Everything a creator needs to know when working with brands
If you've been creating content and working with brands for a while, you know how time-consuming it can get. It's not as simple as snapping a picture and posting it on Instagram or a video on TikTok. You first have to meet with the brand via phone call or Zoom, discuss rates and timelines, read and sign contracts, create content, submit for approval and make edits. You also have to make sure brand requirements are met with the correct tags and links. Then, once the campaign is live, maybe the brand wants whitelisting or usage rights––then you have to go back and discuss that. Finally, it's time to get paid. That's the easy part, right? Well, sometimes brands can take up to 90 days to pay you. Yikes!
If that overwhelmed you, don't worry, I got you guys! I've been working with brands for nine years and have been through it all. Brands not paying me, missing requirements, miscommunication, etc. However, I've learned from those mistakes, and I'm here to guide you through the process.
I've been using Lumanu from start to finish for my brand deals, and it's been such an easy process. They have tons of features for creators all in one spot and for free! They have a brand collabs feature called Projects, a Creator Protection guarantee to make sure you always get paid, a tab for tracking expenses, the option to cash out on invoices early with EarlyPay, and an easy invoicing solution.
Managing Brand Projects
Let's start at the beginning. So say a brand reaches out to you, or you pitch yourself to your favorite brand, and they say yes to working with you. You talk over the details, timeline, and deliverables, and now that's where Lumanu's Projects feature comes into play. It's the best way to organize all the details in one easy spot. You can put deadlines, live links to your posts once they're up, upload your content for approval, store contracts, and communicate with the brand.
Also, there's unlimited storage, so you can add as many brands as you want. I love using this feature, especially during the holiday season when I'm getting multiple brand deals. It holds me accountable to deadlines, and there's no more dealing with excel spreadsheets or scrolling through old emails.
Invoicing & Brand Payment
Now that you've finished your campaign, it's time to get paid. This is the fun and easy part, right? Eh, I've had some not-so-pleasant experiences with waiting net 90 days, chasing down brands, and not getting paid. Of course, this was all before I started using Lumanu. Their invoicing feature is my favorite. In the past, I used to use Paypal to send my invoices, but they would always take out a fee on the creator's part. Now with Lumanu's invoicing feature, there are no fees on your part!
It's also very easy to use, with no confusing templates involved. Just put the payment amount, date, your point of contact's name, and their email, and then just click send!
Another great thing is that the brand doesn't need to have a Lumanu account to pay invoices, so it's super easy on their part too. After you send an invoice, your client gets it through email, and they are able to choose different methods to pay you such as PayPal, bank transfer, Zelle, etc.
I recommend letting the brand know in the beginning that you use Lumanu to send invoices and receive payment. From my experience, if you don't do this, most brands automatically will pay you through PayPal. So before the brand sends over the contract, I let them know that they don't need a Lumanu account and they can pay through various methods when I invoice using Lumanu, if that's alright with them. 99% of the time, the brand will be totally fine with it!
I keep mentioning the dreaded net 30, 60, 90 days, but what if I told you I have a solution for that too! Yup, that's right, Lumanu also solves that problem. First, let me backtrack and explain what net 30 days even means. So when you carefully read your contracts (which you always should), a lot of brands say they pay on a net 30, 60, or 90-day basis. This means they pay 30, 60, or 90 days AFTER your post is up and the campaign is completed. One month I understand, but 3 months is not going to work for me.
So when you send an invoice through Lumanu, if the payment terms on the agreement are lengthy, you can check to see if your invoice qualifies for EarlyPay. From my experience, most of my invoices do. So when you use that option, Lumanu will pay you directly right then and there, no waiting for the brand to pay. So that means even if the brand says they won't be able to pay your invoice for another 2 months, Lumanu will fulfill the invoice request on their behalf.
The majority of my brand deals happen seamlessly since I'm very cautious about the brands I work with. However, sometimes you will come across not-so-authentic brands that refuse to pay you or ghost you. To avoid this, I always recommend working with reputable brands, checking credentials on LinkedIn, and having a contract in place. If a brand reaches out to you and you can't find any reputable information about them, don't work with them!
However, say you did your research and had a contract in place, and a brand still isn't fulfilling your invoice request. Yup, you guessed it––that's where Lumanu comes in. They seriously have a solution for everything! Lumanu has a Creator Protection guarantee, which means if a brand doesn't pay you, Lumanu will. It's like insurance for creators. As long as you use Lumanu for your brand deal start to finish, upload assets using Projects, use their invoicing feature, have a contract in place, and you hold up your end of the brand deal, then you qualify for Creator Protection.
First, Lumanu will reach out to the brand on your behalf and try to get you paid. If they have no luck then they will pay you what the brand owes you. They also cover up to $10,000 per Project, so you can utilize this protection guarantee multiple times. Hopefully, you never have to! All Lumanu Projects are automatically covered, there's no need to apply.
Documenting Creator Expenses
Now that we walked through a whole brand deal and what happens in between, we can't forget the not-so-fun part. Tax season. This is probably most people's least favorite part, but taxes get a bit more confusing if you're self-employed as a content creator. Most of the time, brands don't take taxes out of every brand deal. Instead, you have to report all your earnings during tax season and pay taxes all at once. That's why it's so important to save a percentage of every brand deal. I personally put 20% of every brand deal aside for taxes so it's less daunting when it's time to pay.
I also recommend everyone track their expenses because that will help you save money. As someone who is self-employed, you probably have things you use for your business that you can write off. This can be your camera, phone, office space, computer, website domain, etc. I used to track my expenses with screenshots saved on my phone. But that was probably the worst way to do it because half the time I would lose those screenshots!
Now that I use Lumanu for everything, I also use their expenses feature which has been amazing because it's so organized and easy to use. Every time I buy something for my business, I note it as an expense on Lumanu right away so I don't forget. They also give you an estimate of taxes you owe based on your income, tax savings based on your expenses, and potential profit you'll be making. This way when tax season arrives nothing will be shocking and you'll be prepared ahead of time.
I hope this blog post helps navigate smoother brand deals for your creator business. Lumanu really is a one stop shop for everything a creator needs, especially payments! It's also free and easy to use so if you aren't using it I definitely recommend giving it a try.