Personal Finance 101 for Creators
When you work a freelance job or have a side hustle, it’s up to you to take control of your personal finance. It can be challenging to understand how much you’re actually making when you take time and expenses into account. You are in control of your schedule and how much you charge. Monetizing your social media channels or blog is a great way to earn extra income and explore your passions outside of your regular job. You may even be able to turn it into your full-time career one day!
Freelance vs. Employee
When you work a traditional 9 to 5, you’re often an employee as opposed to a contractor or freelancer. As an employee, the company you work for withholds income taxes, social security, and medicare from your monthly income. Side hustles are contract work; you’re responsible for your own taxes. You may have a formal contract, or you may get paid through Paypal, Venmo, or even cash. You choose to get paid hourly or through specified amounts.
As a contract worker, you’re responsible for your own finances. When you freelance, you typically can set your hours and determine your rates. There are lots of different types of side hustles like driving for Uber/Lyft, writing, dog walking, or making crafts on Etsy.
One of the most popular side hustles emerging is partnering with brands on social media. You can do it right from your phone!
When brands use people on social media or blogs to promote their brands or projects, it’s called influencer marketing. Many of the mega (over 1 million followers) and macro-influencers (between 100k to 1 million followers) are early adopters and celebrities. It’s their full-time job. These influencers have an entire team of people responsible for each post and contract; they’ve become a brand and a business. We focus instead on the micro (1,000 to 100,000 followers) and nano-influencers (less than 1,000 followers) who use social media to explore their passions as a side hustle, not a full-time job.
Because it’s become a lucrative business, the average social media user is less persuaded by these inauthentic posts. Influencer fatigue is leading brands to work with more niche-specific influencers with a smaller following but higher impact.
Creators rather than Influencers
At Brandbass, we prefer the term Creator as opposed to an influencer. Creators are everyday people who use social media as a side hustle to explore their passions outside their everyday job. We call this #WorkYourWay. Creators have a specific category they’re interested in, like fitness or Mommy blogging.
They have a smaller but highly engaged audience of like-minded followers. A post about a brand or product from a creator feels like advice from a friend you trust, as opposed to a marketing scheme.
Depending on the number of followers and engagement, a creator may get paid for being a brand ambassador or may receive free products as payment. It’s about building a relationship with brands. Creators partner with brands because they have something they’re passionate about and want to work with their favorite brands or discover new brands and be the first to spread the word.
Side Hustle vs. Full-Time Job
When using social media as your side hustle, it’s vital to take personal finance into account. Because you don’t have a team behind you, it’s up to you to decide how much your time is worth. Creators created their blog or social media channel because they’re passionate about a specific subject. The dream is to make it a full-time job, but for now, they’re happy with earning free products and extra income on the side. They enjoy the community they’ve created with their followers.
Streams of Revenue as a Creator
Becoming Brand Ambassador
- Sponsored posts
- Product Reviews
- Affiliate Marketing
How Much Do Creators Earn?
How much you make during a brand partnership depends on the brand you partner with and your social media following. Newly launched brands may not be able to spend a lot on a sponsored post, so instead, offer you a percentage of sales that come from your post through affiliate marketing.
On the Brandbass marketplace, we turn customers into creators. Customers can go beyond the purchase and become brand ambassadors by earning cash and rewards for sharing their favorite brands through blogs, reviews, and shares. Influencers looking to discover and partner with new brands can apply on the product detail page itself to become a brand ambassador!
Determining Your Income
When you’re freelancing and working on your side hustles, it’s hard to calculate just how much you’re making. It can vary from project to project and month to month. Keeping track of your finances is essential, so you’re sure that you’re using your time and resources wisely.
The Cost of Time
When you work on a project, track your time from the very beginning to the very end. This will help you determine how much you’re making hourly. Include any research, planning, and editing involved with the post. All of the time you put into each post, working with a brand is essential. If you were in an office, you’d be getting paid for all of the time spent at your desk.
When you’re building your own personal brand on social media, there are certain costs of production. You may need to purchase a phone that takes better pictures or new clothes for a photo shoot. How much are you spending on your own personal money for each post? You will need to subtract this from how much you’re earning to find out your actual income.
Treat Yourself as a Business
Once you start making money through social media, you have to treat yourself as a business. Because you’re a contract worker, you will need to pay taxes, which depends on how much you make. Once you make a significant amount, it’s important to put away money each money to pay your taxes in the following year. Some of the money you make needs to go back into covering costs and making the business more profitable. In a traditional business, you pay your employees a salary. Still, a good chunk of the income the business is invested back into the business like buying better supplies or increasing the marketing budget.
Always Have a Safety Net
The world of freelance is unpredictable, especially on social media. Always have a fallback plan and a safety net if you decide to make your side hustle your full-time job or if you rely on the income from your side hustle to pay the bills. What you make one month is not always what you’ll make the next. Tracking your income each month will help you get a better idea of what you average, but still, be prepared to have a slow month.