In a nutshell

  • Partnering with a management company can help creators focus on making videos by handling business aspects such as brand deals and strategy development.
  • Creators should consider hiring a manager when they need help managing multiple tasks and opportunities.
  • Doing thorough research and networking is essential when choosing a management company.

As your YouTube channel grows, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the tasks that come with running a business. While these tasks are essential to building an audience and turning a profit online, they also take precious time away from the thing you actually want to do: make videos. If this sounds familiar, partnering with a management company might be right for you. We sat down with Greenlight Group co-founders Doug Landers and Michael Berkowitz to learn more about the benefits of working with a manager as a creator. Here’s everything you need to know about partnering with a management company.

What is a management company?

First, let’s define what a manager actually does. For creators, managers usually handle the business aspects of online content creation — think negotiating brand deals, keeping tabs on channel income and developing long-term strategies for success. Doug describes the relationship like this:

“We kind of tongue in cheek say that a good manager is somewhere between best friend, business partner and therapist at any given point in time. And it can kind of lean one way or the other, depending on the day and depending on the creator.”

He goes on to explain that a good manager should be the creator’s closest business advocate. “You are really playing the role of quarterback for everything in a creator’s life,” Doug tells us.

The managers at Greenlight Group help creators with everything from business partnerships to off-platform ventures. A relatively young company, Greenlight Group, got off the ground after Michael and Doug successfully monetized their creator friend’s TikTok brand during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. Since then, the company has grown substantially, now representing over twenty creators with an aggregate following in the hundreds of millions.

When and how to hire a manager

“As a creator,” Michael says, “you should consider working with a manager if you feel as though you’re spinning multiple plates and need help managing opportunities and relationships.” He emphasizes, though, that management companies will most often reach out to you if they think they have something of value to offer your channel. “Make outstanding content and go viral, be undeniable … and folks will certainly reach out to you,” he reiterates.

“At Greenlight Group, we look to work with creators who have a strong work ethic,” Michael explains. He says they look for consistent, brand-friendly creators who show potential for long-term success. Most importantly, Greenlight Group managers look for creators that they get along with. “I think personality match is a really big one,” Michael explains. “As a creator looking for management, you should really be looking to work with someone who you can build a solid relationship with.”

If you’re not the type to wait around for an opportunity to come knocking, Michael says to browse LinkedIn and reach out to people there. He also points out that management companies usually have a contact email on their website that you can use to reach out. “Another thing,” he says, “is utilizing your network as a creator. Ask your friends who are creators, you know, who they work with … Have them put you in contact. That is generally a very organic and successful way to start working with folks because you have that point of reference of someone who has experience working with them.”

Creator management red flags

When choosing a management company to work with, it’s essential to do your research. Make sure your potential manager is both a good fit for you and has a good reputation with your peers. “You should definitely network and talk to other creators who have had experiences with the management company if you’re in conversation with them,” Michael warns. “A red flag would be if other creators have had really bad experiences with that manager — particularly more than one creator.” Other red flags include feeling as though you can’t trust the person you’re considering signing on with and being unable to connect with the person via phone or video chat.

Finally, Michael advises heeding this classic advice: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. “I think managers that are promising the world … I would say, be tentative and pay attention to the details in your conversations.” He reminds us that it can take time to make these discernments, so don’t rush into an agreement too quickly.

“It goes back to what I was when I was talking about in the beginning,” Doug chimes in, “where you have that sort of best friend, business partner, therapist to rely on.” If you’re not getting what you need out of your relationship with your manager, both Doug and Michael advise discussing it with your manager first. If you can’t reach a resolution, then the best option is to end the relationship.

A strategic partner

Doug notes that, as you grow as a creator, there’s more to keep track of and balance beyond just making content. This is the point at which you need to start thinking strategically. “When you are first getting started as a creator, you’re trying to do whatever works,” Doug observes. “You’re shooting in the dark, trying a bunch of different content styles, posting on a bunch of different platforms, waiting for traction.” Once you get traction, how do you keep that momentum going? “As you grow, your most valuable resource becomes time,” Doug explains, “time that you have in the day as a creator because your brain power becomes so scarce and so important.” This is when a manager becomes essential.

As Doug says, “A manager is a resource to help you quarterback all those different people that are now part of your life and your business and help you allocate your time in the best way possible.” Beyond this, though, Doug reminds us that a manager should also be able to relate to you on a personal level: “Very often, a good manager-client relationship will evolve over time to where the manager is kind of touching everything and aware of everything … we play that role of brand partnerships, but also helping them think about more complex problems.”

“You want a manager who’s going to champion your career,” Michael adds, “someone who believes in you.” You’ve put in the hard work to grow your channel. Now, the right management company could be the boost you need to turn your channel into a career.