From sponsored posts to non-disclosure agreements, we believe in being proactive when it comes to your online business partnerships. That means we want you to always “get it in writing,” preferably in contract form.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, if you were entering into a contract, the story went a little like this:
- Draw up the contract, possibly with the help of a lawyer.
- Scan the contract and send to the other party via email or (gulp) fax.
- They print the contract out, sign, re-scan, and return.
- You print out the signed contract, countersign, scan again or otherwise send the other party a copy, and file.
That's a lot of steps, effort, wasted paper and room for error. What a pain!
Thanks to the wonders of technological advancement, those days are over. You can easily modify a contract template to suit your needs, edit as needed in response to negotiations, and have all parties sign within moments. (In fact, we probably have a DIY contract template that's just what you need in our shop.)
The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) provides that electronic signatures are as valid and legally binding as their paper counterparts. These signatures can be “drawn” with your mouse or touchpad, typed in, or uploaded as an image of your actual signature.
For your online business, you'll want an e-sign tool that is easy to use and doesn't break the bank.
Here are our favorite tools for getting electronic signatures on documents.
With DocHub, you can sign up to five documents and email three monthly on their free plan. Create reusable templates or import files directly from Gmail, Google Drive and Dropbox.
DocHub Pro allows for unlimited documents and starts at $4.99 a month if paid annually.
The free plan at DigiSigner also allows for three documents per month. The Pro plan, which includes templates, branding and bulk signing, starts at $8 a month. (DigiSigner is the service that Danielle personally uses and she loves how easy it is to use.)
Dropbox Sign (formerly HelloSign) allows you to send three free documents per month, integrates with Google Drive and G Suite, and offers an easy to use Chrome extension. Upgraded plans begin at $13 a month for unlimited documents and include options like templates, multiple senders and customized branding.
Formerly known as Adobe EchoSign, Adobe Sign is part of the trusted Adobe Systems. This service integrates with Salesforce and Office 365, as well as other productivity and enterprise applications. One notable perk is the ability to scan printed pages with your mobile device: resulting PDFs are automatically cropped, corrected and ready to sign.
Adobe Sign starts at $9.99 per month for an individual account, but they do offer a free 14-day trial.
It's always a good idea to have a contract in place when working with another party in your online business— whether that party might be a brand, writer, virtual assistant or other contractor. And when the process of creating and signing a contract is so simple and affordable, there's really no excuse for neglecting this element of protection. Determine which contracts best suit your needs and make it a habit to sign, every time.