NOVEMBER 25, 2022

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

In Friday 5s: Hear from someone who’s been there, done that. And discover some profitable and not-so-glamorous advice for your creator business.

5 things to do

Start-to-Exit Lessons From a Million-Dollar Entrepreneur

I had just started a little online writing business, but driving home for the holidays, all I felt was a load of bricks around the realization I failed college. And this was my second go at a nursing degree.

Fast forward 10 years to 2021. Over $5M in sales had passed through that little writing business. I sold the business for over $1M, exited, and launched a new content business – Content Hacker.

Let’s discuss the lessons I learned.

1. Your passion (and hard work) can get the bills paid: When I failed one avenue and pursued my passion full-time, I opened the door to what I have today – a life I love living. Today, I get paid thousands every month to lead advanced classes for beginners and intermediate content marketers and entrepreneurs on how to use content to grow a business to six and seven figures. I also host mastermind calls on a regular basis and teach content on a podcast.

Sharing in my clients’ big “aha” moments during training sessions is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. And content, which started as my passion, has truly become my home and the source of my livelihood.

2. Build your skills: Back in 2011, I was on Upwork and got my first writing client, who paid around $10 per article. Ten years later, I could charge hundreds, sometimes thousands, per piece. So, build your skillset. Stay in the trenches to learn what you don’t know. Consider an internship or charge a low price to get the missing experience. Get a mentor.

Learn. Practice. Repeat. You can’t achieve success without a real skill built to sell.

3. Time is part of the equation: Know that a million dollars net profit isn’t going to happen unless you put serious time into your business. Launch the website, launch your brand for your skillset, and get your first paying sponsors or subscribers. Let a few years pass by to grow the business. You need a history of income growth before any broker or buyer will get serious about helping you sell the business.

4. Get clear on finances and bookkeeping: Keep your books clean and get on top of your finances as early as possible – well before you expect to exit the business. Hire a bookkeeper to help you get clear on the returns, contractor filings, categories for expenses, and everything that matters to your profit-and-loss statement. Hire a tax consultant, so you know your stance with paying taxes and your business setup. Both of those things were some of the best moves I made in my business that helped me maintain clean books before my exit.

5. Don’t sign anything that bars you from what you do best: Finally, don’t sign a non-compete agreement that will stop you from following the route of your passion. I told our broker early into the sale of my writing business that I wouldn’t agree to any sale that stopped me from running Content Hacker.

Get an attorney who knows exit legalities and can help you navigate these waters.

Good luck to you on your business journey. I hope this inspired you to realize your dreams are possible. If this girl who failed college at 19 years old can do it, know that you can, too.

– Julia McCoy

Resource: Million-Dollar Entrepreneur Explains 5 Critical Factors From Start to Sale in the Creator Economy

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the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Pam Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Julia McCoy.