WIIM

Nathan Freihofer On The Carter Agency (@_itsnate)

Today we’re speaking with Nathan Freihofer. Nathan is a 25-year-old social media influencer currently living in Kansas with his Fiancé. Starting his social media journey 3 years ago, he has amassed 7 and a half million followers across his social platforms and makes a variety of content, which include lifestyle, relationship, fitness, and comedy. During this time, he has been able to share his experience overcoming an eating disorder, which has brought much needed awareness to men's mental health and eating disorders in general. In addition, Nathan has used his platform to raise and donate over $30,000 to soldiers and their families across the country in order to help them in times of great need.

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[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the WIIM Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcasts, and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim.com. 

Hey guys, what’s going on? Welcome back to the pod. This week is an interesting episode. Unexpected, transparently speaking. I just intended to chat with Nate. We were put in touch by like mutual friends. He is someone that was wrapped up in the Carter Agency story, which is still very much developing. We’ve tried to cover it as much as we can on our social platform. 

So if you’re not following us, it’s mostly on Instagram and TikTok that we’re trying to share updates and videos and just track this. And, to level set some of you might be wondering why do you seem like a dog with a bone, about this story?

And I’ll be honest with you, there are a few reasons actually, which is probably why I’m like really intrigued by the like horrific nature of this story. Number one. I’ve been manipulated and scammed before, gone through my own traumatic experiences and a lot of the actions that I’ve heard from people and the mistreatment, really hits close to home in my own way that I can associate with it. So I just really feel for everyone who’s involved.

But the other thing is that my entryway point into influencer marketing was talent management. That’s how I started in this industry. I worked for a management company and then I, went off on my own and started my own agency, and now I coach talent managers and like I have just befriended so many people. It’s personal to me, like that’s my lane in influencer marketing.

And so to see the stories that are coming out in terms of the Carter Agency and Malibu Marketing Group and the insanity around it, it just makes everyone who has been working their ass off for so many fucking years look really bad.

And I feel like managers were already, fed an uphill battle because managers are like synonymous with lawyers. Like everyone’s ugh, a lawyer. There’s like this negative connotation and in some way, shape or form. I get it, I understand it. They’re very money driven and to a lot of people, that’s uncomfortable ,for me I think people should be unapologetic for wanting to do well for themselves and create more options in their life, and money is just a very tricky topic.

Anyways, all that to say, I understand why people have been hesitant about working with a manager. I’ve heard pushback during all the, pitches that I made over my career when I was trying to pitch an influencer. I would say one out of every five would be like, girl I like you and all, but I had a bad experience with management. I’m gonna have to really think about this. I would just hear it all the time. It is an uphill battle. So this is nothing new. 

So then when I got wind of the Carter Agency and all of the insanity that’s been happening around there, it’s taken every malicious thing I can imagine to the 10th degree, and I think it’s incredibly important for the future of our industry to share these stories for multiple reasons. 

One, perhaps someone can avoid going through this themselves because you can learn what to look for. That’s huge. In of itself, if that’s the only thing that we can accomplish by getting these stories out, then fantastic.

But other than that, there’s been a lot of talk about like standardization and, I have mixed feelings about that, which I won’t get into in this conversation. But I do think that education and awareness and being cognizant and intelligently aware of, what to look out for in terms of business partnerships and agreements and just influencer marketing broadly and some of the pitfalls and some of the things that can go awry. I think that’s freaking why we have WIIM. That is the reason we even have this community and this podcast in the first place. 

So hope that answers why I kind of seem a little obsessed with the story. And I’ve also personally become friendly with Niké and just really see what she’s been going through since she was on our podcast a few weeks ago and I’m her number one cheerleader. I think she’s fucking awesome and we’re partnering on like just having ,hopefully some justice to this story. It’ll help human beings and it’ll help our industry and there’s nothing more that I would want. 

All that being said, we have a very good episode for you today, with Nathan of, it’s Nate. He has an awesome TikTok account that I checked out. He commented on some of our videos, just saying that he had gone through this experience himself. I then spoke with him. I then spoke with, his other friend Steven, who we shared a little snippet of our conversation on our Instagram the other day.

Steven, not me, but Steven, was a person who created the TikTok account and the Instagram account, Carter Agency LLC, that the only content on it says Carter Agency is a scam. And that was in January of 2021 that those were posted. So Nathan that we’re gonna be speaking with today was also one of the Carter Agency’s very first clients and the story is very similar. And so this is just to show everyone how far back the story goes, how much money is at stake. I mean my estimation, millions, easily, millions of dollars have been stolen from influencers, and Nathan unfortunately was part of it. So without further ado, this is Nate’s story. 

When did you like get started online posting 

[00:07:09] Nathan: 2019 it was when I was still in the army. I had was trying out for ranger school after I’d got a slot, broke my leg just by working out. And then they took the slot and so I was held over for two weeks.

And finished schooling. All my other classmates had moved on to their duty stations and I was stuck in this hotel and I was like, oh man, am gonna be bored. And this was the time when TikTok was, not something you had. It was like one of those embarrassing things to have cause all it was, was dancing and that’s it.

And it was mainly just girls. So like dudes, you weren’t caught dead heaven. But I was like, man, I’m so bored that I’m just gonna start just making videos cuz it’s just something to pass the time. And then just started it and then obviously as like TikTok evolved and I was like, oh you can do different things.

And I started doing like comedy stuff and it was like sprinkling workout stuff and then now it’s, relationship stuff. I’ve kind based it off of my life. But yeah, it was just started cuz at boredom and I was like, man, making videos. It’s a nice little outlet, little hobby and stuff.

And I just kept doing it every single day. And then, over three years later now here we are. So… 

[00:08:12] Jessy: And so like, we’re going back about how many years, like what year would you say that you like first came into contact with Josh Popkin of the Carter Yes Agency Carter agency?

[00:08:25] Nathan: I wanna say like halfway through 2020. Later on I could 100%, I think, give you actual dates and stuff. Probably halfway through 2020. And that was when I think I had like a million, 1.5 million. So now I was at the point where, in Georgia, I’m not living in LA, all those people have the kind of the privilege of everyone knows each other, the contacts are there. So for companies or business or management, it’s all there. I’m the only person in Georgia doing this stuff now, the only person in Kansas, so I’m completely removed from all that. 

And I get this dude coming up, hey man, you know I’ve seen your stuff, I like your content. Have you ever thought about management? Because I’m not in that scene, I don’t have people tell me what to watch out for, what’s good or bad, or what’s to scam. I’m a person who, very naive on the social media stuff. I’m just making videos for fun, got a decent falling, and I have a guy saying he wants to be my manager to help me make money and stuff. I’m like, oh, this is a great deal. 

Absolutely. I had, full trust and very naive and fully trusted that these people would have your best interests. I didn’t know that people scammed you. just, for some reason, I guess I thought everything was regulated. He comes to me saying he can help me make money and get me in contact with brands and deals and stuff. And I’m like, man well I can’t do that. And I’m still doing it just for fun. I’m still in the army at this time. So this is just a side thing. If I can make some good money off of it. I’m down. Absolutely. 

So you know I started talking with him and then signed the first contract with stuff with him. And then I think he had only had a couple people. So when me and Steven first started, we were some of the very, very first people with him. And then, I didn’t do in like a crazy amount of deals with them, I don’t do just a crazy amount of deals in general.

But, I did a few, I I did like Manscaped. I did this one like Bluetooth portable speaker thing that would shoot out fire. Cool thing I did, Bang. I did, What Do You Mean? There was some like big stuff in there and but the issue was that since I was so disconnected from these brands and everything like that, I didn’t know how much I was worth, You know not sure how much a brand deal was supposed worth. So I’m thinking, oh, 500 bucks for a video. That’s 500 bucks more than I had before. That seems like a steal. Sick. 

So the way it was structured was that, he would have the business email and only he would have access to it. And at the time I didn’t think that was weird or anything. I’m just thinking, oh, the manager’s reaching out to these deals and then, you know who’ll get the deal and then tell me what to do and I’ll get the money and then that’s it. 

And then originally started, I think the standard 20%. He would take the manager fee and stuff, granted he said. And I think the very first deal I think was probably that, where it wasn’t scammy. And then that might have been some manscape deal or something.

Cause I remember getting like 1500 bucks or something and I’m thinking like, all right, a million-ish followers. If they were offering to pay like 2000 or something, the math kind of checks out or whatever. Granted I don’t know cause I never saw the whole thing. Like I said, he would just tell me what the brand was gonna pay me and then what I would have to do to get it.

And then at this time he had switched to where he was saying like, hey, we’re gonna be running ourselves different from other management companies. It’s can be in your best interest to where, you actually get all the money, we’re just gonna charge a small finder’s fee because you know we’re doing well and we don’t need to take a lot of money from you.

And once again, I’m naive. I don’t think that’s weird. All I hear is, I get to keep more of the money. That sounds pretty cool. And so they just said, and the contractor just said, finder’s fee. Obviously finder’s feed turns out it was almost the whole entire thing.

And so I remember doing said, he would just tell me, hey, do these videos, here’s $600 or something, or like $400. And then, at that point I was like, that seems low, but I didn’t suspect anything. Had the Bang deal and I didn’t know this at the time, but after talk with people throughout the years, I know the bank deals are like very lucrative. Especially usually they’re like getting you out for a year. They can range from 50 to a hundred grand as like a year contract and stuff. So you’re thinking multiple, especially if it’s a hundred grand a year, you’re thinking, seven eight k a month. And I remember I would be doing, eight videos a month and be getting paid only a couple hundred dollars and stuff.

Once again, didn’t know I was getting free energy drinks and getting a couple hundred dollars, so I didn’t think anything was weird and stuff. And then it was that same story of where the prices were low, but I just didn’t realize it at the time. And I say obviously, looking back on he probably took 90% of the money.

And that was when Steven came to me and obviously at the time, he was more well versed in like what things should look like and what cost should be and stuff. He’s like hey man, I think we’re getting scammed. And I was like, really, I was like, man I’m getting deals I guess, if you really think so.

He’s like yeah, he’s so kinda like I said, the way the work was that, you would have that one email only here would have access to it. The companies would email that email it’d be like, nathan@ carteragency.com or whatever the email was or whatever. And then they would email that and then he would email me or text me like what it was.

And then I would just, scream, of course, send the videos to him and stuff. And Steven was like, yeah, man. Like I did this one deal and I forget the exact numbers, but it was like the company accidentally emailed my personal email. Cause I had that in my bio. And then they had said something along the lines of, hey, we can do this deal for, we’ll just say $3,000.

We’ll just say that’s what it was. Then you get some email from, Carter agency like Ben and Josh saying like hey, here’s this company. Obviously the same company that I just sent the email, here’s this company. The deal is you’re gonna get like 500 or a thousand or whatever it was. It was obviously less way,way,way less than that.

And then Steven, was able to put two and two together being like, hey, I have the actual company saying, this number, I have you guys saying this number, obviously there’s discrepancy, there’s money missing, what’s going on. 

So then pretty sure he emailed back that company and, was asking what’s going on? And then, that’s when he confirmed that like that hey, that was the price he should have gotten. That’s when he warned me and he was like, hey Nathan, if I, were you, I would check with one of the companies you had worked with just to see how much should you have gotten paid? So I was like, oh man.

And I have screenshots of this. I Dm, it was that Bluetooth speaker like, said it was a big old you can spit up fire, music. It’s a cool thing. And I think I went through my PayPal, figured out how much I had actually got. And it was like 460 bucks. I remember doing two videos, right? It was like 460 bucks. And then so I DMd that company and I was like, hey man, I’m having trouble with my manager. I just wanna check out something. How much did you pay me for those deals? And they were like, yeah, we, paid you two grand or 1800 or something.

And I was like, hey, I only got paid this much, I assume the screenshot. And they were telling me, they’re like, yeah, he pushed a couple like influencers that he had been managing through us to, to work with us they’ve complained too, and it seems like the money’s not reaching the talent.

And like, he’s we can, ensure the deal we agreed on was, 1800 or whatever, and if you didn’t get the money, that means he has it. And the company was like, they were super nice, but they’re saying, hey, it sucks for you guys because when they were talking to us, they were super, super inappropriate, super aggressive, super childish, like not good people to work with.

And he’s it stinks because, that’s a reflection on you as the influencer with brands cuz they’re representing you. And they were saying like, if we ever move away from ’em, we love to work with you, but we just will never work with you again. While you’re under him. Solely because the manager was so bad and I was like, oh man, like that’s a shock. And that’s when I was realizing, I was like, oh man, Steven’s right? We are getting scammed.

That was just on one deal. And then I was thinking, hey, what about all the other ones? What about the Bang? I’m only getting paid a couple hundred thing might have been 300, 400 bucks a month. If what, like a million and a half, 2 million at that time. Like even if on the low end for sure could have done a 50 grand year at least.

We’ll just say, I think I said they got like 400, 400 times 12 is what? 4,800 man, they almost stole $45,000. If that’s what the deal was, which it should have been at the very least, that’s a big chunk. And I was like, oh man. Every single deal has probably been like that.

[00:16:40] Jessy: Question for you. This is really helpful to hear all of this, so thank you. Contracts. 

[00:16:47] Nathan: Yeah. 

[00:16:47] Jessy: So you signed a contract with the Carter Agency and do you happen to still have that contract, by the way? 

[00:16:55] Nathan: I have the email. I need to see if I can access it cause I’m not sure Pull was out that DocuSign, I need to see. if I can still access. I’m pretty sure I can. Cause I’m pretty sure I saved it to my computer. So…

[00:17:10] Jessy: I’d be curious how it compares because I have another contract that was sent to me as well. I’m working my way through it today. I just got it yesterday. That one’s like a 10 page contract and I’m like halfway through it. I’m just trying to read everything throughout the day.

I’m just curious how it compares. But saying an obscure finder’s fee 

[00:17:33] Nathan: It was finder’s. That was the wording that they used was finder’s fee. That’s one of the red flags Steven had messaged me cuz he’s yeah, like I’m not sure if it’s illegal, but it’s very frowned upon to take more than, 30% and that’s a lot.

Like 20%, 15% is the standard. Anything more than that, I’m pretty sure in someplace is legal. So he was telling me, after we had discovered man, we’re getting money robbed from us, he’s man, maybe that’s, they think they got a loophole by saying finder’s fee and since they didn’t establish what finder’s fee meant, that meant they could, they thought they could take as much as they want, until people found out. 

[00:18:09] Jessy: So the contract says one thing and before you signed it, did you ask any questions?

At least did you really read month, like through it? Did you ask any questions? 

[00:18:17] Nathan: At the time, super naive how this stuff worked and no one told me. So I skim through it and I was like alright. In the contract it says this manager will work out deals and get me deals and here’s the flow of it. I make the videos and they’re gonna take a cut. And I’m thinking, all right, yeah. But I guess that’s how it works. I don’t have experience it, it makes sense, and hey, if you violate, the basic things, then the contract becomes Nolan, there’s some legal action.

It was a very basic contract besides that like finder’s fee. Obviously if it was, you talk crazy bad, you do some crazy stuff or whatever, then you can get dropped and have to pay back money or whatever, just very basic stuff was the contract. Like I said, I can definitely see if I can get into it and then email it to you so you can see how it compares to that one you have.

[00:19:11] Jessy: Yeah, I would appreciate that. It would be helpful to see. 

[00:19:14] Nathan: Yeah. 

[00:19:14] Jessy: But, okay, so you signed the contract. It’s not clear cuz it just says finder’s fee, which that could literally mean a hundred percent and they would be entitled to it because it’s not defined. 

[00:19:28] Nathan: Yep.

[00:19:28] Jessy: But what was your understanding just between you and him? Because you talked originally about the first deal, which your understanding was 20%. 

[00:19:39] Nathan: The very, very first one. And then I remember six months in, they had changed it to this finder’s fee. But the first one was like 20%. And what I’m assuming, because I knew they were a new agency, cause they had told me, they’re like, hey, this is me and my brother. My brother was, an influencer. It turns out that he’s the Joshy dude that got sued by New York, I didn’t really know that.

And so he was like, hey, we’re a new agency, we’ve done what we’ve done on what we’ve wanted to do on the influencer side. Now we want to help out, other people like you because we’ve already, quote unquote, made it.

I’m assuming me and Steven, but we were probably the first agency, which is why they did the 20%. And then, like I said, six months later was when they’re like, hey, the way they told it to me was, we’re gonna rewrite it. It’s gonna be in your benefit, right? Because we have this finder’s fee, it’s just gonna be like 10% is what they said. Because we’re getting more people under us, so we don’t need to take as much from you of the cut. So this is actually gonna help you. We’re just gonna charge a little bit of a finder’s fee, but you’re gonna be able to keep most of the money and this is gonna be in your benefit. 

So once again, I’m thinking, sounds good, sounds great, right? I get to keep a little bit more of the money. Awesome man. This dude seems like he’s looking out for me. So that’s how that went. down. Definitely preying on the, naiveness of people that are just blowing up and making some sort of an actual, social media presence. They would, nab ’em, we don’t know what’s going on. Like I said, you only really know the ins and outs that if you’re hanging out with these other influencers and people 24/ 7 and you’re in that scene to where you know what to look out for.

So if these guys are hitting people from across the US in different states, they’re not gonna, especially people that are just starting to get big, they’re not gonna know any difference. So when I hear, finder’s fee a little bit extra money, we’re looking out for you. I have no reason to think that you’re actually scamming me.

So …

[00:21:35] Jessy: Cause it’s not human nature to like, assume that someone’s scamming you, especially if they’re like, they’re bringing you things and like you’re hearing something totally different. No, it makes perfect sense to me and it seems also like in the beginning things were fine.

[00:21:52] Nathan: Yeah. 

[00:21:52] Jessy: Like in the beginning things felt good. 

[00:21:55] Nathan: Yeah.

[00:21:55] Jessy: And it seems like it shifted soon after. So not only was he saying that he was going to change the commission structure, but he was actually telling you that it would be to your benefit. 

[00:22:11] Nathan: Yeah.

[00:22:11] Jessy: Like he’s telling you that he’s decided to be so benevolent that he’s gonna actually take less money because his agency has grown. Is that my understanding? 

[00:22:22] Nathan: Yep. Yeah. Cause he was saying essentially, we’re getting more people so the money that we’re quote unquote losing by docking how much we’re taken per individual talent, we’re making back because we’ve expanded, he’s like hey, this is better for you. We’re still making about the same amount of money, but you’ll actually be able to keep more.

So this is actually for you because we care about you. We want you to be doing good and stuff. So it’s very much a this is good for you type deal. 

[00:22:49] Jessy: So I’m curious, I’ve spoken with countless people at this point, on the influencer side, on the brand and agency side, like all over the place.

I don’t know if you saw the podcast that I did with Niké, but that’s going back like a month ago about.

[00:23:08] Nathan: Ok.

[00:23:08] Jessy: That we released that. There was an article today that came out, maybe you saw the Fast Company article that came out today. But I’ve spoken with so many people, everyone’s telling me very similar experiences, so I don’t wanna feed you what I’m hearing.

I just wanna confirm if you also had a similar experience. So when it came to like your interactions with Josh were you mostly interacting with Josh? With Ben? Or both? 

[00:23:41] Nathan: I mostly interacted with Ben and then it was occasionally Josh and from what I understood right, hey, this is a two person team. Ben’s got some people he mainly deals with and Josh has some people he mainly deals with and stuff.

And that’s the way I understood it. So mostly I spoke with Josh a couple times. He would, if, occasionally reached out. It was weird that, for the most part until we had decided to leave and stuff or we, they caught wind of us thinking about leaving, ben was the more professional, nice person. And then Josh was for intense purposes, the asshole very immature to where as naive as I was. And I’m thinking like, how are you running a agency? You sound like a kid and you have no clue what you’re talking about, type thing.

[00:24:28] Jessy: What kind of things would you hear him say? 

[00:24:31] Nathan: It was just like, Ben was saying, here’s the deal. This is what the company requires of you, you’re doing good. The company’s really enjoying the content. You’re killing it, man. If you needed a, obviously, like I said, still at the Army. This is just a small side thing, hey, maybe I’m not getting the videos in on the exact time he wanted, if he needed them like two weeks ahead of time to give into the brand, it’d be a, hey man, I understand you’re busy, with your actual job. Just get the videos to me when you can as, soon as you can. All right. No big deal, man. Appreciate it.

Versus Josh, hurry the fuck up. Very aggressive, just very kind of immature seemed like he didn’t know what he was doing.

I remember them FaceTiming us one time. That’s when another kinda like red flag went off when it was like they lived in like this really trashy apartment, like really trashy looking and I was just thinking man, if you have all this money that you say you do, you live in a really rundown place, but yet almost seem like good cop, bad cop type vibe.

[00:25:32] Jessy: So tell me more about that FaceTime. Because of all the people that I’ve spoken with, very few of them have interacted much with Ben Popkin in particular and I’d be curious, so the FaceTime, it was with both of them at the same time. 

[00:25:51] Nathan: So there was both there. Yeah, they were just sitting, I think it was just over two years ago or whatever it was.

Just talking about, it was probably for Bang, honestly or something because I know Bang was super strict on the style of content. A lot of other brands give you creative freedom to do whatever Bang is super strict on they want you to do this stuff.

And, I remember having trouble with that because I like, creating my own stuff. I know what works well with my audience. I know it works well with me and stuff. So I would give a, do a video. They would originally approve it and then deny do this stuff. But pretty sure they were drinking. It just seemed very two college dudes in a frat house, type vibe.

[00:26:29] Jessy: Do you think they were in the same location using like one phone or computer or, it was like a three-way call and they were in two different locations?

[00:26:38] Nathan: Yeah, it was one. So I was just FaceTiming Ben, but Joshy was there. 

[00:26:42] Jessy: Got it. Some people thought that they were the same person. 

[00:26:46] Nathan: No. They had told me they were brothers. Was that like Ben was Josh’s older brother or something like that. I could understand, the confusion, cuz apparently said now it’s the dude’s names not even Ben, apparently. 

[00:26:58] Jessy: What is your understanding? 

[00:27:00] Nathan: I don’t know his real name. BK had told me, that he had his old manager’s identity. That manager, the real Benjamin Popkin is suing for identity fraud. I didn’t know anything of that. I just hear Ben Popkin and Joshy Popkin was what I understood their names were and that they were brothers. So… 

[00:27:18] Jessy: Yeah, just to tell you, so I spoke with, Ben Carter of Josh’s former agency.

[00:27:26] Nathan: Yeah.

[00:27:26] Jessy: We did an interview with him. My impression, for what it’s worth, cuz I spoke directly with him, like no one’s really convinced that like they’re actually trying to like, steal this guy’s identity. The whole thing came up because, I have so much like information, but I have a couple screenshots from former employees actually. 

[00:27:50] Nathan: Yeah.

[00:27:50] Jessy: Who’ve reached out, that showed like a list of all the people who worked for the company and they had about 10 plus people as of a month ago. So they had grown pretty significantly since you guys worked together.

And we had heard, Josh and Ben and both Hopkins what are they to each other? And we’d heard all these other names. Jesse Greenspun is one that we’d heard later on, but I kept asking myself, I’m like, what’s Carter of the Carter agency 

[00:28:23] Nathan: I never knew where the Carter came from, cause I always knew, like I said, is Ben and Josh Popkin. 

[00:28:28] Jessy: And so Niké and I, we talked for hours about like just trying to put all the pieces together because it’s so convoluted that there’s so many twists and turns, so many. And I did a quick Google search of, his old social media account. And long story, long, I found this old Buzzfeed article that covered the story where he did the stupid, like subway incident with a serial, whatever. Exactly.

And there was a quote in that Buzzfeed article from this guy named Ben Carter of Dulcedo. So Dulcedo is a talent management company. I’ve known about them for a few years.

And I asked Niké, I was like, that’s interesting. Like he has the same first name, but like Carter. And he was like, represented by this person. I’m gonna reach out to this guy. So I spoke with him and we published like a little bit of our interview on our Instagram so you can watch it, of course, no one including him, is convinced that like they were trying to steal this guy’s identity or anything, but we almost wonder if it was like he like inspired the name in some way, just like the Carter agency because where else would it come from? It just seems it doesn’t make any sense. 

[00:29:47] Nathan: No, actually that was definitely confused on that. Cause I was trying to put, and I was just thinking oh, people make random company names all the time. Cause I was confused ,didn’t think too much of it, but I was, yeah, definitely confused on it being like, I thought it’d be, like Popkin agency or something like that.

I’m not sure where the Carter came from, but maybe these two obviously were the main town heads, but maybe they’re the dude who really owns the company is named Carter or something. And that’s what I figured or something. 

[00:30:12] Jessy: And I was sort of like wondering because of the really bad press that Josh got from that subway incident, if he was just really like trying to use a very different name, like putting the Popkins Agency might not come over so well. 

[00:30:31] Nathan: Yeah.

[00:30:31] Jessy: Because his name is out there in a bad way. 

[00:30:34] Nathan: Yeah. That’s gonna be the first thing that shows up. 

[00:30:37] Jessy: Yeah. 

[00:30:38] Nathan: Is this a real legit agency? Popkin agency that’s gonna show up? And people are, may be steered away that might be very well what happened too.

[00:30:46] Jessy: Yeah. But it’s really interesting. You are one of the probably only people that I’ve spoken with that you’re saying that you had a FaceTime with both of them at the same time, and so you feel pretty certain about that, right? 

[00:31:02] Nathan: Yeah. 

[00:31:02] Jessy: Yeah .

[00:31:03] Nathan: Very much like shy, except for some reason I figured that. All right. This is, like I said, once again, I’m didn’t know how this stuff work, but talent agency, these dudes are running deals, they’re telling me they’re working across the clock for us and stuff. I’m thinking that they have some sort of office space or they’re in an actual office. I know some talent agencies have like actual buildings, they’re big enough.

Some are just run from the home, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was, shocked that I was like, oh, it just seems like a frat house, like two dudes drinking on a couch, on a frat house, or something like that so, kind off taken back on that. So… 

[00:31:36] Jessy: Yeah. And how would you mostly communicate with them?

Were you like texting, calling, emailing? What would you 

[00:31:46] Nathan: do? Some calls, not that many calls. It was only calls were only for like import. I remember him calling me when, they were telling me about the new contract. That assigned with the finder’s fee. And I figured that, all right, that’s just a lot of stuff to text back and forth.

So he would rather just call and do it, make sense. But most of it was between email and text. It was pretty much text. And then the email would be just literally, I searched through my old emails. It was mainly just, stuff for the contract. If it was like stuff, attachments, but pretty much everything else was just through text.

[00:32:21] Jessy: Do you still have Ben’s number? Ben’s phone number?

[00:32:24] Nathan: I need to see if I can unblock him. I tried to look for his Instagram, cause I was like, all right, I heard that, he might have deleted everything. So after I heard, I was like, all right, I have a lot of messages and stuff. I know I do. And I tried to go through my block stuff on Instagram and couldn’t find his account, so I figured he might have taken that down or something.

But I haven’t looked through his or my block stuff on my phone. So I probably do, I know I have, before we left, I took screenshots of like when they were like threatened, to sue us and stuff like that. So I have screenshots between Joshy and Ben, like both of them threatening me and stuff and I know Steven’s got that, but I can probably just go through and figure out where the block stuff and unblock it and get his number honestly 

[00:33:09] Jessy: I other journalists like have all reached out through email for a comment and unsprisingly he’s not responding. I would love to call him.

[00:33:21] Nathan: There’s no way you can delete a number. So as long as I unblock it, I’m pretty sure I can easily just send you the number. I’m not sure what happens to the messages if you block and then unblock if they all delete or something. But if they don’t, I’ll have a whole entire track record of every single message and stuff too. 

[00:33:37] Jessy: Wow, that would be amazing. And again, like you mostly were communicating with Ben, right? 

[00:33:43] Nathan: Yeah. Like I said, it was occasionally Joshy, but it seemed yeah, the main person was always been. 

[00:33:48] Jessy: Hey guys. I hope you’re enjoying this week’s episode. I wanna take just a second to invite you to our upcoming LA experience. You guys, this event is going to be incredible. It has been months in the making, and we are having in real life, I R L. Events. Again, we’re getting like pre pandemic vibes up in here, so I’m so excited to be traveling to LA and many of you guys are too.

And of course, those who are local. I’m so excited to see everyone. It’s gonna be on January 10th. From, six to 7:00 PM is for members only. From seven to nine is for everyone. And you can check out all the details on our website@iamwim.com slash events. That’s iam w i im.com/events. We’re gonna be having music and food and drinks and some activities special just for our members.

I would love to see you and um, I hope to see you there.

Got it. And so talk to me about the other contracts, like besides the agency contract, like when you signed with them to be your agent. 

[00:34:59] Nathan: Yeah. 

[00:35:00] Jessy: What about the brand contracts? Did you ever sign anything like for each deal?

[00:35:05] Nathan: I don’t think I ever did. I signed the company contract and then with them and then it was really just, hey man super exciting news, manscape wants to work with you. You’re gonna get a thousand dollars from ’em. Oh, sick. You just gotta do this one video and then you just, send me the video through text and I’ll send it up to them to get approved. And that was the way everything works. 

So I don’t remember signing a single contract and I already looked through, I already looked through my email and typed in Ben Popkin, Carter Agency. The only thing that popped, up was the actual like talent contract. And he would’ve sent me, a contract through an email. Cause I’d be like the only way to do it. So it would’ve shown up, if I had signed an actual company thing, I could not find anything. 

[00:35:52] Jessy: I heard from a lot of people that he used it’s called Panda Docs. Yeah.

[00:35:57] Nathan: I don’t think I can go through the link to get it, but I’m pretty sure I saved a contract on my computer. But with Panda Docs, remember this happening one time where after a day or two days or something, the link to the contract that you can sign expires and the person who initiated it has to give it again cause remember doing that where on the new contract, It was around Christmas, where I remember being like, home for Christmas when he had called me and I, was with family and stuff. So I was like, all right, I’ll do this after the weekend. And tried to get into it and didn’t work.

And I had to be like, hey man, it’s not working. He just had to send me a new link and stuff. So I think that’s probably why they used that too, is that, after the time limit, you can’t get back into the and if you didn’t save it, you can’t see what it says.

[00:36:41] Jessy: Interesting. There’s been allegations, that they were forging contracts of years later, after, you’ve probably signed a lots of agreements since then I can only imagine that all of these partnerships two years ago, like influencer marketing was established enough. Like it really wasn’t in the early days. Meaning that there would’ve been contracts 

Absolutely ,in order to pay somebody would have required a signature to agree to the terms so that they pay you and know that you’re gonna follow them. 

[00:37:18] Nathan: Yeah. 

[00:37:18] Jessy: So you’re saying you don’t remember signing one brand agreement?

[00:37:23] Nathan: I didn’t yeah. I don’t remember signing one brand for the W2 or W9s or whatever. Obviously I had to fill a W2 with them and stuff. And this was another reason I have a screenshot of this as well, sent this to Niké. 

This was another reason and I was like, this seems like really illegal. Was because weren’t all I just had, foolproof evidence on at least just that one brand deal through that one speaker company was because I had the messages of them confirming, how much they actually paid me. And then I had through PayPal what I got paid. 

The tax form you get sent at the end of the year is a W9, right? Yeah. I gotta send a W9 from that company, right? Which means obviously he had put in some information for me that I didn’t, so I get a document in the mail, it’s, from whatever the speaker company was with their address. How much money? $1,800. 

And that’s when I was confused cause I was like, man, I don’t remember getting paid $1,800 on anything. What the hell is going on? And that’s when I messaged them. But on the sender’s address, it was my physical address, not my name, it was Carter Agency LLC, my address.

So what they had done to the IRS was say that hey, this person got the full amount of money they put, Carter Agency sent me it so I’d have to pay taxes on that full amount on 1800 even though I only got paid 400. And they were able to take what, 1200 away from me and not pay taxes on it under the table because they forged a W9 on that.

That’s when I was like, man, I don’t know a whole lot about, tax laws or anything, but you can’t do that. Seems tax fraudy is what it is.

[00:39:04] Jessy: It’s absolutely tax fraud. 

[00:39:07] Nathan: But I have a screenshot of the actual documents. That’s when I started taking pictures of stuff, being like, I might need this later and stuff because that’s when me and Steven were thinking, Steven was like, hey, I’m gonna dip. I suggest you dip with me.

He’s like, they’ve been threatening me for a month now. He’s they physically cannot do anything because realistically, we now have evidence because you screenshoted stuff and I have that, that they stole money that auto automatically makes any contract null and void.

You stole money gone. So they can’t do anything to say you violated the contract. So me and him just stop answering the calls and then I guess they assume we’re gonna leave. And I have screenshots of this as well.

Ben was, being like, Nate, you’re acting like a fool. This is gonna hurt you in the future. We’re gonna take all your money, for the next three years. You’re gonna be receiving a letter from our attorney tomorrow, obviously never received it.

Josh would be like, hey Nathan, you’re, a fucking dickhead or whatever. And then, just saying they’re, threatening me, they’re gonna sue me and all that stuff. And right after that, I waited for that, screenshot it, and then blocked them right after. And then Steven did the same and obviously.

Nothing happened and that’s why I took their screenshots. I was like, worst case scenario, if they do try to file something, I have screenshots saying they stole money. And then physically a IRS legal document showing that I’m getting taxed for this amount under not even my name. 

It would just show my address with Carter Agency, which obviously is not the address of Carter agency, that sort of thing. So I knew I was somewhat protected and then blocked him, didn’t respond to him, blocked him on everything.

And Steve had been same and then, literally didn’t think anything of it for two or so years until, now when it was brought up, like I said before and I’m like, oh man, he’s been, I thought they disappeared. 

I didn’t realize that they’d been doing this to, 150, whatever, 150 other people is what it was over the past couple years. And I’m like, man. I know they stole especially through, even just, you gotta think like Manscape. I have a buddy who had a million, 2 million, and I know they paid him like five grand. 

Man. I probably got paid, quote unquote paid the same, but I only received like 500 to a grand.

That’s just from one deal. The big one is the Bang deal. I’m sure, like I said, tens of thousands they stole from me and I’m just one person then, as the years go on, they probably get better at scamming, they learn from their mistakes with us. They change things, got better at it. Got a lot more people.

God knows how much money they stole from everyone else, like I said, I thought they went off the map until now. So….

[00:41:36] Jessy: So did you ever reach out to the brands or agencies directly to see if you could get a copy of the agreement or at least have an understanding of like how much they were under the impression that they were paying you?

You found out that 1800 or so from the speaker company. Any others? 

[00:41:56] Nathan: So that was the only one I messaged. I thought about going to Bang, but I know they’re under bankruptcy right now, so I was like, ah, that was the only one I went to was because that was the most recent one.

And then they had messaged me on Instagram before, so I was like, all right, I know they’re gonna respond. So that was the only one and like I said, they had yeah, confirmed that, hey, we paid you this amount. If you didn’t receive it, that means it didn’t get to you. And in, judging by the character on how we were approached by your managers and on what, one or two other people have said, it seems like the money’s not reaching the talent, and then obviously that W9 confirmed how much they had actually paid me. I have confirmation of what I was actually paid and stuff, but I didn’t think to ask of, a brand contract because I’d never seen one.

I figured I probably at the time figured maybe this was just done through spoken, text or email or something in agreement. And obviously, like I said, there would have to be anything over like a thousand is at least is gonna have some sort of contract.

Hell, I’ve done contracts for UCG stuff for 500, and it’s writing saying you’re agreeing to do this for this amount of price and stuff. So there’s one floating around there and I’d be very interested to see if my name, my signature was forged on there. Cuz it would’ve had to have, the company, would’ve had to have the manager. Probably signature, but it would’ve had to have the talent signature on there in my name, 

[00:43:22] Jessy: Your cat’s making appearance, by the way. He’s adorable. Sneaking up on you I was like. Mine was trying to jump in my lap earlier.

This is some of the gray area that I feel like some agencies now, especially given this story, are trying to sort out because there are instances in which, talent agencies can sign on the behalf of their talent. 

The only way that is supposed to be legal is if the talent signed what’s called a power of attorney, which gives the agency or whoever they say the right to sign on their behalf. That’s the only time that’s okay. And the thing is that everyone’s trying to do these deals at scale, so like the agencies aren’t really gonna ask for proof that this signature is like valid or whatever.

Like they don’t think that they need to do any due diligence. They just take it and they have a signature and they move, get to deliverables and they assume everything’s on the up and up. So it like could absolutely have been easy for them.

[00:44:37] Nathan: Sure.

[00:44:37] Jessy: To just sign a name. It could have even been their own name cuz they could have had this power of attorney privilege in somebody’s eyes, that’s could have been how they just dealt with these contracts. 

[00:44:49] Nathan: I know I didn’t sign a power of attorney. I’m a hundred percent sure there was nothing in there saying, hey, we’re allowed to sign documents on your behalf.

The only thing would’ve been, we’re going to procure deals on your behalf and then do that. And say, whether or not they interpreted that as, hey, we’re gonna run everything ourselves. Cuz they’re not the smartest people, obviously they’re pretty dumb. And really didn’t know how to run everything.

I think they started off thinking like, hey, we cannot do this influencer stuff. Josh’s never gonna make it now because he literally got sued. We know talent agencies make money, we have contacts with brands, let’s do that.

And then after a couple months they’re like, oh man. Let’s just take more money and see what happens and let’s do more and more. And oh man, we’re getting away with it. No one’s expecting of it. We’re taking everything and these dudes are clueless. Let’s do more. Let’s just get more people. 

And I think it went on and on until now, the giant, implosion of the whole thing. You see what happens now. But I’m sure they did not know anything about a power of attorney at all. I’m sure They were just, oh, we’re just gonna get stuff on your behalf and, ah, I’m just gonna afford to say I’m true. He told me he wants to do the deal, so I’m assuming that’s confirmation of that of sort of thing. Which obviously is not, I don’t wanna see the document, I wanna sign it myself, but that’s probably what they assumed, which is a bad assumption. 

[00:46:11] Jessy: Totally. And so like, how else would you describe Josh? Ben? Did you get to know them at all? Do you know any sort of personal things about them?

[00:46:23] Nathan: I don’t. I’m gonna look through the old texts and see nothing crazy. There wasn’t really anything personal. Like I said, I got to know their, like personalities a little bit. But I didn’t know like any intimate details on them though. It was really much just, hey, we can help you out a lot.

That sort of thing. And that’s like how far the relationship went and I just assumed that they had my back and they were looking out for me and stuff. 

But yeah, of like personal de where they’re from, what they did before, what they like, I don’t, I really don’t know anything about that. They really didn’t say anything. Like I said, I will 100% look through the old messages to see if like I said, over two years since they first made contact with me. So they very well in the very, very beginning naive about realizing how much they could scam people, they might have, shared some stuff.

Cause from my understanding now they do a lot of stuff through calling right?

[00:47:19] Jessy: Yeah. I’ve heard a lot that it seems very intentional that they’re doing things like not written, like they’re doing things like just through calls that you can’t track or trace or screenshot or anything like that.

[00:47:34] Nathan: Because I think they learned their mistakes through us since we were the first people. Because they left a. Whole track record of evidence. All I have to do is screenshot it. I got screen screenshots of the actual fraud of them threatening with legal action that they can’t do so I got, between me and Steven.

So I think after us, maybe a little bit after, maybe one or more two people left, they were probably like man, we need to cover our tracks a little bit like I said, they learned and got better at scamming and then got fairly proficient at it. It seems like. 

[00:48:04] Jessy: Yeah. I mean, I’m sure you saw Niké’s video that she just released her last one, which is like this roster, I mean there’s, dozens and dozens of people on the list.

[00:48:16] Nathan: At least over a hundred it’s a lot, there maybe. I said it was me, Steven, and I think I might have been one of the first, and Steven came a little after because I remember him asking, me about ’em and me being like, oh yeah, they’re getting me deals. And he is okay, cool.

So like unfortunately I think I brought ’em on because I was nice. So I think I was probably one of the very first and then between me and him, there may have been like one or two other people, but they definitely scaled up. Like I was shocked to see over a hundred. That’s insane.

You gotta think the amount of money, they probably got better at stealing money times a hundred people per, you blast out, hey, I can put 10 influencers on this one deal and collect a big old paycheck. All the money. And like I said, I guarantee a lot of them were like me and I still like, I’m still not crazy versed to know how these companies work, just cuz I’m stuck here in Kansas, I’m away from all that stuff. So I’m still not seeing it all. 

But I know a lot of those people are just like me in the very beginning thinking oh, this person’s gonna get me deals. I’ve been waiting for this movement, I’ve been working hard and now I can make money off it. It’s a cool thing to make. I remember like the first deal, said I was making $500. I’m like, man, I’m making these things for fun. And now I got 500 bucks. I’m only making three grand a month in the army, 500 bucks for sitting ’em on butt making a video that seems pretty cool.

And you gotta think, they were probably getting good deals. They probably had a lot of those people on Bang deals, lot of money. So, they crushed a lot of those people and a lot of those people had no, clue what stuff should have looked like.

And the issue is that, there’s not many good talent agencies. There’s really not. I’ve been through three others and the other three haven’t been scammy or they haven’t been stealing money, but they’re just bad and they were, saying they couldn’t get me deals and then I’d be like I gotta start like free on my own, am worth this much.

If I can get deals , how are you in LA? So there’s just not a lot of good talent agencies, I don’t even know what right looks like, from the talent agency side. So you have a lot of it, just not very transparent about what they’re doing behind the scenes.

Obviously as I learned as I was talking to other people, I learned that, hey, if your manager is working through a management email, you should have access to that email. You should be able to see the conversations going between the companies. Like you have the right to access that.

It’s something I didn’t know before, and I guarantee a lot of people, if a manager’s saying, hey, I’m gonna take all the work off your hands, you just gotta make videos, man, that sounds like something a manager should do. That sounds good to me. So you have them preying on a lot of, people that just don’t know any better and then, crushing ’em for it. Cause not only does it take all their money, it crushes the reputation with brands and stuff. 

[00:50:55] Jessy: That’s the other side of it, which you touched on earlier, that’s another very consistent story that I’ve heard. And so the organization that I have, Wiim, were the other side of the coin.

So it’s all like people on the brand side, agency side, talent management and the influencers are not part of that networking group.

[00:51:15] Nathan: Yes. 

[00:51:15] Jessy: So those people’s stories have been insane like harassment.

[00:51:21] Nathan: Yep. 

[00:51:22] Jessy: Like to the point that I can very comfortably say, I’m not exaggerating when I say they’ve been harassed. I’ve heard people who’ve had to block their calls and these are people who worked TikTok, itself, these are people who worked at brands at agencies that he’s supposed to be doing deals with, that, he’s harassing them so much to, work on a deal that it’s like grossly inappropriate.

[00:51:46] Nathan: Yeah.

[00:51:46] Jessy: And so many people…

[00:51:48] Nathan: Right.

[00:51:48] Jessy: They felt conflicted because they don’t wanna feel inappropriate. They don’t wanna go, hey Nathan, like you’re manage manager kind of sucks. Because they feel like awkward to do that. It’s like telling your best friend that their boyfriend’s cheating on him, on her, it’s am I gonna be that person?

But to your point, I’ve heard very consistently, like the brands or the agencies on behalf of the brands were saying that like it was like harassing that, the amount of reach outs that they would have and how they would talk and treat these people and whatever. So you heard similar, right?

[00:52:25] Nathan: Yeah. From once again that, just straight from the company itself. Hey, they’re harassing us, they’re just awful to work with. Very degrading and stuff, and just very aggressive and everything. And then I’m thinking like, obviously you could reach out to 50 companies and maybe get one brand deal, you don’t know what’s gonna come through. So I don’t know who they all reached out for. 

Like in, once again, I do everything solo. Once again, I don’t have many contacts to brands and I’ve been thinking like, over the years, like I don’t have a small platform. I got verified by myself. I have, six and a half million I’ve been, I’m a decently stable.

People know who I am and stuff. And not once have I been contacted by TikTok, not once, haven’t been given anything by them. There’s people with a million getting cakes and stuff. I’m not on any list. So I’m thinking like, man, did they, try to reach out to TikTok? And then did I get put on some bad boy list on there?

Am I on some like flag list because of them I don’t know, so they could have very well, crushed, a lot of companies wanting to work with me and I would never know. Like I said, I definitely know for sure the one, because they told me like, hey, as long as you’re under him, we don’t want to deal with him. If you ever leave him, we’d love to work with you cuz you like you and your content. We just don’t wanna deal with the hassle.

And that sucks. It’s man, like you like me, I’m the content, I’m the person, but you just don’t want to deal with the manager, so you’re gonna cut me off. Totally. I get it 100%. I don’t blame you, but that sucks. 

It’s like just one company, and I know he acted that way and worse to every single company he ever tried to reach out to. And say, I don’t know if he’s got contacts at TikTok, I don’t even, I don’t even have a support email.

I’m this big, I don’t even have a support email just cuz I have no one to contact and I don’t live in LA so if my account gets banned, I’m screwed. So if this dude has contacts at some big companies, man, he might have screwed my chances for ever working with them. Which stinks.

[00:54:14] Jessy: Which is crazy. You work so hard to have somebody else screw up your chances, this is your livelihood. That’s crazy. My hope is that by getting your story out there, like people will know you have no association with them anymore. Like you do good business.

This was something that you were scammed with and like people will know that like you are a free agent, and that you would love to work with great brands, right? 

[00:54:44] Nathan: There’s a lot of, I think a lot of good can come from it , one is obviously it’s to other small influencer or even just some my size or bigger as well.

Hey, a lot of these agencies don’t have your best interests at heart. A lot of ’em don’t. There are some really scammy stuff that’s also, message to like companies itself, hey, kinda vet, the people that are reaching out to you, have an actual email conversation, see how they operate and what they’re doing and what they’re like so that, they’re not some scummy people.

And also , I’m not sure if there’s could ever be some sort of regulation on, talent agencies. I’m not sure how much, regulation you want to have before it gets to be too much, that slipper slope. But, like a warning cuz I know they’re, there’s no way they’re the only one.

They’re just the one that did the most and got busted for it. There’s no way that there’s not more. So it’s probably a message like, hey, if there, people are noticing now people are realizing that this stuff happened. So if you are a agency doing this, realize that you could fall under the same bus, you could get busted and people are realizing what goes on behind the scenes and hopefully it makes things more transparent, forces these talent agencies to actually, do better.

And also say for the people, the influencers that are, harmed by it kinda spreading them out, giving them some sort of notoriety of like companies like, hey, here are some list of people who are actually good, they’ve been crushed by this company. Work with them. Give them a a chance that, that sort of thing.

So I think there’s a lot of, yeah, good that can come from exposing, what’s actually been going on, especially at the level that they were doing it to where it’s real legal and federal charges and stuff like this isn’t just a couple people getting upset and trying to sue. It’s like a big big thing. So I’m hoping that a lot of good does come from it. 

[00:56:30] Jessy: I think they’re will. No one will ever probably know, but in my estimation of how many people I’ve spoken with and at the scale that I think this is, we’re talking hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars ,easily.

[00:56:44] Nathan: Yeah. I read something that was maybe ballpark 2 million. They’ve been doing it, at least three years. It was like 130 people on the roster. That’s just on the roster. That’s not counting people who came and left, and multiple deals they’re stupid, they’re so dumb.

But they also were good at scamming. They did get the context of these companies, so if you’re company to company, they probably did all a fair amount of deals over the past three years. If they’re taking 50% of it, most of my stuff they were taking, it was them taking 80 and I was getting 20%. So they’re doing that with every single person. They probably did get close to a million and a half, 2 million. 

[00:57:20] Jessy: At least that, if you really do the math. 

[00:57:23] Nathan: Especially now, like now brand deals are more hard to come by, obviously cuz like the market, but like brand deals got ruined by companies.

A year and a half ago, two years ago was prime time to where companies really didn’t realize how much TikTok was worth to where they were paying a random person dancing, who had a million followers, like 10 grand for a video dancing and they just didn’t understand. They’re thinking a million people were gonna get so many sales and they did that.

And so many companies lost money by spending millions on the top, people. I wouldn’t put names, but like the top top people in that top in group that have tens of millions, they were getting paid, a couple hundred grand and they were getting zero return.

So,these companies got smart and we’re realizing that hey, YouTube is where the brand money is, really comes in Instagram, but TikTok, the brand money doesn’t really give us a good crazy return. So now the past year and a half, the money that companies spit out for brand deals is exponentially lower than it was before.

So, I’m sure, like you said, the past couple years, when these companies were also naive on what they could spend, these companies were probably spitting out money left and right to these guys and they were taking out, taking it off, so I know they made a ton of money. So it’s crazy. 

[00:58:47] Jessy: A ton and it’s is crazy. So it’s like, what advice would you give your yourself, your former self like three years ago and be like, oh my gosh, four, like three years ago, Nathan like you should have done X, Y, Z and maybe could have avoided going through 

this.

[00:59:03] Nathan: I think, I do it a lot better than I did before, but if you’re trying to make money off of it, it’s a whole new concept. You gotta treat it like an actual business. Is what it is.

Yeah. You’re making videos. Yeah. I like, I love making videos. I have fun with it. That’s the only reason I still do it, cuz it’s a nice little hobby and outlet. And it just so happens that I’ve done it like I’m not special or anything, I just, done it long enough and never stopped to where I was able to garner a following, but like you gotta treat it as a business.

And that comes with the deals, treating a contract because if you’re really going into just man, I’m just making videos and making some money, and you’re treating it really, like naively just, this is a nice little hobby that people are giving me money for and I’m not really gonna take that part of it, that serious, that’s gonna leave the door open for you to get scammed versus, you know say back then if I had the know-how to be like, man, I’m starting to make money. 

Let me treat this as a legit business, I would be like, all right, what do businesses do? What do they need? Contracts, you know how do businesses actually function? Let me bring that into the way that I’m running. It’s the same. Instead of a product, I’m just selling my videos, and then I’m the CEO, so what do I need to make sure everything’s good? And if I was treating it, I think as a serious business, I would’ve been able to catch things like, hey, this doesn’t seem right, you know on a business side, this seems sketchy. Maybe I should look into it. Maybe I should ask a buddy who, has done contracts like this before. If he has like a lawyer buddy who can just skim over, read, make sure this sounds right, because if I did that, I guarantee they would’ve been like, yeah, this is a, bunk contract. This makes no sense. You’re getting crushed. Ask them to rewrite it or something like that. 

So I think you gotta for most people, especially if you’re doing it off of like a personality thing, having fun with the videos, there is a immature aspect side to it. Having fun, that’s the whole reason people do it and that’s how you make it engaging.

But at least on the business side where anything dealing with money, really treating it as a real business. Because like I said, like me and you were naive, there’s gonna be people that are gonna take advantage of it.

People definitely do not have your best interests at heart and you really do gotta fight for yourself because, everyone’s there to make money and they will make money off of you if they can find loopholes or find, ways that you can be exploited and stuff.

So could definitely take in business side serious, because like I said, you could get in the same situation as us in all this where you’re realizing that, man, like I think if I did things differently, one, I would’ve just had the money that I got stolen from me, but two would’ve been able to, maybe realize that this was bunk to begin with and not gone with them.

And then maybe I would’ve had an actual, decent talent agency come to me and I could have gone with them. And then maybe I would be in a totally positioned different position than I am now. Maybe had long-term contracts, have good connections and relationships with companies, cause I think I was with them for at least a year, maybe that first year I was with them kinda maybe screwed me over and, kinda ruined a lot of relationships I could have with companies.

So I’ll never know. Treating it as a business and taking it serious with all the business aspects that come with it. So 

Yeah. 

[01:02:15] Jessy: And if you could estimate, what does your gut tell you? Like how much he might have taken from you? What do you think? 

[01:02:25] Nathan: I wanna say, like I said, I know it was like 1200 from that one. It was probably a couple grand from the Manscape. I did a lot of videos for that What Do You Mean company? And they paid pretty well but he also took from that. So good, probably 10 grand from that. The big one I think, and I know I did some couple small deals and stuff, but like I know the big one is the Bang one, which more the more I think about it, the more upset I get about it. It’s cuz like I said, I know talk with other people, that they had the same following as me that they’re like, man, it’s a lot of videos. It ruins engagement a little bit because it’s such a strict, like what they want you to post. But I’m getting paid 90 grand for the year off of one sponsorship.

Man, like I said, I’m the low end lowest end. 60, 70, 80 grand is probably the thing that they agreed on for a year. And I was getting couple hundred a month. So they probably stole at least 40, 50 grand from me at least, just from bang.

That’s a lot of money. That I never saw, the cherry on top was them sending me the W9s with the full amount that I should have gotten and then make me pay taxes on it, cuz I didn’t want to get, hit with tax fraud. I’m do all, TurboTax, right?

I have an accountant now, but I didn’t have an accountant then, so I don’t have anyone to reach out. So I don’t wanna get in trouble with the IRS. I’m just gonna pay, the amount that they said I earned.

[01:03:47] Jessy: So to the future, with more optimism, it’s the end of the year and we’re excited about 2023. Who do you wanna work with? Put it out there into the universe. Who do you want to be like, knocking on your door and being like, hey Nathan we would love to partner with you. 

[01:04:05] Nathan: Just finished a one month deal with Gym Shark and I wanna work with them long term. That’d be super cool. Cause like I said I do, the lifestyle, relationship and fitness stuff. I do a little bit of everything. So like on the fitness side, Gym Shark for sure.

I’m at the point now where I’m also not young. I’m 25, like I said, just got engaged. Not everyone has this opportunity of an influencer to where it’s a super high risk job, but it also is if you can play your cards a high reward where I’m thinking like, man, I could set myself up good for a family.

If I could have a long, so like really just any reputable brand that, I would love just to have a solid connection with and work like for years and years that way it’s like a solid good income to where I know hey, I can provide for a family, I’m not just trying to make money off of views.

Like I want to like I said, treat it as a business. I’m at the point and I’ve been doing it long enough and I have the following to where there should be brands knocking on the door, but even just, a Gym Shark, a Nike, like Under Armour, like any just big company that it would be super cool just to see myself on there and be like, man, I made it. I didn’t quit. And I was able to make it. So that’d be super cool. 

[01:05:19] Jessy: So we’re gonna list links to all your accounts. 

[01:05:24] Nathan: Okay. 

[01:05:24] Jessy: And, share with like our community and all about your account. And we have a ton of people in the community. They all work for brands, they all work for agencies and work for brands and stuff. And like you’re super deserving of awesome deals and I know that I have a feeling that people will be reaching out.

So yeah, I’m really happy for that. I will definitely keep in touch because there’s a bunch of other journalists who are like writing stories about this and if any of them are wanting to speak to you… 

[01:06:03] Nathan: Yeah.

[01:06:04] Jessy: And hear your story, is it okay if I connect you guys ? 

[01:06:08] Nathan: Yeah. Feel free to send them all my way. Cause if they’re gonna be writing articles and stuff like, more articles saying with my name in it, link that way it’s like, hey, this dude’s a good creator, and stuff like that. Not only helps me, it’s obviously the , double edge where it’s like obviously I wanna help myself out, but also man I really want to see these guys pay for what they did, said and it’s bad enough to where I can only imagine.

They did me bad enough and they were just starting off and I can only imagine what they did to a lot of these other people. They’re really honed in on being able to scam out.

 I’m sure they got, really good at it. They said there was a lot more people that got crushed a lot more than me just because years down the road they became so efficient at it and became just business for them. So the more they can get crushed and have those people, get, their kind of retribution and recognition and stuff. Just so have that out there as well. That just helps everyone. 

[01:07:04] Jessy: Agree. There’s like a reckoning that’s definitely feels like it’s happening. We will continue to reach out to them to see what they have to say. I wish they would comment, to myself, 

[01:07:16] Nathan: But Niké was saying, I can show you, I sent her the screenshots and I can send ’em to you too. Like now they’re very aggressive on, hey, you will be sued. You will owe us. They’re telling me I would owe ’em all my money for the past three years.

And I’m thinking, man, three years is coming up. I haven’t received a single thing. I would love for you to try to come after me. I love to, I’m at the point where don’t care. I physically don’t think they can’t even try anything cause they’re so in the hole.

But I would love for them too. And I have a big enough platform, I didn’t stop posting. Like I have a big enough platform to where anything controversial that I say is gonna get a lot of views. So they’re just gonna get even more in the tank. So I think they know not to touch any of bigger people.

So I think a lot of those, smaller people are the ones that are the most fresh, like the ones that are still on the roster and stuff, they’re probably scared. I would be too. I mean I was scared for a month or two after I was getting those messages and then realized nothing was happening and just forgot about it.

If I were them, it makes sense why they’d be scared and maybe not wanna comment. They’re thinking, man, these guys are telling me they’re, they have 10 employees now they’re all telling me just gonna send lawyers and stuff. Maybe they actually did to get in the house lawyer who’s sending me documents.

Granted they may be bunk documents, but they don’t know that. It makes sense why they’re not really commenting on anything. 

[01:08:31] Jessy: Absolutely. And I think that like by you putting that message out there and just sharing your experience, saying I was scared too, but I’m almost three years, you’re almost three years removed from this and no one’s come after me.

And it was just a scam and a lot of bark and no bite. And like you have receipts to show that like you’re in the right here. So, it’s insane to think that they would feel like they can threaten you and intimidate you when it’s completely the reverse.

[01:09:02] Nathan: .It makes sense too, like I said, if they got to the point where they’re doing everything through phone calls and they literally have no evidence, man, if these guys are on the phone, telling ’em, saying hey, there’s no evidence of anything, we will stick this on you, there’s no way you’re gonna win in court and you will be in debt. You’re gonna pay us, man. I’ve mean, now I’ve been scared shitless. 

Especially by nothing to back it up. Like I said, I’m just glad that, the dumb part of my brain that saw those kind of weird things was like, oh my God, this is crazy. I’m gonna screenshot this cuz this may come in handy later. Or man, this guys are assholes. Let me click it so I can, show, Steven or something what they showed me something like that. So cause I’m glad I took screenshots cuz it seems like there is no fiscal evidence anymore.

[01:09:46] Jessy: Crazy. I give you credit. I hope you give yourself credit. Considering like that there are people who have been in contracts with him for years and might have sensed that something was off, but still stuck with them and are currently with them. Even I think there are influencers who are currently still with them, still putting their heads in the sand and even knowing what’s going on.

Like to give yourself credit sure you were inexperienced, but you pretty quickly figured it out and got yourself out of that situation. 

[01:10:15] Nathan: Yeah,once I realized, I said I figured out with something, but then after Steven told me what happened with him, then once I had the actual evidence I was like, I’m not sure what, I know what right looks like, but I know what wrong looks like and I know stealing money is wrong.

And that’s my dip. I was thinking about it for a month, cause I was like, oh man, they’re gonna, I’m not sure how this lawyer stuff works. I figured you could just nice, that was my cat . I figured they could just stick a lawyer on me and I’m being legal fees and stuff, all these things I didn’t know.

So I’m glad that I just jumped and it didn’t look back. It seems like a lot of ’em are, too scared to now, for good reasons. 

[01:10:51] Jessy: A hundred percent. I’m super grateful that you were sharing your story with our community. I’ll keep you posted as we get this up to our community.

My, intention is probably to both post on our social accounts, like maybe snippets of this, and then, probably publish it as like a podcast cuz we have a podcast. Similar, just like Niké’s. 

[01:11:14] Nathan: Yeah. 

[01:11:15] Jessy: It’ll be very similar to hers. And then I’ve been working like pretty hand in hand with Niké since we first connected like a month ago with all these reporters and some of them are having difficulty just like finding more influencers to chat with.

[01:11:31] Nathan: Yeah. 

[01:11:31] Jessy: And of course like we want this story to go live.

[01:11:35] Nathan: Yeah.

[01:11:35] Jessy: And get the word out there. Rightfully so, they’re like, just the more people that we can cite, and go on the record about their experience, it just makes the story more powerful, more credible.

[01:11:46] Nathan: I also have another buddy, not crazy close with him, but I’m friends with him on socials and stuff named Stevo. He came in six months. I know he came in like a couple months before I left. And, I’m sure that they did stuff to him.

I could contact him and then send you his stuff because it was still fresh enough to where I think there would’ve been some sort of physical evidence, he would’ve had documents of to prove. So could try to get him as well. 

[01:12:11] Jessy: Anyone, any influencers or anyone involved that, if you wanna share your experience, like I can connect you with Jessie and then after we speak, I can connect them with reporters who are covering the story as well.

That would be awesome. I spoke with someone today, we were just talking earlier. She works for Ad week, and she’s really anxious to put out the story and was looking for one or two more sources. So if it’s cool, maybe I can like loop you guys in together in an email. 

[01:12:42] Nathan: Yeah. 

Honest, honestly, like I said, send ’em all my way. The journalists and articles on this stuff, if I could be a part of it all, I don’t care, send ’em all my way. So I’m a open book. So 

[01:12:52] Jessy: Awesome. My hope is that when people Google the Carter Agency, it just comes up of all these articles.

[01:12:58] Nathan: Yeah. 

[01:12:59] Jessy: Yeah. 

[01:13:00] Nathan: They deserve to just get thrown under the rug. Like I said, one or two people got screwed over. But the size, it is the amount of money. People get to jail a long time for a couple hundred thousand dollars stolen, you’re talking about millions and millions potentially.

I’m sure more tax fraud, like I said, I’m no W9s and, forging stuff. That’s some serious stuff that shouldn’t just be like, thrown under the rug and pretended like it never happened.

[01:13:25] Jessy: A thousand percent. I agree. I actually, like when this hall first came down, like I have a friend who’s like a, great lawyer and like really focuses in the influencer space in particular. And I had her speak with Niké and we know that some other influencers are like, supposedly like teaming up and like maybe trying to sue him and this lawyer as well. I’m like, I’m not a lawyer, so speak with this woman. See what she says? 

[01:13:50] Nathan: Yeah.

[01:13:51] Jessy: We actually don’t really think that’s the best route to go. She actually brought up, similar to what you said, which I think is the smarter way, she’s if you like hire lawyers, you’re gonna be out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars trying to chase this elusive scammer that’s probably gonna pretty easily evade this and know how to slip and slide outside.

But … 

[01:14:14] Nathan: I was gonna say worst what happens if you just commit bankruptcy. The chance of me , . getting the money and that sort of thing, is so slim to none. I don’t wanna deal with a giant legal hassle or, anything I would much rather get a story out there, have, my name associated with positive light to where brands could look at that and maybe said the brand side I guarantee there’s a lot more upside, at least on the personal side of you defending something versus trying to squeeze, some thousands out of some scammer.

You’re gonna spend that amount in legal fees anyway. 

[01:14:47] Jessy: Yeah. You can get a judgment against somebody, but to actually get them to pay you, that’s a whole other thing. And what she was saying, which was interesting, this lawyer, she was like, if you guys are right, there’s like allegations of like forgery and absolutely tax fraud. What you were saying, we had definitely had talked about that. Anonymous people have already called the IRS on them about that, by the way, to be like, you might wanna look into these people’s taxes. I feel like there’s something off there. So that’s already happened. Which is great. 

There’s like criminal stuff that’s happening. The state pays for that, and those are more serious charges anyway. And she was like, if those are true, then people should just pull their resources to get proof of all of that. And that could be maybe the, perhaps the better outcome. 

[01:15:37] Nathan: No, I think. It’s the way to go, honestly. 

[01:15:39] Jessy: Yeah. Agreed. So I really appreciate your time. It’s been just nice chatting with you too. 

[01:15:45] Nathan: Yeah.

[01:15:46] Jessy: Let’s obviously stay in touch. If you could maybe look for, the contract we’re talking about…

[01:15:53] Nathan: Yeah.

[01:15:53] Jessy: Screenshots. too much is not too much. 

[01:15:56] Nathan: Yeah. I’ll send you, the stuff I sent Niké. Caus e the stuff I had was Yeah. The amount I got paid from that one company physically through PayPal. Now the actual W9s, the screenshots through that company, through Instagram. Tell me all the stuff like that they yes. Paid me that much. How they were treated and stuff. I had those two screenshots from, right before I left from Josh and Ben saying they were gonna sue me and all this stuff.

So I can look through the email, see if I can access that, contract, and I can see what happens if I try to unblock him on my phone and see if there’s old messages and stuff and just skim through and be like, oh, yep, this is a bad one, this is a bad one. I can do that. So I can send you all that.

[01:16:32] Jessy: And I would, that would be amazing. Just helpful. 

[01:16:34] Nathan: Yeah.

[01:16:35] Jessy: I would love to even just if you can find his phone number, because we’re just trying to track him down for a comment, I would absolutely just call him, it’s easier to not respond to an email. And then the last thing is if there’s other influencers that you know of that have been represented, you could just give them my email and say hey, if you wanna reach out. I’d love to speak with other people too. 

[01:16:57] Nathan: We know the story’s credible but like I said, to get like news wise and stuff, the more, the better. So

[01:17:02] Jessy: Absolutely. And so I’ve been in touch with all the reporters, like I said, the Fast Company article, went live today. But we’ve been talking with Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Adweek, like Washington Post, like everybody, and so, it’s a really pivotal time cause I think a lot of them are just anxious to have this go live.

So I’ll connect you today with the Ad week person. And then I’ll connect with the other, journalists and see where they’re at in the story and if they need more sources. 

[01:17:29] Nathan: Send ’em all my name in contact or something like that cause I don’t mind doing a whole bunch of these and stuff. I know Stephen would be up for it as well. Cause I know he hates them with burning passions. 

I’ll ask stevo , if he’d be up to it. Since we were like the couple of people. Obviously, I know Niké later, we’ll, you have people from the beginning and at the end as well, so that’s like a good rounded group. 

[01:17:50] Jessy: Agreed. Agreed. I will definitely be in touch. We’ll keep in touch. We’ll talk really soon and thank you again. Okay.

[01:17:57] Nathan: Absolutely. Thank you.

[01:17:58] Jessy: If you enjoyed this episode, we gotta have you back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us a review, a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast. 

 

Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.

Nathan Freihofer

Social Media Influencer

Nathan is a 25 year old social media influencer currently living in Kansas with his Fiancé. Starting his social media journey 3 years ago, he has amassed 7 and a half million followers across his social platforms and makes a variety of content, which include lifestyle, relationship, fitness, and comedy. During this time, he has been able to share his experience overcoming an eating disorder, which has brought much needed awareness to men’s mental health and eating disorders in general. In addition, Nathan has used his platform to raise and donate over $30,000 to soldiers and their families across the country in order to help them in times of great need. 

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