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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I have yet to work with an attorney who listened as deeply to really understand my needs and business concerns as Autumn did. I came to the AWB Firm because I was concerned about not having a solid licensure and services agreement for my business. The agreement that Autumn and team delivered has given me the confidence to grow my business, knowing that all parties are protected. Thank you, Autumn!
Melanie McGhee
I was pretty anxious and stressed out when a potential employer asked me to sign a non-compete agreement. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t limiting my ability to work on similar projects in the future and that I would be fairly compensated if the intellectual property I created were ever used in the future. Autumn and her team were able to quickly research the issue and the relevant laws in my state. With their recommended changes to the non-compete, I was able to sign it and accept the offer of employment within a few days. The AWB Firm is approachable, responsive, and easy to work with. I’m so glad to know I have them to lean on!
Lara Dalch

As a full-time emergency physician, I came to the AWB Firm feeling totally clueless about how to protect my rights in several products I had developed. After working with Autumn and her team, I now feel confident that I know when to involve an attorney and what things I can consider on my own before involving an attorney. Working with the AWB Firm on my contract and trademark issues was easy, cost effective, and a great value. I never once felt dumb but was treated as a valued client. I look forward to continuing to work together in the future!

Jessica Whittle, MD

I was fed up with client issues I was having because my contract didn’t contain any firm boundaries. Autumn’s contract template really set me up for success, making sure everything was laid out in writing so I can protect my business – and my time! I’ve already been able to enforce my boundaries by simply referring to the contract, helping me avoid a potential legal dispute. Autumn really “gets” female-run online businesses and I would recommend using her contract templates to all business owners.

Kelsey Kerslake

I was anxious and concerned about liability in my coaching business – I knew that something I might piece together myself wouldn’t cut it. But after working with the AWB Firm, I feel confident that I have a solid disclaimer. Autumn and team are fast, reliable and flexible. I would highly recommend working with them to other coaches.

Rachel Hart

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

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

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

When I was presented with an exciting licensing opportunity in my business, I had no idea how to navigate it all! I not only felt fully supported by the AWB Firm through the entire process of negotiating and reviewing all the legal documents involved, but I also love how they took the time to educate me so I could be a part of the decision making and negotiating process. I felt completely assured that my matter was being considered with the utmost care by Autumn and her team. I’m so happy to have a partner in the AWB Firm!

Cara Underwood

I felt overwhelmed and wasn’t sure what to include in my retreat planning course contract to make sure my students would be protected legally. Autumn created a brilliant, custom document that addresses everything we could possibly think of. The AWB Firm is easy to work with, responded quickly to all of my emails, and answered every single one of my questions. I would definitely hire Autumn again!

Linda Beach

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

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

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

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.