Are you someone who has recently quit a job or thought about quitting your job? Maybe you’re looking for something that better caters to you financially? Maybe you’re tired of dealing with the incessant microaggressions you deal with at work? Or maybe you are simply tired of overworking to put more money into someone else’s pocket and you would like to see what that would look like if you did it for yourself..?
More and more people are leaving their jobs. So much so that it has been termed: “the great resignation.” A large number of mostly unhappy employees, either fed up with being overworked, undervalued, or simply looking for something different said good riddance to the 9-5 lifestyle in order to embrace a life with more flexibility and freedom.
In 2020, Reni Odetoyinbo, a Nigerian-Canadian content creator dipped her toe in the content creating business while working her regular 9-5. But shortly after, due to “burnout mostly, and wanting to take a leap of faith,” she quit her day job and became a full-time content creator with a focus on financial literacy, career development and lifestyle on YouTube & Instagram.
“I aim to educate others and make complex topics simple,” says Odetoyinbo.
It is of no surprise that the Canadian labour market still suffers from racism and systemic inequality. However, one of the securities office life aims to offer is the support of a team or at the very least a human resources department that you could go to if anything untoward ever arose. As more African-Canadian women branch into the content creating industry, one can only wonder how this plays out for those who have decided to pursue entrepreneurship in this manner.
While in her traditional office job, Odetoyinbo says, “I don’t believe I faced any blatant racism, but more covert acts such as having to prove myself more than my non-Black colleagues who had the same amount of experience as me.” Sometimes, the racism would come directly from the clients, “I did have angry customers complain that we had too many Black people in our advertisements a few times which was laughable.”
Today, as she continues to build her own brand, her experience thus far has been quite different from life in the office. “The fact that I’m not the only Black girl in a white space day-in, day-out anymore [is a great part about working for myself]. Being able to show up as my authentic self without fear of microaggressions is another level of freedom I didn’t know I needed,” says Odetoyinbo. That, and, “the flexibility to make choices for myself and work from anywhere in the world.”
Travelling the world seems and looks luxurious, but being a full-time content creator has its downsides as well. “The major challenge is the fact that everything is on you! You become the tech team, the HR team, the marketing team, the social media team, the operations team, the finance team and more. It’s a lot to learn,” she says.
And when all of the mounting pressure is on you, the one-woman show…where exactly does your support come from? Reports have shown that Black Canadian content creators are notoriously underpaid by the platforms they work hard to get audience members on.
Odetoyinbo shares, “I do not believe that African-Canadian content creators are often well supported/compensated for the work we put out. Brands are often trying to lowball us (often with insulting offers) and get us for the lowest amount possible. We get taken advantage of in brand deals compared to our white counterparts.”
Where are they to run to when they are their own HR?
Though not perfect, “I will say that there are programs working to support us like Amplifia Network and YouTube Black both of which I am a part of,” says Odetoyinbo.
If brands want to be a part of closing the “influencer wage gap,” it’s been said before but it bears repeating…PAY BLACK CONTENT CREATORS. “Black content creators should be supported by brands monetarily,” says Odetoyinbo, “we add a lot of value and connect brands with Black audiences who otherwise wouldn’t have known their name. That should be valued and we should be paid accordingly!” With little to no regulation, the influencer space is sort of a free for all with rules changing from one person and/or brand, to the next.
Unfortunately, one constant that has remained is the nonsensical systemic inequality…let’s not even begin to talk about how Black creators’ content is often stolen.
With a large part of the decision making power lying in their hands, brands can easily be a part of the change we need across all industries. Starting with “not only reach[ing] out to us during Black History Month but hav[ing] meaningful, ongoing partnerships,” says Odetoyinbo.
Josie Fomé is a multimedia Journalist with a keen interest on issues related to the African Continent and the African diaspora. She has international experience in community facilitation, radio show production and documentary film making. She has a passion for reshaping and creating new narratives surrounding the African continent and the African diaspora through story telling in all its forms.
CCPA. (2019, December 9). Canada has failed to reduce persistent racism in the labour market: Report. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/canada-has-failed-reduce-persistent-racism-labour-market-report
Dodgson, L. (2021, December 7). Black influencers make significantly less money than their white counterparts, a new study says. Insider. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www.insider.com/study-black-influencers-make-significantly-less-money-2021-12
Ojiah, A. D. (2021, April 23). Black influencers are underpaid for their work by marketers. The Circular. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://thecircular.org/black-influencers-are-underpaid-for-their-work-by-marketers/
MSL. (2021, December 6). MSL study reveals racial pay gap in influencer marketing. MSL Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap in Influencer Marketing. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/msl-study-reveals-racial-pay-gap-in-influencer-marketing-301437451.html?tc=eml_cleartime