When Are You Ready For an Agent?
If you've been in the influencer game for a while, it can start to feel like you're stuck in a rut. It can feel like there are a million hurdles to jump over before you really make it. But then again, what does making it really mean? How do you know when you've gotten to that point? For a lot of influencers, as well as artists like me, making it can get conflated in the mind with having an agent. And why not? Agents sound fancy. People with agents are legitimate and get more projects and get paid more. Right?
Well, sometimes. It really depends. It's hard to tell if people with are making more money because they have an agent or if they have an agent because they are making more money. You know, the whole chicken-and-the-egg thing.
For influencers of a certain size, having an agent is a definite bonus. They keep you organized, negotiate rates, and help you stay on top of the million and one collaborations you have going on at any given time. On the other hand, for micro influencers agents can actually stand in the way of you taking those smaller projects. They also take a cut (usually about 5%) of what you earn. If you're only making a small amount, that's significant.
So when is the right time to hire an agent? Of course it's up to you, but here's what we, the social media experts, recommend:
You're ready for an agent if...
1) ...If you're making more than $50,000 a year from social media alone.
2) ...You have more than 80K followers on Instagram or YouTube
3) ....You have so many collaborations that keeping track of them is a headache.
4) ...You never post for gifts or event invitations
If 3/4 of these rules of thumb apply to you, you probably want to think about finding someone to represent you. Running a business like yours is a full-time job, and having an agent or manager to take care of negotiating and approving collaborations can help you get back to focusing you what you actually love doing.
If you don't fit 3/4 of those rules, don't worry. As one of my writing coaches once said to me "love where you're at. There's great freedom in representing yourself." And that's true! You can take every collaboration that interests you. Be creative, have fun, and keep setting achievable goals. If becoming a celebrity influencer is your goal, then keep working towards that. If you're happy right where you are, then that's amazing too.
Full disclosure: we rarely work with agents. Rarely doesn't mean never. Depending on the project and the budget, we might consider negotiating with an influencer through their agent. However, Obviously's model is really focused on micro influencers, most of whom simply aren't at the point where an agent is necessary. This doesn't mean that we want you to "stay small." We want the best for all our influencers and if you started with us at 20K followers and you now have 900K followers and are the official face of Gucci's new line then you go girl. But we're probably not going to be providing the type of projects you want anymore. And that's okay.
Obviously prides itself on being a company where even small influencers can start forming amazing relationships with brands like Google, Saks, and Chanel. With us, you don't need an agent to have incredible opportunities. We love what you're doing and we want to show you off to great brands. And we're so excited to watch you grow.
Have questions or want to share your experience working with agents? Sound off in the comments!