Virtual Assistant Contracts (GET YOUR BUTT LEGAL!)
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Today, we are going to get REAL about Virtual Assistant Contracts.
You know how whenever you go out with family or friends to do a fun physical activity (like an Escape Room), the company makes you sign a waiver?
“Yes… I’ll go in this dark, scary room with strangers and agree that it’s totally cool if I die”.
In this post, we’re talking about the equivalent of that for your business—the Virtual Assistant contract.
If you are new to the concept of starting a Virtual Assistant or freelance business (or you are seriously considering starting one), it is important to remember there is a legal side to every business.
But that doesn’t mean starting a business has to be scary!
While you don’t have to be a lawyer or play one on TV in order to protect your business legally, it IS important to have a good contract to protect yourself.
This post shares 4 reasons why Virtual Assistant contracts are important and where you can get a good one.
If we haven’t met yet, I’m Abbey Ashley, founder of The Virtual Savvy. I’ve trained thousands of Virtual Assistants on how to start their own business from scratch. They’re now working from home, spending more time with their families, saving up, and contributing to their family income.
Your Virtual Assistant Contracts: Best or Worst Case Scenario?
As Virtual Assistants, when we think about having a Virtual Assistant contract or not having one, we typically put ourselves in a best-case scenario situation in our heads.
We think we have good reasoning and judgment; that we can trust our intuition or discernment. We may think, “I know this person,” or “They were a personal referral,” or “They’re my first client.”
We don’t want to make our client sign something because we think it will start the working relationship off on the wrong foot. It’s very tempting to think we are protecting the relationship if we build it on trust.
The best-case scenario is that everything is going to be fine.
You’ll do the work and get paid on time, every time. Rainbows will start bursting out of your computer and you’ll cry jellybean tears of joy.
Just making sure you’re still reading. 😉
In all seriousness—most of the time you WILL have great clients and best-case scenarios!
However, it’s so important to protect yourself and to protect your family. Allow yourself and your mind to go there. Allow yourself (just for a moment) to think about the worst-case scenario.
What if someone does try to come after me because of a service that I did or a mistake that I made or for any other reason?
It’s so important to have a good contract in place to protect yourself, just in case.
Free Virtual Assistant Contracts
I have a Facebook community of over 50,000 virtual assistants. I cringe every single time I see people ask, “Where can I get a free contract from?”
Here’s the thing. If you are looking for a contract, you want to go with the contract that is going to protect you as a business owner the most. Finding some hacked together cut-and-paste contract template off the internet is not really going to do much for you.
You need a Virtual Assistant contract that is made specifically for Virtual Assistants. You need a contract specifically for YOUR business so it can protect YOU, as you’ll definitely want to keep your butt covered legally when it comes to your business.
That said, here are four ways you can do to legally cover your butt with a Virtual Assistant Contract.
Number 1: Have a contract.
Have I said this enough already? 🙂
Yes, you do need to have a contract.
I highly suggest having one that was created specifically for Virtual Assistants.
If you don’t know where to get a contract, we have a Virtual Assistant contract template that was crafted by a licensed attorney specifically for Virtual Assistant businesses on our website. You can go to right HERE to grab it.
Of course, you can always get a contract from another source or from an attorney that creates a contract specifically for you.
Whatever it is you decide to do to purchase a contract, you need to have a contract.
It’s not enough to just have a contract though, which leads us to number 2.
Number 2: Understand your contract.
Yes, I know sometimes contracts can be full of legal jargon, but it’s really, really important that you understand what that legal jargon means.
How is this contract protecting you?
How is it protecting your business?
If somebody asks you to sign a different contract other than the one you have, you need to know what their contract says, as well.
You may not have the time or capacity to completely work through their contract terms, which is why we usually encourage you to have your clients sign YOUR contract.
You don’t need to sign two contracts. Just sign one and make sure that whatever you’re signing makes sense to you and that you understand every element of it.
Number 3: Get your contract signed by you AND your client.
Now, there are a few tools I recommend in order to get your contract signed.
You don’t have to physically sign the paper with a pen and then scan it, email that, have them print it, have them sign it, scan it, email it back to you. It doesn’t have to work that way.
There are some awesome free tools to get a contract signed digitally. These tools are not only faster but also more efficient.
Two of my favorite tools are HelloSign and DocuSign. Both of these are online document signing tools that you can use to digitally sign your contracts. They’re completely valid. You have to click a checkbox verifying that the electronic signature does count as your actual signature.
These tools make it really easy to send a contract, have your client sign it, and send it back to you super quickly.
This means you can start your working relationship with your client ASAP.
Number 4: Refer to your virtual assistant contracts, as needed.
Again, your contract shouldn’t be something that you just sign and forget about. You should understand what your contract means to you and your working relationship.
If for some reason your client wants to hire you for more hours, your payment terms change, or any other aspect of your contract changes in one way or another, that needs to be reflected inside of your contract.
You will need to have your client sign a new contract (or addendum) with the new agreed-upon terms, so make sure to refer to your contract.
If you’re having trouble with payment (like if your client isn’t paying you on time or isn’t paying you in the way you originally agreed to), you have your contract to refer back to!
Issues with payment is one of the really big reasons why I highly recommend having your client’s physical address. Yes, it’s fun to drop a surprise welcome gift in the mail or to send them a Christmas card, but it’s also important to have if you do have to deal with the issue of nonpayment.
If a client doesn’t pay you, you will need to respond as a business owner by sending a certified letter explaining why they need to pay you immediately.
It’s so important to have a physical address on file for that very reason.
Want to learn more?
I know that a lot of you will still have questions about how to protect yourself legally in your Virtual Assistant business. Some of you will even have more questions about a Virtual Assistant contract.
Good news! I have two more free resources about contracts for you right now:
1) a blog post devoted to the 5 Must-Haves of a Virtual Assistant Contract, and
2) an entire interview with Danielle Liss, the attorney who created our Virtual Assistant Contract
The VA Toolbox
I know I said it’s important for you to have a contract that was made specifically for Virtual Assistants, and that is exactly what we have for you in The Virtual Savvy Store!
The VA Toolbox contains all of the contracts you need to get started with your Virtual Assistant business. If you do have questions about understanding your contract, you’ll also be able to contact Danielle directly. She is the attorney who created these contracts.
Again, it is SO important to have a Virtual Assistant contract for your Virtual Assistant business. Make sure that you understand it. It’s the best way to protect yourself legally in your Virtual Assistant business.
Remember to always be protecting yourself and protecting your business. Now let’s get out there and get some clients!
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Having a contract before working for someone is the best thing to do if you are a virtual assistant.
YES YES YES! Cannot emphasise this enough! You are spot on!
very nice blog i really like it and everyone must read it.
Thank you so much for the kind words! I appreciate you!
I am so happy that I was able to read your blog because I’ve learned and definitely learned about the contract. I know that every project you have to have contract but to be honest I didn’t know that as a VA we are entitled to have one as well, and of course this is to protect us. Thank you so much make my research so easy because of this information.
YES! Always have a contract. It is so, so important.
Thank you so much for this material. You helped me through this journey and helped me to not take it too too seriously.
I’m so glad this was helpful! You got this!