Guess what? You can put what you want inside your contract. Your contract is a tool that connects you with your client and shapes your working relationship. It represents you, so own it!
Write your contract in a conversational style that feels and sounds like you. Being a business person doesn’t mean you have to sound stuffy, formal or emotionless. Bring that same passion and enthusiasm to your contract that you do to your work. Be you.
How you write your contract matters for two important reasons. Consistency and Trust.
You’re building a brand new relationship with a new client. It’s almost like dating. While you’re in the midst of figuring out how great you’re going to be together, surprises aren’t good. Clients who meet a warm, friendly you then read a cold contract filled with legalese are faced with confusing question. Which one if the real you?
Consistency builds trust. Trust builds connection. Connection and understanding are what drive clients and referrals to emotionally smart entrepreneurs. Your contract is a tool that creates an irresistible experience clients love to rave about and grows your business.
Try writing your contract with a light-hearted tone. You can always go back and make it more formal later if you want. You want to include the basic elements. The best way to think of those elements is to think like a detective. Or maybe a journalist. You want to include:
- What are you promising to do, you and your client (the offer)
- When and how is the offer accepted and when it expires
- An indication you desire to be legally bound by you and your client
- What’s the exchange of value (the consideration)
- What are the essential details, i.e. Who, what, by when)
Your goal is to make sure that anyone else who reads your agreement can understand what you and your client intended to do and all the relevant details.
Right about now you might be thinking that a template or borrowing a contract from a friend sounds like a great idea. Totally understandable. The process of writing your own contract seems daunting, and there’s a worry about the consequences if you screw things up, I know. Let’s look at that for a minute.
Your contract is a tool for your personal as well as business growth. The process of thinking about what you want to include and figuring out your language stretches you as a person and businessperson. It’s an exercise that builds your resilience and confidence muscles, which are so critical for you as someone who works for yourself. Once you know your truth…
- you won’t work weekends
- you’re not the babying type
- bossy clients scare you
- you like to start your day at 11 am
- whatever floats your boat…
You can choose consciously own your truths and use them to shape your business. Suppose you’re a stickler for accountability, but don’t want to confront clients about it. There are several ways you can share your expectations without getting up in somebody’s grill.
- Establish commitment as a core value in your Client Manifesto (more on this another time).
- Write up the benefits of making a commitment to the end result in your marketing materials
- Include a clause in the responsibilities section of your contract.
- Highlight that clause during your onboarding conversation with clients
- Showcase truly committed clients and their great results in your newsletter
After communicating your message about accountability in so many venues , directly and indirectly, the get-er-done types will be happy to find you and the dawdlers will not be interested. And you won’t have to suffer, except maybe from smiling over so many great clients.
Your contract is a tool that helps you build the business you want, the one you dreamed of. It’s a springboard that launches you into a thoughtful, inquisitive conversation with your potential clients about how you can meet your mutual goal, to get the best result possible, and have fun doing it together.
I so appreciate you for reading, and I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. What resonated with you?