JUNE 10, 2022

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

In this issue:

full tilt

Is It To Be Content Business or Stay a Hobby?

Plenty of creators start out like Megan Pinckney Rutherford, the content creator behind Shades of Pinck. She created her lifestyle and travel blog and Instagram as a hobby. And before they know it, they have the promise of a business.

But making the leap from hobbyist to content entrepreneur requires a shift in mindset. That pivot doesn’t come naturally for every creator. It all starts with some deep reflection, says Joe Pulizzi, founder of The Tilt. “You need to start thinking about your goals and what you want. That’s the most important thing.”

Having a business mindset is one of the four attributes of a successful content entrepreneur, according to The Tilt’s 2021 benchmark research report, The Unconventionals. As it’s explained: “They’re focused on the financials and structure of the content business: how to monetize, how to diversify, how to build an asset rather than a cult of personality. And content creation isn’t how they spend the majority of their time.”

As your audience grows and engagement spikes, brands take notice, says Jess Hunichen, co-founder of Shine Talent Group. “That is typically when … talk of contracts, logistics, taxes, finances come into play, and (you) need to start developing the business mindset and seeing this as a viable, full-time career.”

Unfortunately, there is no easy, objective way to answer whether you’re ready to adopt a business mindset. No metrics or rubrics will help you determine if it’s time. It has everything to do with what you want, says Erick Byrd, associate professor in the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality and Tourism at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, who also is involved in their esports program.

“As soon as you make the conscious decision – I want to start making money at doing this. I want to start paying my bills. I want to eventually get the millions of dollars that I see some others making – you go from hobbyist to entrepreneur,” he says.

Set yourself up for success by building strategy and intention around every decision. Get the tools to identify great — and not-so-great — opportunities, Megan says. “Not having a business mindset could also mean not being professional, not turning things on time, not putting creative effort behind content … And if that’s the case, you’ll lose out on future opportunities.”

Whatever your path to a business mindset, be ready for obstacles, including the self-imposed imposter syndrome. “Join the club,” Joe says. “No matter how successful you get, you still feel like you haven’t quite made it. And that’s a good thing. Once you feel like you made it, you probably need a reality check that you’re getting too settled.”

– Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

Learn more about the mindset needed for content entrepreneurship.

New Free Course From The Tilt

Legal trouble can spell disaster for creators. We all know that agreements and clauses are necessary evils as content entrepreneurs. But do you really understand what’s in all the legal mumbo jumbo?

No? Not really? The Tilt can help with our course, What Content Creators Need to Know Now to Avoid Legal Trouble, presented by Ruth Carter Esq.

This mini-course provides a great introduction to the terms and concepts that you might see in your next legal document or agreement. Ruth provides explanations of pertinent legal terms with examples relevant to content creators.

Sign up today so you understand what that next legal document includes and how to cover yourself as a creator.

we’re a stan for … Erin Novakowski


Entrepreneur: Erin Novakowski (she/they)

Tilt: Content for people with disabilities by a person with disabilities

Scene: TikTok (663.8K), Instagram (20.3K), Twitter (2.4K)

Snack Bites:

  • Three years ago, Erin launched her now popular TikTok account, comparing her new hairdo to one sported by the popular singer Eminem.
  • The creator, who lives with spinal muscular atrophy, moved on to making jokes about her life in a wheelchair and other videos about her life unrelated to her disability.
  • From time to time, she calls out ableists for looking to creators with disabilities for “inspirational porn.”
  • She makes it clear her content is for followers who have disabilities while also offering an inside look at her day-to-day life as a college student.

Why We’re a Stan: Creating content by and for her community is one of Erin’s many passions. She wants to make good, entertaining content while occasionally calling out the problematic nature of disabled inspiration content.

– Shameyka McCalman

Read all about Erin Novakowski.

quick talk

Caught on … Twitter

“While creating is hard, turning that work into a business is even harder.” – Spencer Fry

things to know

  • Token money: Web3 social marketplace Calaxy is a social-token business that just got an investment influx of $26M. It lets creators mint their own tokens and acts as a platform for both fans and creators to connect. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: Investment like that indicates a healthy future for a tokenized creator world.
  • 1099-K: Don’t forget that 2022 is the year third-party payment systems like Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, etc., will send 1099-K for all transactions over $600. (Bloomberg)
    Tilt Take: Earmark revenue as you earn it to pay the taxes, so you don’t get a surprise when you file your tax forms.
  • Leaving the club: Top executives are leaving the Clubhouse audio platform as it struggles to hold an audience. App downloads dropped 80% in the first five months of 2022, compared to the same time in 2021. (Protocol)
    Tilt Take: Don’t build a business just on a trending platform. Build it based on a solid strategy.
  • Listen in: Podcasters have three ways to estimate their audience: ingesting server logs (holistic view of content flow with more intrusive measurement regime), prefix analytics (some measurement of requests for content), and survey data (estimates audience). ($ounds Profitable)
    Tilt Take: We’ll echo author Tom Webster’s advice – a mix of all three usually works best.
Tech and Tools
  • Take that Roblox: Facebook Gaming is adding Crayta, a platform to let players create, share, and play games with friends. It shares elements of the popular Roblox with cues from Fornite. (The Verge)
    Tilt Take: Gaming content creators may want to take a look and see if their target audiences might be on Crayta.
  • Name change: Twitter Media is now Twitter Create. The content is the same – helping creators by talking goal setting, industries, and available products. (Twitter)
    Tilt Take: The new name indicates where Twitter sees the future.
And Finally
  • Podcast potential: Spotify says podcasts still present big revenue opportunities as only 14% of listening hours on the platform have been monetized globally. (The Hollywood Reporter)
    Tilt Take: What’s your plan to tap your podcast revenue potential?
  • Watermark it: Lawyer Lisa Bonner says creators should protect their published content, such as using a watermark on a video or a song you’ve registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. (Essence)
    Tilt Take: Others can easily steal digital content. Make it harder for them to use it in unobstructed ways.

the business of content

the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Angelina Kaminski, Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Shameyka McCalman, and Don Borger.