Entrepreneur: Jake Thomas 

Biz: Creator Hooks

Tilt: YouTube titles

Primary Channel: Newsletter (30K), Twitter (21.3K)

Other Channels: Website

Time to First Dollar: 4 months

Rev Streams: Newsletter sponsorships, subscriptions, consulting

Our Favorite Actionable Advice

  • Learn while working: Before working full-time for Creator Hooks, Jake learned SEO, blogging, and YouTube by creating side hustles to help him improve his day job skills.
  • Focus on the audience: Jake asked his newsletter audience what products they wanted. He launched a paid subscription service to his database of title breakdowns.
  • Create a safety net: Jake generates passive income through his original side hustle blog, which helps supports his revenue needs.

The Story of Jake Thomas

Jake Thomas never intended to run a business talking about YouTube titles. But learning YouTube for another position led him to Creator Hooks

Jake’s content journey started as a strategist at a Facebook ad agency, where he needed to learn search engine optimization. As a “learn-by-doing” person, he started a blog in March 2019 that he affectionately now calls his dog blog as he keeps it separate from his Creator Hooks brand. He worked from 9 p.m. to midnight every night for three years before seeing his first revenue – $1.87. 

He moved on from that day job to become the channel manager for a fishing company, where he had to learn YouTube. Jake added a YouTube channel to his dog blog side hustle and used what he learned to write titles and optimize the content for his employer. Under his direction, the fishing company’s audience rose from 70K to over 200K, and business quadrupled. 

“It was great,” he says, “My day job was SEO and YouTube, and my side hustle was SEO and YouTube.”

Creator Hooks’ @jthomas__ gained his expertise by doing SEO and YouTube as his side hustles while his day job was SEO and YouTube. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Jake Thomas constantly thought about quitting his day job. When the dog blog generated more than $1.5K a month as an Amazon affiliate, he was about to do that when Amazon slashed its affiliate program commissions. His monthly revenue instantly dropped to less than $500. 

Getting off the algorithm hook

Jake knew he couldn’t stay beholden to the Google and Amazon algorithm or any other algorithm. He knew he wanted to quit his job. He knew no one was teaching creators how to write YouTube titles. Jake knew an opportunity was right in front of him.

In May 2021, Jake wrote the first version of his newsletter about YouTube titles. As an avid Twitter user, he used his connections and sent the newsletter via direct messages to 80 people in the YouTube educator space. He received positive feedback from five. Creator Hooks was born.

Knowing it takes time to grow a newsletter, Jake was ready to be patient as he continued to publish Creator Hooks. But its growth happened more quickly than expected. He credits the subscriber boost to using Twitter threads and commenting on tweets published by other YouTube educators.

He knew he had to focus on one channel (newsletter) and one platform (Twitter) to be successful. Jake explains, “I optimize my life not to have pain points. I focus on one thing at a time.” 

Jake quit his full-time job to focus on Creator Hooks in July 2021. Jake credits the support of his wife and continued passive income from the dog blog as contributors to that decision. Jake was committed to growing the Creator Hooks brand.

Passive income from a side hustle blog and support from his wife propelled @jthomas__ to focus full time on a content business about writing @YouTube titles. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Creator Hooks earns first dollar

This focus paid off. In August 2021, just four months after starting Creator Hooks, Jake secured his first dollar – one of his biggest surprises as an entrepreneur. A newsletter subscriber and Twitter follower reached out to hire Jake as a consultant. This first client had 10M YouTube. Jake was floored. “Why are they reaching out to me?” 

This client’s belief in Jake’s work solidified the potential of Creator Hooks. He positioned himself as the expert and niched down to be the voice of the space. He continued to grow the newsletter organically through newsletter swaps and Twitter. 

Jake focused solely on Creator Hooks but still earned passive income from the dog blog. “I had a library of 150 articles where some rank, some do not (depends on how Google is feeling), but it is still earning income from three years of hard work (and) now I don’t touch it at all.” 

Adding a paid product

In July 2022, Jake knew he needed a product to diversify revenue. So he asked his audience what they wanted. Overwhelmingly, they wanted more ideas for YouTube titles and an easy way to see all the titles and examples Jake already published. Thus, Creator Hooks Pro, a database of the titles broken down in his newsletter, was born. Users pay $19 a month for the subscription service.

@jthomas__ asked his audience what they wanted before he decided on his first paid product – a database of his previously published content on #YouTube titles. #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet

Jake generates two-thirds of his revenue from Creator Hooks Pro and one-third from newsletter sponsorships. Two years after messaging those first 80 subscribers, Creator Hooks has grown to 30K subscribers. Jake is redeveloping Creator Hooks Pro to provide more value to his subscribers and generate more revenue.

Advice for content entrepreneurs

Jake firmly believes the success of Creator Hooks is due to the content niche. “Be the only person in your field,” he says. 

Pick one skill and be the best in the world on it. Talk about it and learn in public. It should work because it’s authentic and transparent to your audience. Credibility is becoming more important in the age of artificial intelligence. Build that credibility and you will experience success.

Do not diversify too much or too quickly. Jake focuses on one channel, one product, and one audience to grow Creator Hooks. He waited to create a paid subscription service until he could provide his audience with what they wanted. Don’t just create a product without asking your audience. Find out what they need and then create the product. This leads to success and trust between the creator and the audience. Learn from your mistakes and listen to your audience. You are there for them.

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About the author

Marc Maxhimer is the director of growth and partnerships at The Tilt. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and mathematics education and a master’s degree in educational administration.  He previously taught middle school for 16 years.  Marc lives in (and loves all things) Cleveland with his wife, two daughters, and dog.