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Contracts: You have that in writing, right?

Are you doing business with clients or collaborating on projects with other people? You must put your agreements in writing. If you’re just starting out, you don’t have to work with a lawyer.  Even if you just write up a basic agreement that you both sign, you’ll have all the terms are in one place if a question comes up later, not in seventeen e-mails or texts.

As your business grows, and you’ve got more to lose if something goes wrong, it’s definitely a good idea to work one-on-one with a lawyer to create a contract.  You need to be sure your contract truly protects you, works with the way you do business, and would hold up in court if you ever got into a real disagreement.

But I trust this person, people tell us all the time.  We have a great relationship, I don’t want to scare them away with a big contract full of legalese!

Contracts are not a wedge between you and your client or collaborator.  They are a gift to both sides.  They let both of you know the ground rules for how you’ll work together.  Once you both know the rules of the game, you’re free to stop worrying about what could go wrong and focus on the amazing things you’ll do together.

If you write your own contracts, be sure they include at least:

  • List of goods or services being provided and any deliverables (be specific!)
  • Cost and payment deadlines
  • Refund policy
  • What happens if one or both of you wants to end the agreement early (i.e. is there a certain amount of notice required, do you still get paid, etc.)
  • If content is being created, who owns what and will any native or design files be shared

Ideally, you’ll both sign the contract and keep a copy for your own files, to show you both agreed to all the terms, but how often does that actually happen?  We highly recommend using an e-signing service like HelloSign or RightSignature (I’m not an affiliate, just think these are great services — we use HelloSign for my own client contracts).

We went from about 1 in 10 clients actually signing my client contracts to 100% signature rate when we started using an e-signing service.

Not up for creating your own contracts?  We get that, and it’s exactly why we work one-on-one with online and creative entrepreneurs every day drafting custom contracts.

New to business or not ready to invest in a custom contract? We also offer contract templates are a perfect fit if you’ve tried to write your own contract or borrowed one from a friend, but you’re not sure it includes all the right terms.  You can customize our templates to the way you do business, and easily change them as your business grows.

*Legal Road Map Sessions, Q&A calls, Individual Legal Projects, and Retainer Services are only available to businesses seeking advice on U.S. intellectual property issues; businesses seeking advice on online business, technology, and e-commerce issues; and businesses located or registered in Tennessee seeking advice on local business law matters.  Autumn Witt Boyd is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and other attorneys who work with our firm may be licensed in other states.

Our firm does not work on any patent law matters.

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Our business hadn’t really worked with a lawyer before Autumn, so there were a lot of unknowns. From reworking our contracts, to growing larger clients, to making new hires and creating new partnerships – Autumn doesn’t sugar-coat things (neither do we!) but she also doesn’t make legal to-do’s feel like a big, heavy deal either. Our video meetings are especially helpful. Autumn is positive, kind, professional, and able to translate everything into plainspeak. No more scary unknowns about the legal health or future of our business – we are legit with Autumn on our side.

Tara Street

Before working with Autumn, I was hesitant to even seek out an attorney because I wasn’t sure I’d get practical advice I could actually apply to my business.  I needn’t have worried because Autumn’s practical approach, enthusiasm and demonstrated interest in me and my business made it clear that I had come to the right place.  Not only did Autumn skip the ‘legalese’ but she even incorporated my own language into the contract.  I now have a contract written in plain English that both my clients and I can understand.

Aenslee Tanner

All of my questions regarding trademarks and agreements were answered during my legal planning session with Autumn. As a result of our session, I figured out that my current agreements don’t fully protect me and this led me to adjust the way I use my privacy policies and terms and conditions. The best part of working with Autumn was benefiting from her intelligence and knowledge of not just the law, but business in general. I would definitely recommend her.

Christian Webber

When we signed a BIG deal client, we knew we needed a trusted legal advisor to help us with all the contracts that come with that – employee contracts, client contract, etc. Having worked with Autumn and her team in the past, we didn’t think twice about who to work with this time. 

With the AWB Firm’s help, we were able to confidently navigate some complicated and multi-layered contract back-and-forth, knowing that this team had our back.

Autumn and her team are personable, attentive, considerate, and they truly listen. We just love them!

Tara Street

Legal documents (such as a Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions) don’t always reflect the soul of our business. But Autumn is a great listener and tailors her efforts to our specific needs. Her legal knowledge and expertise are impressive, but even more importantly, she truly understands virtual businesses. I was initially nervous about the cost of legal help, but learning her flat rate up front removed that fear. I would absolutely recommend her to other online business owners.

Brigit Esselmont

Autumn and her team quickly put me at ease, even though I had never worked with a lawyer before, so I wasn’t sure how things worked. I worked with Autumn on a retainer basis and I now feel confident that I have my legal ducks in a row in terms of hiring and working with contractors and employees. I have a rock solid contract to use with clients, so I no longer worry that there might be a gaping hole in my client agreements or that I might not have good legal standing if I have a court situation come up. I would recommend Autumn and her team to anyone who has an online business and wants legal help that isn’t overwhelming. They make the legal issues in your business much less scary!

Jessica Mehring

Since working with Autumn, I have the documents I need for my growing online business as I’m branching out into new ventures. She told me exactly what I needed, and I know she wouldn’t tell me I need anything I don’t. Autumn gets the job done professionally, quickly, and tailored to what the business needs. I would not hesitate to recommend her to other entrepreneurs. Plus, Autumn will celebrate your wins by toasting you with champagne!

Corinne Crabtree

Since I first worked with Autumn on a client contract, my business has really taken off. I liked that even during communications about serious business, Autumn always treated me like an actual person. Her personality definitely builds a sense of loyalty, and it’s clear that Autumn understands the needs of her clients and genuinely cares for and roots for them. I would recommend Autumn to other small business owner without hesitation.

Jason Harrison

Disclosure: Our clients did not receive compensation for sharing their experiences working with Autumn, and do not receive any compensation for referring new clients (this is prohibited by Tennessee ethics rules).  These testimonials or endorsements are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.  We cannot guarantee results; past results do not guarantee future results.