How to Outsource Admin and Legal Aspects of Your YouTube Channel
As a professional YouTuber, you have to deal with the administrative and legal aspects of your YouTube channel – sooner rather than later.
Once you generate an income from the platform, having someone on hand to help you handle your financials, file your taxes, and clear up any legal questions is invaluable. It will help you avoid running into trouble, and support you if trouble does come your way.
In practical terms, this means adding a lawyer and an accountant to your YouTube team.
Here’s what you need to know, and how to find the right people.
Which Admin and Legal Aspects of Your YouTube Channel Do You Need to Keep an Eye On?
What do you need lawyers and accountants for, anyway? For quite a few things, as it turns out, because as a creator you’re basically running a media business.
In general, there are three administrative and legal areas you need to be careful about as a YouTuber.
First, there’s copyright and media law. This concerns your content, your use of others’ content, as well as any advertising, sponsorship, and affiliate deals – and disclosing them properly. It’s a notoriously murky area that even law schools have had to fend with on YouTube.
Second, you have to be aware of contract law. For example, if you sign a sponsorship contract, or if you yourself hire someone to outsource parts of your video creation, it’s important to have a legal expert take a look at the paperwork.
And third, there is the financial management of your YouTube revenues – and their relation to tax law. Taxes, in particular, are tricky. What’s more, in most places, tax forms aren’t really set up to properly handle income from platforms like YouTube.
Plus, if you’re planning to branch out by turning your YouTube brand into an actual company, you’ll need the expertise of someone with a solid knowledge of company law.
These are the aspects of running your professional YouTube channel that an accountant and a lawyer on your team can handle for you.
This video by NYU Law discussed copyright and similarity claims, giving music examples. It promptly received several copyright claims, which took weeks to resolve.
How to Hire an Accountant and a Lawyer for Your Channel
If you already have a manager – meaning a talent or business manager – they can handle lawyers and accountants for you. In addition, they can also advise you about common issues YouTube creators and influencers have to face, such as sticking to YouTube’s and Google’s terms of service.
Otherwise, you have to define what your exact legal and financial needs are. Are you planning to turn your YouTube brand into a company? Take on sponsorship contracts? Hire your own YouTube content creation team?
Once you’re clear on what you need, you can start looking for candidates to add to your team.
A great way to begin is to ask around your YouTube network if anyone has recommendations they could share. Otherwise, hit Google, business listings, and platforms like FlexJobs or Upwork to assemble a list of candidates. Then, check their credentials and websites, as well as any reviews left by clients before reaching out in person.
When it comes to lawyers, it’s crucial to look for someone with experience in your field. Online video creation is not a common line of business, and not all legal professionals have the right experience or specialization to handle it.
At minimum, find someone who has experience in copyright law and is aware of the challenges of online businesses.
When looking for accountants, focus on those who have handled the finances of content creators before. Credentials like Certified Public Accountant, or membership in professional associations like ACCA or ICAEW are a big plus.
When you post an accounting job on a platform like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, or Fiverr, some candidates might offer a quick check to see if any tax documents you already have are correct. This is a great opportunity to test not only their skills, but also what communicating with them is going to be like.
How Much Does it Cost?
You should only outsource legal and administrative tasks to qualified specialists, who have solid experience with content creators, and in your geographical area.
Ultimately, this means that the price tag will be higher than for many other tasks you can outsource throughout the video creation process, like you might to a video editing service.
However, considering the value of avoiding lawsuits and fines, it’s well worth it. These topics are so sensitive that the wrong person for the job can do you quite a bit of harm, up and beyond wasting your money and time.
When it comes to bookkeeping and taxation, there is a wide price range. Somebody filing your taxes or your personal tax returns may bill as little as $25 per hour. More common, though, are package deals for $100 and up – which will cover the annual financial statement for most small businesses.
Lawyers are almost always paid on an hourly basis, with rates starting at around $50. However, many offer a free first consultation – which is excellent for vetting candidates on your list.
The Bottom Line
Hiring an accountant and a lawyer should be a priority if you’re planning to turn your YouTube channel into a serious income-generating business.
With their expertise, they’ll be able to help you overcome any financial and legal hurdles on your path to YouTube success, and – just as important – steer clear of any lawsuits and fines.