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  • Good question. If you haven't done your 2019 taxes, you can use your 2018 return. Now, let's say in 2018 you made $50,000, and in 2019 you made $120,000. You're going to want to use your 2019 return so that your loan amount can be larger. You will have to do your taxes to do that. You will have to submit your taxes to be able to use your 2019 earnings to get the PPP loan.
    Episode #194
    - Using the COVID-19 loans to your advantage
  • No, you cannot. They have to be salaried. If you work with the photographer, and you've worked with that photographer for three years and you pay them $2,000 a month but you pay them as an impending contractor, you cannot include them. They can go apply for their own PPP loan, but you cannot include them because they're not actually an employee of yours. Independent contractors do not work.
    Episode #194
    - Using the COVID-19 loans to your advantage
  • No. On Friday, the government opened up applications for freelancers, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, so you do not need to have an LLC to be able to get this. If you have a Schedule C, if when you do your taxes you fill out a Schedule C and you get paid through 1099, you can get access to this program. Essentially having a Schedule C means you have a business, so you do not need an LLC.
    Episode #194
    - Using the COVID-19 loans to your advantage
  • After a bit of doom and gloom in this episode I will say that I am feeling more optimistic about this space than I ever have before. I think as I said earlier, this pandemic and this crisis has only shown the world how important social media is. I think that we will never go back to a world before that. I don't think that you can ever deny how important these platforms are again. I think that over the coming months potentially even a year as we have rolling quarantines and as the world just continues to be a different place until we get a vaccine, and even after that I think the world will continue to be a different place, I think that influencers will be a bigger part of brands' marketing budgets but I also think that it's exposing some of the rot in the industry.

    It's exposing some of the things that I personally have grown to not like in the industry. The pervasive sense of entitlement that a lot of influencers show, the unbelievably self-centered nature of the industry, I think some of that has been put on display and rightly the industry is being dragged by it. Now, I don't think that the actions of a handful of people represent this entire industry as whole because as much as I see some bad actors doing things that are irresponsible, I see influencers using their following for good in ways that is incredibly inspiring and shows the power of this space but I do think that we could root out some of the mindless self-centered look-at-me part of the space.

    So like at Fohr we always have tried to work with influencers that we felt like we're putting something good and valuable into the world and we'll continue to do that but I think that influencers who lack a certain depth could in the future have a harder time surviving because I think that the appetite for volatility is going to be a lot lower than it was before. We are just entering more serious times. I think that influencers that are really out of touch with the reality of the world, who are living lives that are so far beyond and so different than the vast majority of Americans and people around the world. I just think people won't be as interested. We've seen that with celebrity culture as well. Like, "do I want to see you complaining about being quarantined in your $15 million home? Not really. I don't really care."

    I think a lot of influencers have their lives have flipped over into something that is totally unrelatable to most people and I think a lot of people will come out of this and say," I'm just not really interested in that." I think those people that don't have a strong connection with their audience, who don't understand the lives of their audience and who are living lives that are wildly different than their audiences might not have as much of a place in this industry moving forward.
    Episode #193
    - Fohr Free, and other updates
  • Again I think I talked about this in the last episode. I'll say it very briefly, I think 20% to 30% is what you should be lowering your prices right now. Again, I just think the world where you may be charged $1500 for a post two months ago, that world doesn't exist, it's gone. It may never come back. There is a new world now and I think 20% to 30% lower is fair but I wouldn't be surprised if prices fall even further if the economic impact continues to be as dramatic and drastic as it is right now.
    Episode #193
    - Fohr Free, and other updates
  • It's a good question. One, if your campaigns haven't already been delayed, you should probably expect that to happen increasingly. As we said in the last episode, I believe we've had 58% of influencers who've seen their sponsored posts delayed, 18% have seen them canceled. It leaves a pretty small percentage of campaigns that haven't been affected. I don't want to talk so much about that but the second part of the question is, how should we handle payments, is really interesting.

    We had a few very large multinational enormous corporations email us in the last couple weeks and say straight up, we are not making payments right now, we're not paying anyone. I told you guys in the last episode that you should be expecting a 40% decrease in your revenue this year. Whatever you made last year, take 40% off that, 40% to 50%. Assume that's what you'll make this year. For a lot of people, that's a scary number but I think that is something that you need to come to terms with right away. Something else to consider, I know we're doing this at Fohr, is that we are planning, we're hoping this doesn't happen, but our worst-case contingency, we're planning for 20% of the stuff that we've already done or booked to not happen.

    As an influencer, I think you have to come to terms with the fact that there are some campaigns that you may not get paid for ever but also you definitely, I think, will take you longer to get paid than usual. Most brands Fohr included, we like to pay on time. I think that is a big part to being a good partner and to doing business well and to building long-term relationships is to pay your invoices on time but these are extraordinary unprecedented times that we've never seen before and a huge percentage of businesses in the world are fighting to survive. When you're fighting to survive, the way you do business changes. The things that you would have never done before you do now.

    One of those things might be not paying you guys for a while. I'm not speaking from Fohr right now but I'm saying for the partners that you have booked campaigns with and maybe completed them and invoiced them, I definitely would expect a delay in payouts. Again, I just can't stress how difficult a time this is right now for brands and they will do anything to survive this crisis. That anything might include making your payment two or three months late.

    I know I've been banging this drum but I'm going to keep banging it like, save your cash, whatever money you have, hold on to it, cut your expenses to the bone as close as you can, scale back on absolutely everything possible to try and make it through the next few months because nothing is certain right now. The bigger your cash reserves, the more likely it is that you're going to be able to make it through this as comfortably as is possible. It's a scary thing but this is a time to scare yourself and to try and overreact and to try and over-index and make sure that you make it through this crisis.
    Episode #193
    - Fohr Free, and other updates
  • As an influencer I think 100% of your focus right now is should be on your community. While I don't think it is wrong to be doing sponsored posts right now and it's certainly not wrong to be talking about brands, the focus should be on your community. I think we said this in the last episode but really focus on that existing community. While we're always searching for ways to grow our following, this is the time to double down on the community that you've built, work harder to understand them, understand what they're going through, understand what kind of content they want and really deliver for them. I think that we will come to a place where the world goes back to some semblance of normal. Hopefully, you can come out of that with your community stronger than it is today. That should definitely be your focus but again, you don't have to not talk about brands I think because it feels natural to you, feel free to talk about that.
    Episode #193
    - Fohr Free, and other updates
  • As I said in the micro-conference, I find Instagram lives boring. I think that if you're going to do it live, there's two things that it should be. One, it should either be participatory, so you should have something where the audience is participating in some way. I actually think Instagram live is not great for that, and that doing something like on zoom is better because everyone can be there together, but you can do it on Instagram live.

    The example I said in the micro-conference was a comedian that was doing something with another comedian and they made up a drinking game around the thing, the conversation that we're going to have. Certainly, fitness classes, cooking, things like that are participatory and can be interesting. I think if you're an influencer with a bigger audience, this is the time to also bring in people who don't have that audience and showcase their skills.

    If you've got half a million Instagram followers and you love the local restaurant down the street from you, well that's closed right now. Maybe the time to try and see if you can get in touch with the chef and bring them onto your Instagram and have them do a cooking thing with you and do a split live thing. It might be time to find a musician that you love that doesn't have a big following and work with them to do a little performance. You can use your platform to elevate talent and provide value.

    I think if Instagram live isn't going to be participatory in some way, it definitely needs to provide some value. I generally find the Q&A lives boring and, by the way, we surveyed inside Fohr and we surveyed influencers as well. In general, the vast majority of people find Instagram lives to be boring and tedious. Just think about that. I do think that because everyone's at home influencers feel I should just be doing this., I see other people doing it but the fundamentals are the same. You don't hit publish, you don't go live, you don't do anything unless there is some value there.

    If the value is just, I'm bored, everyone else is doing this, I'm just going to go say, Hey guys, I'm doing a Q&A, get on live and I'm doing a Q&A tonight. For me, that's lazy. It's lazy and it's boring and I just don't think that is what a live event is four. I think you need to put more effort into it if you're going to do a live and make sure that it's actually something worth not only watching but tuning in at a specific time to watch. That is the hard part.

    We were fortunate enough in our micro-conference, we had 2,500 people RSVP. We had over a thousand people watching it, the whole time that we did the conference. We don't have a big reach, but it was focused on providing value for the people who are watching it, not in us making ourselves feel better or filling some void because we're bored or we feel like we have to do this. Fundamentals are the same. Make sure you inspire, entertain, or educate with anything that you publish, especially so for lives.
    Episode #192
    - Reading the room
  • It's a loaded question. I think that it can be, dependent, but I think that for most people's audiences, they want to see sponsored posts. If you're feeling strange about it, ask your audience, just do a poll. Say, hey, I've got some sponsored posts coming up. I have the ability to delay them. Should I or do you guys want to see them? If your audience says yes, I know Helena from Brooklyn Blonde did this, 91% of her audience said they wanted to see those posts. If they want to see them, that gives you the permission to do that, to start posting in a way that is a little bit more normal.

    Now, the thing is, and this is something Matt and I talked about in the webinar, you have to read the room. You have to read the tone of the room. Here's an example. I'm filming this and tomorrow is April 1st. Tomorrow is not a day for April fool's jokes. In my mind, April Fools doesn't exist this year. Every year brands use it as an opportunity to show how cute and funny and clever they are, tomorrow is just not the time for that at all. That's reading the room, that's understanding the context which you're operating in. Maybe next year it's going to be different, we can go back to stupid, lame April Fools jokes that everybody does, which I hate anyway, and I think should be banned in general. I digress.
    You have to be able to read the room and know if your audience is ready to hear, to see those posts. Again, I encourage you to reach out to them and just ask and see where they're at, and include them. This is the time as an influencer or a brand to be building community, not thinking so much about how to grow the community, but how do you go back to the community you have and continue to build it?
    Episode #192
    - Reading the room
  • All I have is an iPhone and a remote. What should I do for sponsored content? I think right now, ideally, the whole world that can work at home is working at home and I think this is the time to be shooting at home with a tripod and your iPhone. Right now, I would be really concerned about posting any photo from out in the street honestly. If you do, and we've done this on a few campaigns, we had some stuff go live last week where the influencer said this is a shot from three weeks ago before the lockdown happened.

    If you have old content you can post that. I would copy audit, but I'd lean into that. Everyone's stuck at home. Nobody has access to their photographers potentially, so this is the time to just do that. I would reach out to brands and if you have ongoing partnerships, say, hey I'm not going to be able to create the quality level of content that I'm used to since I don't have access to my photographer or my videographer. I'm going to shoot this on my phone, is that okay? Would you like to postpone or do you just want me to go ahead? I probably wouldn't even actually give them that option yet. I would shoot it show it to them and say, Hey, this is what I have because of the circumstances. Is this okay?

    Everybody understands that everyone's at home. Resources are different, the world is different and I think you need to acknowledge that. I wouldn't be afraid to shoot sponsored content that looks a little less polished than you generally would post. Look at me. I desperately need a haircut. I'm in some shirt I had to order from Uniqlo. We're all making do here. I'm recording the audio on a mic through my iPhone, so everyone is figuring it out now. This is the time to be scrappy.
    Episode #192
    - Reading the room
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