Everybody Needs An Agent
This week’s post is by Steve Herz, the President of IF Management. The title says it all!
As someone who has been a talent representative (manager or agent) for the past 20 years, one of the most frequent questions I get is, “Do I need an agent?” My answer, although sometimes met with laughter and derision, is “everybody needs an agent!”
I’m a true believer in my own Kool-Aid, so much so that I have come to believe that anybody—in any field—needs an agent, as long as that agent can perform a useful and helpful role in that person’s life.
Good agents can:
1. Negotiate a great deal for you, monetarily or otherwise, and protect your interests, both short and long term. A good agent can protect you from onerous non-compete clauses, and other contractual obligations that might limit your mobility, marketability and financial upside.
2. Chart out a career path for you and be ready to offer suggestions and guidance, as necessary, based on your own achievements and setbacks. A good agent may also have insight into outside market conditions that can be crucial to your career growth. For instance, if you have a great career as a buggy whip manufacturer, but find out that the business is atrophying from your agent, you can plan an exit strategy before it’s too late.
3. Give you feedback—either by their personal observation or through conversations with your bosses—to help you improve in your career. If you don’t know why you’re being held back from a promotion (perhaps because of something your boss sees in you but doesn’t want to verbalize for fear of offending you) that lack of knowledge could be devastating to your future. An agent can be the intermediary to get the important information you need.
Career success is an inexact science. As you can see from the above points, this advice is not limited to those in the media. And while having an agent is no guarantee of success, if you aren’t managing your career for yourself as effectively as possible, the value of a good agent who can do these tasks (and much more) is invaluable.