It’s time to get serious. While social media management is a fun industry to be in and working for yourself is THE BEST THING EVER; you can’t just jump in head first without some contracts covering your butt.
The legal stuff isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about, especially to creative entrepreneurs! But if you don’t have a few contracts set up with your clients and contractors, you could be setting yourself up for some dangerous and expensive lawsuits.
Now, I’m not saying you have to drop everything and run to find a lawyer. Let’s be honest, you probably don’t have the budget to spend thousands on a lawyer to just set up contracts for you!
Luckily, there’s a nifty (and cheap! Well, cheaper than a lawyer would cost you!) resource that sells legal contract templates (don’t worry, they’re all reviewed by attorneys!), saving you from the multiple migraines that were bound to happen. There’s plenty of contracts to go through on the site, but these three are my go-to for running my social media business.
The number one most important contract - a client contract! This one is also specifically made for social media managers in mind (score!). Before starting any work for a client, you need to send this contract to them to review & sign.
This contract honestly has everything you need to have a smooth & flawless client partnership. It outlines the services you provide, provides a payment plan outline, includes a late fee clause (because not getting paid SUCKS), includes a confidentiality clause, a discussion about who owns the intellectual property you create (copy, photography, graphics), a limit of liability to minimize the amount of money you’d owe in case you needed to rely on your contract, and a bunch of other boring legal stuff that makes the contract a valid contract!
The best part is - you’re ready to send this puppy off within 10 minutes! Just a few easy fill-in-the-blanks and you can send it off to your clients.
And yes, I know it’s on the pricey side. But if you think about how much time it would take you to figure this out on your own (unless you’re a lawyer already!), let alone the money you would lose in any lawsuit - this contract already pays for itself.
Note: if you’re simply a freelancer, the Independent Contractor Contract might be better for you!
NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)
An NDA is an agreement that basically protects your ideas and details of work. It’s typically used before hiring or entering into a partnership. When both parties sign, you mutually agree to not share the details of your work.
For social media managers working with clients, this includes confidential company assets like social account passwords, private business information, accounting information, and intellectual property.
That way, if you decide that it’s not a good partnership, the client isn’t allowed to steal any of your presented ideas or share anything about you; and on the other hand, you can’t share anything about the client.
This agreement is also handy when hiring independent contractors for your business (i.e. graphic designers, videographers, assistants). In case you were afraid of information falling into the wrong hands, you have a legal-binding contract that keeps information private!
And finally, the last contract any social media manager needs, especially if you plan on expanding your business, is the Independent Contractor Contract Template.
If you start hiring for your business, you can’t simply just give them the job and start working immediately! For one, that’s illegal; and two, you have nothing to protect your hard-earned business. Most small business owners start off by hiring independent contractors, and those independent contractors need contracts!
Similar to the social media contract, it provides an outline of services, a payment plan (whether that’s hourly or a retainer), a confidentiality clause to protect your business, and some more boring legal stuff!
Again, it just takes a few minutes and you’re ready to send off your professional contract to your new hire! And let’s be real - it’s important to look professional in front of your FIRST employee.
With all that said, it’s important to cover your businesses assets right from the beginning. While it’s boring AF, the time and money it would take you in legal fees in the future is worth the investment now! If you’re not yet convinced, I would highly recommend you listen in to this podcast that explains exactly how to handle the legal side of your business. It explains the ins-and-outs of contract, why they don’t need to be scary, and why you should legally protect yourself.