How to Manage Your Money As an Influencer, According to an Accountant

Estimated read time 4 min read

Sam Uwins describes himself as “the least creative man on the planet.” As an accountant and business advisor for creators, his day-to-day life is made of numbers, spreadsheets, and “boring,” “compliance-driven” tasks.

Working with someone who enjoys these tasks can be key for people who build creative businesses on social media and may not have the knowledge or interest in dealing with the money side of their work, Uwins told Business Insider.

“Individuals that are creative by nature may struggle with some of the details around finances,” he said. “Somebody’s accountant can be one of their most valuable team members.”

Uwins began doing taxes for creators and influencers in the early 2010s, when making money online was still relatively new. In 2016, he founded a firm that specializes in accounting for influencers, which now has over 450 clients — including football YouTubers F2 Freestylers or beauty creator Patricia Bright.

As his business has grown, Uwins has become more of an advisor. In 2021, he cofounded Arcade Media, a talent-management company that works exclusively with the YouTube group the Sidemen. He’s helped develop products with the YouTubers, like fried-chicken chain Sides, vodka brand XIX, and their most recent venture, a company making breakfast products called Best Breakfasts.

Having worked in the space for over a decade, Uwins has come to know some of the accounting and money-management pitfalls creators often fall into.

The Sidemen appear in the picture, apart from KSI.

YouTube group Sidemen owns a popular fried-chicken restaurant chain around the UK.


Here are Uwins’ top three strategies to effectively manage money as a creator:

1. Build a business structure as soon as you start making money

Creators should have a registered business regardless of how much money they’re making, Uwins said.

For US-based creators, that can mean opening a limited liability company, an LLC for short, while in the UK, it can be a partnership or limited liability partnership (LLP), or a limited company (Ltd).

By definition, these companies limit the liability of their owner in case anything goes wrong with the business — such as a lawsuit or bankruptcy. This way, the individual owner’s assets are protected against legal claims. There is also more flexibility around taxes for a company as opposed to an individual.

2. Keep an eye on your cash flow

By definition, the success of a creator is volatile, so it’s key to prioritize saving and investing while the money comes in, Uwins said. That can help in the long run, ensuring creators can support themselves financially even if they stop publishing content or their business struggles.

That goes hand-in-hand with being conservative with spending — even if a creator makes millions.

“People sometimes are living those years like it’s going to last forever,” Uwins said. “They have very quick lifestyle creep when they start to earn more money, renting bigger houses, driving more expensive cars, buying watches, jewelry, gambling, expensive restaurants. But they struggle to wean themselves off that lifestyle when the income stops.”

Another factor that some creators don’t always keep in mind is that, unlike payroll employees, the work of influencers is essentially freelance work and is paid gross — meaning creators have to pay their income taxes themselves later; it’s not automatically deducted from their paychecks. Uwin said creators should set aside a percentage of their earnings for taxes and immediately put it in a separate bank account.

“It really helps people for that money to not be visible,” said Uwins. “If you go onto your online banking and you see the balance, your brain is trained to think, ‘I can afford that.’ And then at the end of the year, when your accountant hits you with your tax bill, you go, ‘Oh, I didn’t know it was going to be that much.'”

For those who are considering quitting their job to focus on content, Uwins advises having at least six months of savings as a safety net to minimize risk.

3. Get a team that understands the things you don’t

As a creator starts to grow and build a lucrative business around them, it can become difficult to deal with every side of it. Some creators are just creatives, while others work better as CEOs.

“I often find it’s great to play to your strengths and to actually outsource the areas of the business that you are not comfortable with or you don’t enjoy,” said Uwins.

This can mean hiring an accountant but also someone who deals with operations, a manager, an agent, or even a video editor — depending on which aspects of the business the creator finds fulfilling.