For many creators, getting a talent manager is one of the main goals towards success. As a fellow creator myself, I can most certainly relate. However, don’t blindly walk into a contract with a talent manager or agent. In the same way you should thoroughly read, understand, and negotiate partnerships with brands, you should do the same with any talent manager or agency. Here are my two cents, as a lawyer and influencer, on common questions I get about working with a talent manager.
How do I know when I'm ready to work with a Talent Manager?
This answer can vary, but generally, creators fall into one of two categories.
- You are overwhelmed by the number of emails you are receiving with great opportunities [not just spam emails] and have maybe even missed out on some of them because you missed the deadline to respond.
- You have been working with a ton of brands that you love but still haven’t reached the “next level” or “next tier” of brands [or even income] that you desire.
It’s important to note that the creator has experience working with brands before seeking management in both situations. It’s not only helpful to you as a creator to have experience, but this also helps your future talent manager know that you understand the process when working with brands and businesses and will execute. Regarding execution, most managers do not help with the scope of work or creating the deliverables, which can lead to a misunderstanding among creators when they think they need managers. In actuality, they need an assistant, photographer, editor, etc.
Long story short, if seeking management has been on your mind lately, don’t hesitate to get on some calls and get information about various talent managers and agency companies. Get an idea of what type of creators they currently work with and what opportunities they have provided to those creators. Don’t feel pressure to agree to anything over the phone or when you receive an offer or contract.
What should I negotiate in a contract with a Talent Manager?
First thing’s first, read the entire contract. Yes, some parts may seem tedious, but you should know the legal implications of what you’re entering. The person or company you hire will be an extension of you and your brand. They will be negotiating for and pitching you; therefore, you want to ensure they have your best interests in mind, which means protecting yourself and your business within the contract.
Here are five clauses to look out for in your contract(s):
- Compensation/Payment: Make sure the percentage or fee you will be paying your talent manager or agent is an industry-standard rate comparable to the services they say they will provide you.
- Term: Make sure you know how long the current period of the contract is, if it automatically renews and how long it will be after the automatic renewal. Don’t feel pressure to lock into a 2-year contract with a talent manager or agency with which you haven’t had a trial period to see if you like them and, honestly, if they like you.
- Termination: Make sure you understand how you can get out of the contract without waiting until the end of the term. It would help if you always have a way to terminate the agreement, and a notice to part ways should be reasonable on both sides. Also, understand if you must pay them out of the contract if they keep representing you for a certain period after termination.
- Ownership/Usage Rights: It’s not uncommon for a talent manager or agency to want to promote you as their new talent. However, ensure you know where it will be and how long they can use it. Let’s say you no longer work with them because something negative happened; you probably don’t want them to own access to use your image, name, likeness, etc.
- Representation: Make sure you know who your point of contact is and who is going to be helping you during your time under their management. Is it one person, two people, an assistant, etc.?
Working with a talent manager definitely comes with costs but don't be afraid to act like an owner and advocate for yourself. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else. Whether you're working with a talent manager or without representation, Lumanu remains the best place to send and organize all your invoices in one place and get paid for your work. If you haven't already, download the Lumanu app to get started. Your management team will thank you later!
Disclaimer: This is for informative and educational purposes only. Thus, this is not legal advice. Although I’m an attorney, I’m not your attorney.