APRIL 2, 2024

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

full tilt

Take Some Weight Off

Your shoulders can feel heavy as a content entrepreneur.

After all, according to The Tilt’s research, the average time between launching a content business and making your first hire is almost 19 months. In that time, you are responsible for all the tasks necessary to create a successful operation.

But when you can (or are willing) to expand your ranks, what do you hire someone to do?

“Entrepreneurs are visionary thinkers, so they need to hire implementers,” says Kate Ertmann, founder of Kate Loves Math. “Even if you are a good implementer yourself and you gain some personal satisfaction since you’re really, really good at whatever that task may be, you’re going to become an efficiency bottleneck. In math, the word ‘bottleneck’ is used interchangeably with the word restriction in the world of optimization problems.”

Kate’s first hire? A project manager. “Though I had had my own positive experiences being a project manager before I had my own business, I knew that an entrepreneur’s first few hires should take some weight off themselves,” she explains.

Cat Margulis​, host of the Passion Project podcast, author, and book coach, has taken a long time to hire someone because, as she admits, she’s “a bit of a control freak.”

She’s in the process of hiring an assistant editor and project manager so she can serve more people. “I’m clear my zone of genius is in coaching on storytelling and consulting on content strategy,” Cat says.

Bestselling author and speaker Andrew Davis says his first hire was a full-time logistics and operations role. He needed them to handle the massive amount of travel, invoicing, and interactions required to run a successful speaking business.

​Rachel Smith​, founder of Rachel’s English, says she needed an all-around admin support role, though she found the first person she hired wasn’t a good fit and let them go.

Virtual assistants are a popular choice for a content entrepreneur’s first hire partly because job descriptions can vary widely.

Justin Moore​, founder of Creator Wizard, hired a virtual assistant to help curate his newsletter, saving him four to five hours a week. “I now try to spend as much of my time writing and recording videos, which are my areas of strength,” he says.

A virtual assistant was also the first hire for Austin L. Church​, author and founder of Freelance Cake. “Many pieces of a consulting or business coaching engagement are difficult to delegate, especially if the other person doesn’t have domain expertise,” he explains. “Buying back my time by delegating high-frequency, low-leverage tasks, such as inbox management, calendar management, and weekly newsletter setup, has enabled me to spend more time in my zone of genius and drive revenue.”

Christopher Mitchell​, founder of travelingmitch, went in the opposite direction and brought on a business partner. “I couldn’t imagine how much easier (and better) things got when I was no longer just working through things on my own,” he says.

While Michelle Martello​, founder of Minima Designs, doesn’t have a team now, she has hired assistants and junior programmers over the years. But she wouldn’t have made the same choice if she had been hiring today.

“I would leverage AI for most of the same tasks. Instead, I would spend more on hiring expert accounting and advertising consultants who specialize in selling digital products,” Michelle says.

No matter what role you hire for, Kate says, you should take the time to hire people who have complementary strengths and characteristics different from your own.

“You want your team to be in harmony as opposed to being in sync,” she says. “A mathematical requirement of a harmonic team is that each person’s contribution will reflect what makes them unique. Alternatively, if you build a team that’s all in sync, you’ll likely feel good in the short term … but long-term synchronization in a business does not equate to sustainability.

“The only way to survive external change is to intentionally build flexibility within – and there’s no room for flexibility in synchronization.”

Helpful Resources:

– Ann Gynn

Learn more from these and other successful entrepreneurs at CEX May 5 to 7 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register today!

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we stan Ayman Chaudhary

Entrepreneur: Ayman Chaudhary

Biz: Ayman Books

Tilt: All things books

Scene: TikTok (948.8K), Instagram (155K), Amazon, Fable Book Club

Snack Bites:

  • Ayman has been recognized as the No. 1 influencer for #BookTok.
  • Her business began after she found success in posting TikTok videos fitting the #BookTok trend.
  • Now, her business provides full-time income and Ayman can influence the sales of a book. After she posted a video about V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie Rue, the book sold out at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and others.

Why We Stan: Ayman takes her role as reviewer and recommender seriously. She does her research on the book, author, etc., before she publishes a video on it.

Read more about Ayman Books.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us. Or email [email protected].

things to know

  • Bucks for some: About 750K creators have earned money from YouTube’s year-old program for short-form videos. That represents 25% of the channels in the program. [The Information]
    Tilt Take: Social media creator revenue programs sound great, but they usually don’t help the majority.
  • Ad spots: Digital marketing platform LTK launched LTK Connected TV, letting brands use the agency’s creators to do content for shoppable streaming ad spots. [Digiday]
    Tilt Take: The strategy lets creators move away from strictly social brand promotions to longer-lasting ad spots.
  • Head honchos: High- and mid-level executives at organizations with more than 500 employees make up 4% of all adult monthly podcast listeners. Of that group, 83% listened to a podcast in the past week. [Signal Hill Insights; h/t Sounds Profitable]
    Tilt Take: Valuable insight for podcast creators targeting business decision-makers.
  • No search: Fashion enthusiasts don’t like the “algorithmically cleansed” social media apps and search engines because they drive sameness. Now, they’re turning to Substack creators and their audiences for recommendations. [Vogue Business]
    Tilt Take: These audiences pay for the content because it offers something they can’t get elsewhere.
Tech and Tools
  • Private flicks: Instagram is developing a new feature that creates a private feed of Reels for a user and their friend based on what they’ve shared with each other and their interests. It’s called Blend and is an internal prototype as of now. [Tech Crunch]
    Tilt Take: Do users want this kind of customization?
  • Free with a catch: X’s Elon Musk says creators with over 2.5K followers who pay for X will get X Premium for free. [Social Media Today]
    Tilt Take: Doesn’t seem like an incentive that would motivate creators to tout the value of paying for X to their audiences.
And Finally
  • Game on: Visa brought together 100 Team Visa athletes for a creators’ boot camp in Paris. They worked on how to tell stories, build an audience, and use data to improve their content creation and distribution. [Visa/Fast Company]
    Tilt Take: In this NIL (name, image, likeness) era, athletes can start earlier in their careers, attracting an enthusiastic fan base (aka audience).
  • Next up: US senators may take up the House’s TikTok ban after their Easter break, but prognosticators say expect a prolonged debate. [Wall Street Journal]
    Tilt Take: Wonder how TikTok’s PR campaign will influence the outcome?

the business of content

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