You’ve read all the horror stories online: creatives getting their intellectual property nabbed by massive corporations or being paid pennies for something that went on to put millions in someone else’s pocket. Now, you’re starting your own creative business, and you’ve vowed not to let anything like that happen to you.
Your time, work, and creativity are incredibly valuable. Here’s how you can keep your sh*t protected and get what you’re worth:
Surround yourself with experts
No one’s expecting you to do this all on your own. In fact, that would be just about impossible.
Trust us: the very best business owners in the world are only the best because of the team they’ve built around them. It’s important to surround yourself with smart, skilled people who can offer advice, support, and advocate for you in different areas of business. Plus, you won’t be stuck trying to juggle ten balls at once and can just focus on what you love most.
To start building your dream team, we recommend hiring at minimum:
A lawyer (who’s well versed in your industry)
An accountant (again, preferably someone with industry expertise, like we have with the creative industry)
A financial planner
An insurance broker
With your dream team backing you up, you can start laying down processes and contracts to make sure you’re getting paid what you deserve for every new project.
Get it in writing
Rule number one of the creative industry: don’t give anything away for free.
Like we said before, you deserve to be paid for your time and creativity, and the best way to ensure you always get what you’re worth is with an airtight contract.
Contracts are a great first project to take on with your new dream team lawyer, especially if they have industry expertise and are already familiar with common structures, pitfalls, and opportunities to keep an eye out for. When creating a contract, remember to:
Protect your intellectual property: What are the confines of use when you sell a piece of creative output to a client? How long do they have access to rights, and in what geographic area? Design your deals so they serve you, giving you the most flexibility, control, and future access to your content possible.
Protect your cash flow: Your cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. A good contract means you get paid on time, every time, with clear ramifications if this doesn’t happen. Be sure to keep in mind things like license fees, regular deposits, and penalties for late payments.
Learn from other’s mistakes
In our years of working with many brilliant creatives, we’ve unfortunately seen our fair share of mistakes in contracts. It’s these mistakes, like not specifying usage terms or putting payment plans in writing, that lead to those horror stories you’ve heard of creatives getting taken advantage of.
To help stop the same thing from happening to other budding business owners, we created our list of Top Five Contract Fails. You can get this list, plus other tools like our Structure That Suits Analysis or our Time Saving Worksheet, by signing up for Minding Your Business: The Creative Business Bootcamp.
In this masterclass-style course, we break down all the key steps of starting and scaling your dream creative business, including even more advice for protecting your intellectual property and cash flow.
Ready to start minding your business?
Sign up for our free business bootcamp today!