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3 Contracts Every Freelancer Needs for their Business

3 contracts every freelancer needs for their business

Launching and running your own business is no small task, and when you’re starting out, it can be overwhelming to get all the ‘to-do’s' checked off your list before you launch.  One of the most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make when first starting their business, is that they don’t give the necessary attention to the legal side of their business until it’s too late. So don't make that mistake too!

The good news is, is that you can start with just a few basic contracts to get going, and then update and add new contracts as you grow and your business matures and your needs change. 

* If you want to skip this whole blog and just start using great contracts now - check out all my contract bundles here* 

Why It's Important to Have a Basic Understanding of the Legal Side of Your Business

Navigating the legal landscape may seem daunting, but a basic understanding is key to not only legally protecting your business, but also to give you the confidence to grow. In the 12+ years I’ve worked as a business lawyer, I’ve noticed there is a big mindset shift that happens when business owners start using legit contracts. 

From a strictly legal perspective great contracts provide clarity, outline expectations, and provide a reference point when the work or relationship doesn’t go exactly as planned. Also keep in mind that your client services contract is also usually the first document and example of your professionalism that you send to your client. So not only does a great contract legally protect you, but it also helps to build trust with your clients and starts the relationship out on solid footing. 

Contracts Every Freelancer and Service Provider Needs in their Business

1. Client Services Agreement

Your Client Services Agreement is your money-maker and the cornerstone of your business relationships. This agreement sets the tone for your relationship and also is a great way for you to thoroughly consider and set out your client policies so they understand what it will be like to work with you and how the working relationship will progress. Your client contract should outline the scope of your services, payment terms, copyright ownership (if you are providing deliverables) and other important details to your working relationship. 

2. Website Terms of Use

Your website is often the first stop on your client’s journey in deciding to hire you, or even perhaps where they will make the decision to purchase from you if you offer products through your site. In either case, you should have clear and well drafted Terms of Use. Your website terms of use set out the legal terms for the general public’s use of your website, and so are different then the specific terms of working with you that would be set out in your client contract once someone has made the decision to hire you. 

Your website terms of use should likely include copyright provisions (ie, how people can and can’t use the content you provide whether free or paid, refund policies if you offer e-commerce, and disclaimers related to the content posted. Tailoring disclaimers to your specific services and content is crucial for managing expectations and protecting your intellectual property. Example of disclaimers include affiliate disclaimers, legal use disclaimers and copyright disclaimers. 

3. Privacy Policy

If you have a website, you are legally required to have a privacy policy making it a non-negotiable element for your business. Your privacy policy discloses to users of your website how you collect, use, and protect user data. In an era where privacy concerns are paramount, having a well-crafted Privacy Policy not only fulfills legal obligations but also builds trust with your audience. Addressing important elements such as data collection practices, cookie policies, and data security measures is vital. Privacy laws are constantly changing, and so it’s important to keep an eye out for changes that might affect you. I know this is challenging for small business owners, which is why we offer free updates to anyone who purchases any privacy policy from my shop - so you know you always have a compliant privacy policy!

Building a legally sound foundation for your business can feel overwhelming, but understanding and implementing these three types of contracts in your business will not only legally protect your business, but give you the confidence to grow your business knowing you have a proper legal foundation in place. If you want to start using these three types of contracts in your business ASAP, check out my contract bundles here that includes all of these contracts, plus an Independent Contractor Agreement and a Non-Disclosure Agreement

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