Entrepreneur: Katie Grissum

Biz: Katie and the Snoots 

Tilt: Pet advocacy

Time to First Dollar: 2 years

Primary Channel: TikTok (2.3M)

Other Channels: Instagram (19K)

Rev Streams: Sponsorships, viewer donations, TikTok Creator Fund 

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Combine personal and professional: Find an opportunity to grow your individual content brand in a way that also connects with your employer. (Just make sure it’s OK with them first.)
  • Add more meaning: Katie was sharing videos of her dogs when she realized the power of that viewership and connected it to her advocacy for pet adoption.
  • Go for revenue quickly: Though you won’t be able to quit your day job, apply for the platforms’ creator funds as soon as you meet the criteria to jumpstart your revenue.

The Story

Chances are, you’re no stranger to animal content on TikTok. The short video platform is designed for adorable moments and unforgettable, fluff content. But not everyone approaches animal content the same way. 

Katie Grissum started her TikTok account, Katie and the Snoots, in 2019 to share her dogs and personal life. Quickly, though, she found her content going viral with a look inside her workplace KC Pet Project. 

Katie is the communications and design coordinator at the Kansas City, Mo., animal shelter. She gets up close and personal with pets looking for their forever home. Her goal to build connections and show love to even the most difficult-to-adopt animals has pulled at the heartstrings of viewers everywhere and pushed her TikTok account to a whopping 2.3M followers. 

@KatieGrissum advocates for #PetAdoption in her day job at @KCPetProject and on her individual @TikTok, turning her content into a business too. #ContentEntrepreneur #Advocacy Click To Tweet

Connect the personal and professional

While her account mostly introduces TikTokers to adoptable dogs and cats, it all started with Katie’s own pet. “One of my posts of my boxer went viral and thought to myself, ‘If I can get my personal dog noticed, I can use this for something good and show dogs that need a family,’” she says. “I then started posting about the shelter dogs that I was interacting with while at work and still do to this day.”

One particular shelter video skyrocketed Katie’s audience. It featured a fearful Chihuahua named Amigo and a sweet bonding moment Katie didn’t expect. “I walked into his kennel, sat down, and started filming. I honestly didn’t think I was even going to be able to touch him. But after 11 minutes of sitting there with him, he walked up to me and jumped into my lap,” Katie says.

“I was so happy that he trusted me so quickly, and I knew that it was an interaction that I wanted to share with people. I wanted to send the message that with a little patience, you can gain the trust of a dog and help comfort them in a time of stress. I posted the TikTok that night.”

In the morning, Katie had 30K new followers. A few days later, she hit 1M. 

A fearful shelter pet named Amigo finally warmed up to @KatieGrissum. That @TikTok video on Katie and The Snoots brought 30K followers overnight and a total of 1M a few days later. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

“I have had several dogs adopted through posting about them on TikTok,” Katie says. “It is always so heartwarming when I hear that someone adopted a certain dog/cat simply because I had shared them on TikTok. 

“There was a cat that I shared that was 20 years old. Senior pets are harder to adopt out, and within a day of posting about him, a family saw the video and decided to adopt him and give him a loving home during his golden years.”

The online community has flocked to help in a crisis, too. Katie shared the story of a dog who quickly needed an expensive heart test. “I posted again on TikTok, letting my followers know that we were in need of donations,” she says. “Within 48 hours, the TikTok community raised over $11K for him and the pets in our vet clinic. We were getting donations from all over the world. It helped me prove that TikTok can be a massive asset to animal shelters and other non-profits.” 

Spin into a revenue stream

Personally, Katie has also become an influencer from her online success. She’s tapped into the TikTok Creator Fund, which she says isn’t quite enough to make a living. In addition, brands now want her to do sponsorship deals. She remains selective on which companies she works with.

The creator fund is helpful in terms of building quick and sustainable income. “My best advice for creators is to apply for the creator fund as soon as you meet the criteria,” she says. “There are rumors out there that as soon as you start the creator fund, your views will go down. That hasn’t been my experience.”

#ContentEntrepreneur advice from @KatieGrissum: Apply for your platform's creator fund as soon as you meet the criteria. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Create what excites you and your audience

Katie says creators should publish content that interests them. “I truly believe that if you are going to be successful on social media, you have to share content that you are passionate about,” she says. “If you are truly passionate and care about what you are sharing, the community will feel that passion through the screen and will connect with you easier. They might even see a bit of themselves in you.”

She continues, “If you are looking to profit from content creation, the best advice I can give is to figure out what you care about most and what makes you excited. Once you find that, you will have an endless amount of content, and you will make quality content because you care so much about it.”

About the author

Kelly Wynne is a journalist and creative writer living in Chicago with her pet dachshund. She's an advocate for women's rights, mental health, and chronic illness.