Episode 71

Take Control Of Your Legals with Verity White

June 22nd, 2022

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Today I'm chatting with Founder and Chief Contract Enthusiast at Checklist Legal, Verity White.
We dive into:
  • Why business owners need contracts
  • How contracts make professional relationships more successful
  • Automating your business practices
  • Process mapped out for onboarding contractors, employees and clients
  • Breaking the contracts up into digestible sections
About Verity
Verity White is the founder and Chief Contract Enthusiast at Checklist Legal. Verity is an experienced commercial lawyer with a passion for simplifying legal information and expertise in re-designing contracts for automation, readability, and usability.
Verity is also the author of Create Contracts Clients Love, a fun journey through methods for designing delightful, automation-ready legal documents to save you time, delight clients, and elevate brand experience.

Connecting With Our Guest
Connect with Verity on Instagram.
Visit Verity's Website.
Connect with Nicole on Instagram.
Visit Nicole's Website.
Get the Action Takers Guide to ClickUp here.
Join the Take Control with Nicole Facebook group here.

Join the waitlist for The Members Lounge here.


Episode Transcription

Nicole Smith
Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners we experienced firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be. If you're looking for smarter ways to work, and create space and time freedom in your day, then you're in the right place. All right, let's go.

Nicole Smith
Hello, and welcome back to Take Control with Nicole. Today I am speaking with the fabulous Verity White, all about creating business contracts your clients love. Verity is the founder and chief contract enthusiast at Checklist Legal. Verity is an experienced commercial lawyer with a passion for simplifying legal information and expertise in redesigning contracts for automation, readability and usability. Verity is also the author of the Creative Contracts Clients Love book a fun journey through methods for designing delightful automation ready legal documents to save you time, delight your clients and elevate your brand experience. Well, hello, Verity. Thanks so much for joining me here. I'm so excited to talk about this topic with you.

Verity White
Hi, Nicole, I'm excited to talk with you too. Thanks for having me along.

Nicole Smith
Yay, pleasure. Well, let's just start at the very beginning. Tell us a little bit about you and your journey. And how did Checklist Legal become a thing?

Verity White
Well, Checklists Legal is actually a blog before it was a law firm. When I was kind of a bit of a junior burger lawyer, and I was working in house in a corporate company, a corporate lawyer, I had this kind of idea that innovation was kind of fun and maybe we could be more productive with the way that we were working with contracts. But the team that I was in, there wasn't much scope for that. And so I started writing about it and started kind of talking about it online and kind of connecting with different people who were interested in plain language in the law and started going to conferences, speaking at conferences, and kind of rolling all of this ways of thinking into different presentations and more writing, then people wanted to work with me. And I was like, well, this could be something fun to do. So in 2020, when we didn't have anything else to do, I started a law firm on the side of my corporate legal job, and turns Checklist Legal into a law firm. And the name kind of Checklist Legal, I think will be very much aligned to what you and your listeners are interested in. There's a book called Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. And he writes all about how he took checklists and took them through the World Health Organisation to improve surgeries because, you know, he saw that people were using checklists in planes and basically, the world is too complex now to rely on your own silly brain to help. And this idea that checklists can improve outcomes without changing or improving your own skill. I always liked that idea of getting better outcomes without having to work harder. So that's kind of the concept behind Checklist Legal, is that if you just make the law easy to follow and understand, then you can get better outcomes. And yeah, so now, law firm, also, recently, B Corp certified, which is super exciting, because there's not that many law firms in the world that a B Corp certified, but it's really important to me. Key client groups that I work with female founders, with many online service based businesses, and also a group of legal legends, which has women leaders in law and law firms, legal teams and legal tech companies.

Nicole Smith
I love that legal. Yeah. That's so good, you're really just taking what, how the world is evolving with all this beautiful technology and making things nice and simple for us, as you know, people that may not understand all the words on the paper, you sometimes handed a contract, aren't you and you're like, skim read. Okay. Cool sign. Yeah, but you don't really understand it. So yeah, that's fabulous.

Verity White
And it's not your fault that you don't understand it, right? Because so many of these contracts are just not like lawyers can't read them. Often, you know, really well educated, trained lawyers don't understand what contracts say, that's why they go to court and sue over what they think they say. So it's not your fault if you don't understand contracts, it's the contracts fault. Because contracts are a tool in business and the idea is to make them work for you. So you know, if you, I think you would probably talk about this all the time with, I know you've done episodes, on systems and go back and listen to episode three everyone on business documentation, because it's really important to get your business documents all sorted. But if you have a contract in your business, but you don't really understand what it means it's not really, you're not using that tool as well as you could.

Nicole Smith
Yeah. Yeah, that's right. Let's talk about contracts though I know, when I was an employed in a business, you know, you start with an employee contract, for instance. And that's obviously, a document that many will be familiar with. And when you transpose over into the business world, from a corporate land, or wherever you've come from, sometimes this document is a bit of an elusive thing, it's just a piece of paper or digital thing, most of them using online signatures or fun and games, but it doesn't really, why do I need one, what's the most simple? Why do I need one as a business owner?

Verity White
Why do you need contracts?

Nicole Smith
Yeah, as a business owner and for my clients, like, why do I need them?

Verity White
So I think the way the my philosophy around contracts is around making expectations clear. So that that way, it's I see them, not just as a bit of paper, or some, some businesses might traditionally, you know, pull out a contract and be like, I'm gonna whack you over the head with this contract because, you know, my contract says, I get to do this to you. Whereas I see it as much more of a map to a relationship. And I know that a lot of you know, contracts is one word for them, but basically, their agreements, right, it's agreeing with other people on what you're going to do together. And whether you're, it's an employment agreement, so you're governing the relationship on like, we will give you money, and you will do this. And this is how we'll work together. Or for a client, where a client is engaging you to work and making it really clear, you know, what your boundaries are, what you will do, what you won't do, what's in scope, what's out of scope, what will we do when things go wrong. And same for suppliers. So my approach to contracts are that they are really important, because they protect you from potential risks, or scope creep, they save you from yourself, often as business owners, and I think maybe particularly female business owners we often can over service and try and do like, oh, they just want that one little extra thing, we'll just do that. Whereas if you've got it in your contract, then it just gives you that little extra protection. It's like an extra person in your team, that kind of can be a bit of the, a bit meaner than you are, you can always be nicer than your contracts. But they can always be a bit more of that boundary setting.

Nicole Smith
A little buffer between yeah, oh, but I'm just so nice and I really just want to do that one thing and your contract, they go, Nicole stop.

Verity White
Yeah. And it's not necessarily about like ripping the contract out and saying, I'm gonna do this, but it's almost just your clients will read the contracts and they kind of understand, okay, well, this is in scope, this is out of scope. And that that makes sense. So they can understand where the value is, and what's going on. So contracts, I think are just really powerful tools in your business to help make relationships more successful. And also, yeah, protect your energy, protect your intellectual property, protect all that all the goodness that you put into your business.

Nicole Smith
It's just about being clear, isn't it? Like the bottom line,

Verity White
Exactly, exactly. And if you can get your contracts to kind of almost speak in the same way that you speak to your clients when you're chatting to them, you're having a beautiful sales conversation or discovery process. And then you send them across like a really ugly contract. That's kind of Times New Roman, all slabs of text. And it's kind of like, ooh, what is this? What is going on? Or even if your contract, your client contracting journey is a bit clunky, and it's kind of hard to understand, like, well, that's not what you said, when we were on the court like trying to just match everything up so that all works together. Because it's all part of that process of getting clients on board or getting employees on board.

Nicole Smith
So the experience you want them to to have from that first initial call all the way to the end, isn't it?

Verity White
That's right. Yeah.

Nicole Smith
All those elements. Can we talk about some tech, we love the tech.

Verity White
Of course,

Nicole Smith
That's something that you know that automation piece, which I love I was listening to a podcast on, it was Denise Duffield-Thomas' podcast today, talking about the keyless business.

Verity White
Yes, yep.

Nicole Smith
And finding those little moments in your day that you can automate. Yes. How to how do you do that for your process?

Verity White
Ah, I love a bit of Denise Duffield-Thomas and Chillpreneur her book, I've listened to that one. And she actually does have some good tips in there and some good kind of contractual bits and pieces that she talks through. So for me for my business and making things that keyless automated lifestyle. And that's also what I try to do for my clients as well to make it as easy as possible to work with me. So some of the ways that I've done that is around stitching together different platforms. So I use Dubsado as one of my, as my kind of intake and client delivery platform. But I had this dream that I didn't think it would be too hard. But the idea was, well what if I could put my proposal and the list of things that was in my proposal could then go into the contract and then that could go into the invoice. And then it's all the same all the way through, which I liked from a legal perspective, because they know what they they're signing up for what's in the proposal, and that's in the contract and that's in the invoice. So it's clear all the way along. And so that's one of the things that I've set up in my business that makes me very happy that it all kind of clicks together and works the way along. But my clients enjoy it because they, they feel like they're guided along each step in the way. And we have a process in to gather that feedback. And you know, some of the feedback that we've changed based on client feedback was well you send us across so many documents, it's quite daunting. When I send all this, so I was like, oh, that's a good point. I should number them even just like numbering my template documents so that they're in order. So that just feels a bit more like okay, I start at number one, that's, that's just like an easy thing.

Nicole Smith
And it's those little tweaks, right? It doesn't have to be about find, like, yes, system, like tech systems are great. But sometimes when you're in your business, making those tiny things like inserting a naming convention into the way that you manage your documentation and your filing, it's just your brain is got so much going on having that checklist. Make it simple.

Verity White
Yes, yes. So Dubsado has been a great one for me. I also use I've tried a few different document automation systems, and I write about contract design for automation. And how can you get documents and get them kind of information, designed in a way that makes it easy to automate, but also easy to read and understand and act on. So I've used things like DocuSign before to automate like entire franchising processes. But in my business, I also have another platform that I use called Joseph, which is around document assembly. So it's kind of a chatbot based system where clients fill out the details, and then that assembles some of the documents in the back end based on the choices that they make. But I got some feedback on that from clients recently, they're like, oh, I just kind of want to form like maybe the Chatbot thing is a bit like to be gimmicky, we just want to form because we want to be able to say the whole thing. I'm like, that's fair enough, I might just switch it to a form base, which might be a bit easier.

Nicole Smith
Or you might have both options, because you know, we all learn and absorb and compute information in different ways. So you might have a 50% loving the chatbot, the other people like the form. So,

Verity White
Yeah, yeah, it would be it's, it's an interesting one, because I feel like, I don't know if you ever feel this way, Nicole, but I often feel like there's always more shiny bits of tech, there's always a bit of a system. Like I just wonder if I could just get this system going this way. Yeah,

Nicole Smith
Yeah. Yeah. Well, the thing is tech changes all the time. Right. So tomorrow, whatever we're using today is already outdated. And it's just about finding and knowing. Is that something that's really important right now, is it causing a lot of friction, that we need to go in and tweak the buttons or is that a nice to have? Yeah, I think that's, you know, some of my clients come to me with spreadsheets full of research. And in that state of overwhelm, not knowing which way to go, because there's just so many options out there. Yes. So yeah, I think it's just being, you know, making that decision. Is this actually what I need or is it just that it looks nice and shiny over there.

Verity White
And I do try to, I know, it's a bit, it's a bit analogue, but to try and even just have like a document that's got the key details in it before I automate something so that that way I can, I love using Coggle as well, which is like a mind mapping online tool, so that I can map out the process, then I can kind of get that content underneath it. And then it's like, okay, I've done this thinking now, I don't want to actually do the automation, I want to hand this over to someone else who's better at it than me to automate it. But this is kind of what I was thinking. So yeah, I do like having that almost like a backup safety of like, here's the overarching thing that I want to automate.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, that's the important part of it, right? Because if you don't actually know what you're doing, and you just dive into, say, a system like Dubsado, right, because I know that's one you use. You're like, I want it to work. Yeah, he wanted what do you want her to do? What are we doing here? Like, what is your client experience and journey? Once you know that in yourself, then yeah, if you don't have that expertise, there are many people out there that can come in and be like this part you can automate, we can do this here and then you can connect this to this bit. And then this does that and fireworks and champagne and all the fun stuff. Like it's all these things you can do. But it does start with knowing what you actually want your experience to be.

Verity White
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And I think from a contract perspective, I think there's a lot of those mindset issues around the legal side of your business or the businessy side of your businesss, so maybe the accounting side sometimes has a bit of that stigma as well. So trying to change your mindset around the have contracts in your business and looking at them as tools, as maps, as an extra team member in your team that can help you collect money, enforce your rights, manager scope is a different way of looking at it that can really help you too.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, we're not just doing it because someone told us we had to, we're doing it because we really understand the place that they play in your business.

Verity White
That's right and I think a lot of people do it because out of fear, where they're like, I've got to have a contract because like, I'll get sued or this will happen, or that's one of the things I don't like about some of the ways that lawyers market themselves. Like oh, you've got to do this or else this bad thing will happen. Well, it's very unlikely to happen. It's not necessarily definitely going to happen. So I think, yeah, just having that more of a business savvy approach, and to legals is really cool.

Nicole Smith
And if you're interested to learn about it as well, just educate yourself a bit more, come and buy your book for instance.

Verity White
The book, I mean, the book is definitely a great book, but

Nicole Smith
Tell us about the book!

Verity White
Well, I mean, it's a it's mainly it was aimed at people who deal with a lot of contracts and want almost permission. Some people like, oh, am I allowed to change contracts? Yes, you are, you definitely are, just because a lawyer gives you a contract in a particular format doesn't mean that you can't change it. Obviously, you want to make sure that depending on on the industry that you're in, there might be some technical things that you need in your documents. And lawyers are often really useful to give you that little edge case and spot the gaps or understand what's happening in the industry that you might not be aware of. But you will know some of the key things that are wrong in you know, that could go wrong. And it's often that's a great thing to go to a lawyer with read your contracts have a think about, well, what do I not like that my clients are doing at the moment? Or when did I have a bad client? Or, you know, when did I get sick? And I needed to have a bit of a, you know, my client was really understanding, but what if they weren't or what if I did something else. And so you start to think about the different scenarios. So it's a bit of this scenario planning, it's a bit of strategy, trying to keep your contracts, flexible for the future, because you don't want them to be so tight that that way, if you add a new product or service, then you kind of have to add new contracts. So I like to keep them quite flexible. I like to have them in with different documents the way that they kind of all work together for your business. So the book is, kind of talks a little bit about it's mainly aimed at people who deal with contracts and, and legal documents on a regular basis. But it's talking about how do you even start to automate and make contracts more productive?

Nicole Smith
And if we're right at the start of our business, you know, someone, old mate, next door has gone have you got your agreement sorted? And you're like ahh I don't know what to do? What do we do? Where do we go? Do we come to someone like you straightaway? Or is it you know, there's another step in between? Or like, what would you,

Verity White
So there's lots of different options for business contracts. And if you've got a pen and a napkin, you can probably write your own contract. So it depends on where you're at in your business. There's lots of template options. There's lots of legal lawyers to work with. I love working with new businesses, experienced businesses, businesses of all shapes and sizes. So the main thing to think about is when you when you're setting up your business, it's not necessarily just contracts, it could be things like structure of your business, if you're a sole trader, or if you're a Proprietary Limited Company. If you're starting to think about risk management, there's a few different options that you might want to take, then things like intellectual property, which is also really important. If you've got your domain names, if you've got your trademarks and starting to think about, oh, do I need to trademark my business? Or do I have my business name registered all of those kinds of intellectual property bundle of things. Business insurance can be really important as well. It's one of the things that you buy that you never want to use, because you don't ever want to really claim on your insurance. And then when it comes to contracts, a lot of people start, they might not have contracts to start with, they might just have a bit of a scope of work or almost a list of what they will be delivering and the cost. So that in itself is a contract. And when you get to the point of it's often either a bad experience where you have like a bit of a nightmare client that can set you up to be like, oh, I want to have a contract. I also work with a lot of new businesses that are very conscious that they want to get set up for success. So working with professionals, you know, working with someone who can help you set up your business systems like yourself, Nicole or working with a lawyer who can actually help coach you on setting up your contracting process can actually be pretty useful in lots of ways. So with Dubsado I had someone help me set that up, and it's been amazing. So I'm all for getting a professional in to give you a bit of that, that nudge in a direction that can help you make better decisions over the life of your business.

Nicole Smith
It gives you that step up almost at the start if that if you're in a financial place to of course do though, yeah, it gives you that little bit of a zoom forward because you've got now the confidence in whatever you, area - contracts, business systems, finances is another really big key. I know, and I still am learning on that journey myself, like being confident in that space, I know how to use the systems, that's not the thing, the whole mind, coming back to the mindset of it, which is where you started right at the start, you've got that education and awareness and understand how it applies in your world, then it makes it so much easier to do all of the things and to press the buttons and invite the clients to come and work with you. Because that's a big thing when you first start it's oh, no one wants to work with me. I hear that, you know, a few times from various people. So having those pieces of the pie already there ready to go. You don't have to worry about any of that you focus on being fabulous self and just enjoy what you do.

Verity White
That's right, yeah, I don't really work, it's probably the only kind of clients that I don't really work with the ones who are like, oh, I need to, I need a contract like immediately because, and it's kind of a bit of a bugbear of mine, where I not every contract has to be like a bespoke ball gown, right? Because we don't sometimes we just want to chuck on a blazer and some jeans and get going. But at the same time, if you've got your core client contract, like your revenue generating contract, and you want to just be like, just spend 10 minutes filling out this template for your core revenue generating contract, I am sorry, but you need to spend a bit more time thinking about your entire business processes end to end for your core revenue generating contracts. So I think you can find the areas where you spend the money where it's so, if you're getting an independent contractor in maybe you just need a basic template for that, and there's so many templates that are available online through like business.gov.au and Intellectual Property Australia has some for confidentiality agreements. So there's lots of different areas where you can like maybe you scrimp on some of those templates. But if you are setting up a anything that generates revenue for your business, or if there is a core contractor that you're using, that's creating a lot of intellectual property, like a graphic designer or someone, then maybe you do want to get that spent a little bit extra to make sure you've got that, you are capturing that intellectual property, and it's coming back to you and your business. So I think it's about being like anything, right? It's clever, where you spend your time and energy and money.

Nicole Smith
And that's a really good point. So you know, we engage people to support us in our business. So be it virtual assistants, designers, podcasts editors, and we sign their agreements to say yeah we're going to pay you and you're going to deliver this service. What do we need to do? Do we need to do something from our side, if they're creating all of that IP for us?

Verity White
Definitely. So I would say this is kind of general information only, it's not legal advice.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, yep, very general,

Verity White
Go speak to a lawyer to see if this information is right for you.

Nicole Smith
Just interrupting this episode, for one little message, if you have been listening and love what you hear and want to come in connect, we have a Take Control with Nicole Facebook community, right over there on Facebook, that I would love to invite you to come and join us. We are a supportive community, we are looking to really take action in our businesses, and change the way or evolve the way we're working right now. So I invite you to come on over and join our community and connect with us all. Community is the essence of everything in business. Being able to really build those relationships that you can nurture, and grow and support and celebrate each other, oh how fabulous. I hope to see you over there, pop on over to Facebook, Take Control with Nicole, see you soon.

Verity White
If you're getting someone who is the contractor in your business, then having a look at the intellectual property clause and having one that you like in your back pocket that you can say, hey, all the your agreement looks fine. But here I'd want this change to this intellectual property clause because often what you'll see is that the people who create it, so graphic designers or photographers will have this if you get your brand shooting done that they own the photos because they took them it's kind of a an actual law in copyright. So if you want to kind of own those yourself, or you'll have a licence to use it, and just looking at what are the rights that you're expecting from that work? And are you getting those in the contract? And that's one of the reasons why the bigger you are in business, the more likely you are to have your own documents because you know, a bit more about what you want from your suppliers. So, depending on your approach and how critical that particular supplier might be for your business is when you'll put your energy into kind of negotiating with them. So yeah, definitely intellectual property, making sure, I've heard some horror stories of co-founders as well around things like access to social media and getting locked out of those things. So I don't know if you can prevent everything, but kind of making sure that you're sharing passwords. And it's not necessarily legal things. Sometimes it's just clever commercialness around the way that you set up the business and manage those relationships.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, I know in in my business, I've got a tech assistant who comes and helps deliver and build some of the designs that I do for my clients and we use LastPass. And it's my LastPass, not, well I've got to mine, and then my an admin one, and so my clients share their access through the admin one. So if something happens, I have control to now cut that access off.

Verity White
Yes,

Nicole Smith
You know, simple little things and LastPass for instance, there's free accounts you can use for people out there who are listening who may have passwords in a notebook in the top drawer of your desk, go online.

Verity White
No no no!

Nicole Smith
Go online, to lastpass.com and have a look. There's many other ones as well. If it's something that you're interested in DM me, and we can have a chat about other options for you. But,

Verity White
Even if it's getting a paid one, I know that I know we've got like so many subscriptions in our businesses. We don't need another paid one, but I think I don't think it's that expensive and

Nicole Smith
No, well we have a paid onepay. Because we use it lots.

Verity White
I think it's some things are worth paying for and if it's something that's going to give you that little bit of extra security around your business and keep you organised, right. It just keeps you organised.

Nicole Smith
And it's so much easier. A central, I always talk about central location for things, you know, that's primarily what we do for businesses is that, create that central hub of information and operations for the business. And that's just one element of it. The same as you know, what you're doing for your clients is you're creating a little, a silo of all of their legal information and legal documents, so they know they can tap in there and go, and this is the process that that they use.

Verity White
Yeah, exactly. That's one of the things that I love when I'm working with businesses, is helping them to set out that process. So it's quite a holistic approach that I take, because often lawyers will be like, oh, you need a contract, like they have their blinkers on and so they're just like, you need a contract, here is a contract. But they don't look either side of it, like how do clients come to you? How do you want to sign them up? What happens afterwards? And some of those aspects can really inform what goes into the document itself. But then also, because contracts are not just documents, they're a process. It's it's kind of how do you sign up your, your clients as well? Or how do you onboard employees? How do you engage new suppliers? So I, with my clients set out a client journey map, which is pretty it's very basic it's not like an amazing ClickUp journey. But it's, it's the the main point is to try and see, at what point do your clients agree to something. And so then you can say, well, this is where the contract is formed. So I know what's in the contract and when it starts from, and so that's kind of really important to understand, at what point there's a contract that's formed. And that could be clicking to agree, or it could be signing electronically or accepting via email. There's lots of different ways to agree to something. And yeah, but I think that's really important to map out your client journey and see which documents apply at which point in the process.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, absolutely. Because it's a, you mentioned onboarding,

Verity White
Yes.

Nicole Smith
And that's a key, like, that's a passion area for me, because I think clients, employees, contractors, whoever it is, that's coming into your world, if you can have that process, beautiful, then it's going to be easy. You're going to intern, if we're talking just internal employees or contractors, if they know where and what and how, and you've got resources there and you've got an experience for them. It's going to be like that going forward. They know they've got all that informations right there and then. The same with the client, if they're coming in, and they can say, ah, Verity's got me. Like look, I know at this stage, this is going to happen and then that's where I go for my information and this is where she wants me to send this and it's easy. It's not hard, it's just flows through and everyone's happy.

Verity White
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. It's something that I put a lot of thought into when I was creating my service delivery process for my fem founders, small business clients because I thought I don't have the you know that I was starting it on the side, as a side hustle. So I knew I didn't have the time or resources to kind of be a legal receptionist or a you know secretary as well, but I wanted my clients to feel really supported all the way through and taking some time out to think about what is the actual client experience that I wanted to deliver? And how can I make that come to life? Because I think it's, it's different than your values. So your values could be simplicity, and but then what does that look like from a customer experience point of view. So for me, I want my clients to feel confident, delighted, energised, understood, and rebellious. So that they, that kind of feeling comes through, hopefully, in that onboarding process and in the onboarding process, and in the check-in process and in the kind of all the catch ups that we have.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, yeah. And again, it's just about being clear on what you want as a business owner in that experience. So

Verity White
And a bit of empathy too I think. Like putting yourself in your clients shoes, and I guess I've been there when people have said, you know, feeling like you don't know what you're doing in business and kind of just feeling like, it's okay that you don't know about you legals, because you

Nicole Smith
I'm here for you!

Verity White
I'm here to coach you through it. Any questions you have are valid questions, because legals can be complex and confusing. It's been a lot of old white dudes that have written the laws for a long time, and they didn't want anyone else to understand. They wanted to be able to charge people again and again and again, to understand these documents.

Nicole Smith
That's so good. I love that. It's really yeah, giving people that control, but that, you know, they can own and know and understand what is happening in all areas of your business. We have that ability to do that. And yeah, finding someone like you that's so passionate about, you know, breaking down those walls.

Verity White
Yes, yeah, well we are all about empowering women in business and law to, it is take that taking control, taking the reins of your own business, and not kind of you don't have to just like kind of shrug your shoulders be like, oh I don't know, like, I guess it'll be okay. Or like, that feeling that you get where you kind of feel like something? Oh, I feel like this probably isn't quite right but I don't know what to do about it. Getting rid of that little fog of doubt from your brain so that you can actually yeah, make those decisions quicker in your business.

Nicole Smith
Now, I wanted to ask you one more thing, and then we'll move on to our fabulous questions. I loved how you mentioned that the documents are really an extension and part of your brand, almost. It's not a boring words on a paper? How do you support your clients, do you support your clients to do that or can you do give them ideas on how they can make them a bit more exciting? Or is that what you do?

Verity White
Yeah, so I do, I do do that? Yes. So there's a few different services that I have that you or your listeners could try this themselves. So icons are a great way to bring your contract to life. Breaking your contract up into sensible sections so that you're grouping things together. Because no one sits down and reads a contract like a storybook from start to finish, you read it to find out something and you want to kind of get out as quickly as you can again, so it's kind of a how do you make that contract into a useful tool or a useful guide for when things happen in business. So that's why I like to divide contracts up into sensible chunks. Generally following that lifecycle, I like to get them on brand, depending on the way the business signs up clients or onboard employees, or whatever it is that you're doing with your documents. If that is a, like a PDF type approach, with someone signing a, in DocuSign, or HelloSign, or Pandadocs, or whatever it is, then that's kind of pretty easy, just get a document you can even do it in Canva if you want to make your contracts like pretty locked down, looking great and on brand, but things like icons can be really useful. Getting your signature panels quite clear. I see a lot of business owners who have copied and pasted old templates where they've got like, witnesses and like all these long like director and company secretary thing, which is a bit overkill, you don't necessarily need, you only need them in specific circumstances. So depending on your business and what the document is, you can strip a lot of that out. So just really simplifying a lot of that stuff. I'm rambling on I can't remember what your question was, I'm so sorry, I got excited about contracts.

Nicole Smith
Yeah I know it is, I love the, simple sections just jumped off the screen at me. Simple sections. Because all of this information you're right we come to it for purpose, you know this has happened or you know as you're building it, you're thinking about all the potential things but as a as a reader looking at a page of just black text, like paragraph 1.1, 1.2A, 7 things whatever. You're like huhhh, I don't know. Where as sensible sections. Love that.

Verity White
Yes, sections, headings. And then if you're putting it you know, if you're not using like a PDF type of approach, you can put that online, you can have your sections, there's almost that accordion drop down menu type of approach so that that way it's scannable, it's digestible. It just makes you look and feel so much easier to do business with.

Nicole Smith
How fun.

Verity White
It is fun.

Nicole Smith
That's fun. You know, like gone are the days ah, this is yeah, my creative brain is just going caaachingg,

Verity White
Oh, wow, we can do amazing things with your contracts. I'm seeing all kinds of fun things.

Nicole Smith
No, you are on my list of people to chat with so watch out I'm coming. We'll have to document it, we'll share with everyone the outcomes.

Verity White
Yeah, that'd be fun.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, no, it is an important area of our businesses to understand all the words. But we really do want to have it in a way that's enjoyable for us. And for our people who are experiencing it on the other side as well.

Verity White
Yeah, that's right. It's an extension of your brand promise and just being able to talk to your clients, and, and but even seeing your own documents in your brand makes them feel more like your own part of your business, as opposed to this thing that some lawyers given you which you would never want to sit down and read it, let alone show it to your clients. So yeah,

Nicole Smith
That's a really good point. If you don't enjoy reading it,

Verity White
How do you think your clients feel? Yeah.

Nicole Smith
Oh, so action from today is everyone going open up your agreements if you have one and are you enjoying it? If not, maybe it's time to add some colour.

Verity White
I've just redone mine. And I am super excited. I've got lots of fun things in the plan for updating my contracts even more. So there's always fun things to do with the contract.

Nicole Smith
Ah, yeah. So exciting. Thank you so much. I think it's a conversation that's needed. And, you know, some people feel maybe embarrassed that they haven't got the things up to date or whatever. But I reckon just listening to this, if you've if you've come this far, and take a moment to check in and make sure you're happy. Happy with your contracts.

Verity White
That's right. Yeah. It doesn't matter if you don't have any yet. You can have some soon, you can have some going forward. Yeah, you just once you kind of start to think about this, then you can start to think about what you want to get in your contracts, what are the issues you want to cover off, and then you can be in a good position to either update a template or speak to a lawyer who can help you to map it out. So it's nice and tight and works for your business.

Nicole Smith
Wonderful. Well, let's see you ready for our three questions?

Verity White
Oh, I'm ready, baby.

Nicole Smith
Woohoo, okay what is your go-to app that creates ease in your day?

Verity White
Now, there's a lot, right.

Nicole Smith
You can say more than one,

Verity White
But I think Dubsado is the main one that I love to use, which I've mentioned, because that's just really helped me deliver great customer service to my clients. I also use Loom within Dubsado because it's important to me to kind of walk my clients through contracts because I think it's often you can get lost. So I do walkthroughs using Loom, which my clients love. Asana, I love Asana for task management. And I think the it's like a basic one, right. But I love being the scheduling apps. I don't want to go backwards and forwards with anyone on, anyone who doesn't have a scheduling app, please get one. Because I

Nicole Smith
Action 2 from today.

Verity White
I don't, i just love it when someone sends me a scheduling app. I love sending for scheduling things to people to be able to book in with me on my time. You know, you can time block your time out. So yeah, so those are my kind of go to.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, I agree with this schedule, can't even say the word. Scheduling apps coming from corporate and I was an assistant in corporate so I was the die, I was the scheduling app. As soon as like I discovered there's something else that was one of the first things I implemented into my business.

Verity White
Amazing.

Nicole Smith
Because it removes the power as well, as my times more valuable in your time. It's like, here's when we're available, you pop in when you're available, and let's make this thing a thing. And it's just oh so good.

Verity White
And again, that whole like the tech setting some boundaries for you. Because otherwise like oh, can you do this like Monday at 9am? And I'm like in my head. I'm like, I hate having meetings on Monday. But I guess I will. But with my schedule I'm just like it's not there, can't book it sorry. You don't even know that I'm awake on Mondays. Yeah,

Nicole Smith
Yeah, exactly. So good. And yeah, that customization as well as like for instance I have clients Tuesday, Thursdays and I do like these podcasts Wednesday, Fridays and obviously other stuff but I don't have to, yeah I don't have to guilt it anymore. I just like no, this is when I'm free

Verity White
This is when it happens.

Nicole Smith
Enjoy let's do it. Awesome. Okay, I think I might know but are you online, paper or hybrid to do lists lover?

Verity White
I am a hybrid. I love, I've been thinking about this a lot lately because I spend quite a bit of time moving things around and blocking out my time and probably over committing and not leaving enough blank space. But I do like doing the setting out. I think that's the action of planning digitally. And then on paper, the top three things each day on paper comes together whether or not they actually get done I don't know. but yeah, hybrid.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, I love it. Lots of people are hybrids for all different reasons, so am I. So as I've got my paper on my desk here with my notes, okay, what would you do if you created more space in your world?

Verity White
Ohhh. So I think I would explore edge innovation more, because I've got a lot of, have a lot of, you know, I think we all have lots of ideas, but virtual reality and augmented reality contracting is something that I'm really interested in exploring more. How could we make contracts, because we think of them as a piece of paper, but they don't have to be. Like, they could be a walk through experience. Like they could be a song, they could be video, they could be so many different things. And I would love to explore that more. If someone would pay me lots of money to do it.

Nicole Smith
My head just went song, mine would so be like a musical theatrical like performance.

Verity White
Oh my goodness, we could definitely make that. You could sing it for sure.

Nicole Smith
Yeah. Yeah. That'd be fun. That would be so cool. How interesting. Yeah, I think the world of technology you never know where it's gonna go. Right?

Verity White
There's so, there is a lot going on in technology. And I find it kind of dipping in and out of it sometimes because it can be, it's like watching too much news, it gets a bit too stressed out, or it can kind of chasing rainbows a bit too much. So it's kind of that what is that healthy amount of new tech to take in? So yeah, it's kind of trying to explore it in the right way. But yeah, with more space, I would do a bit more. I would try and do a bit more sleeping a little bit more investigating on those edge cases.

Nicole Smith
Yeah. Love it. Amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, I've loved our conversation. This is something that's been in my radar for a while and it was great, we sat next to each other at one of Suz's events, and I'm like you, you should come on the podcast. Let's do it.

Verity White
Yeah it was lovely. Yeah I love Suze. Yeah, she was just on a couple of weeks ago wasn't she?

Nicole Smith
She was yeah, she was. It's fabulous. Where can we connect with you?

Verity White
So I am on Instagram @checklistlegal. I'm on LinkedIn, Verity White. And I'm in Victoria, Boonwurrung country in South Yarra if you're at The Commons in one of the co working spaces. Happy to have a coffee. Yeah, that's probably the main places.

Nicole Smith
Amazing, fabulous, pop on over, connect. And if you're ready to explore what business contracts can be, pop on over and chat with Verity because she's your lady.

Verity White
Aw, thanks Nicole. It was lovely chatting with you.

Nicole Smith
Yes, thank you so much. And everybody who's out there listening today. Have a wonderful rest of your day and enjoy creating space and time freedom bye now.

Nicole Smith
Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It's been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on socials yet? If not, please come on over, say hi, I'm on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions. So I'd really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoyed today's episode, don't forget to tag me and I'd love it if you could leave a review. And of course share this with others so others can come and join us next time. All right, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week. And until next time, see you then.


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