JANUARY 14, 2022

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs. Each edition is packed with the latest news, strategies, and tactics, plus inspiring creator stories and exclusive education, all to help you create, grow, and monetize better.

Features in this issue (view online):

full tilt

Stress Triggers for Creators and How To Get Support

Ninety percent of creators say they’ve experienced burnout, and 71% say they’ve considered quitting social media and, in turn, the business they worked so hard to build, according to Vibely’s recent Creator Burnout Report.

Many creators launched their content entrepreneurial careers doing something they love. But the constant pressure to post, stream, and create – and the often solitary nature of their work – can take its toll on their mental health.

Kelli Dunlap, a clinical psychologist, game designer, and community manager for Take This, a games-focused mental health nonprofit, sees it daily in her work and research. “Creation is really, really difficult,” says Kelli, who recently completed an academic study on streamer mental health during COVID. “And that’s even in the best of times – not during a pandemic when we’re all extra stressed.”

Among the top mental health-related struggles that Kelli sees as she works with and talks with creators:

  • Stress of earning a living
  • Sense of responsibility for their community
  • Parasocial relationships
  • Constant connection and sometimes hate
  • Inability to expand creativity

When you experience distress to the point where you can’t function in important aspects of your life, it’s time to seek support, Kelli says. “If you’re starting to feel like what’s the point and why do I do this – that’s cynicism,” she says. “Cynicism is a hallmark of burnout, not necessarily depression, not a diagnosable mental illness. But (it’s) definitely something that can cause you a lot of distress and have a negative impact on your life.”

If you can, seek professional mental health support. You also can find support elsewhere. Take This, the nonprofit organization focused on the mental health of the gaming community, links to a host of resources and tools. It also has an active Discord community where members feel safe to speak about their struggles.

For different demographics, creators can find support among groups like Black Girl Gamers or Rainbow Arcade. Creators who are spiritual or religious can find support in their faith communities. The important thing is to find a connection, Kelli says.

“One of the No. 1 reasons that people end up in my office is because they feel alone. They feel like nobody cares about them. They have no one to talk or share with. They feel disconnected and isolated,” she says. “A healthy online community provides social connection, validation, support, friendship. And that has such a preventative effect.”

You also can find respite by getting offline. Exercise, binge-watch Netflix, take a walk, bake, write in a journal, or do anything else that isn’t related to your content creation.

Sometimes, you may need to take it one day at a time – even one hour or one breath at a time.

“Things are hard,” Kelli says. “There’s no puppies and rainbows version of this. But you are able to do hard things. If you’re reading this piece, your track record on overcoming hardship is 100%.”

– Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

To learn more about what leads to creator stress and burnout and more advice on getting help, read the longer story.

Welcome to 2022!


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content entrepreneur spotlight

Carly Anderson Transformed Lipgloss and Crayons From a Hobby to a Full-Time Content Business

Entrepreneur: Carly Anderson

Biz: Lipgloss and Crayons

Tilt: Body positivity, girl power, motherhood

Primary Channels: Instagram (91K), website

Other Channels: Twitter (35.5K), Pinterest (34.3K), Facebook (15.4K)

First Revenue: $25 for a sponsored blog post

Rev Streams: Sponsored content, affiliate marketing

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Get a manager: When Carly started working with a manager, she secured more lucrative work. It’s often helpful to have a third party negotiate on your behalf. They may know the market – and your value – better.
  • Stop the chase: Don’t seek celebrity status on social media. Fame is fleeting. Instead, hone your content creation and business skills.
  • Create these two things: Every entrepreneur should have a website and an email list of subscribers. That’s been Carly’s mantra for years.

– Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

All the Story: To learn more about how Carly Anderson went from a hobby blogger to a full-time content creator, check out the longer story.

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

quick talk

Caught on … Forbes

“Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support your dreams, and flush out the negativity.” – Art Angels

things to know

  • Superior split: Over 20K have voted for Twitcher SaltyWyvern’s recommendation for streamers to get a minimum of 70% of subscription fees and partners to get 80% instead of the current 50%. They also advocate lowering the payout limit from $100 to between $10 and $20. (EuroGamer)
    Tilt Take: Twitcher would do well to listen to the creators who make the platform. Otherwise, they could continue to see content entrepreneurs leave for greener platforms.
  • Writer fellowship: Bestselling author Roxanne Gay partnered with Substack to create the Joel Gay Creative Fellowships. The $25K stipend will go to three writers who develop and publish on Substack. They also will receive $15K in Substack services and be mentored by Roxanne. Applications are due Feb. 10, 2022. (The Audacity)
    Tilt Take: The fellowship stipend, support, and mentorship would be a great start to a successful content business.
  • Let’s watch: TikTok is testing a new invite-to-watch feature. Users can invite people they know to watch a video and connect together on TikTok. (Matt Navarra)
    Tilt Take: Word-of-mouth accompanied by a personal invite is a powerful way to attract viewers that should be promoted by creators when the feature is available.
  • People first: Among David Perell’s laws of the internet: Building an audience before you launch lets you validate ideas and cultivate a group of passionate early adopters who can give feedback in the early days. (David Perell; h/t IdeaEconomy.net)
    Tilt Take: It’s good advice whether your product is content or a tangible object.
Tech and Tools
  • Look at me: Twitter is working on a video-reply option. Users will be able to choose “Quote Tweet with reaction” and create a custom take, with the original tweet appearing as an overlay on the replier’s video. (Social Media Today)
    Tilt Take: This new option allows for more personal, visually interesting, and creative replies.
  • Profitable words: Among the helpful tools for creators is LowFruits. The site gives keywords and topics ideas as well as where to target them most competitively. This creator says, “It’s a game-changer.” (Chantelle Marcelle)
    Tilt Take: Advice from creators who work with tools every day is often more valuable than any paid promotional ad.
And Finally
  • Making a list: Insider is compiling a list of the top creator economy startups in New York. Among the considerations: funding, user adoption, impact on the influencer industry. Today is the deadline to apply. (Insider)
    Tilt Take: Given the rapidly growing creator economy, expect more business-oriented media creating these types of lists (and making money from them too.)
  • Wordle pop: People have an appetite for things that transparently don’t want anything from them. That’s what Josh Wardle says about his word-game creation that has grown from 1K to 2M players in just a few weeks. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: It’s a good reminder that building an audience requires first thinking about how to give them what they need or want, not about how to monetize them.

we’re a stan for Lakota Johnson

Nicknamed “the boy with the smile,” Lakota Johnson got his start on social media after a brand reposted his photo on their verified account. Over time, the part-American, part-Aussie received merch from companies hoping he would post their product. Later, a friend suggested he upload videos of himself doing skits and dancing to chart-topping hits on Tik Tok. In a matter of weeks, the 22-year-old earned millions of fans (now 1.8M), starting trendy online posts like “zoom in.”

Before venturing into online fandom, Lakota dreamed of being in front of the camera. Now his online brand has helped his modeling and acting aspirations, booking him modeling campaigns with Universal Store, City Beach, Jay Jays, Footlocker, Nike, and Surf Stitch. He’s also had small roles in #BlackAF, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Empyrean.

Why we’re a Stan: Lakota transformed his long-held dream to be an entertainer into a content business first. And his audience there attracted major brands and on-screen (or stage) productions.

– Shameyka McCalman

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.