A lot of people are afraid of contracts.

That’s because they are approaching the concept from the wrong perspective.

I often hear from people who are worried that a formal contract with scare off someone they’re looking to work with, because forcing someone to sign a document shows you don’t trust them.

It’s a mistake to allow those worries to convince you that you don’t really need to get whatever it is in writing.

True, not everything needs a 20-page agreement filled with legalese.

But every agreement that matters needs to be documented.

Think about it like this: contracts aren’t really about trust at all.

You build trust through your reputation and your work; not through your documents.

My friend Andy Frisella summed up this issue nicely in a recent episode of his podcast (I’m paraphrasing):

That fear of sending contracts isn’t an issue of trust but communication.

When you present that agreement to the other party, it should be with the intent that it will never need to be looked at again, unless an issue cannot be resolved through a conversation.

And if you get to that point, the contract is like an insurance policy—it’s there to help everyone navigate the impasse and get through it.

Of course, you should always make sure that you understand and are comfortable (or at least willing to live with) everything in a contract presented to you before you sign it.

If something seems unfair, or even if you just aren’t completely sure, have it reviewed by someone with experience who will look out for you.

But don’t be afraid of written contracts—use them to help protect your business so that you have an easier time building that trust.