. They’re within 10 miles of my house, that I can go to and they specialize in small businesses and in contracts. So, for them, it takes them 10 to 15 minutes to whip up a generic contract because it’s pretty standard on their end and that doesn’t cost all that much in order to protect your business. So, definitely make sure that you take the time to have a contract.
If you’ve ever not been paid for your service or if you’ve ever hired someone for their service and then you’re going to pay them, have a contract. Have a contract. Make sure that you’re protecting yourself. I cannot stress that enough. I know I’ve said that a lot in this short video, but have a contract, no matter what, and when you do get a contract, read through that sucker.
Alright. I know some contracts are like 80 pages or whatever and that might be a little big unrealistic to read every single line, but most contracts are not that big and you can just go ahead and skim through it, read through it, make sure that everything fits in place, and that it’s a fair agreement on both parties. Super important and, if you don’t like to do it, you know, hand it to a friend or an assistant that can go through it and look at your contract for you, but certainly have one to protect yourself and to make sure that, when you’re providing products and services out there, you are getting the compensation that you need for it.
Also, it sets those expectations because maybe you provide products and services, but your client is assuming that you’re going to be giving more than what is listed in the contract and, when they come back and say, “Well, you didn’t give me X, Y, and Z.”, you can educate them and explain that perhaps there was a miscommunication, but in your contract, you’ve agreed to give A, B, and C, but not X, Y, and Z. And that will help resolve the issue because you have something concrete to go back to. It’s not about emotions. It’s not about he said, she said situations. It is about the facts and what is there. And that’s really hard to argue with. So, always have that contract so you have something to go back to and to reference.
That is my tip for today on the Hurry Up and Fail. So, if you have done this before, that’s great. Now, learn and grow from there. If you haven’t, then Hurry Up and Fail. Get to that situation, I don’t want you to do this, but I know that most people don’t learn properly until they’ve actually gone through the situation and, maybe you think, “Well, this is a friend.”, or, “This is professional.”, or, “This is someone I truly trust.”, or maybe it’s your sibling, right? Or you best friend since first grade, either way, have that contract in place to protect you and them and, especially, if you guys do have a really close relationship, having that contract protects your relationship because you can go back to it.
RUINING FRIENDSHIPS – PUT A STOP TO IT
Because the worst thing, is having a really, really, really close friend or family member that you absolutely love, that you’ve had a life long relationship with, and because you didn’t have a contract in place and they didn’t pay you for a product or service and now you’re feeling resentful about them, and that resentment, is only going to hurt your relationship that you’ve built a lifetime with them, and it’s painful to watch and I have seen it time and time and again. So, don’t do that. Don’t let that be you and, if you are going to do it, hurry up and do it. Do it quickly. Do it now. Learn from it, and don’t do it again.
Thank you so much. That was today’s episode. I hope to see you again soon. Bye.