At the risk of sounding like a lawyer, you need to have a contract when you’re engaging in any kind of business. Don’t debate me. If I had a dollar for every time someone reached out to me for advice after being burned by a deal gone wrong sans contract, Sallie Mae would be paid off by now. So, save yourself the time, money, and future aggravation by making sure you’ve got an agreement (preferably written) to protect yourself.

No two contracts will be the same (nor should they be), so there are a lot of other terms you can include. But regardless of the kind of contract you need, at a minimum, it should include the following:

1. The Scope of the Agreement

It’s important that your contract clearly describes the goods or services being offered, who is providing these goods and services to whom, and for how long.

2. The Who, When and How You’ll Be Paid

It’s not enough that your contracts list the fee for your goods or services. It should specifically include when payments must be made, how payments will be accepted, and when- if at all- refunds are available.

3. The Intellectual Property Rights

When it comes to intellectual property, it’s best to clearly spell out who owns what, and how the content can be used. This is especially important when it comes to projects where you’re working with others to share and exchange creative ideas.

4. Confidentiality and Non-Compete Terms

Your contract should include terms that protect your confidential information as well as help avoid an instance where someone runs with your idea and makes a business out of it. These terms should be double sided, as the other party to your contract will also want assurances that their confidential information won’t be shared either.

5. Termination of the Agreement

In addition to clearly defining when the contract will end, it’s equally important to include clauses that govern how each party can end the contract early if need be and what the consequences will be if that happens. Your contract should also include what will happen to any documents or materials shared during the course of the business relationship.

Ready to put it in writing? Feel free to reach out at (508) 942-7497 or send an email to

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