It’s just business: Why you need a contract for everything #FVBloggingTips
Ok guys, It’s getting real on FV today. Let’s talk about the less glamorous side of blogging. I am a few hours away from having to leave to court to deal with a lawsuit. A lawsuit where I am suing a company for trying to scam me. This is the not so glamorous part of blogging. The negative parts are almost never shared if they do happen at all, but anywho, I will get to that story in a few.
For todays #FvBloggingTips post I wanted to talk about how to not get taken advantage of as a blogger. Sometimes you don’t realize that even the small deals and agreements made in an email can turn into a big ugly mess just because it was not stated clearly what was to be delivered or there was no formal contract. Unfortunately in this line of work, shady businesses often take advantage of bloggers. Maybe because many girls are so young doing this that they let a lot of things slide or maybe because some people think this is just a side hobby for some of us? I’m not sure what the reason is, but the truth of the matter is that you constantly have to prove yourself and your professionalism to the people you are working with. You have to fight to get paid sometimes, things end up being way more work than you agreed to do, or maybe a brand just backs out last minute saying “you didn’t deliver what they expected” even after you put all the hard work into it. Truth be told, just like any other business out there, it gets real sometimes and often people try to get away with unprofessional behavior. Having a written, clear contract stating what both you and the other party will be delivering is crucial. I know this seems obvious, but sometimes when it gets really busy you might think you don’t need a contract for small things (like this giveaway I put together months ago). Trust me, your future self will thank you if you happen to come across any hiccups. Even a simple written paper with your letterhead and both your signatures is better than nothing. The worst part is putting in all the work and then not getting anything in return.
Ok, so back to the lawsuit story. A few months ago I decided to put together a giveaway including 15 or so other bloggers. One consignment shop was involved that was sponsoring the giveaway and promised to gift the winner a designer bag in exchange for us bloggers promoting their store. All was great, the store gained thousands of followers from our promoting, the winner was announced when the giveaway was over, and the consignment shop said the bag was being sent out the next day. Months go by and the winner contacts me saying she never received the bag. Ummm, What?! When I reach out to this shop, they used every excuse they could as to why they didn’t send the bag out. 1-Because I never sent the email and details of the winner even though I have proof of the emails and confirmation of their receiving. 2- Because I “was very unprofessional” as how I ran my business (I know this was a reach because I’ve done this before and always strive to be the most professional I can). 3- They thought I was lying and wanted to send the bag to myself. They even tried to accuse me of being an illegal Mexican possibly to scare me from fighting them (really, this was a crazy accusation and not to mention irrelevant). You bet your ass I was like “OH HELL NO”. This was when I realized I was trying to be scammed.
I try to keep everything on my blog and instagram as real as possible and hosting a giveaway that could have been seen as “fake” (thanks to this company not following through with their promise) was not something that made me happy at all. I would not want anyone to think I am scamming them and would not have wanted the other bloggers to have their reputations ruined as well. I am not fighting this lawsuit just for myself, I am fighting it because people like this should not be able to get away with being so slimy. If I let them step all over me then they will do it again with other bloggers. I think it’s time we make sure we as bloggers are a force not to be messed with. I am not saying you should go sue anyone who tries to take advantage of you (trust me, its a long annoying process and only takes away your precious time and money). If you have well written contracts stating what you will be delivering and what you expect back from the person you are working with you should be fine.
If I had written a very clear contract this would never have happened. I guess the main idea I want you to take from this post is that in this freelance blogging world you have to have a contract for everything! I thought our agreeing on this via email would be fine (as this is what I have done in the past) but it was not enough. Just because you have had good luck with awesome people who stick to their word in the past it does not mean everyone in the future will be an honest person. A lot of people would rather take advantage and see how far they can get. Luckily we do have proof of an agreement even if it is written only in the email. As soon as I served the papers to this company they happened to send money to the winner so she could buy their bag (go figure). It’s too bad I had to go serve them court papers for them to follow through on their agreement.
Whether you like it or not, companies still try and take advantage of bloggers, this is a warning to just always read the fine print, make sure your ass is covered and always make sure you both know what to expect from any agreement. Take this example of this horrible story and make it into something positive. Contracts don’t make you a cold or mean person, they make you professional, they make things smooth and they make it clear for all parties as to what should be expected. Let’s all be the best boss babes we possibly can and kick some blogging business ass.
Wish me luck today guys!