Tools for MGMT: Episode 205

Into the thick of it with my Excelsior pass 🎟

I missed y’all. ❤️

As the days get longer… consider for a moment: which edition of the Rolling Loud franchise will we cross paths at backstage later this year?

My name is Ethan. I manage Alex Russell, Zack Fox, and Cam Hicks. I started this newsletter to regularly send out a few links and musings that I hope other managers will find interesting. Thanks for reading this fifth edition of season two.

A spoonful of creator economy realism
It feels like we’re at an inflection point in the creator economy discourse. Very quickly we’ve gone from “wow, literally EVERYONE is a creator! ” to “hmmm… maybe there are some bleak truths here that need confronting?”

To some extent, I’ve watched my clients all grapple with how they want to present themselves externally over the years… weighing the pros/cons of inviting an audience of strangers into their lives in parallel to their creative output. That shit looks exhausting. Respect to those who have made it work or are striving. We all know there’s a cynical, high stakes game to play here (and not The Great Online Game illuminated by Packy McCormick), and making a conscious decision to opt-out means that either your work needs to speak for itself… or you need to have built up enough goodwill and trust in others who will take up the mantle of promoting it.

I’m talking a bit recklessly out loud and don’t have an answer here, and I’m guilty of being swept up in the creator economy hype to some extent. But it has becoming increasingly difficult for me to get excited about cohort-based courses or Discords or VC-backed companies building pretty dashboards to either loan against revenue streams or otherwise profit from creator data… which I see is too willingly being turned over at the click of a “connect and authorize” button.

upload all of your data* 😉

* and then we’ll display it for you as a series of bar graphs!
** and then we’ll let you split payments… with others!
*** and then we’ll put a value on your business that fluctuates daily in comparison to everyone else on the platform!
**** and then we’ll send you the same 50/50 brand deal we’ve sent to 100 others with identical TikTok engagement… but you better accept it before someone else does!

Making $100k As An Employee Versus Being Self-Employed
This is an interesting breakdown, which equates a $100k W-2 salary to self-employment income of $139,871. The math:

Salaried Employment:
Salary: $100,000
Federal Tax: -$14,292
SS/Med: -$7,650
Employee Benefits: +$20,000 (vacation, insurance, 401(k) match, computer, etc)
Take Home: $98,058

Self Employment
Total Income: $139,871
Federal Tax: -$14,550
SE Tax: -$19,763
Insurance: -$7,500
Take Home: $98,058

I’m now in my 11th year of self-employment and feel like I’m barely starting to figure it out. I like how the author puts a dollar amount on employee perks/benefits, but also attempts to square some of the more intangible benefits of each. The biggest flawed assumption is the number of hours that are actually billable for a self-employed person… it’s hard to imagine that consistently exceeding 20-30 hours per week.

But then again, there’s always a third option. Why not combine the best of both worlds, and churn through multiple $100k+ salaried remote positions simultaneously?

Welp, the funding finally ran out. Will we see a third round, that is still based off of your 2019 income? One can hope! In the meantime, the PPPlone merch is ready to be dropshipped in 10-14 days.

Ok, that’s a wrap – but here are a few more reads for your weekend ahead:

Finally: Be sure to plan your next week around the season 2 premiere of Dave. Watch PAUSE with Sam Jay tonight at nine on HBO (or after on HBO Max). Go thoughtfully engage with these pictures made by Cam.

Catch you soon.

P.S. This was also my (unfounded) worry: