3 Financial Strategies For Entertainment Entrepreneurs And Creators

There’s no shortage of opportunities to make a bag in the fast-paced world of independent artists, influencers, and content creators. However, the fear of partners and third parties stealing your hard-earned money is a real thing in our community.

We’ve all heard stories of iconic artists and groups like NWA, Rihanna, and TLC falling victim to financial theft right under their noses.

Rihanna, for instance, launched a lawsuit against her previous accountants in 2012, alleging that they mismanaged her finances and lost her millions of dollars. International rap group N.W.A.’s manager was alleged to have taken advantage of them in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and TLC’s financial mismanagement caused them to go bankrupt in the 1990s, with group members only receiving just a small portion of their estimated $175 million fortune. But there are actual ways to protect yourself when collaborating with others.

Managing your money as an independent artist or influencer is important.

Here are a few tips to empower yourself and secure your financial well-being as an entertainment entrepreneur, creator, or influencer:

Get Legal Advice

First things first, consider enlisting the help of an attorney. Having a legal expert review your contracts and accompany you to important meetings can be a game-changer. They’ll make sure you’re not getting into any shady deals and provide valuable advice and support throughout the process. With their guidance, you can navigate the legalities and protect your interests.

There are national associations that provide referrals to networks of predominantly Black lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students who can help.

The National Bar, for example, has over 80 chapters throughout the United States and affiliations with lawyer organizations in various parts of the world.

There are also smaller niche Bar associations like the National Black Lawyers Top 100, the National Conference of Black Lawyers and the Association of Black Women Attorneys that you can contact for help.

In addition, you can also use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to connect with attorneys and other legal professional networks that can assist you with contracts and navigate important meetings.

Using relevant hashtags related to your business’s needs can simplify this search as well.

This same exact approach led me to discover these networks during a time when I needed assistance in mediating repayment for my creative works, designs, and intellectual property over $80,000.

In my pursuit for legal representation, I reached out to my state’s Bar hotline, and the resources provided expanded my options further, pointing me towards finding a Black attorney who truly understood my situation. My experience was particularly empowering because other attorneys I had contacted previously didn’t take my concerns seriously.

However, my chosen attorney not only understood the intricacies of my situation but also mentioned that she had personally faced similar challenges in the past. Her familiarity with scenarios like mine, were also common issues among her clientele (many of whom were Black professionals, just like me.) This was immensely reassuring and reinforced the importance of seeking out professionals who genuinely understand the lived experiences of one’s journey and can offer tailored guidance that goes beyond mere qualifications.

Implement Regular Reviews

Another essential step is to establish a system of regular monthly and quarterly reviews. Clear communication and organization are keys to avoiding financial mishaps. By setting aside time to review your earnings, expenses, and overall financial situation, you can stay on top of your game. This not only helps you keep track of your money but also makes it harder for anyone to exploit you and creates multiple levels of accountability.

An important aspect of maintaining control is being proactive!

Annual audits are your secret weapon when it comes to financial accountability. By hiring professional auditors, you can be certain that every dollar is accounted for.

Audits provide a neutral assessment of your financial records, offering clarity and peace of mind while also revealing any discrepancies. An audit typically involves a thorough examination of an organization’s financial statements to verify their accuracy.

Setting a standard within your team that your finances are monitored regularly deters potential wrongdoers and fosters transparency and preparedness.

My recommendation for independent creatives would be to start off considering performing external audits. They cover both financial statements and a company’s internal operations and processes. Certified Public Accounting firms are certified to conduct these audits and would likely be your best starting point.


Never underestimate the power of seeking advice from licensed professionals, who will guide you down the right path. There are also numerous networks of experienced Black CPA advisors who specialize in helping individuals like you in the entertainment industry.

These experts offer their services at affordable rates, providing valuable insights and guidance. They can help you navigate the complex financial landscape, provide second opinions, and make well-informed decisions about your finances.

If you are looking to hire a Black certified accountant, you can start with the National Society of Black Certified Accountants.

As an entrepreneur, taking charge of your financial management is crucial, especially for independent artists, influencers and content creators. By involving an attorney, implementing regular reviews, conducting annual audits with CPAs and seeking professional business advice, you can safeguard your hard-earned money and avoid being taken advantage of.

When selecting any firm, create some type of criteria and a checklist to identify compatibility, making sure you and the firm are a good fit and all parties have the capabilities to make a collaborative team. Also, try not to rely solely on lower rates as a deciding factor.

There is nothing more costly than working with the wrong people and making decisions that don’t produce favorable outcomes.

Here are four screening questions to assist in choosing a professional:

1. Do they have experience in or an interest in this industry?

2. Do we have the same communication expectations?

3. Do I feel like this expert grasps my goals?

4. Does this expert come across as organized?

Screening questions can serve as a great starting point and technique to help make informed decisions. These questions can be tailored to your specific project needs, goals, and organizational requirements.

The influencer marketing sector is estimated to be at $21.1 billion dollars in revenue at this very current moment, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.

Smaller-audience influencers with high engagement are in demand from big brands.

This situation raises concerns of exploitation for me given the fact that the pay gap between Black and white content creators was found to be 35%, according to a 2021 study conducted by PR agency MSL and the Influencer League.

Despite challenges with undervaluation when it comes to Black brands and creators, there is still opportunity to scale and create new networks while still strategically entering and growing within your respective marketplace. You can still have opportunities to become very competitive and to narrow pay gaps by setting yourself apart from others who are less prepared and informed, by working with a CPA for financial oversight and an attorney to guide your contractual engagements and communicate your value, expectations and needs effectively.

Your outcome in the fast-paced entertainment industry will be based on your ability to advocate your vision, secure your financial future, and delegate technical areas of unfamiliarity to experts.

By working together with other experts in the fields of financial advisory and legal in an organized effort, you are also increasing opportunities for your community and contributing to broadening the possibilities available to your family, friends, and other emerging entrepreneurs and creators, while also advancing the expertise and accessibility of Black professionals in the accounting and legal professions.

Through embracing these principles, you’ll not only be able to elevate your endeavors but will also be contributing to a positive transformation that extends beyond your personal success.

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