Gilbert Sosa is a Houston native and stumbled into the influencer marketing space somewhat by accident. He intended to be a filmmaker when he moved to Los Angeles in 2016 but grabbed an opportunity to become a content creator instead. He started off as a lifestyle and comedy creator though he branched off into other niches.
From Creator to Content House Creator and Talent Manager
After years as a content creator, Gilbert transitioned into a content house creator in the second quarter of 2021 after seeing how it can benefit all involved.
“Whenever you have a collaborative environment between creators, especially if they already have a following and would like to bounce that off each other, they build a bigger following. Also the experience they bring in, they can learn from all participants at once by just living under the same roof. As a content house creator and talent manager, you learn so much from it. It’s a unique experience that everyone takes something with them. Having a collective just makes us stronger.”
He became a talent manager by necessity.
“When StoryHouze came about, I wanted to represent and manage every member. It can make work and communication a lot more direct. When building a content house, there’s a lot of things going on at once. One of the loose ends I didn’t want to have was having to deal with different managers on top of dealing with creators and running a content house. So I was like ‘I am going to be a talent manager. I know the brands. I know how to be a creator’.”
When choosing the creators that would form a content house, Gilbert does not think all of them have to belong to the same niche.
“It’s not so much like their niche but about the mission of the group. Choosing and vetting creators is important just to make sure they make sense as a group, are interested in working in a group and want to work as a group.”
StoryHouze does not control the content its creators choose to publish.
“Creators get to choose what direction they want to go with their content. They will come to me and ask ‘Do you think this is a good idea or not’. But I don’t have their social media. I don’t control it. At the end of day, it has to be a reflection of what they like and who they are there. My job as a manager is to manage their work. I need to make sure their content does not have profanity and anything that can be seen as offensive. If they do or had that before the content house, get rid of it. Because brands go back and look at your past content to see if they are going to work with you.”
Gilbert works with the creators to determine the brands they should partner with.
“We have to figure out what’s best for the short-term and long-term. It’s not just monetarily. We also think about the connection with the community, connection with the brands and what we are trying to do here. Sometimes there’s a brand they and I really want but the relationship is not beneficial in the long term.”
As far as StoryHouze’s expenses go, Gilbert personally foots much of it. A content house can have sponsors but he believes this would deny it the liberty to create content on its own terms.
“For this content house, I focus a lot on long term growth. So I’m going to personally front the money for the house. And I’m going to work for them as a manager and take a commission of any brand deals that they do. So it kind of feeds itself. They get paid, I get the commission and put that money into the house. Creators pay for their food, contractors, editors etc. The house will advise them on who they should work with. Kind of like coaching. It’s an incubator.”
To gauge the success of a content house, Gilbert evaluates it on impact, finance and experience.
“Impact wise, if we see other creators are influenced by what we are doing and are putting this type of content to their fan base especially on philanthropy and storytelling, that’s a big impact to us even if there is no direct credit.
Finance wise, you look at the numbers. If it’s getting sponsors. If there’s a deficit or profit. Right now, it hasn’t been our focus because we are just starting off. It’s like a startup. You have to really sacrifice a lot of time and money into it.
Experience wise, if you come out learning something out of it, it’s a success.”
Importance of Structure According to Gilbert Sosa
Gilbert observes that lack of structure can prove disastrous for a content house.
“The second one I did (in 2017) didn’t have a structure. It was very successful and lasted over a year, but it fell apart really badly. There was no communication going on. Eventually that was like a little bit of drama. Creators took it online and the fan base got to see that unfortunately. It’s just that things were sorted from day one.”
He used these lessons to ensure StoryHouze is more successful and lasting.
“We care about day to day. We believe in baby steps and one day at a time. We care about tedious stuff because we are thinking long term. We have meetings every single day in the morning and at night. If someone has something they don’t like, it has to come out eventually. We have a behind the scenes team, a house manager, talent manager (Gilbert), partners and mentors that help bridge opportunities. Inside the house, you have to be synchronized as a group in some aspect until successful, then people can start going off into their own paths.”
Running the StoryHouze content house has not been without challenges.
“First, because we have some people from LATAM and some from the US, there can be a culture clash. The way they say or interpret things can create some friction.
Second, being with talent all the time sometimes means not having a moment where I’m able to reflect on everything.
Third, catching something before it becomes a problem.”
Gilbert plans to focus on StoryHouze and take each individual talent he manages to the next level in both the LATAM and US markets.
“I do plan to get back into content creation in some shape or form but at the moment I just don’t have enough bandwidth for that. I barely have enough bandwidth for everything that I’m doing. So I need to build a stronger team behind the scenes, to continue to build StoryHouze and then go from there.”
For brands looking to work with creators for the first time, Gilbert offers some advice.
“First, they need to find a creator that has the patience to work with them for the first time. Second, they need to be aware that for creators, it’s their job. Third, they should have in mind there is a human on the other side. Just like a brand has its intention, the influencer has their intention. Fourth, they need to be aware of their budget and goals. If need be, start with a smaller creator and go from there. Fifth, even for established brands, it’s going to take some time to realize what works for them or not so they are going to have to experiment with different creators.”
For creators and content houses, there is no perfect time to start on a project.
“Whenever there’s a project that you really want to do. And even if it doesn’t have the support or capital you may want for it, just start it. You never know where it’s going to take you. It’s never going to be the right time. You just have to do it. You have to be ready even if you’re not. Even if you don’t have enough money. make it work somehow. There is a lot of sacrifice, especially at the beginning. I barely see my family or have a social life. This is 24-7. It takes consistency like any career. Monthly consistency. Yearly consistency.”
Gilbert Sosa is an influencer and founder of StoryHouze, a content house focused on philanthropy and storytelling. He is a filmmaker and actor as well. StoryHouze phase 1 was launched in Mexico City with phase 2 planned for the United States. At StoryHouze, Gilbert acts as talent manager for participating creators. Before StoryHouze, Gilbert founded the content house TejasHouse in Houston, Texas. He has more than 870,000 Instagram followers, over 210,000 TikTok followers and about 570,000 YouTube subscribers. Gilbert lives between Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California.