Hmm quick post before I end my day.
Recently I had been working with quite some of my lawyer friends (due to common grassroot projects), and I felt that my knowledge of law increased by quite a bit.
So today I want to write briefly about the one very important thing I’d learnt from lawyers and other more experienced entrepreneurs. Hope this post benefits entrepreneurs who are just starting out/ freelancers/ one-off-art-project doers.
It is this: Whenever a paid project is involved, always sign a contract. That is to say, whenever money is involved, always have things in black and white. Sometimes, us entrepreneurs are too trusting, so we decide to trust just verbal promises instead of black and white documentations.
Do this no matter how much you think you trust the person who is paying you. Do this no matter how shiny/ trustworthy/ likeable the client seems to be.
Because, when shit hits the fan, shit hits the fan. I’m speaking from personal experience.
This contract must include:
- Exactly what is the project on, and what is the organisation involved;
- What you are expected to deliver, and what you are NOT expected to deliver;
- Exact remuneration;
- Contact person, or single point of contact.
Recently I met up with Samanthe of 1-Altitude, and she was sharing with me about the importance of having everything in black and white. I loved the way she puts it–
“Sometimes people think that contracts are indicative of a lack of trust, but I think the contrary. Contracts are to protect the trust between two parties.”
Also, my business mentor Raymond said this:
“The first function of a contract is for communicative purposes, not legal recourse.”
The key is this: People screw up ALL the time. Not all of the people who screw up will admit to screwing up, and sometimes they might even push the blame to whoever they can push it to.
Having an agreement in black and white is definitive, provides no room for doubt, and points both party to focusing on reaching a SOLUTION instead of unproductive finger-pointing.
Don’t you wish there were more people with common sense around. 🙂
Hope this helps!