The Bottom Line: Agents, CPAs, Managers

I thank God for my business degrees and parents who stressed the importance of education and educating yourself. The only reason I have two accounting degrees is because of my father who told me to get a degree that would lead to a ‘secure’ job. Accounting wasn’t my calling but after watching Oprah’s show with Iyanla Vanzant, I’m glad I have my accounting degrees. I furthered my education by obtaining a Master of Science in Management. I’m totally thankful for my business degrees!

Here’s the ‘scoop’ on Iyanla Vanzant: She was a regular ‘relationship expert’ on Oprah’s show 11 years ago; she’s also an author. Iyanla was approached by Barbara Walters and was presented with the opportunity to do her own show. She called a meeting with Oprah and told her that someone ‘big’ was interested in doing a show with her. Iyanla was released from appearing on Oprah’s show. She learned some tough lessons which she recently shared with Oprah’s audience. The show was a teachable lesson for authors, writers, speakers, and anyone in the entertainment business. If you aren’t business savvy, you could lose millions like Iyanla. If you’re holding onto old beliefs about money and or self-worth, you could lose millions. If you still have issues from your childhood, you could lose millions. Before you launch your book, clear up any issues you may have!


If you hire a literary or talent agent, make sure you thoroughly check them out. Authors use literary agents and actors use talent agents. If the agent is apart of the agency, check out the agency. Don’t sign a contract without a lawyer because if you don’t understand contract law, you could lose millions within seconds.

Hire a copyright and or intellectual lawyer. If you’re writing a screenplay, consider hiring an entertainment lawyer. Whatever you do, make sure you hire a lawyer that will work for you. If you receive a ‘gut’ instinct that the person could be shady, run out of the office!

Ask the following questions:

      How long have you been in practice?
      How many clients do you have?
      Have you been sued?
      Where did you get your law degree?
      Did you pass the bar the first time?
      What is your fee?
      How many years have you’ve been practicing?


Make sure you hire a CPA that understands the entertainment business. Your tax return will be totally different from someone who’s filing a 1040 tax form based on a W-2 (job). It’s in your best interest to pay quarterly taxes. Your CPA will be able to advise you on how to handle taxes and finances, i.e., bank accounts, trust funds, etc…However; you’ll want to consult a financial advisor. If you’re unfamiliar with stocks, bonds, and other investments, it’s in your best interest to take a couple of classes at your local college to familiarize yourself with the terminology. If you solely rely on a financial advisor, you could be taken for a ride that you didn’t expect. It’s not that you don’t want to trust anyone; you want to be smart about your money. You should know what you have. This is a major mistake that most people no matter if they’re a successful author/speaker or graphic designer.

Ask the following questions:

      Where did you go to school?
      Is your license up-to-date?
      Are you keeping up with your education?
      How familiar are you with the entertainment business?
      How long have you been practicing?
      How much is your fee?
                Have you been sued?


It’s imperative to hire a manager that knows what he/she is doing. Please don’t hire someone because they’re your sister’s best friend! Working with friends and relatives may not be in your best interest. Again, check people out. How authentic does the person seem? What is your ‘gut’ reaction?

When you meet with a publisher or media company, do not sign your name on the bottom line until you’ve had a lawyer look at the contract. I’ll never forget watching ‘Left Eye’ from the popular Hip Hop group TLC on VH1’s Behind the Music. She informed everyone how the band lost millions of dollars. How did it happen? It was all in the contract!! You don’t have to get a business or law degree, but educate yourself before you sign that publishing, music, speaking, or movie contract. It will save you heartache, time, and money!

How educated are you within the business/financial world? Do you know how much money you have? Are the people surrounding your trustworthy? Share.