Signing a contract to work with a business manager doesn’t mean you can just stick to creating and expect your business to grow. That will only lead to frustrations for both you and your business manager. Instead, discuss what’s expected in the business manager relationship. 

Here are three things business managers say all creators should do for a profitable, long-term partnership:

1. Don’t expect immediate success 

You may go into the relationship eager to earn big money from day one. It usually takes a bit more time, business managers said. 

“I’d say it takes three months for us to introduce you to everybody, the brands that we’re working with, and having us consistently pitch you before we really start seeing the return,” says Becca Bahrke at Illuminate Social. “We really look for those long-term things. We’re not looking for the quick buck.” 

Creators shouldn't expect immediate financial success after contracting a business mgr. Becca Bahrke of #IlluminateSocial says it takes at least three months to consistently pitch before you really see the return.… Click To Tweet

And, she notes, it’s important to remember that brands have their own schedules. You might be perfect for a brand’s summer campaign, but it’s too early to plan for that. “Those are all things to keep top of mind when we first sign talent,” Becca says. “The first three months are going to be a lot of getting your name out there to clients.” 

2. Be open to criticism 

This is a team effort, Becca says, and building a platform takes some work. Creators need to be ready to roll up their sleeves, put in the work, and be open to constructive criticism.

“We don’t work for you; we work with you,” she says. “There are things that we know that we’re good at. And there are things that you know that you’re good at. And we’re trying to combine it and make it even better.” 

3. Make goals clear from the start 

Whatever they are, don’t be shy about sharing your goals, says Emily Ward of Shine Talent Group

That includes the long-term goals and big dreams that likely won’t happen tomorrow, her colleague Jess Hunichen says. 

“Let us know that your big goal is you want to write a book or star in a Hallmark movie or whatever it is. Let us know that … this is my dreamy, dreamy goal, and if this were to happen, I’d be the happiest person alive,” Jess says. “If we know that, there might be little steps we can take to push you toward that at the very least.” 

Creators should share with their business managers their dreamy goal that if it were to happen would make them the happiest person alive, says @Jess_Hunichen. #CreatorEconomy #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet

The same goes for financial goals, Emily says. Without benchmarks, it’s difficult to determine how successful a business manager relationship actually is. 

A manager might think they did a great job working with a creator, only to find out that that person had hoped to earn much more over the course of the year. “It comes down to communication being the overarching thing here,” Jess says. 

And, often, says expert Caleb Dempsey, communicating your goals requires actually mapping them out. 

“You need to be very, very clear in what you want, and you need to take a lot of time to sit with yourself to understand and outline your goals for your journey as a creator, for your growth on all platforms because it’s all different,” Caleb says. “What are your annual goals? What are your three-year goals? 

“A good manager, in my opinion,” Caleb says, “is one that’s pushing you to find these goals for yourself.” 

Want to get more advice and insight from these and other business manager experts? Read How Content Creators Can Find a Business Manager That’s Right for Them and 6 Things Creators Should Do To Secure Brand Deals for Their Content Business.

About the author

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.