Entrepreneur: Latasha James

Biz: Latasha James 

Tilt: Teaching how to build freelance businesses and leverage social media and video 

Primary Channel: YouTube (199K)

Other Channels: Podcast (5K to 6K per episode), Instagram (37.4K), newsletter (30K), LinkedIn (1K), X (4.3K), TikTok (4.7K), Facebook (3.1K)

Time to First Dollar: 12 months

Rev Streams: YouTube, courses, paid community, affiliates, sponsorships, brand deals

Our Favorite Actionable Advice

  • Slow growth is OK: Latasha’s YouTube channel didn’t see a slew of subscribers in the first years, but her content did attract a request to consult.
  • Don’t be scared to make tough decisions: She recently shut down her free community to focus on her paid community. And she wanted to return to the freedom of a solo business, so she isn’t renewing her team members’ contracts.
  • Create consistency: Do it not just for your audience but for yourself. Once she started the podcast, she had a deadline. It made it easier to have a weekly target to hit.

The Story of Latasha James

One of Latasha James’ earliest memories is playing “radio DJ” with her sister. They would tape songs from the radio on their boombox and do voiceovers like a DJ.

She loved it and imagined a future in media.

But Latasha also struggled with a speech impediment – she couldn’t pronounce “r” correctly – and was bullied for it. Embarrassed, she struggled to express herself. 

“I became very introverted because of it. And so I think I kind of let some of that passion for media die a little bit,” she says.

Fast-forward to high school, where Latasha took her first film class, which became her major at Western Michigan University. Though preferring to work behind the camera, the program required on-camera work, which she found she really enjoyed. 

Starting a hobby blog and YouTube channel

Around the same time, Latasha started a blog as a creative outlet. She wrote about media, pop culture, fashion, and whatever interests her. In 2013, Latasha added a YouTube channel that mostly featured makeup and fashion reviews. 

By November 2014, Latasha had an audience of 2K and earned her first income through small paid sponsorships and free products. YouTube remained a side hustle as she graduated and moved to Detroit for a full-time corporate marketing job.

Her content shifted to her life and experiences, and she made it more vlog-style. A June 2015 rant about a sponsorship platform caught the eye of their competitor, Octoly (recently acquired by Skeepers), who wanted her to consult.

“I had no idea what that really meant or entailed, but I decided to do it, and I ended up working with them for three years,” Latasha says.

Transition from side hustle to full-time content entrepreneur

Despite earning her first revenue a year after her YouTube channel, its growth was slow. She generated a couple hundred dollars per month max, but the engagement kept her going.

In November 2016, Latasha launched her first course, “How to Become a Social Media Manager.” It was a natural extension of her full-time job and her consulting work. 

About four months later, she launched a Freelance Friday series on her YouTube channel with interviews, tips, and tricks. In 2018, the series turned into the podcast that operates today.

Finding this new content tilt helped her stand out as an expert, and she landed her first speaking gig in July 2018.

Latasha says going full time as a content entrepreneur was still scary. 

“I’m naturally a cautious person. I probably could have taken the leap way sooner than I did. I initially set a goal of three months of living expenses to be saved. Since I was working full-time and with my side hustle, it happened really quickly. But it was too real to decide to quit, so I kept pushing it back,” she says.

However, the death of her father in December 2018 made her realize she did not want to spend another second doing something she was not happy with and didn’t give her the flexibility to spend time with her family.

Latasha realized spending 40 more hours a week on her content business would allow her to generate sufficient revenue. In March 2019, she quit her job and became a full-time content entrepreneur.

Running and growing the business

The business grew slowly but consistently. Latasha generated $1K from content products (YouTube and her course) and supplemented the rest with freelance income.

Everything changed in October 2020. She launched a new course, Social Media Management Toolbox. She priced it at $54 at launch and offered a 50% discount. The course generated five figures in its first month. Four years later, the toolbox course remains her biggest seller in terms of volume.

In February 2021, Latasha launched a high-ticket offering: Social Media Management Accelerator. The cohort-based program filled a need for people starting content-based businesses but had no training in social media. The six-week course included live instruction followed by access to a community for a year. After that year, students can pay $200 a year to access the accelerator-only community. 

In recent years, Latasha has added numerous courses, as she thinks it is important to offer courses or products at all price points. She offers free resources to help funnel customers through her offerings. 

Every Tuesday and Friday, she sends a free newsletter. It includes a video and a note about why she created the content, what’s happening in her life, and interesting links. With 30K subscribers, she has not monetized the newsletter except for its inclusion in a larger sponsorship promotion.

Recently, Latasha closed down her free community, The Freelance Friday Club, to keep her focus on the paid accelerator community. 

Latasha also generates affiliate revenue by reviewing and recommending tools and services on her YouTube channel and website.

Hiring and firing decisions

Latasha made her first hire after identifying her pain points in the business. A (very) part-time community manager for the Freelance Friday Club joined in the summer 2020 and became operations manager by November 2020. 

Latasha added other contractor employees over the next couple of years, including a partnership manager, copy and scriptwriter, instructional designer, and virtual assistant. 

Recently, Latasha reduced her team with the goal of going solo again. She missed running the day-to-day operations. She felt like she was on an assembly line of content production and not involved in the creative process of post-production. 

“It’s the little things. I realized I just really liked even the customer service side, the operational stuff of adding people’s accounts, and the customer journey. Seeing them through fixing their problems and hearing the feedback. The good, the bad, and the ugly because it helps make me better. I just realized I wanted to be closer to it all, to be honest,” she says.

Advice for content entrepreneurs

While Latasha doesn’t regret hiring people, it didn’t achieve the freedom she sought with her content business. She began to feel like an employee, having to always answer to people. Do what is right for you and your company. Don’t be scared to go alone if you want to do that. The end goal does not have to be growing and building a team. You can run a successful solopreneur business and be successful.

Diversify your revenue. You can’t depend on one or two streams of income. Develop multiple streams of income as well as recurring streams if you can. Doing a yearly breakdown of your revenue streams can help you see which revenue might make up an untenable big portion of your business and can plan accordingly. 

Watch and hear Latasha James share more about how she built her successful business. She’s one of dozens of experts you can learn from with the CEX digital pass, which includes access to watch their presentations on demand.

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.