Creator Horror Stories with Brands - #45

Treyton DeVore
August 20, 2022

Welcome to The Loaf - a weekly newsletter that makes money & business more approachable for creators & freelancers​

creator crumbs

Creative Business: How Parker Walbeck Built a 7-Figure Film Empire [article]

Parker Walbeck started his career as a door-to-door salesman. After realizing he didn't enjoy selling a product that he didn't believe in, he began to transition into his real passions - video & photography.

Now, he has a multi-million dollar education business, has taught filmmaking to more than 10,000 students, and earns money a few different ways:

  • Video production agency
  • Ad revenue
  • Brand deals
  • Course sales
  • Community

Money: How to Create Financial Stability as a Freelancer [article]

Income uncertainty is one of the toughest parts of working for yourself. This article breaks down 8 different ways to make your business and your cash flow more reliable:

  • Build a solid portfolio
  • Find clients that pay well
  • Always explore opportunities
  • Hire people (you can’t do it alone)
  • Jot down everything you need to pay for
  • Budget those monthly expenses well
  • Check your lifestyle and live within your means
  • Invest time in building your personal brand on social media

free financial advice*

Topic of the week: How much should I put down to buy a $300-400k house? It's my first house, I live outside of Nashville, still have a full-time remote job, and make about $90,000 after-tax as a single person. Thanks in advance.

Exciting times 🥳 I'm also in the process of saving for my first place, so I'm going to share a few things that I'm thinking about that might help you on your home-buying journey:

First, I would break down your personal cash flow. So with $90,000 after-tax, that means you bring home about $7,500/month.

When thinking about how much home you can buy, you want to consider your "debt-to-income" levels. It's generally recommended to keep your debt under 35% of your total income.

So for your situation, you may not want to be paying more than $2,700 towards a mortgage or other debts each month.

Your personal comfortability with debt can lead you to spending more or less than the standard rule of thumb, but those numbers give you a rough starting point to start calculating different mortgage & down payment options.

Personally, I'd use Google's Mortgage Calculator to play around with different down payment amounts & interest rates:

For example, let's look at the numbers on a $300,000 home:

  • If you put 3.5% down ($10,500) with a 6.9% (nice) interest rate, it creates a $2,545 monthly payment. Based on the debt-to-income rule of thumb, that'd fit into your budget as the payment would be roughly 33%
  • If you put 20% down ($60,000) and got a 6.6% interest rate, the monthly payment would be just under $2,000. A higher down payment will create a lower monthly payment, but you have to have a relatively large amount of savings on hand to make this happen.

Also, given where interest rates are at right now, it's worth noting that the less you put down, the more expensive the total cost of the home will be (because you'll have a larger outstanding loan balance being charged interest each month).

Standard advice says that you always have to put 20% down, but there are few different options that can make sense as well. This could be a separate post in itself, but here's a quick breakdown of different mortgage types:

Conventional - the standard loan that your parents most likely got when they bought their first home. Typically requires 20% down.

Conventional (with PMI) - contrary to popular belief, you can put down as little as 3% with a conventional loan, but you'll have an additional cost - Private Mortgage Insurance - until you reach 20% equity in the home

FHA - these loans are first-time homebuyer friendly as you can put as little as 3.5% down while having a credit score as low as 580

USDA & VA loans - you have to meet stricter requirements, such as being a veteran or living in a rural area, but these two types of loans offer as low as 0% down

Also read: Down payment assistance programs in every state

When going through the home-buying process, working with a good agent and loan officer can make a world of difference. Don't be afraid to ask for help or ask plenty of questions - it's their job to find you a home and get you financing.

Outside of the home itself, consider your other savings goals and your income trajectory. And don't rush into buying because your friends are. Buying a home is a big life decision—probably the biggest purchase you'll make in your life—so take some time to think through all the different scenarios and lifestyle changes that could happen.

Remember: you can typically always put more towards your principal and pay down the home quicker to make the mortgage cost cheaper. You can also sell it in the future. Buying a home doesn't mean you're stuck there forever, it'll just cost some money is revert back from the decision (cost of selling, closing fees, etc).

So overall, if you decide that buying a home is the right choice for your situation, the main thing I would consider is what you'd like your mortgage payment to be and how much you can afford each month because you can influence what that monthly payment is with how much money you put down.

⚠️ Also: Don't forget about closing costs, fees, and the cost of moving into and furnishing a new home when budgeting for the down payment. These can typically be anywhere from 1-5% of the cost of the home.

Have a question about money?​ Submit it here

money matters

Ever wonder how some of the biggest creators in the world produce so much content? Part of their prolific output can be credited to the behind-the-scenes team - like editors, graphic designers, and writers.

George Blackman is one of those off-the-camera heroes. He's a freelance content & script writer who's worked with Ali Abdaal (3.7 million subscribers) and Justin Moore to help grow their brands and businesses.

This week's Money Matters:

How did you land your first freelance writing role in working with creators?

When I went freelance, I had the pretty sizable unfair advantage of having Ali Abdaal’s name on my CV. In the educational YouTube circles, that’s basically the masterkey lol. One retweet from him and I got more clients knocking at the door than I could possibly handle, for which I’m super fortunate.

But before that role, I’d never worked as a writer before, and certainly never in the YouTube sphere. He put out some pretty standard job applications and I applied.

At the time, my writing experience came entirely from writing comedy sketches for fun. I’d been doing this since I was about 17, initially just recording my own radio shows at home. Then I met my comedy partner at university in 2016. We started writing and performing together, and dozens of gigs later, we’re still a duo. All this seemed irrelevant in the context of Ali’s job application, but it was all I had. Thankfully, out of 100+ applicants for the writer role, I was one of four who got the job.

So I think my advice would be to identify your point of difference and lean into it. Try not to underestimate things you’ve done in your life which have meaningfully impacted the skills you have.

Reach out to smaller creators who may need help writing all their STUFF, whether that’s scripts, newsletters, tweets or articles, and demonstrate why you would be able to help them achieve their goals.

FYI, I also told Ali some of his thumbnails were crap, which may or may not have helped.

You tweeted that the maximum number of hours that you can do focused writing is 4 hours - how do you structure your day as a freelancer?

Honestly, I’m still figuring this one out. However, I’ve started recognising what I suppose I’d call ‘Big Brain Tasks’, i.e. the kind of work you literally cannot do when you’re fatigued. This includes anything super creative, like writing a first script draft or ideating a month’s worth of newsletter ideas.

If you haven’t slept well, or it’s 4pm and you’ve been working hard since 9, literally stop trying. Sincerely, genuinely, stop. You know the headspace I’m talking about. You can’t beat it, and unless you’re about to lose a massive client if you don’t finish something NOW, it can wait until tomorrow.

Figure out the tasks that take less brain power, like replying to email, or proofreading, or (for me) working on improving Notion workflow systems. The latter almost feels mathematical, so it doesn’t take the same type of creative PUSH that starting a script from scratch does.

The key is to become adaptable and to listen to your brain and body on a given day. Then funnel your energy into the right types of tasks.

For YouTubers, what’s one piece of advice you would give to make the scriptwriting process easier/quicker?

Assuming you have your approximate idea, you’ve figured out your title and thumbnail, and you generally know what this video is…give yourself three minutes to write the MOST BASIC draft of the script. It should almost be stream-of-consciousness. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or well-crafted sentences. It might look something like this:

“Hook: in this video we’re talking about how to get a job writing for a YouTuber. Part 1: groundwork: if you’ve got any sort of regular writing habit you’re ahead of the pack. Ask yourself what skills you’ve been developing over the years, maybe without even knowing it, and lean into that. Part 2: sincerity: demonstrate your sincere desire to improve their channel, i.e. be honest about their crappy thumbnails, present your ideas about how to make their hooks better, generally show them you’re bursting with ideas, part 3…”

That’s such an ugly paragraph. But it’s less ugly than a blank page. This tactic gives you a combination of both restraint and freedom. The time restraint forces you to write, but you simultaneously have the freedom not to worry about making your sentences perfect. From there, it’s so much easier to carry on because you can literally see the structure of the video in a single, horrible, block of text.

(Bonus) What’s your favorite thing to spend money on?

If you looked at my spending as a proportion of income, you might think I absolutely adored spending money on rent (thank you London).

But the answer is probably food. My girlfriend and I usually get dinner out twice at the weekend, and it’s the best time ever. While I still have the metabolism of a 25 year old, I plan to work it hard.

Check out his newsletter

View his work

..more crumbs

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🎤 Artists: The ultimate guide to music marketing

🎥 Watch: Why Justin Moore is shutting down his influencer marketing agency

✍🏼 Freelance Finds: 7 ways to avoid loneliness as a freelancer


Keep creating,

Treyton DeVore

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