E35 Contract Basics for Pinterest Virtual Assistants
On today’s episode, Annette chats with attorney Mark Wright of The Blog Lawyer about contracts! If you have clients, contracts are a must—but that can get complicated fast. Mark will share some Contract 101 with us so that as a Pinterest VA, you can have a well-established business.
For more tips about running your Virtual Assistant business, check out
How to Deal with Contracts as a Pinterest VA
What is the purpose of a contract?
Contracts can seem intimidating (or even downright scary!) if you don’t understand them, but they’re important for a number of reasons. First, it’s a way to set and manage expectations. Most relationships that break down over time are because of misaligned expectations. Second, it’s a legally binding document that will allow you to ensure the other party does what they said they were going to do (which, of course, works both ways).
Contracts set the groundwork for your relationship with another party.
How to start contract negotiations.
Everything is negotiable, but how do you go about questioning something in a contract before you sign it?
The first problem is that most people simply don’t understand what their contract says. It’s hard to negotiate from a position of ignorance—there has to be an understanding. Make sure you’re getting what you need out of the contract. This is hard for a lot of bloggers or influencers, but ask for what you want! Don’t be demanding with a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Rather, open a conversation and negotiate a win-win contract that works for both parties.
One of the most important things to consider when signing a contract is How Do I Get Out Of It? If you don’t understand how to get out of it, you could be trapped and it could be very costly to try to find a solution after you’ve signed it.
Understand your contract before you sign it.
If there are words you don’t understand, do your due diligence! Is there a fixed term? Exclusivity clause? As a creator, the last thing you want is for someone else to have control over your content. Make sure it’s written in.
If you think it’s expensive to hire a lawyer to review your contract, imagine how expensive it will be to hire a lawyer to get you out of it.
Non-compete vs Non-solicitation
Non-competes and Non-solicitations are often included in contracts, and it’s crucial to understand what they are before you sign anything!
Non-compete means you will not engage in certain activities that would be competitive to the party you’re contracted with. Make sure you are happy with the terms, as some people overlook them and they have a major impact on their business.
If you’re going to agree to any term of exclusivity, your compensation should reflect that. If the terms aren’t acceptable to you, move into negotiation.
The last thing to remember about non-competes is that in many states, non-competes are actually illegal and unenforceable. Non-competes are determined state-by-state.
Non-solicitation is very different. Non-solicitation means you won’t contact certain people for a certain period of time to solicit them for additional work. Non-solicitation of employee says you won’t hire, employ, or contract with any of the people the other party has introduced you to.
Note: Many contracts in the influencer space are written by attorneys who don’t understand the industry. Please find someone who is familiar with the unique needs of influencers!
When You Shouldn’t Sign a Contract
If you don’t understand it, Don’t Sign It! If the other party can’t explain it well enough or communicate well with you, that’s a big sign!
Contracts are there for your benefit. If it’s not helping you or you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t sign it. Don’t do business with people who are unreasonable.
Some people will sign a contract and then hire an attorney to help them when they don’t like the terms. This is an expensive and hard way to try to fix a contract. It’s much cheaper to get it right before you sign anything!
A contract doesn't have to be written out and signed. It can be established verbally or even with an email. The best policy is to make sure it’s written down so it can’t be contested.
Create a Term Sheet
This outlines how many hours you’ll work, content you’ll produce, compensation, exit, etc. Write a sentence or two outlining your expectations of each of these things. When you get a good contract that works, you can repurpose it yourself for another client, employer, etc.
The most important aspects of a contract are actually quite simple. Be sure you set clear expectations for:
What you give
What you get
How you get out of it
How you begin it
Remember, contracts don’t have to be scary and they’re there to protect you, so be smart about it! If you have any questions, hire an attorney to review it and make sure you’re getting what you need prior to signing your name on anything.
Big thanks to Mark for this incredibly valuable information! For more information about Mark, find him online at The Blog Lawyer or on social @thebloglawyer.
E035: Contract Basics for Pinterest VAs
2:55 Peculiar Pin
5:15 How to Deal with Contracts as a VA
9:20 Purpose of a Contract
12:00 Contract Negotiations
20:10 Non-Compete vs Non-Solicitation
31:15 When You Shouldn’t Sign a Contract
And don’t miss today’s Peculiar Pin—Cruise Ship Deaths! You may be surprised to learn that there’s an entire website dedicated to this subject, and you’ll be shocked when you learn how many cruise ship deaths there are every year! Find this and all our Peculiar Pins on our Peculiar Pins Board.