As the creator economy continues to grow and evolve, the market for supportive platforms, tools, and systems is in more demand than ever before. Some companies understand that creators aren’t just an alternative option for paid digital advertising. No matter their social media platform of choice, creators are entrepreneurs. They have a variety of revenue streams — Substack blogs, Tiktok accounts, podcast deals, Shopify merch stores, and Patreon pages — all adding up to an extremely lucrative and bustling business.
With all that said, freelancer and independent creator collaborations come with their own set of challenges. The influencer, typically a creative type, is suddenly managing a multitude of 1099 forms, sponsorships, and contracts. Now, they don’t only have to chase algorithm trends, they have to chase unpaid invoices as well.
Meanwhile, marketing agencies and the brands themselves are juggling a similar mess. Many have been relying on PayPal, Stripe, or Bill.com to collaborate with creators, but none of those systems were designed with any side of the creator economy in mind.
Two startups have hit the market offering all-in-one payment platform solutions — Lumanu and Stir. Here, we’re outlining what agencies, brands, and influencers need to know about both platforms to decide which offers the most efficient process to make payments and get paid.
What are Lumanu and Stir’s functions?
Lumanu and Stir share a variety of baseline features and functions. Stir calls itself an “operations tool”, while Lumanu offers an-all-in-one “invoicing and business app”, but both promise their product was designed with content creators in mind.
This mutual mission to serve the creator economy is backed by the fact that these tools are free to use for influencers, freelancers, solopreneurs, or however you identify as a creative business owner. Lumanu is an app for creators, while Stir is a desktop product. Both cover everything you need: invoicing, sending and receiving payments, and managing tax forms.
Let’s take things one step further: both understand the complexities of influencer marketing collaborations. They can’t solely serve the creator, as managing agencies and brands play an essential role in the monetization of talent.
Both platforms offer a manager-focused product, aiming to make it easier to send and receive payments within these direct relationships. The dashboards make it easy to pay a roster of creators in just a couple of clicks. Both companies also understand the nature of creative partnerships is collaborative, so they offer functions that make it easy to spit payments between multiple influencers and partners.
Let’s talk fees
Now that we’ve outlined the common features and functions of Lumanu and Stir, let’s discuss what makes them different — starting with what these platforms cost to use.
Lumanu for Business is a subscription membership starting at $99/ month. There are no extra fees for sending or receiving payments and the dashboard functions to support your influencer partnerships as well as your own working capital and finances. Lumanu also allows you to pay your international creators at mid-market exchange rates.
Stir partners with Stripe for their manager product. It’s not so much its own platform as an integrated system. Stripe doesn’t charge a monthly subscription fee — it’s “pay-as-you-go” pricing, which means there is a list of fees attached. And 2.9%+30¢ per transaction adds up when you’re sending payments to a large roster of creators and splitting payments with a variety of people within the influencer ecosystem.
It boils down to this: neither platform is free to use for creative businesses and agencies. Stir charges transaction fees, while Lumanu is a membership model.
Cash flow management as an X factor
In today’s economy, cash flow is essential for influencers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs across industries. Lumanu understands the cash flow challenges that creators and managers who earn income through influencer marketing partnerships deal with.
Influencers struggle to get paid on time as independent creators. They provide exclusive content for a brand, but they spend days, weeks, and even months chasing down unpaid invoices. Similarly, many managers struggle to upfront payments to talent because they haven’t received payment from a brand or agencies on time. Thus, a vicious cycle of late payments and frustration within the influencer marketing ecosystem.
Lumanu stands out in the crowd of SaaS products because of its feature that solves the creator economy’s cash flow problem — EarlyPay. EarlyPay’s purpose is to pay a creator, manager, or creative agency almost immediately after an invoice is sent. For just a 2.9% fee, users can cash out their invoice balances — keeping credit card balances low, working capital high, and collaborators happy.
Both Lumanu and Stir send payment reminders to unpaid invoice recipients so managers and content creators don’t have to chase invoice balances, but Lumanu is the finance tool that supports the monetization of partnerships in real-time. Why wait on collaborators to balance revenue streams? Use EarlyPay to scale sooner, and with much less stress.
Whether you’re a manager or content creator, cultivating trust in the creator economy is how we build long-lasting partnerships that benefit all parties involved. With invoicing and payments managed with a product like Lumanu, you don’t have to worry about when your next paycheck will come through. Instead, you can spend your time reaching new audiences, negotiating sponsorships, and creating the kind of content you’re passionate about — and that’s why you got in the business of social media, to begin with.
Interested in using Lumanu as an all-in-one financing tool? Request a demo to connect and learn more.