Journal is powered by Vocal creators. You support Alexius McCoy by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Journal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Why Contracts Are Important

Whether you are loaning a family member money, or setting up a business with someone, you need a contract.

When I ask my friends about contracts, they usually go to their phone service contracts, and how confusing they are. A lot of contracts do have a ton of legal jargon in them, but that doesn't mean when you write your own contracts or use an attorney that they have to be wordy and lengthy.

For my first contract, for my babysitting business, I used a basic babysitters template. The internet has plenty of these and they are easy to modify to your needs. With the template, I made sure to read over it and change out the specific needs of myself and my client. I would then print it out after we discussed what all they were expecting of me, and what I was excepting of them.

In the summer of 2016 into the school year I had 2 contracts that I was under. One was an infant, and the other was for a 5-year-old. My contract for the infant was much for extensive because I would be watching the baby for 6 to 8 hours a day 5 days a week, while the 5-year-old just needed to be watched in the morning before school, dropped off at the bus stop, then picked up and watched for an hour or so after school.

These differences made my contracts different. For one parent I was being paid by weekly in cash, the second couple paid me once a week with a check. And being that I was a teenager, I needed to make sure everyone knew what needed to be done, so as to not be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, not all people are honest and good. I'm just glad I didn't have to learn it the hard way because I had my contracts in place.

Being a teen or younger it is hard for adults to take you seriously. And when they sign your contract make sure that they know that it is legally binding document once they sign it. So if they break the rules of the game sort of speak, there will be consequences.

In one case where this did happen to me the adult, I was working with decided she wanted to change her payment method for the rest of the term, but by changing it she was breaking the contract and costing me more by doing so. Now instead of cash that I could put directly into my business account, I would have to find a way to process her money order. Never break the rules of your contract!

Because once you do that, you can put yourself at risk of them deciding it's okay to also break the contract. It's like playing tag...if one person decides that you can touch base and be safe, you can't change where the base is. As soon as you do that, then everyone will want to chose where the base is and then you have no game.

A Contract is a promise to do something in return for something else. By having a contract you are promising to do the outlined tasks and they are promising to do their tasks. But when either of you fails to do so you need to have a backup plan.

This is where you would want someone like an attorney to look over your contract to make sure you are protected from dishonest individuals. I suggest practicing writing contracts for yourself and your business. What goals do you wish to accomplish? When do you want to accomplish them by? Create a contract for those goals, set a date and sign it. Check back on it every few days to see how you're doing.

Contracts don't have to be scary so long as you take the time to read them over and understand them.

Now Reading
Why Contracts Are Important
Read Next
What It's Like To Be A: Journalist