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'A client took 6 months to pay me': Influencer spills the tea on being a content creator in Singapore

'A client took 6 months to pay me': Influencer spills the tea on being a content creator in Singapore
PHOTO: Instagram/Waffenessa

Most of us envy the life of an influencer as they get free food, merchandise drops and the occasional overseas trip. 

But not everyone shows the ugly side of it. 

Full-time content creator Vanessa Chia, who goes by her moniker Wafflenessa, often receives questions asking what her job is like. 

She recently answered some of these in a TikTok video uploaded on Wednesday (Oct 11) while also sharing some nasty experiences she's had in her career. 


Didnt notice that I talked so long oops. But diff people might have diff experiences!!

♬ original sound - Vanessa Chia

At the start of the video, in response to a question asking her what she does on a daily basis, she revealed that her schedule is quite "flexible" as she is essential a freelance worker. 

"On days that I don't have events, I'll be at home either filming content or maybe just replying emails from clients and invoicing people," she shared. 

On the topic of invoices, Vanessa shared that she realised clients do not remind content creators to send over an invoice. 

"So you have to proactively ask them whether you can invoice them. If not, you will not receive your payment."  

She added that sometimes, even after sending clients an invoice, it can take a few months for the money to end up in your bank account. 

"I have had a client that took maybe six months to pay me before," Vanessa revealed. 

"And the kind of sad part is that [us content creators] have no choice because we are freelancers, so we can't do anything about it. The only thing that we can do is probably just to chase them once in a while for the payment." 

However, not all clients are like that and Vanessa also said that she's met some "very nice" clients that pay her promptly within one or two weeks. 

It's more than just looking pretty 

Behind every Instagram Reel, video and story that a content creator puts out, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes effort. 

"There is a lot of thought and process that goes into content creating. For example, we have to plan out storyboards and then we have to send them for approval before we start creating the content," she described. 

Apart from that, the content creator has to spend time doing their hair and makeup, as well as styling their outfit.

They also need to find a shoot location, a photographer, and edit the photo or video before sending it to the client for approval. 

And that's not the end of it with the client usually coming back with several rounds of edits. 

"It could be one round, it could be like five rounds sometimes."

A few weeks after, the client would ask the content creator for the statistics of the post, which is when you can bill them with an invoice, explained Vanessa. 

"This whole process usually takes one month or even more than that if they take longer to pay. So I might have completed my work maybe one or two months ago, but I will get my pay only later." 

After going through these for the past few years, Vanessa began to realise why different content creators charge for different things. 

For instance, some content creators charge for event appearance because "time is money". 

"They also charge for the number of rounds of edits that the clients are allowed to ask us to edit because again, time is money," she shared. 

Be careful when signing contracts 

Vanessa also pointed out that content creators need to be very careful when signing contracts with the client before the content creation process. 

She explained that contracts will state the deliverables and clauses for the project. 

"You have to read through every single contract very carefully," she warned. 

Vanessa went on to recount an incident where a client put a perpetual exclusivity clause in the contract. 

She explained that an exclusivity clause means that a content creator is not able to work with other competitor brands. 

"So, for example, let's say if I work with a certain skincare brand, I cannot work with other skincare brands," she said, adding that it took her a very long time to get out of that clause. 

But after that incident, it was a lesson learnt and now, Vanessa is very careful when going through contracts. 

"I didn't know because I was very young," she said. 

"Essentially they tied me to that contract without even me knowing." 

And because Vanessa now reads through her contracts more thoroughly, she has "caught" several clients that secretly put in different clauses that were not originally agreed on. 

"They just put it in the contract and hoped that I would not see it." 

One of the more common clauses is that the client will have full perpetual rights to use the creators content for things like advertising. 

"Simply put, it means that if I create a content for them, they would have full rights to use my post to put it literally anywhere. It could be on social media, it could be on Google, it could be just print," she elaborated, adding that this is unethical. 

Vanessa is a lifestyle influencer who produces content mostly on Instagram and TikTok. 

She is also the founder of Zerow, which specialises in environmentally-friendly rice straws

Speaking to AsiaOne, Vanessa shared that she had to go through great lengths to get out of the exclusivity clause.

She explained to us that that she wasn't aware that the contract with said clause was still active and had to speak to the client and "seek their understanding". 

"After I told them I would like to terminate the contract, they held me to the clause for one more year before finally terminating."

But while she has had her bad experiences, she'd would still choose to go down this path again if she could turn back time.

"I believe that every job has its ups and downs, and for me the ups outweigh the downs. I’m very happy doing what I do, so no regrets for now!" she told us.

She elaborated that the opportunities she's been given are "insane".

"I get to work with brands that I grew up with as a kid, brands that my mum used since she was a teen, and brands that I love now."

She also loves how she has the freedom to take control of her own schedule.

"Every time I complete a project, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. And it makes me so happy when people come up to me and tell me they love watching my content, whether it was something stupid to make them laugh, or something they related to," she told us. 

"I think being able to manage myself and my time is also something that I love about what I do." 

ALSO READ: TikTok influencers justify earnings, say content creation is hard 

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