Please tell us about your business.
My name is Justin Moore, I’m the founder of Creator Wizard, where I teach creators how to find and negotiate their dream sponsorships.
And I’m also the host of a podcast called Creator Debates. So, I have a lot of different projects going on. But my main business is sponsorship coaching.
So, it’s a little bit different than, let’s say, having a manager, for example.
A manager is someone who usually takes 15% to 20% of every deal you do. They handle, oftentimes, all the negotiations and back and forth with advertisers and so on. They can sometimes help you with other aspects of your business, but in the realm of social media creators, oftentimes, brand partnerships are one of the primary functions that they have.
What we do, to contrast that as a sponsorship coach, is that we don’t take a percentage of your deals. It’s basically a flat fee to retain us to help you with your ongoing negotiations.
There are lots of different ways in which I teach creators about sponsorship strategy:
- I have a YouTube channel, where I pump out tons of content for free.
- I have a free newsletter with about 20,000 creators on there, that I send out three times a week.
- Mondays are Mindset Mondays, where it’s kind of a short think piece around sponsorship strategy, pitching, negotiation, psychology, pricing, and all of that type of stuff.
- Thursdays are what I call Take Action Thursdays, where it’s a digest of brand deal opportunities or sponsorship opportunities that you can apply to. These are brands who are saying, “Hey, we actually want to work with creators. We will pay creators to talk about our brand or our product. Click here and apply.” It’s a super high-value, curated email.
- Saturdays are what I call Strategy Saturdays, which is an evergreen nurture sequence that is resurfacing the back catalog of my articles and videos. So, it’s a super high-value newsletter.
How do you make money?
I have two courses, but the signature course is called Brand Deal Wizard. It’s a four-week program that I teach three times a year and it’s live. This is my nuts-to-bolts sponsorship strategy program where I take you through the entire process of what it actually looks like to create a consistent income, a scalable income, working with brands.
A lot of creators think that sponsorships are nice when you can get them, but they’re just not predictable, right? You never know when a brand is going to land in your inbox wanting to collaborate with you, right? Which is 100% false. You can create a very predictable income for yourself working with brands if you choose to make it predictable, but you have to actually put in the work. You can’t just sit on your hands and wait for them to come to you. And so I go through that whole framework.
So that’s Brand Deal Wizard, currently, the investment for that program is $3,000. Or there’s an installment plan of $1,095 for three months. That’s a cohort course.
And then I have an evergreen course, which is relatively new, and that’s called Gifted to Paid. That is serving creators who are a little bit earlier on in their journey and maybe getting a bunch of free product offers, or free offers like, “Hey, try our software and make a post about it, make a newsletter blast about it, this type of thing. We’re not going to pay you, but we’ll give you free access, it’s worth $1,000.”
So that course is dedicated just to folks who are in that zone and trying to figure out how do you actually convert those free product offers into paid partnerships. And that is an on-demand program. The investment is $500 for that. There’s also an installment plan for that one too, but that program is about two or three months old.
The Brand Deal Wizard program is for more intermediate to advanced-level creators, people who have done partnerships with brands, paid partnerships with brands before, and trying to figure out how you can take that to the next level.
I also have one-on-one coaching. So basically people hire me when they’ve got an active deal that they’re trying to negotiate. Maybe it’s complex, maybe it’s for a lot of money. They don’t have a manager, and they’re thinking, what do I do? I don’t know what to do here. And so they hire me or other Creator Wizard coaches.
We essentially parachute into this deal in the middle. And say, “give me everything, tell me all the context, where are you at? What have you said to them? Have you had a call with them? Tell me what happened.” I get the whole lay of the land, and then I make a recommendation of how to proceed.
So whether that’s putting packages together, putting pricing together, understanding how to navigate a tricky situation with the advertiser and so on, I will have people hire me for higher-level things. So just understanding your overall positioning in the market when you’re working with brands, your pricing, your positioning, etc.
And then I would say the most recent way in which I make money is what I call Wizard’s Guild, which is ongoing one-to-one asynchronous sponsorship coaching. This is for creators who have a ton of opportunities that they’re trying to figure out and navigate every single week or month.
They don’t want to hire a manager, but they do need a backstop, someone who they could say, “I’m okay getting on calls with brands or handling emails and all that stuff but I want a second pair of eyes on what I’m submitting.” This pricing, these packages, the negotiations, and so on. The investment for that program is $1,000 a month.
It’s asynchronous. So every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I use this tool called Volley to send a short video or a voice note, or a screen recording, or URL, or text of an email, or whatever. And then Dee, who is another sponsorship coach on my team, or I will get back to you during those time periods.
I’m very bullish on Wizard’s Guild in terms of the scalability as well as the impact that it’s having for creators.
I’m also starting to get sponsorships for the Creator Wizard newsletter, my courses, and so on. There are all these kinds of creator economy startups that are trying to connect with creators so it’s been awesome to grow that side of the business as well
I’m obviously an affiliate for a lot of the tools I use, ConvertKit and so on, which is a relatively modest percentage of my income.
Again, to back up real quick, I’ve been a creator since 2009, and my wife April and I, we have earned millions of dollars working with brands, doing sponsorships.
I’ve done over 500 sponsorships personally on our other social media channels that have nothing to do with Creator Wizard, so I have a lot of experience. Not only that, I ran an influencer marketing agency for about seven years, and I’ve done thousands of campaigns for other creators too.
So I have this very interesting perspective of both sides of it.
This new Creator Wizard business that I started, it’s only been around for two years.
My wife and I are very transparent about our income. We made over $800,000 in 2022. And that was a combination of sponsorships, Amazon Live (live commerce is a big part of our business), affiliate marketing, and the Creator Wizard Stuff. This has been built up over 14 years of being creators, so it’s taken a long time.
What works to grow your audience?
So my primary way in which I’ve grown my audience over the last two and a half years, is that every single thing funnels to the newsletter. Every piece of content, every tweet, every Instagram post, every YouTube video, the call to action is “join my newsletter,” every single thing.
And that was very intentional because I foresaw that my newsletter, my email list, was going to become the engine, the central repository for me to be able to have that direct connection with my followers. When I started the newsletter, I didn’t have any products, you could not pay me, there was no way to do that. But I saw down the line that, okay, this newsletter, this email list is going to be the most important part of my business eventually. And fast forward two years later and that’s absolutely become the case.
Just a quick anecdote, when I launched that Gifted to Paid course that I mentioned, I literally did not talk about it on social media at all. I had a five-day launch period, and it was 100% over email. I made $19,000 over five days just launching it on email. I didn’t talk about it on social media at all. It shows you the power of having that direct connection and being able to have multiple touchpoints with folks.
The way I use social media generally is a very high funnel. Someone comes in and they learn about me. A quick anecdote, this has happened so many times where someone finds me on TikTok, they binge a couple of my short-form pieces, they go and start watching some of my long-form videos on YouTube, and then they subscribe to the newsletter. So I look at the short-form content that I’m doing on some of these other platforms where it’s like a 30-second or 60-second video, and then they go find the long-form, and then they go read posts on the blog, and then they join the newsletter. So it’s this funnel.
And I really do think that that’s oftentimes a really smart way to look at your overall content strategy, because people learn in different ways. Some people want to watch those short hits. Some people want to watch a ten-minute YouTube video. Some people want to read they don’t want to watch a video, right? And so I believe that it’s my job as a sponsorship coach to serve people in different ways, to meet them where they’re at, because everyone has different learning formats.
I know this might feel a little bit overwhelming if you’re just kind of at the outset of your journey, and so you shouldn’t try to bite off everything at once. That’s not what I’m saying. It took me a long time to get there because at first it was just the YouTube videos. I didn’t have any of this other stuff. But over time, I hired someone on Upwork. I hired a VA to download the transcripts from the YouTube videos, repurpose those into blog posts. There are all these things that you can start doing over the long run.
The other thing I would mention in terms of the content strategy, is that now I’ve gotten to a point where I’m creating all this unique content I mentioned. Like the YouTube videos, the Mindset Mondays, the unique written pieces and all that stuff. So those become the central source of truth that we then repurpose all the other content from. So, for example, we write a Monday Mindset piece, and then one of the activities is we harvest tweets and Instagram posts out of those long-form pieces. Same thing with the YouTube scripts.
So, an average Mindset Monday piece, we’ll get five to ten tweets. So those will go in, they’ll get scheduled, we turn the tweets into Instagram posts. And those go on to LinkedIn as well, right? So we try to be smart with how we’re repurposing the content so that we’re working smarter, not harder.
What has been your most popular content?
- Secret Words to Make Brands Pay you More:
- 5 Brand Deal Pricing Mistakes
- My Next Video Is Gonna Blow Up! How Do I Find A Sponsor?!”
- Ask Your Audience This To Get More Sponsorships
- Will Podcasts FAIL Without Video?
My most popular content came when I really niched down into this topic of sponsorships, because previous to that, I was sharing all sorts of different types of content. I was sharing stuff on building, launching a product line, launching an email list, and diversifying your creator business. And it was all kind of “okay.” But when I started doubling down on this topic of sponsorships, that’s when I started seeing much more traction.
And when I say much more traction, I’m not talking 50,000 views, okay? I’m talking maybe a couple thousand! That’s good for my YouTube channel. But the interesting thing is that if you look at who I’m serving, these are business-minded creators who are trying to make money from their business, right? I don’t need a million or 100,000 people watching for it to have a really big downstream impact on my business. Remember, I have a higher investment level for my courses so I don’t need 10,000 people joining to make a meaningful impact in the business or my life!
So I think it’s very important that you’re intentional around who you’re serving and the types of content that you’re making. Because again, my YouTube videos, I would say, are kind of advanced in terms of the tactics that I’m teaching, the people who it’s most resonant with are people who are a little bit more advanced in their journey, and that’s who I’m targeting for the course. So, again, I think it’s super important to be mindful about your overall strategy.
Have you had any major inflection points along your journey?
Honestly, no. If you look at my growth on social media or just even on my newsletter, it’s been basically small, incremental progress over the last several years. It has not been like, oh, I was on someone’s big podcast or I got a shout-out from a big creator and all of a sudden I got all these subscribers on my newsletter. That never happened to me. It has never happened to me. And I attribute most of my success and my growth to just consistently showing up.
I have published this newsletter every single week for the last two years. I have not missed a week at all. In fact, I’ve ratcheted up the cadence. I’m doing it multiple times a week now. So I’m just continuing to show up. I’m continuing to build that trust factor, honestly. I know it’s the unsexy answer. It’s like, what is the hack to get you to the next level? And I’m a testament to the fact that if you just continue to show up, good things will happen.
Even when you don’t want to send a newsletter blast, you do it anyway. You stay up late, and you do it even though you’re tired. People notice that. Remember, people are busy. That’s the thing. People are not reading every post you make or every tweet you make. So if you’re worried that you’re inundating people or you’re doing too much, I’m here to say that people will maybe see, one out of ten of your tweets.
Don’t be afraid to recycle stuff. I recycle stuff all the time. I go back and I look at tweets that I made six months ago, and I repost them. Believe me, people are not going to get mad even if they see it again. They’ll think, “oh, that’s a great reminder.”
Nathan Berry, the CEO of ConverKit, is notorious for this. He literally reposts his threads every three months, the exact same threads. He just reposts them because chances are people didn’t see it the first time around. So there’s no reason at all why you can’t just show up.
What were you doing before you started this? Did it help you become a creator?
My background is actually in engineering. I went to college at UCLA for computer science. So not this at all. And even before that, I thought I was going to be a professional musician. I wanted to be a concert pianist, actually. I played music my whole life growing up. And so I have this very eclectic trajectory of my life and career.
When I graduated college, I went into medical devices. I went back to school, I got my MBA in entrepreneurship, which was hugely helpful. But it really was my wife April, who started her first YouTube channel in 2009 that really put us on the path to where we are today.
I started helping behind the scenes and things started exploding for our YouTube channels and social media. And so that’s really how we kind of got into this 14 years ago.
Before that, we were both on the traditional nine-to-five path, doing the side hustle, that whole thing. And several years into it we quit our full time jobs. My wife April quit hers in 2012 and then I quit mine in 2014, six weeks after our first son was born. Man, it was nerve-wracking. Definitely nerve-racking. But looking back on it, I wouldn’t wish it any other way.
There was no playbook for being a full-time creator or making income. There was no partner program on YouTube. You could not make money from revenue share on AdSense. That was not a thing when we started. In fact, my wife got rejected from the AdSense program three times.
So it wasn’t this straight slingshot to success for her in our social media business either. It’s been this windy path to get there. And so we felt as though we were kind of blazing our own trail, figuring it out, hiring a lawyer, asking them to develop a contract template for us around social media stuff.
It was very hard in the beginning because we didn’t really know many other people who were doing what we did. I think it’s so much easier now. I am so thankful for people who are coming up now, because there’s a lot more guidance, you can turn to YouTube, you can learn about growth strategies, you can learn about monetization, you can learn about all these things. And it’s like a viable career path now to be a creator.
How much content do you produce each week or each month?
I don’t want this to intimidate you, because again, I’m several years into the Creator Wizard business, but I think in an average month we’re probably putting out over 100 pieces of content.
So here’s the cadence:
My Creator Wizard YouTube videos, which are all around sponsorship strategy every other week, and then each long-form YouTube video gets cut down into multiple shorts. So that’s four to five shorts on average. That’s across all the different social platforms.
Then the Creator Debates video podcast, is recent. The cadence is every other week that the Creator Wizard videos are not going live. So basically, I have a long-form YouTube video going live every week.
Each long-form podcast episode has clips. So if a video podcast is 35 minutes, then we’re developing four to five shorts for each podcast episode.
And then I mentioned the cadence for the newsletter, so it’s a lot of content.
And then all the repurposing, all that written content for all the different social platforms as well.
So it’s a…lot.
How many hours per week do you spend on the business?
I spend a lot of time on it. I’m not saying that I’m proud of that, I just love it. I think that’s part of why I’m always thinking about it.
It’s kind of a nine-to-five thing sitting at my desk, actually working on it. But then once we get the kids in bed, back on the laptop doing stuff, answering emails, and so on.
When you have 20,000 creators on a newsletter and you’re asking them to hit reply to an email, or tell me about the last sponsorship you did, you get a lot of emails. I get hundreds of emails a day.
I spend a lot of time working, I don’t even know how many hours. I work way more hours than I ever did in a nine-to-five.
Do you have any employees?
Yes. My team is structured as follows:
I have a VA who’s full-time, I have a second VA who is a recent addition to the team. They work probably like 25 hours a week right now. And they’re specifically starting to help with email triage, customer service, support-type stuff, as well as other writing projects.
And then I have a full-time community manager, Dee, who’s a sponsorship coach on my team. She helps with community management during the course cohorts as well as helping with the membership, and ongoing coaching.
And then I also have a writer, George, who helps with all the Mindset Mondays and logistically with the email marketing. And he is kind of the last line of defense when it comes to everything that’s being published by Creator Wizard, whether it’s video or written.
What are the key apps or software tools that you use in your business?
A whole host of them.
- Fourthwall for my merchandise
- Riverside for recording my video podcast.
- TubeBuddy for optimizing titles and thumbnails for my YouTube videos.
- Restream for multistreaming on different platforms. I do a live stream every Friday. And we by the way, when we do the live stream, we download the replay and chop it up into short-form content. So that’s even more content that we’re repurposing.
- Thinkific is the platform that I use for my sales pages, affiliate tracking, and checkout for my courses. I’m thinking about potentially transitioning away from that because I’m using Circle for my private community. So when people join the course, I don’t utilize the Course LMS feature of Thinkific. I actually say, “hey, go join Circle.” That’s a longer-term project of transitioning away from that.
- ConvertKit is my email service provider.
- Notion for our home base for the business in terms of SOPs and templates.
If you were starting over today, what would you do differently?
I cry thinking about what if I had started building the email list in 2009. Where would we be today?
Quick anecdote here. We actually did build an email list early on, maybe in 2012. And we pretty easily got 30,000 subscribers on that newsletter, 30,000 people by not actually doing that much promotion. This was the time when we were at the height of our viewership on YouTube. My wife had gotten pregnant and there was so much interest in our growing family. We were getting hundreds of thousands of views on every video on YouTube. So it was not that hard to say, “hey, join the newsletter, we’ll give you an exclusive video.” And we completely fumbled that.
We didn’t send emails to the newsletter frequently, and then we just stopped doing it all together for five or six years. And so when my wife decided to restart the email list, we ran a re-engagement campaign. We emailed all 30,000 of those people, said, “Hey, you haven’t heard from us in a while! Do you still want to hear from us? Click here to opt back into the list.” And of the 30,000 people that we had re-engaged, only 1,000 opted back in. So, imagine if we had nurtured all those 30,000 people over all those years.
And so I would never make that mistake again. f I had to go back, put my hand on the shoulder of Justin from 14 years ago, I’d say, “Dude, don’t make the same mistake again. Build your email list. Email them every week, once a week at least, and nurture that, because that can become such a huge asset in your business as a creator over the next many years that you’re doing this.”
If you found this useful, I’m only going to give you one call to action (as any good creator should do); If you want to join my email list, it’s CreatorWizard.com/join.