Kathleen Shannon 0:00
All right, the being boss book is here,
Emily Thompson 0:01
and you can buy it wherever books are sold and bosses. It's beautiful.
Kathleen Shannon 0:08
If you've bought the book and want to help us make it a bestseller, please leave us a rating and review on Amazon. Hello, and welcome to being boss,
Emily Thompson 0:18
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.
Kathleen Shannon 0:22
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm Christina sclera. And I am being bossy.
Emily Thompson 0:30
Today we're talking about contracts for creatives with Christina scalera. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss club. Hey, if
Kathleen Shannon 0:43
you're listening to this podcast and you haven't quite made the leap to working for yourself, there's a good chance that your idea of how challenging it will be to be your own boss won't exactly match up with the reality of how challenging it's actually going to be. Now this is not an attempt to talk you out of it. In fact, it is the exact opposite because there is so much amazing help available, you've just got to know where to look. Our friends at freshbooks make ridiculously easy cloud accounting for small businesses. And I've helped millions of folks just like you make the brave leap to being their own bosses. Using freshbooks is kind of like having your own administrative assistant who's got your back 24 seven. So you can set automatically payment reminders. And you can have freshbooks do the chasing so goodbye awkward money conversations. And with the new proposal feature, you can create a living professional document for your project and have your client sign online so you can get to work faster. It is so incredibly legit. To see how freshbooks can support you in your quest for becoming boss. We want to offer our listeners an unrestricted 30 day free trial Just go to freshbooks comm slash at being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.
Emily Thompson 2:03
Christina sclera is the attorney and founder behind the contract shop a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, wedding professionals and coaches. When she's not staring at a computer or awkwardly standing on cafe chairs for the perfect overhead latte photo. You can find her in the woods doing things that are sometimes dangerous but always fun, like riding horses, skiing and reluctantly camping.
Kathleen Shannon 2:29
Christina, thank you so much for joining us here at being boss. Yeah, thanks, Kathleen. And Emily. So one of the things that we get asked a lot about is the legal side of things. And we have our lawyer and we've become like really reliant on just throwing things over to her. But I know that there are ways that you can DIY it or certain things that really take priority whenever it comes to like what systems you have, whenever it comes to being legally legit in place. So we wanted to bring you on to talk all things contracts, and just making sure that you are on the up and up in your creative business. So that really you're protected.
Christina Scalera 3:12
Yeah, for sure. I know. Emily has a great blog post where she has realized the the effectiveness of contract, shall we say, and I love autumn. I know she she works with you guys. She's fantastic. So contracts are definitely something that's incredibly important for anybody that's just starting out. It's kind of funny. The first thing I always say, if somebody wants to get legit, right? everybody's like, I don't want to go to jail. I'm starting a business. What do I do? The first thing that most I
Emily Thompson 3:40
think that's so funny, because that is like people start a business and they immediately are afraid, like go to the most worst case scenario possible is like I'm going to go to jail. And I've heard people say that as well. So I think I think it's funny that I mean, it's funny that we all go there. And I'm so glad. So glad that there are things that you can do along the way to keep you from having to go there. Because it's a long journey between the two,
Kathleen Shannon 4:08
I think I've had the opposite experience where I'm like this America, I don't even need see. But as we've grown our businesses, I really am at the point where I'm seeing the benefits of a contract, not even just from a legal side or not getting in trouble or getting sued. But really just making sure that everything's really super clear in what it is that you're doing, what the timeline is how much it costs, what you're actually delivering. I think that now at this point, I'm seeing just like your accounting systems or your project management systems, having these systems set up from the get go is so important, even if you're not afraid of going to jail.
Christina Scalera 4:49
Yeah, so who makes lists like who loves making lists? I am such a list maker. I think of contracts the same way. I like to think of them as just what you're talking about. Kathleen is a list, I've also made the analogy of like a toy bucket. So when you have kids, you know that they put their stuff all over the place. And until they're a certain age, it stays there. It's all over the place. And that's kind of like our business without a contract, our communications with our clients are all over the place, we don't know, did we promise this client this service and this client a different service, and we invoice this client via Pay Pal, but then we sent this client an invoice in a PDF, and they sent us a check. And so like, when we don't have contracts and systems that house those contracts, what happens is we have those toys all over the living room. And so I like to think of a contract kind of as a toy box where, like, yeah, maybe it doesn't all line up perfectly inside. But if you have that toy box, if you have that contract, you're in a much better situation to go and find the things that you need later on. So if client needs to cancel, you know where to look, you're not looking all over your text message records, your emails, everything, you just go to that one spot and you find where in that list that contract that you've talked about this. So in that way, I like to kind of make it more playful and fun and think of it as your business toybox.
Kathleen Shannon 6:14
Okay, I want to get really actionable here and just really start to dig in. So what do you think are three contracts every creative entrepreneur should have?
Christina Scalera 6:24
Emily Thompson 9:19
Love it. And all of those are pretty basic, like those aren't the kinds of things that you have to go get a lawyer to draw up for you and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but most of those things are just like common sense boundaries that you outline and acts and expectations that you define when it comes to doing the very basic parts of your business.
Christina Scalera 9:41
Yeah, absolutely. It's the first thing that I think anybody needs when they get started with a business even before an LLC. I mean, maybe get your business bank accounts and your aim that's all free. So that's always a good start. But yeah, I think the contracts come either in first place or close second to that Ei on a bank account.
Kathleen Shannon 10:01
Christina Scalera 10:41
Sure. So your terms and conditions are the contract that the user of a website agrees to, they can also be the terms and conditions that a course purchaser, or a digital download purchaser agrees to I know in Shopify, teachable Thinkific, like kajabi, all of these platforms have the ability for you and even Squarespace to they all have the ability for you to add like a little check button. And you guys have probably noticed this when you go to checkout somewhere. If you go to buy a course, or, you know, just get a digital download or buy a product of a shop, it usually will say I agree to the terms and conditions of XYZ shop. And usually there's a hyperlink. So x y z shop is like hyperlinks through to the terms and conditions of that website. Okay, here's
Kathleen Shannon 11:28
where I have a question. Okay. She's like ever clicking through I know, even whenever I'm updating my iPhone, I'm like scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, I agree, check update,
Emily Thompson 11:38
and I have my firstborn child.
Kathleen Shannon 11:41
So yes, anyone actually reading these? And if they're not, because I really don't think anybody is like, then what purpose do they serve?
Christina Scalera 11:51
Okay, I am loving your questions. These are amazing. I love the challenge. So the first thing I would say is people are reading. I've had people email me all the time about my terms and conditions. And the way that I, you are these people,
Kathleen Shannon 12:07
I'm so annoyed by these people who are emailing you about your terms and conditions,
Christina Scalera 12:13
Kathleen Shannon 15:01
can I can I just inject some commentary. So I love the idea of getting more plain speak, and bringing in your terms and conditions in regular parts of your website. So maybe even in the FAQ part of your E course page. But also what I'm hearing you say is, whenever you are putting it in plain speak yourself, you're not referring to it as terms and conditions, you're referring it to it as like a refund policy. So maybe even I can see on your checkbox, instead of saying, I have read the terms and conditions, which, like most of us, we check and don't read. I'm saying, Are you familiar with our refund policy, or the thing that you might get the most emails about that are problematic for whatever it is that you're selling? Or the things that you get a lot of questions about, maybe rephrase it in that way? Like, are you familiar with the refund policy, or I have read the refund policy, and that clicks through to and maybe even says something to make it 100%? on the up and up? Have you read the refund policy and the rest of the terms and conditions? You know, and so I think that this could be a really great way to not only be on the legal up and up, but also to have your website, you know, as Emily would say, to have your website working for you, in a way that probably saves you some customer support as well.
Emily Thompson 16:20
Right. And I also want to throw in here, despite Kathleen's confusion about terms and conditions and privacy policies, anyone who's purchased on being boss is totally solid trust.
Kathleen Shannon 16:32
Yeah, it's someone the big bucks to handle.
Emily Thompson 16:36
Taking care of Kathleen is just unfamiliar, she doesn't need to be it's fine.
Kathleen Shannon 16:41
Christina Scalera 16:47
Sure. Okay. So we've defined the terms and conditions, which is just that that user agreement with your website. Also, just side note, this is a really helpful place, if you do fashion, blogging, or makeup blogging, if you're creating one of those roundup posts, and you want to know like, what can I use from support as website, this is a great place to like, on the other end of things, go and find that on their sites and look for what you can use because people are always like, Can I use their photos? Can I use their whatever
Kathleen Shannon 17:14
they want. But also, people usually lean toward being really conservative whenever it comes to their terms and conditions. And probably privacy policies. Like if you had to put up a terms and conditions to even enter a site and say, like, I I've read this, and I agree to all of this, like, you probably not go to any website, you'd be like, I'm scared, like, I'm scared to be anywhere and go anywhere. I mean, I could be wrong here. But
Christina Scalera 17:42
Emily Thompson 19:59
Right. And so it's called fornia I think California has tighter laws even than most other states, which is something to always consider.
Christina Scalera 20:07
Kathleen Shannon 21:01
Emily Thompson 21:48
Right? And if you don't, I found that just going to support for your website platform, they can usually tell you those things as well, it may take a little longer for you to get those answers. But that's always a good place.
Kathleen Shannon 22:01
Is this where you're telling me I should have googled it instead? But you know what? I know still that I don't speak that language. That's fine. That's fine. Leo,
Emily Thompson 22:14
doesn't have the ability to go to a web developer, you can go to your hosting platforms knowledge base.
Christina Scalera 22:22
Yeah, for sure. Or I mean, we have lots of blog articles about this too, just because it's becoming a much hotter topic. I don't know if you guys saw all the stuff on Instagram lately, where the FTC really cracked down on influencers who weren't disclosing that they were getting affiliate commissions, essentially, from products, they would have, you know, hashtag ad and that was it. And it was like, kind of buried down below in the comments or something, that that's really problematic. That's something that they consider a big No, no. And so you may have even noticed on Instagram now It asks, one of the options is like add to Facebook ad to Twitter, the next option down from that, I believe, I don't have it up in front of me at this very moment. But it's like, is this a sponsored post? Or is this some kind of commissioned content, and you can actually put who is sponsoring the post, so you guys will start to notice that instead of a location. You can see I've already seen it, where people are writing out who the sponsor is, because this, I mean, privacy law is something that is always going to be changing. It's no secret that lawyers are and the legal system in whatever country you're in is incredibly slow, comparatively to the development of the Internet, and just different practices and things that are happening online. And so it's caught, let you know, the legal system lawyers, we're all constantly trying to keep up and keep you guys safe, and make sure that you know where information needs to be disclosed, it is and so for sure, I would definitely, at least check in with this about once a year. You know, we sell the template in our shop just because it comes with lifetime updates. And so whenever something changes, I'm obviously a super nerd about this kind of stuff. And I love watching those changes happen and then changing our template, or even just doing what I can to inform people for free on the blog is is always something I'm trying Yeah,
Kathleen Shannon 24:12
I just want to say is your blog a good place for people to stay up to date on all the all the things? Yeah, Guardian social and their own websites and all of that. Yeah, I
Christina Scalera 24:23
love writing about current issues. I mean, it's it's interesting, it's it's more relevant and resonates with more people than this is what a contract is. And this is why you know, so I really like to stay up to date. And I like to kind of push those kind of hot topics. And the best way to find the stuff is honestly I love having that giant search bar at the top, you can just search for whatever you're looking for. And the great thing about Shopify is I can see immediately Oh, people are searching for this and they're not finding results. And I can create an article about that. So then the next time someone does search for that, I can see that so
Emily Thompson 25:00
Kathleen Shannon 25:49
Christina Scalera 29:17
Yeah, I mean, okay, so I'll try to answer these in order. One of the things that I hear from a lot of people is that they lack boundaries with their clients. And I think that's in part because we send off contracts and call it a day and say, Well, you know, fingers crossed, I hope they read it. And then we're really upset and disturbed when the client is calling us at midnight on a Friday and wondering why we're not getting back to them, even though in our contract at states, our office hours, something like that. So one really great way to get around this is by sending a client magazine with your contract. You can include this in the proposal, you can send it right after they signed the contract. I like to be transparent and send everything from the get go But one of the so if you don't know what to client magazine is, it's usually just a short PDF, it literally can look like a magazine. A lot of people like to design these in InDesign, you can pick these up at creative market, you know, the templates, you can get the templates, one of my, actually two of my friends sell templates, Jenna Kutcher sells client magazine templates, and Meghan Martin, those are two resources if you want like kind of more beautifully designed ones. And I'd love to hear whatever resources you guys have, because you're the the design experts, but sending a client magazine template and just reiterating the important facets of your contracts, kind of like we were talking about what the terms and conditions, telling them what your cancellation policy is, you know, like, what do you need in order to terminate this prematurely? If you know the client gets into a personal situation, they can no longer afford to pay you? What are the terms that you guys can separate? And, you know, what does the client have to do? Do they have to pay in full. So outlining that in the client magazine is really helpful. outlining a timeline, I actually like to outline timelines in the client magazine, not in contracts just because a contract is legally binding. So if you don't deliver according to the timeline in the contract, that could be like a material breach, that is a problem later. But having a timeline that just kind of generally outlines what the client can expect, it's super helpful. Because you've done this, you provided the service a million times before, this is probably the first or one of a very few number of times that the client has contracted for this particular service, especially I work with a lot with people in the wedding industry. Usually it's people's first time getting married. And so they have never gone to a wedding before or they've never had a wedding themselves. And they don't know what the wedding day timeline should be like, or, you know, this might be someone's first business. And they've never worked with a graphic designer before. So just giving them an outline and giving them the information they need to know like, okay, we are proceeding according to schedule, oh, it does take two weeks for them to develop, you know, the first round of logo concepts. If they're not just ignoring me. Having those kinds of things in this client magazine is super helpful. So it's also a great resource, because you can send it via PDF, which is free, you know, you just have to create it. And then if you want to take it a step further, you can even make it a part of your client experience. If you send a client welcome gift, printed out with something like mad cloud, or I'm sure you guys have better resources to. And that could be, you know, like little 12 pager that they get that introduces them more to you to your brand. And then also to the important things that they probably just skipped over in the contract.
Kathleen Shannon 32:44
I love that you keep saying I'm sure you guys have resources. I'm like taking notes. Like I don't know what any of this stuff is. But um, I am a big fan of the PDF. But one thing I was thinking of is even in the onboarding process, I mean, I know for me, whenever I end up working on a contract with our lawyer, I'm like, Okay, can you just walk me through this point by point and explain what these things mean. And almost even creating that as an onboarding experience for my client, and just saying, I don't think I would actually do this. But I could see someone doing it, especially for like a large engagement, where everyone's putting a lot of time and money and energy and resources and creative talent into a project, I think it would be worthwhile to say, hey, let's just have a 15 minute call where I walk you through the contract. And you can bring up any objections or ask any questions. I mean, this is something I really like doing throughout a client engagement is at the very beginning, say, do you have any concerns like letting them bring up those objections before anything is ever signed. So that way, you give them a chance to like, I don't know, rebut something or to disagree with something and then you can update the contract or whatever accordingly. So I love that idea. Or almost I could even see what I might actually do is send the client contract, let's say I'm sending it in a PDF is having notes on the PDF that are like, in plain speak or like in my speaker, what this means is I don't know if that would like legally null and void the contract. I feel like I'm probably like good at that. I know avoided this contract by accidentally putting it in plain space. But that's kind of like what that magazine that you were talking about. For me, it makes me think about like, how would I take these out and even brand that language, so that sounds like my brand, but then they're still legally signing the contract that just re iterates all that information?
Emily Thompson 34:41
Yeah, and I also want to throw in here too, and you know, in my experience of doing contracts with really large projects, having that additional information that walks them through that onboarding process, and like it makes them feel more comfortable with that contract is super important because, like you were saying, Christina, the thing about the thing about the moments in your life, when you receive a contract, it's usually a big moment in your life. And it's usually a time when you're up leveling, and you're experiencing growing pains and things are a little bit of a mess, because they're different than what they have been previously, I usually find contract moments as being like these pivotal, like milestone moments in your life where your contract is going to sort of give you the lane to stay in as you travel down whatever path you're taking. And I've also had people I've experienced people, and I think I've experienced this as well, we're like, these are also the moments when you're really able to lose your shit. Like, I really like able to veer off path. And that contract is really important for keeping you in line. But also that additional onboarding, PDF is really important for like holding your hand through it. And I think that whenever you can compete whenever you can combine that like, legal, here's really how it's going to be with like a very plain speak, like we're going to be doing it together. That's when you create an onboarding process that gives your client a huge dose of like trust in you and that you are actually going to be able to deliver far beyond a really frightening contract is, to be honest, all contracts are a little bit frightening. Emily, I'm
Kathleen Shannon 36:27
so obsessed with everything you just said. Such a good point that like anytime you're signing a contract that usually is in a really big milestone of your life. And I was kind of going into this conversation thinking about like, Oh, you know, I'm getting branding, or I'm, you know, getting a website, or I need to make sure that my website's legit, but really, you know, buying a house. I don't know hiring your midwife to deliver your baby. Yeah, going, Six Flags,
Emily Thompson 36:58
big moment. But
Kathleen Shannon 36:58
I mean, branding is a big moment, too. And I need to not lose sight of that. And I wish that whenever I bought a house, they had that onboarding PDF with it to that time, oh, my God, where to turn on my electric. Garbage goes out.
Emily Thompson 37:14
Right? I mean, yes. And it's totally been my experience. And in terms of branding, like, I feel like even something that feels as like, flippant as that that's the moment when you decide to take your business, the thing that you are deciding to invest everything into to the next level. Like if that's not a milestone in your life and work. I don't know what is totally.
Christina Scalera 37:36
I love it. I think you're absolutely right, I think we have an idea of what legal means to us. And usually you're right, Emily, it is a context that is kind of scary and big. So I mean, that's that's part of my mission is to just redefine it as the, basically the the definition of a relationship between two people or parties. I mean, we all like connecting with each other. And we all I mean, even the introverts, I'm super introverted, but we still love connecting with other people that are doing similar things to us that we have found in the first place that we just resonate with really well. And so this is a big moment. But I would challenge everybody out there to think of it as a big moment. Even in the step that you're taking with this person, as far as a relationship goes, you know, you guys are working together, you're solidifying that bond. These are people that are potentially going to refer refer more work to you. And you know, more customers your way. And so this is your opportunity to let them know that you hear them that you you see them you validate their concerns, like Kathleen was saying, you give them the opportunity to say, Yeah, but I don't understand this. And even taking it a step further, like taking their hand and giving them permission by saying something like, actually, a lot of people get confused about XYZ port part of our process. And I just want to walk you through that really quickly so that you can let me know what kind of concerns or questions that you have. So even if nobody has questions or concerns, if you notice that a client is kind of like, I don't know, you know, like this payment plan, like, I don't really understand, like, what is this? Do, I have to budget it a certain way, if you can see that somebody is hung up on a certain part of the agreement, or you just can kind of sense it from that initial like pre booking console that you've had, if you've had one of those, you can actually just pre validate that concern with them. And just, like tell them like other people have this problem too, even though if you're like, I don't know, anybody that does, just to let them have that space and that permission to open up to you. So that you can have that clear communication because contracts to me, like I said, are all about the relationship and all about the communication that you're having with that other person. And those are two things that we're actually really familiar with. So hopefully if you can reframe it and in that kind of mindset as as a relationship and a communication it can It can be a little less scary.
Emily Thompson 40:02
Right? And another thing that sort of being super proactive with that information regarding contract points, one of the things that it does is it makes you look like you're reading their mind makes them like trust you and your process and your expertise even more. So even like, No, we always talk about like practicing your craft and being really good at what you're doing. And we've done a couple of episodes, I think, on the onboarding processes, but this like contract piece of working with anyone like being really proactive and knowledgeable about what it is that you're agreeing to, and you're getting someone else to agree to, just like elevates the expertise in you all the more.
Kathleen Shannon 40:40
And I know for me, I get so frustrated whenever I hire a professional and I feel like I have to guide the conversation. And I don't even know what I don't know. So like putting my kid in a new daycare, and I'm like, Okay, do I need to bring extra clothes? Or, like if they had just given me a contract where I could have initialed each box? Like, here's
Emily Thompson 41:03
everything that you're expected
Kathleen Shannon 41:04
to do. Right? Here's where you sign up for lunch. Here's how you sign in like, it is this communication tool that really puts you in the position as an expert. And like you said, Emily, a really does make people trust you. But also, it's just the kind of thing to do. Yeah, for sure.
Christina Scalera 41:23
It's kind and it's everything that you guys are saying, which is that you just completely own the situation, you are the professional, you show up. And you know, as hard as that could be the first few times you do it, it becomes easier and easier with practice, like anything else. And then, you know, I think the big hesitation I kind of want to flip this around on you guys. But like, why do you think that people have such problems setting up systems, and including a contract in it because I have a couple theories of my own. But if this is all part of something that is normal and regular and happening all the time for you Kathleen's like itching to answer this, then no, we're both like, let's do it, then then it happens. Alright,
Kathleen Shannon 42:06
I'll let you I think it's when you're vague about what you're offering, and you don't know how much to charge. I think that that's where people get so freaked out about contracts?
Emily Thompson 42:15
Well, and I think it's because people have a really hard time actually defining like actually saying, This is what I do. And this is what I will do, which also says this is what I won't do like that act of defining and then putting it into words, I think feeds into what you were saying, Kathleen, which equates to
Kathleen Shannon 42:33
Yeah, like being vague and just not or, you know, I think it leads straight into that money conversation too. And being afraid to say, this is how much I charge. And I think that it's whenever people don't have a contract and never get paid. That's whenever they're like, Oh, I need a contract. But they have to like learn from those hard lessons. So what do you think, Christina? What's your theory?
Christina Scalera 42:58
Yeah, I see a lot with packages, people get so hung up on packages, and I'm like, your packages matter. I don't care if you call it them Platinum gold executive, like whatever. But I see a lot of people that get hung up and they're like, well, I don't have packages yet, or I'm putting packages together this weekend. And then I'll know exactly what I'm providing. And it's like, you don't know what you're providing until you start working with clients. I mean, you might think that every client needs your executive brand, package or whatever, and includes like a logo and website design. But then you notice that like half of the people coming to you don't already have logos or something. So they don't need all that they just need, you know, the other half of it. So I think working with clients and listing out the services, whether that's a package or not, is just something that you have to do through trial and error and figure out what you actually like to provide because that's the other half of it too is you might think that you really love being a coach and doing brand design. And then you find out that you actually hate coaching, you just want to do brand design. So that those are the kinds of things where I see people getting hung up on and I wish that people would just move forward. I mean, I'm I'm with Autumn 100% I love being really concise, and defining things like you know, you're going to get exactly one binder or one flyer design one, you know, something super specific like that. But if that's what's stopping you from moving the needle on your business is like defining packages and your services, justifying it to the best of your ability, do what you can with what you have. And then with the next client, the next version of that contract, you can be a little bit more specific and a little bit more specific. And in the meantime, you're still you know, 90 95% of the way protected and you're making money instead of 0% of the way protected with 0% clients in your right.
Kathleen Shannon 44:55
whenever it comes to the contract to I think that we always go to this worst case scenario Don't want to go to jail place, whenever it comes that 90 to 95% being protected. But if you're reframing it as a communication tool, really what you're doing is setting the expectation of, I'm going to create some things for you, and you're going to pay me for those things. So it's not even about being sued or not, it's really about getting paid. And just getting a little bit more specific about how that all goes down. So I think that you know, even getting that 90 to 95%, there, it's really just about for me getting paid and saying, here's what I'll do. And like Emily said, here's what I won't do. Here's whenever you can contact me, here's the best way we work together. And here's how you send me money.
Christina Scalera 45:41
I love it. Yeah, and I mean, I don't know if this is liberating or scary, but there is no such thing as a contract that's going to protect you 100% of the way, there's just always going to be a gap or a loophole somewhere that somebody can find. And so this is a conversation for a whole nother podcast, but having that that good qualifying process as you're choosing customers or clients, you know, depending on the cost of the product, obviously, lower costs, not a big deal, higher priced services gets to be a bigger deal. But you know, it's it's hopefully liberating to some people to know that you can just do what you can do. And then you have to let it go. And anything that happens is a business building lesson. I mean, I know Emily, you've had some experience with this. I mean, I can't even think of a situation where one client problem where you have to engage the contract and figure out like, what's going on, and who gets a refund on this or whatever. Or even if a client sues you, I just I can't think of a situation where that would completely sink a business. Like wholeheartedly, no problem, you know, just absolutely. torpedo to the whole, like, I think it's just part of business is is getting comfortable with these relationships, these documents and these communications and then figuring out a way to navigate that professionally, it's just part of being boss. I didn't mean to do that. But no, I'm
Emily Thompson 47:11
glad you did.
Kathleen Shannon 47:12
But I think that, you know, there is something that you say it sometimes I think, okay, if someone really wants to go after me, like, they can probably go after me. And like my contract even as solid tight as I've gotten it. You know, like you said, probably has holes in it or, you know, different states like or being online. Like there are so many things that change about how we do business in the modern age. That is really tricky to stay on top of everything. But again, you know, and Christina, I think this what we're both saying is that it's more of this like, intention, like the intention behind the contract of communicating what it is that you do and who you're doing it for and how much it costs like that can go a really long way in making your business really legit. Absolutely. Yeah, I couldn't have said it better, Kathleen. All right, excuse
Emily Thompson 48:05
me, while I pause this for a moment and let you in on the most exciting news I've maybe ever shared. Kathleen and I have had a baby, a book, baby. That's right. The being boss book is out and available for you to purchase. It's been a long labor, but it's here and it's beautiful, if we must say so ourselves.
Kathleen Shannon 48:25
We wrote this book to help creatives like you cultivate the confidence it takes to take control of your work and to make money doing what you love so that you can live life on your own terms. And because that mission feels so right deep down in our bones, we're here to ask you for some help. We need to get this in the hands of every creative who suffers from frati feelings, who's stuck in mindsets that keep them from creating the thing, and who struggle with charging what they're worth.
Emily Thompson 48:52
So first, buy this book for yourself. Because if you're a fan of this show, you're going to love what we've got going on in the being boss book. Note, we highly recommend getting the printed book, we've made it to be held written in and become an accessory on your desk. Second,
Kathleen Shannon 49:09
send a link to a friend. anyone you know who could benefit from some boss awesomeness in their eyeballs. It's filled with full color photos, worksheets and tips for being boss, they're gonna love it.
Emily Thompson 49:21
Third, leave us a rating and review on Amazon. Our dream is to skyrocket this book to the kind of success that has every creative in the world feeling like a total boss. So your support there would mean everything to us. Now go to being boss club slash book for links to purchase or head on over to wherever books are sold. Thank you for your continued support. It's because of you that we've been able to bring this book into the world. Now, let's get back at it. All right, so I want to go down this path a little bit further. And let's say you just sort of jumped in and jumped into Something, you've gotten a contract that works. But you need to change it to either you're not going to end up delivering something, or you want to deliver more, or you need to change some sort of terms like, what does that process look like?
Christina Scalera 50:15
Sure, yeah. So I think having contingencies in place, and that's just a fancy way for saying when, when things change, that's important to have. So for example, you might list out all of your services, and then have a an extra fees section right underneath that all our templates, all of our templates have this, where if, if you basically the one that I can think of that comes to mind first, the first is like a wedding planner. So wedding planners, they agree to do you know, these 10 things for your wedding to take place. And then oh, you know, the the bride on the wedding day decides that she wants you there for an extra six hours. So all of those wedding planner contracts, for example, have a contingency clause where it says, and this isn't what it's called, it's called like the extra fees clause, because it's, you know, whatever, I make it simple. But essentially, what it says is, like, you're agreeing that if we go above and beyond what we have agreed to provide for you here, client that you're going to pay per hour, and our hourly fee is this and you agree to, you know, so many extra hours before, you know, we have to let you know, or we'll let you know, when you've gone, you've hit hours in this design process in this wedding planning process, on the wedding day, that kind of thing. So that's the first way. And then there's two other things that you can do. So that that's one of the things I like to do. The second thing I like to do is always have an amendment clause, and it actually is just called amendments. And it just says how amendments can be made, usually in writing, usually via email is the best way. And that becomes a part of the contract. If you guys have agreed to that, then the email that you send back and forth, like hey, I mean, I just had to do this with actually a member of my team. She's like, hey, our contract says that we have to give each other 60 days notice to break up basically, and I'm going in a different direction with my business. I said, Okay, that's fine. You know, would you know if you're like really interested in going this other direction? Because I could tell she was if you're really interested, like, do you want to just like call it quits? Now we can exercise that amendment provision? And she's like, Yeah, actually, I would like to have that extra time on my calendar to do the sexual thing I'm doing. And so we were able to do that even though our contract didn't say it said 60 days notice is required. And then we written via email, we made that amendment. So then the final thing that that I would I would talk about is that, gosh, I like just slit for my mind. I love hate when that happens. I think it was about the extra. Yeah, I don't remember. I can't believe I forgot the third thing. Dang, no
Emily Thompson 52:52
problem. Oh, well, that's
Kathleen Shannon 52:53
okay. I have a question kind of along these lines is I love that you're outlining some extra things that we can include to modify contracts and ways that works for everybody, both you and your client or customer. So I have a question. Do you see any common mistakes in contracts, things that you see where you're like, Whoa, you cannot do that. I've worked links where you're like, Whoa, that like leaves you way open, or this is way leaning toward the client side versus protecting you like, what are some common mistakes I've
Christina Scalera 53:24
seen? Well, first of all, if if you haven't had like, if you don't have one of our templates, or you haven't had an attorney drafted or you haven't bought it from, I mean, autumn sells templates, too. I love autumn. Like I said, if you haven't gotten a template that is kind of attorney approved, or like legally sound, then what I would say is that, almost in every situation, I've seen that like where someone just pulls together something from the internet, they make it way too favorable for their clients, which the clients love. But you might not love it, because you haven't really protected yourself or your business or your assets. So that's one of the mistakes that I would say people make is that they in an attempt to appease the clients, they go too far. And it's like too favorable to the client. I'm not going to get into like all the legal stuff, but basically, anybody that's sending the contract drafting and sending the contract that they have, if there's any kind of ambiguity, it is going to be construed against them, which is a fancy way of saying like, if you were drafting and sending this contract if something goes wrong, the the courts or you know, the legal system is always going to interpret it in a way that's favorable for your clients, or your customers.
Emily Thompson 54:38
So I think that you say that because one of the things I wanted to ask was actually the exact opposite where I always feel like contracts I get are all about like me staying in line, but not actually dealing with the service provider. Like what happens if they get things wrong. So I like this idea of, of what you really should be going for is a contract that holds both parties in line. Equally, it should not be one sided one way or the
Kathleen Shannon 55:03
other. And also I go to I go to thinking, making sure that they're getting what they've paid for that I'm delivering what I'm being paid for. And I'm with you, Emily, where sometimes I do get contracts that feel like, I feel like I'm being slammed, you know, like, hammer, it's on the offense, right? And it feels offensive to receive that contract. It makes me feel already guilty of doing something wrong that I
Emily Thompson 55:28
haven't done, or just confused about, like what the other party will do or like, what are you actually do I go missing? Like, I don't get a refund. But
Unknown Speaker 55:37
what happens if
Emily Thompson 55:38
you go missing?
Christina Scalera 55:40
Yeah, no, it's absolutely important to account for all that. Which is, again, like I'm not trying to, but this is definitely something that I've accounted for because and that actually is this has actually been something that I've gotten a lot of pushback from the people that have purchased our templates, because they're like, Wait a second, there's a cancellation policy in here for my clients if the client needs to cancel. But why is there something that says if I don't provide the work that, you know, there's something for my clients? So I've kind of reworded it to show them how it's helpful for both parties. But yeah, I mean, like, if you get in a car accident, God forbid, or if you just like, are incapacitated in some way, which, unfortunately, it happens, what is going to happen to your clients, and the fact that you take notice of that from the start and let them know that like, I've thought about this, and I have some kind of plan B, if I go missing
Kathleen Shannon 56:35
a bajillion dollar insurance policy? It doesn't have to be that go down the rabbit hole, though of like contracts to insurance to all the things right, right. Not the conversation. That's been my life like the past.
Christina Scalera 56:50
Yeah, but I mean, so this is kind of a little bit of a background. But attorneys, if you don't have some kind of plan B if you like, go missing or in a car accident, and you don't have another attorney that can step in, and take your place, like, you know, God forbid, maybe you're dead, and like, it doesn't matter to you. But at the same time, if there is nobody there to take over your clients matters and take care of them. You are, you've seriously, like offended your license and will be disbarred. If you were in a car accident in a coma, you come back, you might find out that you have lost everything as an attorney. So that was kind of where I got the idea for this, because I think that's a really extreme example, but it does happen in other industries, you know, like, unfortunately, again, I work with a lot of wedding people. And sometimes photographers get into it, they're traveling a lot, they get into a car accident on the way to win a wedding and can't make it what do you do, like the bride needs photos. And so just to think about those kinds they do, usually they have a second shooter, this has only happened one time that I'm aware, I mean, it's happened a lot more, but one that I'm acutely aware of, and
Kathleen Shannon 57:57
the second shooter have to drive in a different car.
Christina Scalera 58:02
Well, they usually do at the ones that I've known are usually coming from, like different areas of the state or something like that. So they're usually in a separate car anyway, or, you know, they get there, a lot of photographers like to get there the day ahead of time, just in case something were to happen. And then they have that 24 hour buffer. So you know, there's, there's all kinds of things like that if you are traveling, but you know, just kind of, you don't have to go so far as we as attorneys go or get an insurance policy, but just kind of have like that lifeline of support, whether it's a good friend in the industry, or an associate that works for you, just somebody that can, you know, if if something were to happen, or you know, if you were to like get really depressed, I've seen this a lot with entrepreneurs, too. They get really depressed and they stopped delivering to clients. And that's a very real thing that happens. You know, those are the kinds of things that you might just consider if you know, that's a problem for you. I mean, I know, I won't mention names, but there's very prominent people out there that are selling online courses that have talked openly about this as a problem for them. And they've created these kinds of contingency plans for the their clients essentially. So I'm not saying like, this is something that you need to consider from day one. But like, if you are prone to something like this, or you have a fit, it doesn't even have to be you. Some people have family members that they're caring for. You know, some people have family members that go into hospice, like, I'm not trying to be the Debbie Downer here. But just basically things happen. And if you're not prepared to handle those emergency situations, whether it's a VA answering your emails, and just letting your clients know you're gonna be out of pocket for a few extra days or, you know, a second shooter on your weddings that maybe the brides are paying you 789 $1,000 for. I just I feel like that's a little bit irresponsible not to if you're serving clients at that high of a level not to have some kind of backup plan. Now, you know, it's it's one logo and you're charging 300 bucks for it and you're a weekly like You know, maybe your contract has been breached. But that's, I don't know, to me that's just not as big of a deal is like, you know, you don't show up for a $9,000 wedding but
Kathleen Shannon 1:00:08
Okay, so we are wrapping I get us out of the photographer getting in a wreck on her. She's stressing me out. Sure, yeah. No, but I have a couple of questions. Let's like kind of quick fire it. So what is the best way to deliver and get a client to sign a contract?
Christina Scalera 1:00:26
electronically, whatever platform you want to use, I use honey book 17 hats. dubsado, even just sending a contract via hellosign, which isn't a whole client management software platform, but you know, just send it electronically, you capture their IP address, you can see exactly when they've opened it, when they've signed it. Where they signed it. It's really scary how well you can track things with IP addresses.
Kathleen Shannon 1:00:52
Wow. Okay. How do you confront a client who is in breach of your agreement or your contract? First you talk to them? If they're got the phone, send an email.
Christina Scalera 1:01:06
Yeah, I think it's probably easier for most business owners to send an email, but I think the phone is a better way to do it. In most situations, and then the way to deal with a phone call, because you want to get everything in writing is just to say, just to recap, darlin Allura, in your email that you send right after the phone call. And then if they if that isn't an accurate capture of the phone call you just had that's their opportunity to say, yes, except for and then they change the one thing now everything's in writing.
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:37
Do those conversations get easier, like as a, you know, as someone who's on the legal side of things, that's kind of your livelihood. But does it get easier? Or do you know what I mean? Like, is it only as weird as you make it?
Christina Scalera 1:01:51
I think so. Yes. And I'm obviously people are like, Oh, my gosh, she all she does is contracts, like of course, that's easy for her. But it didn't always start out that way. Like I, I started the contract shot because I lost a client, I took too long to get back to them. Because I didn't have a client contract. They don't just hand those out in law school. So that was part of why I started this, and I had to get good at having those conversations. So the client magazine was something that I developed, and other people have developed. It's not my idea. But yeah, I think just the more you do it, the more you practice, and the more you can frame it in a way that's beneficial for your clients, the more likely they are to be really excited and happy and hopeful about the experience they have with you rather than on the defensive.
Kathleen Shannon 1:02:37
Is it a deal breaker if a client won't sign a contract? Like let's say they're really nice, but just for some reason not signing that thing?
Christina Scalera 1:02:46
It's a little bit weird. It might tell me that they are not used to any kind of business situation. You know, maybe they've never worked in a corporate environment and signed things, or maybe they just have some kind of they've been burned before or something. So I think it's worth having a conversation. And especially framing that conversation like this is actually here for you. Because if there is no written agreement, there is still a contract in place. It just has very unfavorable terms, because neither of you have been able to define them.
Kathleen Shannon 1:03:17
Emily, do you have any quickfire questions? anything you're thinking about?
Emily Thompson 1:03:21
I don't think so. I think maybe, I think maybe we'll we'll wrap up with enforcing them. So what happens when someone completely does break a contract? What happens next? Do you sue them?
Christina Scalera 1:03:36
I lawsuit is usually a last resort, just based on the expense and time it takes to engage a lawyer and something like that. So usually what happens? Is it there's two kinds of breaches? Is it just kind of like, That really sucks? Or is this a material breach where there's been a loss of something that cannot be recovered. So for example, if you need to launch your website by a certain date, and your developer, your designer does not get the proofs back to you in time to make all this happen. Let's say like Black Friday, right? Your shop, you know that suddenly, your shop you you have like a certain thing that needs to happen by Black Friday. And your designer doesn't get back to you until the day before Thanksgiving or the day before Thanksgiving. more realistically. That's and they said they were gonna get back to you by like November one, that's a mature that's something that would be considered a material breach, right? Like you cannot move forward with your Black Friday sale because whatever component of the website, they were, they said was going to be done by November 1 was not done. And therefore you've lost profits, you've lost customers that you would have otherwise gained on Black Friday. So that's a pretty egregious breach. So it doesn't have to be that extreme. It could be something else but just something that that doesn't get you the result that was promised in the contract is a breach that is there to be talked about discussed. You know, For what you want. And then my I actually had to do this with a Facebook ads agency, they did not deliver what they promised it was a third of what they promised. And so I gave them an opportunity. I emailed them. I said, here's what you said you were going to deliver. Here's what you actually delivered. I would like a refund of this difference. No response, no response, no response, right? lots of emails. And so finally, I said, I am going to do a chargeback and I am going to ask for this amount. Do you have any problem with that? They got back in touch with me. And it was like not satisfactory. They base they they scheduled a phone call with me and blew me off. And so I did a chargeback. And I got the money back. So I think there are things there. If you're on the client or customer side, like please talk to somebody before you do a chargeback. It's just courteous. What's the chargeback? Oh, okay, so a chargeback is like if you sell a product, I don't know if I should tell people.
Emily Thompson 1:05:57
But I will, right Be kind. Yeah, but it's important to know,
Christina Scalera 1:06:02
as a business owner, one of the things that you're likely to encounter are chargebacks. And unfortunately, this is something that people can do on pretty much any credit card, some debit cards, but not very many debit cards. Essentially, when you pay for a service, you get certain benefits and rights that are afforded to you through that credit card issuer that's paying for it essentially, and you're paying the credit card issuer back as a courtesy for a certain number of times a year, they will allow you to say this purchase was not what I expected. This was not what I ordered this, I didn't receive the product, the product was not satisfactory. Whatever it is, you bought it on a credit card, you asked for that amount back, and the credit card issuer sends you that amount of money back to your card. So some people like to abuse this. It's very, very common people like to abuse this and buy things and then not have to pay for them. And some people use it legitimately I feel like I use it legitimately they wouldn't get back to me I wanted a refund, I felt I was entitled to one. And so instead of engaging them in a legal battle, hiring a lawyer or doing it myself, I'm not a litigator. So if if I were to do that, it would have cost me you know, several 1000s of dollars, it was only like 12 $100 at stake. And so I was able to do a chargeback and get that 12 $100 back without engaging an attorney or initiating some kind of legal dispute. So, you know, basically, to summarize, communication is the first line of defense or offense, depending on what side of the coin you're on, you know, further communication and an attempt to resolve the dispute. And then, you know, is there some kind of like intermediary action? Like, is there some kind of like in between action you can take essentially, like a chargeback. Or, you know, could you guys agree to some kind of partial refund, is there some other way you could apply the services that were promised but not delivered something like that. And then finally, the last resort is a lawsuit just because to get one of those things started, we're looking, I mean, bare minimum, like super cheap attorney, low filing costs. 20 $500 is like bare minimum what you're looking at. So I think it just stresses the value of the contract that you don't want to be in a situation where you're on the defensive like that, so that you set everything up from the gecko in a positive and beneficial way to both of you.
Emily Thompson 1:08:35
Love it. I feel like I could talk about contracts all day. This is a really fun one.
Kathleen Shannon 1:08:40
I know. I was like, Oh, no, we're talking about contracts. But I've learned so much. I'm sorry. I love you guys being on the up. Right,
Emily Thompson 1:08:51
Christina? where can our listeners find out more about you?
Christina Scalera 1:08:55
Yeah, for sure. So you guys can go to the contract shop comm we have tons of free resources, including a DIY contract checklists at rock solid blueprint, or rock solid contract.com. I think rock solid blueprint will also take you there. But in case someone can't afford a contract, that's just something that we offer, because I really am on a mission to help you guys. Sure, it's great if we can sell some templates in the meantime. But if you guys can get out there and have good client relationships, good contracts, and that means a lot to me.
Emily Thompson 1:09:25
Right and do your work. I also just want to point out here that like Facebook ads agency messing with someone who does contracts, like can we talk about not the smartest people in the room? I won't name them online on air, but I might tell you who they are off. Right? Oh, that might be helpful. Awesome. And what makes you feel most boss?
Christina Scalera 1:09:49
I think when I can push through those moments when I'm like I just don't want to do this and I get through it and I realize oh that was actually kind of fun or that was a lot better than I thought it was gonna be those are the moments when I feel most like a boss.
Emily Thompson 1:10:03
Perseverance is pretty badass. Thank you so much for coming to chat with us. Thank you Emily. Thanks, Kathleen.
Kathleen Shannon 1:10:13
Hey bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day kit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO day kit. Go to courses that being boss club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business. We'd like to give a shout out to our partner fresh books cloud accounting, you can try it for free for 30 days no credit card needed and cancel anytime. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section? Special thanks to our sponsor 2020 who is offering our being boss listeners a five photo free trial to start yours right now go to 2020 comm slash being boss that's the word 20,000 to zero.com slash being boss to get five free photos. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography,
Emily Thompson 1:11:48
do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.