The following article may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. This doesn’t cost you anything, and shopping or using our affiliate partners is a way to support our mission. I will never work with a brand or showcase a product that I don’t personally use or believe in.
You don’t have to be a content creator to cultivate a personal brand
Building a brand is so much more than just gaining followers on social media.
It’s building a reputation and a unique value proposition that only you know you can give to a company or organization.
Today, Tori is joined by TikTok’s Corporate Natalie to talk about how she built her brand on TikTok and then used it to her advantage to level up in her corporate career. They talk about everything from how they monetize their content online to how to figure out your unique story and “brand” when applying for jobs.
What you’ll learn:
What it means to make a career out of being a content creator
How even having a small following can bring additional streams of income
How to pitch your brand in an interview
Tori Dunlap (00:00):
Hi, financial feminists, a quick note before we get started. We will be taking a week off next week for Thanksgiving break to give me and my team some time to relax with our family and friends. So no new episodes next week, but please do not fret. You have over 50 episodes of our back catalog to dive into or to revisit. If you’ve listened to half of a previous episode and you haven’t gone back or you missed some or you just need to hear some again, go back, deep dive, revisit. We’ll be back before you know it.
I also want to let you know that now is a great time to make sure that you’re subscribed to our newsletter and our email list and following us on social media because our biggest sale of the year is happening Black Friday weekend. I can’t drop details yet, but if you’ve been wanting to finally pay off your debt, maybe start a side hustle, grow your money and your wealth, and have a lot more flexibility and also again, avoid that panic, Googling about how do I save money? Question mark at two in the morning. You might want to wait until next Friday to score a major deal, just from one financially savvy friend to another.
All right, back to the episode.
Hello, financial feminists, welcome back. Welcome back as always. So excited to see your shiny faces. Sounded like Mushu. I think that’s the second time I’ve done that. I don’t know why. In my head it’s just like Eddie Murphy Mushu whenever I greet you all. Honestly, that’s how I wish I was greeted every morning, was just a little dragon, not lizard, with some porridge. All right, we’ve got a great episode today. Some housekeeping things. First of all, happy holidays. We’re getting closer and closer. We got some Thanksgiving action coming out. We post Halloween, we have Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanza. Happy holidays to all of those who celebrate. As always too, we have Financial Feminist the book that is available for pre-order wherever you get your books. We are so close, we’re T-minus 30-ish days at this point, so we so appreciate your support. If you haven’t purchased your copy, it’s $22. On Amazon, it’s even less. At Barnes & Noble, it’s like 20 bucks. At an independent bookstore, it’s like $22. I’ve packed every single thing I know about money in a one all-you-can-eat guide. We appreciate your support of the book.
If you have been on TikTok anytime in the last year or Instagram, you have seen her, you’ve loved her and you’ve probably related to her sketches a little too much. Today’s guest is my friend and yours Corporate Natalie. I’m met Natalie randomly. We were internet friends, we were exchanging messages back and forth. We have mutual friends, including previous guests to the pod, Victoria Garrick, Ella Halikas. And it was so funny, I was at an influencer event this past summer in New York and I knew nobody there and it was awkward because it was a fashion event and I am not a fashion person. Am I fashionable? I like to think so. But am I a fashion influencer? Fuck no, definitely not. And I was standing there trying to mingle, trying to make friends and in walks Natalie, like the beautiful angel she is, and I literally yelled across the room, “I didn’t know you were going to be here.” And I was so excited and we spent the whole night chatting and she’s just fantastic.
After experiencing the utter bleakness of 2020s work-from-home life, Natalie couldn’t help but take to TikTok to poke fun at the current state of corporate America. Almost half a million Instagram followers and another half a million TikTok followers later, she’s now able to make people around the world laugh and bond over their shared hilarity of the new normal nuances. We’re so excited to invite Natalie to join us for an episode to talk about how she’s navigated going viral in TikTok while also still maintaining a career in corporate America and what she’s learned along the way. I’m a huge fan of the way she runs her platform and we got into some fun subjects like how to know when it’s time to take your passion full-time, how to balance a side hustle with a full-time job, learning how to price yourself and monetize her account, the joys and frustrations of content creation and so much more. Let’s go ahead and get into it.
You and I have been internet friends for a while and then I was invited to a lovely dinner with SoFi and Rebecca Minkoff, they did a little collab dinner. And I knew nobody at that dinner and it was a very influencer hoity-toity event. And then I turn and I see you walking in the room and I’m like… I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited to see anybody in my entire lif
e. I was like, “Oh my god, a friend.”
Corporate Natalie (04:24):
I was so excited. First of all, I DMed you countless times being like, “What are you wearing? What are we doing? Let’s align. Don’t accept DMs. Perfect, good to know.”
Tori Dunlap (04:33):
I do now because we both… It was my personal account, I think we didn’t follow each other. It was a whole thing. My boundaries on DMS are hard.
Corporate Natalie (04:42):
Yeah. No, no, no. Because I’m a fan, and I followed you, of course. The funniest part of this event is Rebecca Minkoff brings her fleet of these gorgeous Revolve models and then Tori and I are just like, What are we doing here [inaudible 00:04:56] SoFi? Just like-
Tori Dunlap (04:57):
That’s literally how I felt like they were so hot. And then they would turn to me and be like, “Oh, so what do you do?” And I’m like, “I’m a finance expert.” And then they’re like, “Oh, that’s interesting.”
Corporate Natalie (05:12):
Tori and I are like, “Can you pass the linguini?” They’re like, “No one’s eating” We have like 12 glasses of wine. Everyone’s sober. We’re like, “What’s going?”
Tori Dunlap (05:18):
I’m like, “Can I have more pasta? Where’s the more pasta button?” No, but then they look me up on Instagram and they’re like, “Oh, you’re finance, but you have 660,000 Instagram followers.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know how we did it either.” It’s very funny.
Corporate Natalie (05:37):
These are gorgeous intelligent women, of course, there’s nothing wrong with a brand like SoFi who we both work with, they’re like “So how do you work with… How do you Promote them?” I’m like, “Well, it’s a bank. It’s an [inaudible 00:05:47] finance app.” They’re like, “Okay, I don’t really.”
Tori Dunlap (05:49):
We’re here at a fashion dinner as guests of SoFi and we’re the two guests and then everybody else’s Rebecca Minkoff entourage, who are beautiful and talented and smart, but also like, “Oh boy, little fish out of water.”
Corporate Natalie (06:07):
I was like, “We dressed completely incorrectly for this. What’s going on? No one told me. I didn’t get the memo.”
Tori Dunlap (06:13):
Yeah, I showed up in a $7… I looked hot, but I showed up in a $7 Banana Republic outlet dress with Adidas.
Corporate Natalie (06:21):
Yeah, fanny pack, just like “It’s so great. Yeah, I love it.” Who gives a crap?
Tori Dunlap (06:27):
And that’s me. That’s how I’m going to roll up to these events. Stop inviting me.
Corporate Natalie (06:31):
I love it.
Tori Dunlap (06:33):
But I wanted to chat about, obviously you and I met through TikTok and I want to give the audience a background on you. What was your life like, what was your background before you started building your account on TikTok?
Corporate Natalie (06:47):
Before TikTok I was working just an extremely corporate job. I was in consulting. I always saw myself as climbing the corporate ladder. I thought having a job at a Big Four company was the coolest personality trait ever. I wanted to be partner. I’ve always been driven Type A person. I’ve also always had this humor side to me. I love telling jokes at the dinner table. That’s not un-unique to the channel that you see there. But I went on TikTok, posted a couple videos completely as a joke, nothing related to corporate humor, no intention of being like “I’m going to be an influencer” at all. I send it to my friends as a joke. I’m like, “I’m going to be famous. I’ll sign autographs now if you want.” Video has zero views. I keep posting and then one blows up and here we are today with 800,000 followers. It’s insane.
Tori Dunlap (07:35):
Isn’t that wild? Because you and I started around the same time. How soon did you realize you were like, “Oh, I could monetize this” or “This could be a legitimate real thing” as opposed to “I’m just here for fun.”
Corporate Natalie (07:47):
Well, it was crazy to me. I didn’t see this as a money-making thing. I saw this as like, “Oh this is crazy. I could go viral and get views and whatever. This is fun.” When you’re pretty early in the process, I feel like you start getting reached out to by brands wanting to work with you, wanting to collab. I think I had 10,000 followers on TikTok and I was getting just inbound emails, constantly gifting stuff. It was crazy to me that brands wanted to send me free stuff, that was just such a novel concept. And then they start offering to pay you very, very little of course, to post a large quantity of videos. And I being the naive person I am, knowing nothing about this world was like “Twisted Tea wants to give me $500 to post an ad for them. Absolutely.” I reposted it to my Instagram for free because I was so proud of it. I just didn’t know anything and I was just…
Yeah, so it started very quick and you learn very fast and I think I started approaching it like a job and like a business from the start and I just realized, “Okay, this can be something, this can be a side hustle. This doesn’t have to be just a creative outlet.” So it grew pretty fast.
Tori Dunlap (08:53):
The majority of my questions are around how we monetize TikTok, what is it like… The influencer money side of it. But obviously the majority of your content is… And the reason you’ve gone viral and the reason you’re famous for it is this very making fun of corporate culture, job interview, all of these things. Do you have career advice for people? And if so, what are your three tips for someone trying to land their first job or trying to pivot or trying to get a raise? What for you are your corporate tips?
Corporate Natalie (09:29):
Totally. First of all, I think it’s always important to give the disclaimer of I’m 25 years old, I’ve been working in corporate America for three years. People come to me for career advice. I’m like “I am not some wise person been in this for years.” But I do think when I started my career and out of college and every corporate training trains you on social media best practices. Don’t be posting anything. Don’t go to a protest and wear our company’s shirt. You’re scared to do anything wrong or misstep on social media. And now I have this completely different outlook that building your personal brand and growing on social media, if it’s appropriate, clean, stuff you’re proud of that your grandma would see, I always say, that can do nothing but help you. Companies are now looking at that in such a positive light and being like, “You make video content? You’re funny. You can use humor at work. That’s amazing.”
And so my tip is just if it’s something you’re proud of and confident of and you want to put content out there or take a risk or try photography or anything creative that’s outside of your nine to five and what you’d be doing in your day job, do it and show it and show those sides of you. I think it’s something to be proud of and companies look at that and that’s a total differentiator now.
Tori Dunlap (10:47):
And your TikTok helped land you a promotion, right? Isn’t that what happened? Tell me about that.
Corporate Natalie (10:53):
It’s crazy. Like I said, I started with holding this kind of shame around it. I didn’t want my company to find out. I still have in my bio, “All content is fictional.” I don’t want people to think I’m making fun of them.
Tori Dunlap (11:06):
Which is for good reason because there are some companies that freak out about that shit. I have my own stories of that, of as my company started gaining success on the side, my nine to five felt worse and worse about that. Yeah, I totally understand the impulse.
Corporate Natalie (11:26):
Totally. Especially when you’re making fun of something. People get sensitive and you never want to… It’s never about anyone. Of course, I can make a joke about literally anyone on the street, I don’t care. I’m very able to turn anything to a joke, but it is sensitive. I think, just using it and people at my work started finding out and then it just spiraled and it became people slacking me. “This is so cool. Oh my gosh, gosh.” And then what happened was the CEO of my company, it was 12,000 person company, put time on my calendar. I was like, “Okay, so I’m getting fired. This was amazing. It was really nice knowing you guys. I am going to pack up me stuff and go.” I answered the call, it was around Christmas time and I answered the call and he was like, “We need to get you into marketing. This is so cool you’ve done, let’s get you into marketing. We want you to tell our story.” And so I got this giant-
Tori Dunlap (12:21):
Which fantastic impulse by the CEO because that’s how you know, okay, you got a good one, or at least you got one who has good instincts. Because the amount of
people, again in my own personal career or the amount of people I’ve counseled who had leaders or CEOs who saw it as a threat rather than the best asset. Props to that person.
Corporate Natalie (12:44):
Absolutely. I work in tech and I think the tech community is very more forward leaning and excited about this. And I think, like you said before, there are companies that would hate this. I do feel very thankful that they viewed it in a positive way. And I got a giant promotion at age 24 to a senior manager role that I wouldn’t have gotten for six or seven years. It was crazy. I’m shocked every day when these opportunities come. We even talked about the events and the stuff that comes with the influencer side. It’s crazy. Very, very thankful.
Tori Dunlap (13:23):
When you took something you were good at, leveraged it weirdly for a promotion even though it wasn’t directly related to the work you were doing at your nine to five, and you had somebody who saw that as an asset, which it was, a hundred percent. That’s a hundred percent what it was. Yeah, that’s smart. I love it.
You have a friendship with Rod who is fantastic. If y’all don’t know Rod, you’re not on TikTok. If you don’t know, you’re not on TikTok. You’ve mentioned that you bounce ideas and numbers off of each other when you are trying to grow, when you’re figuring out what your business looks like. Do you feel like this is factored into sustaining your success, negotiating your worth, having these conversations with other creators?
Corporate Natalie (14:09):
Absolutely. Rod and Victoria Garrick, who were talking about earlier were two people who were immensely helpful and just, “What are we doing here? What should we charge? I have no idea.” Vic’s been an influencer since college, so she was very helpful and “Charge this rate, try this out for sure.” Rod was in my niche, so we had that alignment of being like… We had a similar amount of followers and were doing the same content. We had a lot of B2B companies reach out to us as this new wave of corporate influencers, which was interesting. And I think they didn’t know their budgets, we didn’t know what to charge. And so it was just this, “How do we push the limits and do that?” But yes, I immensely thankful to both of them for just being open about it.
I think you and I even talked about rates the first night we met in person. I just think this world is, it’s more like let’s help each other and lift each other up, unless… In corporate America you would never ask someone what their salary is. That’s just so inappropriate and you don’t do that. But I think weirdly with creators and stuff, we’re all still figuring it out together. And there’s more of that, at least the people I’ve interacted with, there’s that openness of “sure, I’ll share a ballpark, I’ll share…” I share the exact numbers, I don’t care. I try to empower all creators to charge more. And that’s part of what I do now with the consulting I do with creators, is “Let’s get you a media kit and tell your story and push the boundaries and charge more.” Because companies don’t know. There’s no standardization of you have X followers, you should get X dollars. It’s like, “What’s the story you’re telling and what can you do for us that we can’t do in-house or with an ad agency?”
Tori Dunlap (15:48):
There is so much there that you just talked about. I mean, with our work, we are trying to make conversations in a corporate environment about salary more normalized. But I think the biggest difference is that there is aggregate salary data or you can go on to… Hopefully job descriptions now will tell you the range. So you can go and look at that. You can go and look at Glassdoor. There’s a couple companies that are startups that are doing this for influencers, but no one’s really gone mainstream in terms of the Glassdoor for influencers. And so it’s such a new industry and it’s so veiled. And to your point, some people are still playing by the… What is it, hundred dollar per thousand follower thing? I don’t even remember. $10 per thousand. I don’t even remember the bullshit. But it’s so new and it still seems so veiled.
And I have also become one of the people who, my TikTok DMs are full of brand new creators who are like, “I have 3 million followers. This brand offered me 500 bucks, should I take it?” And I’m like, “No, no.” But unless we’re talking about it, people don’t know any better.
Corporate Natalie (17:02):
I agree. And I think it’s tough because you make these large sums of money for seemingly low effort things like making a video. But I do think it’s important to understand, one, there’s a lot of effort that goes into making a video. I think it seems way easier than it looks. I always say being a creator is incredibly challenging. There is that. But also it’s having a following and having this audience of hundreds of thousands of people who trust you and want to hear what you have to say. That’s powerful. I’m telling that story to brands and being like, “This is my rate. If you want to tap into these 800,000 people across TikTok and Instagram who are corporate millennials with buying power, be my guest. And if not, don’t worry at all, the other brand will.” I think just having that confidence is super important.
Tori Dunlap (17:49):
I always tell influencers or content creators that you’re a one-person marketing agency or if you have a team behind you, you’re actually basically a mini marketing agency, where it’s not just the 62nd video you’ve produce
d, it’s the concept that you’ve come up with, it’s the execution of that concept, it’s the engagement in the comments afterwards, it’s the correspondence over email back and forth with a brand, it’s six different reshoots. It’s a lot more that goes into that 62nd video than a lot of people think.
Corporate Natalie (18:19):
Totally. You always talk about confidence through everything and finances and life and everything. I think you have to put a value on yourself. How much are you worth? How much is your voice, your brain… You’re providing a creative concept for this company that they would’ve never thought of. And I think with my ads, I started from a very early state of being like, “I’m not going to hold up the Sugarbear Hair gummies and be like, ‘Guys, try this out.’ I’m going to integrate it organically, try to make it funny, make it more of a skit, a new type of marketing,” which I’ve been exploring and I think is interesting.
Tori Dunlap (18:58):
What was it? Your meat stick video cracked me up.
Corporate Natalie (19:01):
Oh my God. Yeah. Why not just normalize eating a meat stick in the office?
Tori Dunlap (19:05):
You’re under a desk and you’re like, “I’m eating my meat stick.”
Corporate Natalie (19:09):
Yeah, the brand’s like “This is going to get flagged,” but okay.
Tori Dunlap (19:17):
Do you feel like trying to normalize these conversations, are creators comfortable talking about pay? You mentioned I think it’s more comfortable than a corporate environment of just dishing on salary info, but do you feel like generally people are more comfortable?
Corporate Natalie (19:37):
I think so. I do think it’s with those mutuals, as we call it, in this crazy social media world. But the people you follow and you become this internet friends with, you’re more open about it. I do think you mentioned some of these apps and I’ve seen them that are trying to bring the Glassdoor to creators. I think I am a little hesitant to just throw my rates on there and have it tied and have everyone know, because I think there’s price discrimination, 100%. We can talk about this. If a huge brand comes to you, “Yeah, I’m going to try to charge a little bit more. I know you have the budget. I’m looking at your financials. I’m figuring it out.”
Tori Dunlap (20:12):
Yep. I’m going to pause you right there because I think a lot of people don’t understand this. If a women’s nonprofit comes and asks me to speak, I am charging a very different rate than if Amazon asks me to come and speak. Which ironically, Amazon, those companies are typically the ones who actually don’t have budgets or claim that they don’t have budgets.
Corporate Natalie (20:36):
Chipotle, Starbucks, you’d be shocked. They’re like, “We can’t pay you.” It’s so crazy.
Tori Dunlap (20:41):
Wild. And if you are a brand listening, granted you’re getting away with it and you’re getting away with it because… Oh God. Oh, I get so angry about this. Because what happens is influencers get reached out to by Sephora… I’m naming brands, I don’t know if they actually do this, but these big, big, big brands. And they come to you and they go, “Well, we don’t have budget to pay you” or “Will pay you in free product.” The majority people still take those deals because they want that brand name on their portfolio. They want to be able to say, “I’ve worked with this huge brand.” Brands know this so they don’t pay you. Or they know they can get away with paying you less. I get it from an influencer standpoint, because you feel like you’re caught between a rock and a hard place where you’re like, “I either get a little bit of money and I get a lot of clout” or “I turn down the opportunity.”
But if you take the opportunity, suddenly you’re not just undercutting yourself, you’re making it so much harder for every single other person who’s a content creator to also charge for what we’re worth. Because then if I go to a Starbucks or Chipotle and I’m like, “Hey, I want, let’s say, 12K, 15K for a video,” they’re going to be like, “Well, this other person’s going to do it for free.”
Corporate Natalie (21:54):
Totally. And they can do that. No, and they can do that. I don’t want to say we’re price discriminating and whatever, but it is just like you do your research as a creator of if there’s super great brand alignment and it’s so easy, and it’s… I work Starbucks into every video just because I do that. If Zoom reached out to me, I’d be like, “I’ll probably do that for free because I’m probably already going to say the word Zoom in the skit.” It’s like you’re sensing the brand alignment, you do that. I
also think… Now that we’re just talking about money, let’s just dive right in. But there are ways to get paid in potentially equity or do you really believe in this company, their early stage, you get a piece of it and then you don’t even have to say it’s an ad because you’re a part-owner. And there are just ways to work around. You can make it work. I think creators are willing to make it work. You mentioned a woman’s nonprofit, that’s so aligned with you and what you’re doing and everything, so it’s like-
Tori Dunlap (22:46):
And I know you’re not going to have a huge budget. I know that. So I’m going to be more likely to accept that opportunity if it works with my schedule and that sort of thing. Versus, a company that is a billion dollar corporation and you have the fucking audacity to be like, “Oh, we don’t have influencer budgets.” I’m like, “Then that’s on. You shouldn’t be reaching out, if you don’t have the budget to do this.” I wouldn’t be like, “Yeah, hey, I’m going to hire a marketing manager.” “Oh, what’s the pay?” “Well, I can’t pay you.”
Corporate Natalie (23:12):
Yeah. Do you do your job for free? No. I’m not doing my job for free. Thank you.
Tori Dunlap (23:17):
Exposure doesn’t pay the bills, baby. It does not pay the bills. I love what you said too. Yeah, is it equity, The classic Beyonce example. Beyonce gets asked to perform at Uber. They say… I’m trying to remember the dollar amount. It was like “250, $500,000, we’ll pay you.” And she was like, “No, you’re going to pay me in equity.” Now, there’s a risk there because potentially that equity’s worth nothing. Or you’re fucking Beyonce and you have now I think it’s multimillion dollars worth of equity because she asked for equity instead. Some companies are more likely to actually pay you an equity because that’s what they do have rather than a huge marketing budget.
Corporate Natalie (23:56):
Absolutely. I know, it’s crazy. The one-woman marketing agency, you’re saying, you can offer your advice, your strategic insights, your ideas on some of the other campaigns they’re doing and become that advisor with a company that you believe in. That’s incredible. You get 10 of those in your portfolio, one takes off. Great. You’re set. It’s cool to see.
Tori Dunlap (24:19):
You mentioned equity. Any other ways you’re thinking about getting compensated besides just a check?
Corporate Natalie (24:28):
Truthfully, no. I want either to be paid or in some capacity. I think sometimes there’s exposure plays and they’ll be like, “Well, we post you on our channels.” I don’t find that as helpful, because you just never know. Normally companies organic social channels aren’t completely viral unless you’re Duolingo. But I think it’s important to value your time and not do things for free. Of course, you do things that align with you that you’re happy about for free. But it is a business and we’re all working hard here and I just think that’s important to know you’re worth and do that. Do you have any tips? Do you take other forms of compensation?
Tori Dunlap (25:08):
The compensation might be structured differently. Again, we literally had just met and talked about this at the bar after the event, was like. There’s so many different ways you can structure a deal. There’s flat fee deals where it’s like, “Okay, for this one video we’ll pay you X amount.” Then there’s packages, “We’ll pay you for three videos” or “We’ll pay you for an Instagram, plus a video, plus maybe a podcast ad” or something like that. So there’s packages. And then there’s commission/affiliates. Now for, I would say if you are a content creator and you’re listening to this, the vast majority of affiliate deals are not actually helpful. Truly, they’re not going to be lucrative for you because it forces you… It’s a pay-to-play thing. You are only being compensated for the traffic that you drive. However, we have a couple affiliate deals on the Her First $100K side that have paid literally millions of dollars versus what would’ve been $12,000 here, $15,000 here for a one-off video or two.
You have to analyze how you want to run your business, the structure of it. Does it make sense? There’s just different ways of structuring a deal for compensation. There’s also the potential where if the brand does have a large following, there’s also a potential where you’re doing literally co-branded Instagram collab post, where it’s going on both of your accounts. Now, they’re going to act like that’s a lot more valuable than it actually is. And you have to determine if it is valuable. But if it is, that’s potentially a great play. You get to be in front, especially if the brand alignment is so good. That might draw a bunch of followers or a bunch of conversions to you. But yeah, there’s just ways to get creative with it.
Corporate Natalie (26:55):
And I think understanding who you are as a creator. I think, Tori and I talked about this again the first night we met, but for your following, that makes so much sense. And we talked about this. If I did that-
Tori Dunlap (27:04):
But for certain brands.
Corporate Natalie (27:05):
It wouldn’t work.
Tori Dunlap (27:06):
Yeah, but for certain brands.
Corporate Natalie (27:06):
Totally, for certain brands. But the actual financial advice, whatever, and I don’t have a following like that. My videos are very just general brand awareness. You want Corporate Natalie‘s affiliation with your brand? I’ll do a funny video about it. Boom, we’re done. I would prefer a flat fee. It’s just understanding what works for you and your following is so important.
Tori Dunlap (27:24):
And I think you and I not only have different business structures, but even the way we show up on TikTok is different. I would imagine that you have a lot more engagement or likes with your video, but maybe less people actually convert to following you. We get less likes and views, but we have more of that, to your point, a dedicated following. I think that’s different. For me, if I continually tell you, “Hey, open up a high yield savings account, you’re going to be more likely to do it.” As opposed to for you, you might only get one chance to talk to somebody online or there’s one chance for them to see your video. So then it makes more sense from the way the business is running and the way the business is structured to just be like, “Yep, I’m going to do a shout out. I’m going to do a one or two video thing with you. That makes more sense than trying to basically get somebody to literally do something.” It’s a brand awareness play as opposed to a conversion play.
Okay. Can you walk us through how you negotiate with brands? What you learned? Any pitfalls? You were talking about that first Twisted Tea partnership and what you learned from it. How do you walk through working with brands, negotiating with brands, and what have you learned in the process?
Corporate Natalie (28:41):
I do everything on my own. I’m not managed. I don’t have an agent. I really see a deal from the inception to the end, invoicing and sending analytics and I do it all. And I have a very small team hoping to grow, who helps me with the admin side of those deals. And I’ve said this before, it’s all about telling your story. I’ve built a very comprehensive media kit that shows my following, shows my engagement, talks about that audience that I think is so important of… My audience has buying power, they’re not 12-year olds on TikTok. They’re 35-year old people who are interested in what I have to say, want to buy it, want to make that play.
I think telling that story is important. I think for me it helps me charge higher rates, which I’m thankful for. I send a media kit, I send individualized rates should they want them, because my media kit just includes bundled packages. Just from there, normally brands agree, which is just crazy because I still am baffled that you can charge these rates. But sometimes there’s that negotiation bit of, “Okay, they want to boost the video, they want exclusivity, whatever. How do we rate that out and make sure it makes sense?”
Tori Dunlap (29:51):
I’m going to pause you right there and ask you to break that down to someone who isn’t a content creator. What is everything that goes into a deal besides just, “I’m going to post a 60 second video on TikTok.”
Corporate Natalie (30:03):
Oh my gosh. People think it’s so easy. We all have a menu of things that could potentially be charged for. Exclusivity means you can’t promote similar brands in a certain period of time. Whitelisting/boosting means they’re going to basically get your video out into the For You page and get more views, which I think-
Tori Dunlap (30:22):
They’re going to put sponsored money behind it, right? It’s basically going to become… They’re going to put ad dollars on it.
Corporate Natalie (30:29):
Yes. Which I think sometimes people view as super positive. Yeah, of course I want my ads to have more views. But if you’re allowing companies to put your face out there, as a viewer, you get annoyed. I could lose followers because they’re seeing my face countless times with these sponsorships. That actually hurts your brand. It’s important to put a price on that organic usage. Are they able to repost it on their channels? There’s a cost of that. Are they going to own this in perpetuity? You have to review the contracts. Absolutely not. When I get a facelift at 50, I don’t want them using the footage from 25 years ago. Absolutely not. It’s just all these things that go into it and all these factors where you really have to… It’s like a calculator of “Okay, the X months, X usage,” whatever.
Tori Dunlap (31:14):
Link in bio? Do you have a link in bio? Does it have to be that specific link and without any other links or can it go on something like a lin
k tree? For how long is it there? Oh is it a pinned post? Okay, well for how long is it a pinned post? Is it re-shared on stories? All of these things come with additional costs.
Corporate Natalie (31:35):
Do they want to share it globally? Do they want to share it on their LinkedIn? You’re looking at all of this and it’s crazy how quick I learned. And I think just as a creator, you have to learn, normally you get a team and a lawyer and you’re actually smart about it. I’ve just become my own in-house lawyer, which is probably a horrible thing to do. But I’m reviewing all these contracts and I’m looking for this. It’s a lot. And so that negotiation, that contract review, making sure you’re fully aligned, making sure the payment terms make sense, everything. Then there’s the concepting, scripting, making sure we’re aligned on the direction. Because you don’t want to, like you said, reshoot 16,000 times, I don’t have time for that. Let’s align on where we’re going. Then you film, you edit, you send, they of course want edits, reshoots, you reshoot, you send back, you provide a caption. They want all these BS text overlays like “Link in bio for more.” “Okay, no one cares but sure I’ll add it.”
Then you post it, you send them an ad boosting code, you send analytics, you’re engaging with the content because you want to make sure that you’re responding to comments and you’re filtering comments that are potentially negative about the brand. And then you hopefully do it all over again, repitch it and hope you sign for another video. And there’s so much in between. Invoicing, send your W-9, make sure your bank account [inaudible 00:32:52]. There’s so much on the backend too. It is not just film one video and post it. It is so much more.
Tori Dunlap (33:08):
And a lot of these. If you’re an entrepreneur or a content creator, this is going to sound very, very familiar. But just trying to get paid by a corporation at a nine to five job, that’s going to be a lot easier typically because you have payroll and you know you’re going to get paid on a certain date. The amount of chasing down we have to do in order to get paid. And now we work with an agency and the amount of chasing down the agency has to do. But then we have to chase down the agency as well to make sure that they’re chasing down the brand.
And then you also have typically what they call like net 30, net 45, net 60 day terms. And that means from the day you either sign the contractor, the day the content’s posted, they have 30 days. If it’s a net 30, they have 45 days. Or sometimes there’s some deals we have that are net 75, which means that we don’t see payment until 75 days. That’s a full two and a half months after the content went out. And I have to pay my people, I have to pay myself, I have to keep the lights on. That’s the other part of it too that can also typically be negotiated. It’s not like you post the video and then the next day you get paid. It very, very rarely happens that way.
Corporate Natalie (34:17):
Absolutely. And the fact that you would be shocked the huge name companies that we are, as individual creators, chasing down and asking to be paid for the work that we’ve done. It’s insane how this all gets lost in translation. With a contract just blowing through the payment terms. I’m like, “I’m sorry, I’m chasing down a company for a video I did in 2021.” I’m like, “I’m sorry, where’s that? What’s going on?”
Tori Dunlap (34:41):
And there’s all the government regulation around all of this too because the brand has their own requirements. But we also have FTC guidelines about where the hashtag ad needs to go and how we disclose whether it’s an ad or an affiliate deal. Or there’s some… Especially for finance and this now working with financial companies, we have to… Most of the content has to go through compliance, which is a whole other thing. Compliance, it sometimes takes months. And so it’s all of this that I didn’t know a couple of years ago, but again, I’m being paid for the knowledge of, I have to make sure to disclose this properly and I know that compliance is going to have these four problems or issues if I say this. So I’m going to try to avoid that. There’s all of that in addition that you have to think about. Disclosing it correctly.
Corporate Natalie (35:34):
And I think you and I are just people in general who are super driven, super hardworking, look into the details of these things. It scares me to think of a younger creator who has no idea what to look out for in contract reviews and isn’t checking if they’re getting paid, doesn’t know how to track that down. It’s scary to me that people get taken advantage of in that way. It’s just important to stay vigilant and check these things and be super involved in the process. I know even with your agencies, when you’re outsourcing it, you just want to make sure that’s all going as planned because I trust no one. It’s important.
Tori Dunlap (36:11):
I think one of the questions that I had when I was navigating my career and that I think a lot of people who are creative people, who have side projects, is like, we were talking about this earlier, do you disclose it? Is it something that you talk about as a benefit to employers? And I know right now you’re doing the job hunt or figuring out what’s out there. What are these conversations looking like where you’re like, “Ah yeah, I’m looking for a job and also I have this other thing that, again, could be an asset to you.” When are you disclosing that? Are you disclosing that? What does that look like for you?
Corporate Natalie (36:43):
I often think about what my life would be if Corporate Natalie wasn’t so tied to my face and so public. If it was a company I was starting, that I was running in the background. I think right now it’s just too big to ignore. I get recognized when I go to the bar. If I’m doing an interview. Not that everyone knows me, who’s everyone? But it’s going to come up at some point. Like I said, it’s something I’m proud of now and I think the interview process for me right now is so different than what it would’ve been if I was just in my traditional career path. It’s actually, “Do you think Corporate Natalie is an asset that you would find interesting and that could help with your company, that you’d be excited to collaborate and hear my advice as a creator and really work together on that way and have the flexibility to understand that I give so much time to this, that what [inaudible 00:37:38] employment model look like that maybe incorporates me doing that and also helping in an advising capacity or something.”
Right now, the interview process for me is more so just like, how can I tailor some experience at some company that I believe into what I want? I think having a following and having that brand power and presence, it allows you to do this, which is crazy to me. Most jobs… I’m not looking at a job description and seeing if I can fit into that, I’m trying to build a job description and say, “Do you want me for this?” It’s crazy but it’s exciting and it’s like… I think I’m so confident in what I have to offer that I know there are brands out there. Every company I work with, we hang up the phone when the brand deal’s over and they’re like, “If you ever want to come on full time, we love you.” The agencies, the brands, everyone’s thinks it’s so cool and would love to have the knowledge that a creator has in house. I just think understanding that is powerful.
Tori Dunlap (38:39):
And regardless of your career, if you’re a creator or not, what you said was so powerful and I really want people to hear it, of I know what I have is valuable, I know what I bring to the table and if something out there doesn’t work, if there’s something out there that isn’t… If I’m looking for something and it’s not fitting, I will create my own opportunity because I have all of these people who are ready to hire me and who see what I have to do as valuable. And you’re coming from a place… Rather than scarcity, you’re coming from a place of abundance of saying, “I know what I have to offer is powerful and I am not going to take something that is less or doesn’t work with what I want to do. If I have to, I’ll create it myself.” And that’s so powerful.
Corporate Natalie (39:29):
I agree. That’s very unique to me and where I’m at in life. I think I’m a very rational and realistic person. I think if you’re fresh out of college and you’re looking for a job you can’t be doing this. Like “I’ll build the role for myself.” I’m sorry, you don’t have any tangible skills at that point. You do have to… There is give and take, but I think for me right now I’m in a place that I’ve done something rather unique that I can use as a positive.
Tori Dunlap (39:54):
Because I wonder this myself, how much of it do you feel like right place, right time where you and I just got in and things were blown up and everybody was bored in quarantine? How much do you think is luck versus strategy?
Corporate Natalie (40:08):
I think a lot of it is luck and I’m thankful every single day that this happened. I think the luck side of it for me is that when I got in the corporate influencer was not a thing. I think Rod and I, like I said, were the first movers in that, truly. And making fun of corporate America just became so easy with work from home that we slipped in and we just exploited it. And I think that allowed companies… One of my brand partners is Dell, who would probably never do influencer marketing before seeing like a Rod or a me. We both did a Dell collab together and it made perfect sense and it was an awesome video. And so I think that part of it was luck.
I think the strategy is sticking to it now, two and a half years later, working every single day, getting up, thinking of new ideas, thinking of how to expand the brand. You built an unbelievable business, how do you turn this one avenue of TikTok and Instagram and paid partnerships into a business and do speaking and podcasting and how can you expand it? You and I talk about this a lot, but how can you pull yourself out of it? Because there’s so much pressure as just the face of it and the one person, it’s like, “I want Corporate Natalie to exist if I died.” How do we keep that going? That’s very morbid, but how can this be a business that doesn’t require my input, my face every single day with every single decision. That’s where I’m at now with looking to expand.
Tori Dunlap (41:29):
This is me asking you for advice because I’m trying to figure it out. What have you found is working? Because I’m finding it really difficult. You find a face that you trust, you find a name that you trust. And that’s part of why I think both of our brands are successful. People are tied to who we are as people and then if we try to bring other people in or we try to do… Literally, we know that social media, your posts are less likely to perform well if you don’t have a face in them. That’s so hard. The pace of all of it is really difficult. I don’t know, what’s working for you?
Corporate Natalie (42:06):
The Corporate Natalie stuff is very… I’m still figuring it out. It’s too hard to pull myself out of it right now. And I’m totally fine with do
ing it, I’m not completely fatigued in posting videos and doing paid partnerships and stuff. But I am starting a business with my roommate, I think I told you about this virtual assistant company for influencers and pairing… Basically training people who want to make a side to hustle and work a few hours a week, training them on the influencer world and making them understand “Here’s how a brand deal works, here’s how podcast appearances work.” So that they’re trained and ready to go and hit the ground running with an influencer who doesn’t have to spend their precious time being like, “Yeah, this is a brand deal.” I trained my assistant, “Here’s the language, here are templates. Use this if a brand reaches out to gift,” whatever.
That’s something I’m excited about. That’s something that yes, the upfront networking with the influencers who trust me are of course because I am who I am. But that’s something that I’m building and I’m excited and can totally sustain without me, once we train them. And my co-founder is just wildly intelligent and fiercely dedicated to it as well. It’s exciting to build something together.
Tori Dunlap (43:19):
That’s the whole thing, that’s entrepreneurship is you see an issue and then you work to solve it. And for you as a creator, it was like, I imagine, “Wow, I really need somebody to support me in doing this.” And then you’re talking to other creators and creators are going, “Wow, I’m spending a lot of my time managing my email inbox, managing my DMs, coordinating with brands.” And you’re like, “Wow, what if there was a better way?” And it sounds like you’re creating that.
Corporate Natalie (43:41):
Totally. You and I talk about this, for taking our face out of it, what are the core competencies that you absolutely need me for? Okay, I need to be in the video. Sure, I’ll do it. Do I have to edit it? Do I have to post it? Do I have to be in these negotiation talks? No, take me out of it.
Tori Dunlap (43:59):
Do I have to be commenting? Do I have to be responding to comments? Do I have to be coordinating my own calendar?
Corporate Natalie (44:04):
No. I have someone in my DMs. No, please, someone tell me what to do. Tell me where to go. Tell me to show up to this podcast. Thank you. I need hand holding.
Tori Dunlap (44:12):
Two people who look like me can’t put on a trench coat and go speak for me, I have to do that. Versus, Kristen, our lovely podcast producer has coordinating this interview and provided lovely questions for me to ask and I go in and add some if I want, otherwise I show up to this interview and I do this with you. Especially for creators who are predominantly women or just women in general who are running a business, I think there is a badge of honor that we all feel like we need, which is like, “Oh, I do this all myself” and like “Why would I give any of this away?” But the smartest decision you can make as a business owner is to delegate the first moment you can and to find really good people who you trust to be able to delegate to.
Corporate Natalie (44:59):
100%. And the older I get… The older I get? I’m 25. I view my life in a very… I’m like, “I’m nearing the end.” The older I get though, [inaudible 00:45:08], and the more it… Because I was so dedicated and I would spend so much time on this. Working full-time and doing, it’s like “I’m just exhausted and I’m just valuing my time more and more.” I’m a better person and I’m a better creator when I take a night off and go have a drink with my friends. There’s no need for me to be constantly working. Finding the right people and trusting them and really empowering them to step up and do this is so important.
Tori Dunlap (45:41):
What do you wish more people knew about being a creator?
Corporate Natalie (45:43):
I think it is incredibly hard work. I still feel this shame when I say, “Oh, I’m a content creator.” And I don’t know why. I think it’s something… I’m so proud of it, but I feel like-
Tori Dunlap (46:00):
Or TikTok specifically, even… I was on the Today Show and the day before… Because my mom watches it every day. The day before they were introducing my segment, they were like, “Oh, and tomorrow we’re having [inaudible 00:46:11] finance TikTok star on to talk about money.” And apparently Savannah Guthrie was like, “Yeah, because I get my financial advice from TikTok.” And I was like-
Corporate Natalie (46:21):
Oh my god. And you’re not even… You have so many other streams and pillars of things you do. I’m purely… Yeah, please.
Tori Dunlap (46:31):
But then weirdly too, I do the same thing where I’m like,
“No, I should be proud of it.” Why is TikTok less legitimate? But then I also play the like, “Yeah, it does. I do have all of these other things. Cite me by all of these other things that I deem more legitimate.” It’s weirdly, I’m so proud of it. And also I’m like, “No, I need you to take me seriously.” And for whatever reason when I say TikTok, you’re like, “No.”
Corporate Natalie (46:52):
I’m embarrassed. I don’t know. One, I need to just get over that and just be proud of it. Because I know deep down that what I’ve done is incredible. But I think just normalizing that it’s extremely hard work and that it is a business. Like I said, it’s just… It’s so not as easy as it looks. It is grueling. And it’s also the emotional aspect of it of “I don’t want to be called names and called ugly and fat and hear these horrible things about my voice and my appearance.” I have to deal with that every single day. When you have a performance review twice a year with your boss and you have to receive feedback, I receive unsolicited feedback every single day with every single thing I post. That’s grueling and that’s emotional.
Tori Dunlap (47:33):
And also hopefully your boss is not telling you, “Hey, you’re ugly and I hope you go die.” It’s like, “Hey, I feel like you’re doing this well and this should be improved.” Nowhere else are you getting feedback… You’re probably getting out on the street, if you’re a fat person just walking in everyday life, you’re getting shit on all the time. But I feel like anybody who’s on the internet is getting constant shit all the time.
Corporate Natalie (47:58):
Totally. I wish people better understood that it’s grueling, emotionally, time-wise, all of that. And also just that you should do it for yourself. I want everyone to be a creator and put their stuff out there if they’re confident enough to do it. The opportunities are endless when you have a following and you’ve built this and you get the trust of so many people. The SoFi event we went to, that’s so cool. We were at a table with Rebecca Minkoff and the CMO of SoFi. These situations that I would never be in if I hadn’t taken a chance and put my stuff out there and failed a bunch of times. And then now understood how to hit a big… Get those views.
Tori Dunlap (48:39):
And all of the people, I think you uniquely have had a lot of pushback, but I have gotten pushback. Anybody who’s ever posted a sponsored post on any social media platform has gotten pushback of like, “Oh, why are you taking sponsored content? That’s all I see from you, now. You’re selling out.” What is your response to those people?
Corporate Natalie (48:57):
“Do you work for free? Sorry, when you go to your job every day, do you do it for free? I’m confused.” This is how you make money. This is a business. You don’t do anything for free. “So you just want me to literally just make jokes constantly and make you laugh and bring joy to your life just every day for no reason?” No. And it’s not like I love doing that and I’m excited to do that. And I think there is a community of people that are so, “Get that bad girl. We’re proud of you. Yes.” But there are always this people that are going to question it. “You don’t want to watch the ad? Don’t watch the ad. I don’t care at all. There’s thousands of other videos that will suit your fancy.” I know that sounds really harsh, but I just hate when people aren’t supportive of creators doing brand deals because that’s how creators make their money and they’re people who do this and that’s their entire livelihood. One brand deal could change their life and pay their rent. Let them do that.
Tori Dunlap (49:52):
Yep. Couldn’t agree more. Any advice for someone who is fresh out of college looking for their first job? How do you navigate that?
Corporate Natalie (50:00):
I think I mentioned before, but just build your personal brand as early as possible. You don’t need to necessarily post on social media, but what about you is uniquely you? And what can you bring to an interview that’s going to excite people more so than just what you can offer tangibly and you have Excel experience. Cool. What else do you bring to the table? I feel like with work from home, so eager for connection and really that team element of how do we all work together? Do we like each other? How are you a person that’s going to be interesting and dynamic. I think just be proud of those things. I would always try to hide the humor side. I would never tell a joke in an interview. And I think I would not advise telling a joke in an interview unless you really, really think it’s going to land. But just show it, take a risk. I don’t know. There’s no interview I join right now that I’m not totally just messing around. I don’t know.
Tori Dunlap (50:55):
I feel like for you, every interview is like, “Ooh, a new audience to try material on.”
Corporate Natalie (51:00):
Literally, every interaction I have in my life, I’m like, “How do I make you laugh?” So exhausting. It’s exhausting.
Tori Dunlap (51:08):
Where can people find you?
Corporate Natalie (51:11):
At Corporate Natalie on TikTok and Instagram. Corporate Natalie on LinkedIn. CorpNatalie on Twitter. And hopefully more platforms to come. Just stay tuned.
Tori Dunlap (51:21):
Tell me how you got that Twitter verification. Because the joke is that Twitter refuses to verify me.
Corporate Natalie (51:27):
You’re not verified on Twitter?
Tori Dunlap (51:28):
No, they’re keeping me humble. Literally, we will apply and within 45 minutes they’re like, “No. Denied.” And we’ve done this like 15 times.
Corporate Natalie (51:36):
No way. It’s so weird, because I feel like Twitter throws out verifications constantly. Every journalist ever is verified.
Tori Dunlap (51:42):
Twitter’s the easy one and I can’t get it on Twitter. I’m like, “Here’s my TikTok, I’m verified. Here’s Good Morning America. Here’s my book.” And they’re like, “No.” I’m like, “Here’s the podcast,” and they’re like, “Nope. And I’m like-
Corporate Natalie (51:55):
That’s so weird. You probably just broke someone’s heart who’s working on the backend.
Tori Dunlap (52:00):
Probably. I’m like, “How many exes do I have that work at Twitter?”
Corporate Natalie (52:04):
Totally. I can’t get accepted to Raya, just trying to date some famous hotties.
Tori Dunlap (52:09):
Oh, I got accepted, but I didn’t know how to navigate it. I was like, “I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how to operate it.”
Corporate Natalie (52:18):
Raya in San Francisco is like angel investor for Google. Those are the famous people.
Tori Dunlap (52:23):
No, same thing in Seattle. I’m like, “No, where are the Seahawks? Where are the Mariners?” And it’s like arts commissioner. And I’m like, “That’s fun, but I can get [inaudible 00:52:37]. I’m here for the hot people I can’t find anywhere else.” And then you can’t screenshot it.
Corporate Natalie (52:43):
I know. Who has a yacht?
Tori Dunlap (52:46):
Literally that’s me. I’m like, “Somebody own a helicopter?” I’m sorry. Are the Succession boys single? Because that’s what I’m looking for. For an evening, I would like a helicopter ride and then I’m out.
Corporate Natalie (52:59):
If anyone has a Raya connection listening to this. Yeah, follow me on socials for sure. But definitely get me on Raya because that’s the next goal of mine.
Tori Dunlap (53:08):
Wild. Thanks for being here. Appreciate it.
Corporate Natalie (53:10):
Thank you so much. You’re the best.
Tori Dunlap (53:13):
Thank you to Natalie for joining us for this episode. We have done so many episodes lately on that tension between working a full-time job and building a business and how to navigate the corporate world as a woman. If you’re new to Financial Feminist, if you are a new listener, welcome. We have a backlog of episodes on these topics and so many more. Make sure to follow Natalie on TikTok and Instagram. And don’t forget to follow us too, if you don’t already. We’re at Her First
$100K on Instagram, on the TikTok, on everything. We’re constantly uploading videos from these podcast episodes to TikTok, to Instagram, to our YouTube, so go ahead and check those out. We have links to all of this, as well as Natalie’s social media in our show notes. Thank you again for joining us, financial feminists. We appreciate your support of the show. We appreciate you sharing it with your loved ones. We see you sharing it. We see you loving the show, and it makes our hearts so happy. Thank you for your support of this movement and we’ll catch you next week.
Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristen Fields. Marketing and Administration by Karina Patel, Olivia Coning, Cherise Wade, Alena Helzer, Paulina Isaac, Sophia Cohen, Valerie Oresko, Jack Coning, and Ana Alexandra. Research by Ariel Johnson. Audio Engineering by Austin Fields. Promotional graphics by Mary Stratton. Photography by Sarah Wolfe, and theme music by Jonah Cohen Sound. A huge thanks to the entire Her First $100K team and community for supporting the show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First $100K, our guests, episode show notes, and our upcoming book also titled Financial Feminist, visit herfirst100k.com.