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 work at home mom businesses inspirational quote a man should never neglect his family for business walt disney work-at-home-mom-businesses-inpirational-quotes-walt-disneyIn a previous post, we talked about the importance of business contracts. I actually want to further emphasize the benefits a written contract provides both for our clients and us stay at home business moms, but there’s something more important that we have to talk about—the contract mistakes businesses often commit when creating and sending contracts.

For mom entrepreneurs like us, creating a contract can be a headache: there are so many things that must be incorporated and laws that must be kept in mind that it’s easy to make a mistake. This is especially true for those who haven’t created a contract before. Are you still sitting and pulling your hair out while thinking what your business contract should include? Well, you certainly shouldn’t include (read: completely avoid) the following:

  1. No research—if you don’t have any idea what to include in your contract, all your efforts in creating one might just end up wasted. Research contracts in your niche, look for samples, and use them as bases.
  2. No drafts—always start a contract with a draft, consulting with your contractor or client throughout the way. If needed, create several revisions. Never rush; it will only bring regret.
  3. Creating a contract based on assumptions—a contract is an agreement. Since it’s an agreement, then it’s crucial that both you and your contractor or client agrees on the contract’s content. Offer ideas and draft, discuss with your contractor or client, and negotiate whenever a
  4. Ambiguous terms and conditions—never use general terms; you have to be as specific as possible. Payment terms, damage penalties, and any other considerations must be carefully spelled out.
  5. Barely any details—if you pair ambiguous terms and few details, you’ll end up with a disaster of a contract. When creating a contract, clear and precise details are paramount. Never leave out any details, and explain anything that may have different meanings or be a source of confusion.
  6. Unspecified scope—how long the project will be, how many work hours, and the like must be included and emphasized in the contract.
  7. Not using an attorney—no matter how familiar you are with contracts, you still have to hire an attorney to go over it and make sure it’s legally binding and doesn’t violate any law.

Creating business contracts both for our clients and contractors can certainly induce headache, but think about it this way: your little headache today will save you from a chaotic migraine tomorrow and all the days after that. What’s a little sacrifice when it will safeguard you from any and all troubles in the future?

We’ll talk more about the different aspects related to contracts in the next post. Be sure to sign up for the daily e-mails so you don’t miss them.

 

As our business grows, so will be the number of client and contractor contracts we will handle. Having hard copies of these contracts is great. Well, that is, of course, if you’re very, very organized and careful. For easier and better organization, a contract management software will be necessary.

Like in finding lawyers, though, what I found tough when it comes to searching the best contract management software for stay at home businesses is that there so many to choose from. Just try to search for “contract management software” in Google (without the quotation marks, of course), and you’ll be surprised at how many search results you’ll get. Not to mention, each will have features corresponding to specific preferences. Nonetheless, after scouring the internet for the best ones to present to you, I stumbled upon these five:

  • Selectica: a highly-detailed software, Selectica has 6 main features, namely Find (search feature), Create (templates and guides for drafting new contracts), Compare (easy viewing and control of contract changes), Sign (electronic signature support), Comply (list of contracts, obligations, etc.), and Track (overview and reports on demand).
  • Enterprise Wizard: according to its site, “Enterprise Wizard has everything you need.” It   allows automated document assembly, version comparison, email integration, management reports, and more.
  • UpsideContract: recently acquired by sciQuest, this software offer nice features such as flexible reporting capabilities, customizable user interface, full contract management features, and more.
  • Kwok: if you’re looking for something light on the pocket, you’ll like Kwok, an open source (i.e., free) software. It started as a simple IT management system, but through updates, it’s developed with a contracts module. Aside from the free edition, Kwok also offers Commercial ($100/year) and Commercial with Support ($500/year).
  • Novatus: another open source contract management software, Novatus offer checklists for easier search and tracking of contracts. It helps in managing contacts and allow company name change among others.

Using a contract management software is highly advantageous. It allows you to store, search, and share your contracts with ease. It also helps you stick with the law and get out of sticky situations wherein the contract offers a solution.

Although a lot of contract management software are quite expensive, you can rest assured that they’ll be great addition for your flourishing mom business. Consider any of the five above, and start managing your contracts the smart way.

Next week, we’ll be talking about a new and, I’m sure, highly interesting theme for mom entrepreneurs—business plans. Be sure to sign up for the daily e-mails so you don’t miss it!

BONUS! I also learned about http://hellosign.com and http://echosign.com (helps with electronic signatures) from a Rich Mom Community member. Thanks for the tip Lindsey and others!!!

From the previous posts, you have certainly gained ideas about how to draft your own contract. Now, the question is: are you ready to make one? If you don’t have the time or if you’re simply not confident enough, then one great alternative would be to get a lawyer to help.

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Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer to assist in drafting a contract offers numerous benefits both to regular and stay at home businesses. Let us look at some of the most important ones:

  • Proven professional experience: lawyers know what they do, and most have years, even decades of experience to support that claim. They know what contracts must incorporate, which details are necessary or optional, and what clauses must be included for a business’ safety—things that not every one of us are familiar with.
  • All laws covered: a contract is not just an agreement. It is also a document that employs the law. The problem is that common people, like me and you, barely know the information contained articles, rights, or the like. A lawyer will assist and educate us in that area.
  • Technical and legal advice: lawyers can give more thorough insights to drafting and using contracts, not only where the law is concerned but even to the choice of words used in the document. As I’ve mentioned in the previous, we need to be as detailed as possible, but sometimes, it can be tough to explain things or terms on our own, especially those relating to rights. Lawyers can help overcome such hurdles

Finding a Lawyer for Mom Businesses

It’s not all that difficult to find a lawyer since we have a lot of them. However, it can be difficult to find a great lawyer at a more affordable price. Fortunately, there are several ways through which you can find a great yet inexpensive lawyer.

  • Referral: if you have friends or relatives who are in close contact with a lawyer or are lawyer themselves, it will be best to approach them and ask for a referral. It’s possible to get a discount through such means.
  • Outsourcing: if you want to save more, you might want to outsource. You can try Elance.com or Guru.com. Make sure to follow the tips laid out in “Mom Business: Working with Outsourced Developers” when you do, though.

Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at some nifty tools for managing contracts. Be sure to sign up for the daily e-mails so you don’t miss it.

 

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A contract sealed with words and a handshake is good, but a contract written and signed by both parties is the best guarantee and protection both businesses and clients can have. For that reason, it’s essential to know how to create a business contract. I know some of you might think it’s not that essential, but as the saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.”

Steps for Making Your Own Contract

Just because what we have is a stay at home business doesn’t mean we can’t follow regulations and safety measures that brick-and-mortar businesses do. One of those safety measures is creating and using a business contract. The problem is writing a contract can be difficult, not to mention. I hope that with this tutorial, though, you’ll be able to create your business contract with a lot less effort:

  1. Identify your business at the top. You should include your business name, address or web address, and contract details.
  2. Write the date next.
  3. Identify the contractor or client, adding full names, titles, and contact details.
  4. Introduce terms or “names” you will use to refer to you or the contractor/client. Let’s say your business name is “ABC Design.” In your contract, you can say something along these lines: “Throughout this contract, our company, ABC Design, shall henceforth be referred to as the Company. You, (name), the client/contractor, from here onward shall be referred to as the Client/Contractor.”
  5. Create an outline, with subheadings referring to what each part will discuss. Some parts you can include are the following:
  • Services
  • Responsibilities and Limitations
  • Payments
  • Terms and Liabilities
  • Rights and Benefits
  • Allowances (e.g., for delays, revisions, or defects)
  • Compensation (for damages, breach of contract, etc.)
  1. Elaborate the subheadings included, clarifying all details touched and making sure everything is discussed with the contractor or the client, specifically those pertaining to services to render, payments, and schedules.
  2. At the end of the contract, include signature lines for you and your contractor or client.
  3. Once done, have it checked by an attorney. Ask for advices, if there are parts that might need adjustments, or if there are any laws that are not taken into account.

Those are really all you need to do create a contract for your mom business. I know it’s easier said than done, but once you get to work, I’m sure you’ll be fueled and inspired. Let me offer some more tips to help you create a business contract:

  • Use easily understandable words. Prefer simple, clear words to jargons and complicated terms.
  • Be detailed. Explain anything that might be a source of confusion, regardless if it is a term, scope of the project, deadlines, or the like.
  • Specify the need for confidentiality. During the project, personal details will be exchanged; it’s crucial to safeguard both your and your contractor’s/client’s privacy.
  • Provide termination conditions. Although contracts are often created to cover a specific amount of time, there are cases when one or both of you will need to terminate it.
  • Think about the law. It will be wise to include clauses for mediation, remedies, and attorney fees in case of a dispute. Specifying which laws (based on state, country, etc.) will be governing in such cases can also be helpful.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope the steps and tips above will help you formulate the best contract possible.

We will be looking discussing more topics regarding contracts in the next few days. Be sure to sign up for the daily e-mails so you don’t miss them.

When is a contract needed? I can think of a lot of things like construction, sales, and employment. Speaking of employment, it’s common for regular (aka brick and mortar) businesses to create contracts both for employees and clients. However, for stay at home mom businesses like ours, is it important to have? Some may say “No,” but for those of us who have experienced some failures or at least slips, they are more than important—they’re a necessity.

Benefits of Having a Contract

There are a lot of reasons why you must and should have a contract written, especially if you’re part of the service industry. I probably can’t list all of them, but here are some that I believe are the most important:

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  • Scope of work—what services the job entail, how long the job will last, as well as how and when any output must delivered. These are some of the things that must be specified in the contract, protecting you from unjust demands once the project or job starts.
  • Rights and benefits—leaves or days-off, reservations, and property or intellectual rights of both you and your client must be specified. You can also specify any punishment, so to say, for breaching the contract or any part thereof. This is crucial for safeguarding both you and your client’s interests.
  • Costs—cost per hour or for the whole project, incentives, and bonuses are included in contracts. This guarantees that your work will not be for naught that you’ll get all the payment due you.

Types of Stay at Home Mom Business Contracts

The thing about contracts is that there are different kinds of them. I know; I wouldn’t have thought about the fact until I myself have realized just how important they are. Now, which stay at home business contracts should you be drafting? I’d say the most important ones to know and use are these:

  • Contractor—this is the contract you have to make if you’re expanding your business and recruiting help, especially from freelancers.
  • Non-compete—it won’t be beneficial if you and your client or contractor, depending on your case, end up being business rivals, right? This type of contract is specifically made to avoid that. Sometimes non-competes can’t hold up legally in court but if someone signs them that might scare them enough so they don’t even think about it.
  • Non-disclosure agreement—as you build your relationship with your client/contractor, you’ll be sharing vital information (e.g., login details, email accounts, etc.). The NDA is a contract that prevents one or both parties from leaking or using any details shared in the duration of the project once it’s finished. This is also often used for hiring writers.

Sometimes, we get too engrossed with our work and chores that we forget to take safety measures. Well, contracts might not seem like much, but when you’re trapped in a tough situation, you’ll know that contracts can be your lifesaver.

In the upcoming posts, we will be covering more topics related to contracts, so be sure to sign up for the daily e-mails so you don’t miss them.