NOVEMBER 9, 2021

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

4 Signs Your Content Business Is Ready for a Talent Manager

Eventually, successful creators draw an impressive online presence that attracts offers from brands, and they realize their hobby is now a fledgling business that has the legs to become something big – or at least full-time work.

They are great creators, but they don’t have enough time or knowledge to handle all the business side of the operation. Those are the signs pointing toward the need for bringing a business manager on board.

Tilt Advice

We spoke with six business or talent managers – Emily Ward and Jess Hunichen at Shine Talent Group, Becca Bahrke and Savanah Deming at Illuminate Social, Damian Skoczylas at ICON, and Caleb Dempsey – to find out when creators should consider signing with a manager, and how they can help build a content business.

When are you ready to make the leap? These are the green flags.

1. You quit or are on the cusp of leaving your 9-to-5

Illuminate Social, Becca says, looks to work with people who are ready to make the leap to full-time content creation. “They’re able to survive on doing this, just having this be their only income,” she says. “If you’re making anywhere around $100K a year– maybe a little below or a little above– that’s where we feel like it’s our niche where we’re able to take that to the next level.”

Caveat: Talent or influencer managers typically earn a 20% commission for any business booked through them. “We only make money if they make money,” Becca says.

2. Your inbox is overflowing with brand offers

If you’re spending so much time responding to brands and not enough time thinking about your actual content, it might be time to get some help.

“There are some self-managed people who do really well in terms of negotiating their own deals and making sure the value is there, and understanding and reading contracts. And they can deal with the conflicts that can come up,” Emily says. “And there’re other people who need that kind of support earlier than others.”

3. You’re ready to trust somebody with your business

You need to be ready to hand over, even a little bit, of the reins before signing with a manager. “That’s the biggest hurdle we face as talent reps,” Damian says. “… It’s a bit of a letting-go process to let somebody else be able to handle those business things.”

4. You can’t seem to break out on other platforms

If all your engagement happens on one platform and you aren’t successful on another channel, you might want to dial up some help. “Being a content creator does not equal years of strategy on social media platforms to the point where you can post anything on a platform, and it does well,” Caleb says. “Creators should reach out to someone when they feel like they don’t know what to do next. Because that’s when you start getting frustrated and that starts to reflect into your content.”

– Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

To read the four ways that managers can help your content business, read the longer story.

content entrepreneur spotlight

Creator Takes Tingling ASMR Content to Next Level, Attracts YouTube Audience

Entrepreneur: Dee (she doesn’t use her last name publicly because of privacy concerns)

Biz: The Healing Room ASMR

The Tilt: ASMR relaxation and entertainment

Time to First Dollar: 6 months

Primary Channel: YouTube (41.3K)

Other Channels: The Healing Word on YouTube (2.36K), TikTok (177), Patreon (43), Instagram (3K)

Rev Streams: YouTube ads, Patreon

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Let your audience choose: Dee delivers her videos in two forms – with music and ambient sound and without.
  • Stand out with creativity: In a crowded ASMR content world, she treats each video as an art piece, making it aesthetically pleasing and as immersive for viewers as possible.
  • Start with education, not creation: Dee advises potential content entrepreneurs to do their research before creating their first content.

– Kelly Wynne

To learn how Dee tackles her content creation, why she likes YouTube’s AdSense program, and her great advice for content entrepreneurs, check out the longer story.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us or reply to this email.

quick talk

Caught on … Twitter

Content creates clout.” – Daniel Kading

things to know

  • Facebook cuts Apple: Creators can avoid Apple’s 30% in-app payment commission if they acquire subscribers through a new custom Facebook-provided link and use Facebook’s native payment system. (The Verge)
    Tilt Take: It’s certainly an enticing offer for creators and a big indicator that Meta’s Facebook sees the value creators can bring to their platform.
  • Subscriber + ads: Subscribers or advertisers? That’s the question many creators ask, but the best operators know the answer is both. (A Media Operator)
    Tilt Take: Diversifying your revenue streams is smart business.
  • Tune-in link: Listeners to Twitter Spaces don’t have to have a Twitter account or log into the platform to listen. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: The creator-friendly move indicates Twitter is more focused on the big picture (helping creators attract audiences) than on forcing people to hand over their information so they can listen.
  • Think first: “Before you can study an audience you want to reach, you have to figure out where they live online. And as new social platforms and products emerge, that process can require quite a bit of trial and error.” (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: Don’t go all-in at first. Do your homework, and then see if what you’ve learned works with the audience and on the platform you choose.
Tech and Tools
  • Try this: Instagram Reels shared via Stories now include a try-it button. When clicked, it automatically applies the audio from the original Reel, encouraging creators to make their own Reel with the same audio. (Lindsey Gamble)
    Tilt Take: This might be helpful given some of the copyright audio challenges that creators face.
  • See this: Twitter and Instagram got on the same page. Now, tweets with an Instagram link will preview the Instagram post. (Instagram on Twitter; h/t Platformer)
    Tilt Take: It’s interesting to see a cross-platform deal like this, when both are owned by separate companies.
And Finally
  • Creator accelerator: “The pandemic has made it clear that there’s strong demand, good money, and sustainability in the creator economy. Each individual creator is now a full-fledged business (think: Series A or B startup in many cases) with high growth and ROI potential.” (Crunchbase)
    Tilt Take: Yes.
  • Not you: Among the advice of what you don’t have to do to make it in the creator economy: You don’t have to make it about you. “It’s about your audience … Your success will be determined by the value you create for others, not the details you reveal about yourself.” (Josh Spector)
    Tilt Take: The influencer category can make the content creator category seem limited. But you don’t have to be a personal influencer to have a successful content business.

we’re a stan for Steve ‘Destiny’ Bonnell


Twitcher Steve “Destiny” Bonnell established a following on his platform by “broadcasting nearly constant footage of himself, usually talking politics, playing video games, debating people, or some combination of the three,” according to Mother Jones.

He spends almost 16 hours a day video gaming for his now 685K followers, occasionally inserting numerous left-wing ideologies. Countless debates and political discussions erupt on his channel, causing his viewers to tune for both gaming techniques and the additional commentary.

Among his revenue streams, Destiny offers four subscriber tiers, from $5 to $40 a month based on access level and benefits.

Why we’re a Stan: Destiny uses his own site to host his subscription services so he doesn’t have to give a cut to third parties. He also has a unique gaming tilt by bringing in political conversations.

– 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 Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Kelly Wynne, Shameyka McCalman, and Don Borger.

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