Angelo Pullen and Vince Cortese
Angelo Pullen is originally from Los Angeles, California, and has always had a passion for photography and film. After going to college in New York, he returned to the bay area and began working for Machinima, the first of many YouTube networks. He was the head of affiliate development and worked between content creators that Machinima managed and fortune 500 brands. Later, Angelo would go on to found Able with Vince Cortese.
Vince Cortese has a background as a CPA in California, where he worked with individuals and small businesses, especially freelancers, content creators, and independent contractors. He continually saw that the clients he worked with were left with unexpected tax balances and things they couldn’t afford. At the time, there was a complete lack of products on the market to help content creators track their money, set aside money for taxes, and avoid tax trouble.
Vince and Angelo created Able two years ago to address this problem, which helps content creators monetize and grow their brands, especially beyond their native platform, so that they have more opportunities to monetize their content and don’t have all their eggs in one basket. As they grew Able, they saw that more and more content creators needed help managing their money.
When they start working with an influencer, freelancer, or anyone who receives 1099s, they immediately have the user connect their bank account with Able. Whenever an influencer receives a payment, the user will instantly receive a text prompting them to put aside an exact amount of money for taxes. All the user has to do is text back “yes,” and the money will be moved from their account to another bank account in their name that is dedicated to their taxes. For the content creators, this means that they no longer have to worry about putting aside money for taxes or knowing how much to put aside for taxes because Able takes this off their hands.
Another critical aspect of Able is making up for employee benefits that 1099 contractors, like influencers, lose out on, such as health insurance, and accounting for these extra expenses that would typically be covered by an employer.
Build Your Costs into Your Influencer Marketing Fees
With his CPA background, Vince quickly realized that many content creators were unsure how to price their sponsorships and projects. They often didn’t realize or factor in how much a campaign would cost to create or how much money they would be left with after taxes. This led Vince and Angelo to build a calculator that pre-calculated fees for influencer marketing projects. Vince gave the following example.
“For instance, if you wanted to keep $1,000, it might mean that you had to charge $1,300. And if that’s the case, then charge that $1,300 so you can keep what you wanted. And so for us, a lot of what that was, is helping them understand better the rate they would have to charge if they were an employee or make sure that they’re not the one carrying that burden completely.”
Able also has a built-in invoice creator that helps users calculate the amount they should be charging, quickly turn it into an invoice with a quick description, and send it to the client via text message or email. Through Able, you can set up your own merchant account and accept credit cards as well.
So, what’s the lesson to learn from all this?
Before quoting a project price, sit down and calculate what you’ll have leftover after taxes. If you want to make a certain amount, calculate how much will be leftover and up your price until you have the money you want leftover. Also, consider factors like the time spent on the campaign, anything you may buy for the campaign, and other employee benefits you’re responsible for as a self-employed content creator, like your office space rent, health insurance, business expenses, and more.
Being an “Unemployable”
Another project that Angelo and Vince are also working on is “Unemployables,” which focuses on the idea that people had previously, especially in the 80s and 90s, that following your passion could never be a real job. Today, those same people pursuing their passions drive culture and are frequently in high demand.
Angelo says, “My prediction would be that more and more people are going to strive to be “unemployable” and have multiple sources of income.”
This change leaves more opportunities available for people to follow their passions and diversify their income. It can also be more challenging to deal with financially, so having a financial structure and, possibly a financial service in place, can be helpful to self-employed content creators.
With their “Unemployables” project, Angelo and Vince have designed an NFT drop that specifically supports the artistic community and gives back to people pursuing their passion.
Start now. Finances can be overwhelming, especially when working in an untraditional field and being self-employed. Still, the sooner you set up a business bank account, get an accountant, and set up other financial services for your business, the easier it will be. One of the first things that Able’s service does is help you set up a tax bank account and start saving for taxes so that you’re not left with a large tax balance owed at the end of the year. Start by putting aside money for taxes so that this isn’t the case for you.
Don’t let intimidation stop you from charging what you’re worth. Whether they are self-employed or traditionally employed, many adults fear tax season and hate thinking about their finances. However, thinking about your pricing critically can lead to you making more money, setting aside the proper amount of money for your quarterly taxes, and much more. Don’t let fear stop you from charging what you’re worth and earning the money you need and want to take home after taxes and business expenses are taken out.
Consider sentiment as a KPI. Angelo and Vince consider sentiment and authenticity in messaging when doing influencer marketing campaigns. As Angelo sums up, “people are able to very easily sniff out inauthentic messaging and or when things are just being paid, et cetera.” Positive reviews and a sincere message are critical to successful influencer marketing.
Track your income streams. Content creators usually have many income streams, especially with NFTS, day trading, and crypto on the rise. Tracking your income to see how much you’re actually making and needing to set aside for taxes is paramount to your financial success when it comes to paying taxes, knowing your average monthly income, and planning for future growth and success.