I was chatting with a fellow creative business owner recently who has been working without contracts or terms and conditions for longer than I have been in business. He told me he’d just never got around to it.

It’s actually something I come across quite often. One reason small business owners cite for not getting a contract or terms and conditions in place is that they simply don’t know where to start putting one together.

Not having a set of expectations laid out is a bad idea. You’re leaving yourself wide open for clients to dictate to you how they work, rather than having a balance of working together in harmony.

When I started out, I researched contracts online specifically for my industry. Once I had a few, I combined them to create my own, amending parts I didn’t need, removing bits I didn’t understand and adding bits as I went along that were important to the way I work.

For example, one client of mine was shocked when I told her she would have to pay for stock image purchases. When I explained that she would have to buy them because licenses weren’t transferable, she still said she’d have preferred to have known. So I now include it in my contract that clients must purchase their own stock images.

I now have a simple set of terms and conditions that I am happy with, covering all areas of my business. I have simply stated the way I work, who owns what intellectual property and what my payment terms are. I often update or amend it but most of the time it stays the same.

I have based it on documents created by designers or business owners who have checked their contract wording with lawyers, so I am confident that I am using a document will protect me and my clients should anything go wrong.

However, it is not intended to be a watertight legal document, it is more a way of laying out a set of expectations between me and my clients.

When my copywriter friend told me he didn’t have anything in place, I offered to send him the terms I use with my clients so he can use it as a starting point for his own. So I thought rather than keeping this awesomeness to myself, I’d share it with you!

Download my FREE contract template below

Below you can download my client contract and use it yourself as it is, or amend it to fit your business. Never have clients dictate to you how you work, and set crystal clear expectations so you can have a harmonious working relationship with your clients.

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