What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Amy Schumer's $37.5 Million Year

Yesterday, Forbes released their 2017 list of highest-paid comedians. Jerry Seinfeld topped the list with $69M and Amy Schumer (the only woman on the list) made the list earning $37.5 million. Amy made her debut on the Forbes list of highest-paid comedians last year, and was the first woman to do so. 

Way to break the glass ceiling, Amy!

The earnings are the comedian's gross income generated between June 2016 and June 2017. Gross income is pretax and before any expenses are deducted such as lawyer fees, agent fees, accountants, hair stylist appointments...you know all the things it takes to make a business run. 

Net income is your gross income minus business expenses. Generally speaking, your net income is what you are taxed on as an entrepreneur. All of these fun terms are explained in the Financial Foundations training. 

What's interesting about this year's list is the percentage of gross income that came from Netflix. According to Madeline Berg's Forbes article, 50% of Louis C.K.'s $52 M and 30% of Amy's $37.5 M came from Netflix deals. Many of the comedians on the list have scored deals with Netflix, resulting in them skyrocketing past the $20 M threshold.

The streaming business has completely revolutionized the business of performing artists. Musicians, comedians and speakers now have the ability to expand their business on the internet- to balance the grind of touring.

In an interview with Wall Street Journal's Lee Hawkins, Master P talks about how digital streaming has changed the game from when he would tour in a No Limits branded van with a mission to "touch every hood in America". The strategy worked well for him- he has sold over 75 million records- however, there is an upfront cost to this process (a van, hotel costs, hiring a team, etc). Not to mention a large amount sweat equity.

My Two Cents

Obviously, you have to build quite a large following in order to score a deal with Netflix. But, that doesn't mean you can't start applying these principles to your business now. If you are an entrepreneur that provides advice, training or entertainment, here are some takeaways you can glean from the success of these comedians on Netflix.

  1. Own your digital rights. Josh Desmond, Esq. partner at The Artest Agency (TAA), highly recommends taking the steps to copyright your material sooner rather than later. He along with TAA's managing partner, Isaiah Artest, work tirelessly to make sure their professional athletes and entertainers are legally protected. "If you want to be rich and famous, your painting, song, sculpture or whatever must be copyrighted in order for YOU, the author, to own it," says Josh.
  2. Combine an offline and online marketing strategy. If you are a physical trainer, offer in-person training sessions and an online product. If you do comedy, perform at local venues and create digital content.
  3. Check out Streamlabs if you want to get into the streaming game. Founded in 2014, they have created a set of tools to help you monetize and grow your streaming channels. With over 60 million monthly active users, the company states that they processed $23.5 M in tips in the first quarter of 2017.

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