MARCH 29, 2024

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

We are counting down to the end of CEX spring pricing … reserve your seat before the end of this weekend to save!

5 things to do

Let’s start with the caveat. These tax tips for US content entrepreneurs do not constitute financial advice. Check with a tax professional for the specifics as they apply to you and your business.

Congrats! You’re earning revenue. But don’t plan to spend all that money. The government(s) gets a share. So do these five things to ensure you and the tax collectors have a good relationship.

1. Track your money: While you can create an invoice in a Word doc, that process won’t help you monitor your sales or track your expenses.

If you sell through third-party commerce sites, they will track your sales revenue, but don’t rely solely on them. Use accounting software to keep everything in one place and import data about your sales revenue from third-party commerce sites.

But even if you sell services, you’ll likely owe self-employment taxes (see No. 3.)

Helpful Resource:

2. Know the forms: When you work with US-based businesses, they often will request a W-9 form to secure your tax identification number (TIN). If you haven’t filled out the free form to secure a federal TIN for your business, you’ll provide your Social Security number.

At the end of the year, they’ll send a 1099 form detailing how much non-employment compensation (NEC) they paid you. If they paid you $600 or more in the year, they should send a 1099.

This form reports your adjusted gross income and earnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The income from any 1099 forms must be reported using Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, as part of your annual tax return.

Caveat: If a company pays your business, you should report the income even if they don’t send you a 1099.

Helpful Resources:

3. Understand when you’ll pay self-employment tax

Your taxable income will likely come from paid courses, subscriptions, books, speaking fees, and other products or services. This revenue contributes to your adjusted gross income, which is the amount used to calculate income tax.

If you are self-employed (i.e., you don’t have taxes deducted from your earnings), you must file Schedule SE. Self-employment taxes pay into Social Security and Medicare taxes. At the time of writing this post, the Social Security tax rate is 12.4% on up to $160,200 of your net earnings, and the Medicare tax rate is 2.9% on your entire net earnings.

Self-employment taxes are in addition to your federal income taxes.

Caveat: If you expect to owe self-employment tax, pay estimated taxes every quarter during the year or face a financial penalty if you wait to pay it when you file your taxes.

Helpful Resource:

4. Look at business expenses and tax deductions: Just like any other business, large or small, you can deduct expenses related to your writing business. Things like office supplies, travel expenses related to your content creation, business operations, etc. There’s even a home office deduction if you operate the business based out of your home.

Keep receipts for any expenses related to your writing business. Period. Keep your receipts. These receipts are crucial for proving your business expenses if the IRS ever questions your tax return.

To claim these deductions, you’ll need to itemize all deductions on Schedule A of your tax return. Note that your expenses likely will be greater than the standard deduction amount set by the IRS.

If your primary source of income is your content business, you may be allowed to deduct your health insurance premiums through form 8941. Be careful to review your filing status and ensure you’re eligible for this cost-saving deduction.

5. Remember state and local taxes

Don’t forget about local taxes. As a small business owner, you may be subject to state and local income taxes in addition to federal taxes.

If you sell products, you likely will owe sales tax to local jurisdictions (state, county, etc). The Tax Foundation breaks down the state sales tax rate and average local tax rate by state in this chart.

Helpful Resource:

Selling your content products and services online means people from all over the world can purchase from you. That’s a terrific way to reach a broader audience, but it also means you’ll sell to people living under different tax codes. Refer to the IRS website for more information about selling internationally.

As a content entrepreneur, you’re not just creating content; you’re running a business. And with the right knowledge and preparation, tax time doesn’t have to be a source of stress.

Please remember that this guide is meant to help clarify key aspects of your tax burden. You should always consult with a tax professional or the IRS for advice specific to your business.

Helpful Resources:

supported by:

Get the scoop on what makes your audience tick

As creators, long-term success starts with a deeply-engaged community—whether they’re your followers, students, subscribers, you name it. The point is: if you want to win in the creator economy and build a sustainable business, you need to understand how your audience behaves and what they crave.

At Teachable, we’re helping creators like you scale businesses of all kinds with our suite of digital learning products. To help you grow confidently, we surveyed 1,000 consumers to better understand the trends shaping how they spend their time online, what creator content they love, and more—so you can make a lasting impact.

5 things from the tilt

Supported by:

StreamYard is the easiest way to create content right in your browser. You can multistream to your social media platforms, host a weekly show with special guests, create webinars, record podcasts with local recordings, create videos, and more.

StreamYard’s a popular tool amongst livestreamers, video creators, YouTubers, and podcasters – with features like live streaming, webinars, local recordings, screen sharing, and more, StreamYard makes it simple to get professional and polished content every time.

5 things to know

  • Not liking: Some writers on Substack say the platform’s feature that allows people to follow authors without subscribing is hurting their business. They say their revenue has dropped since Substack introduced the follow feature last August. [The Wrap]
    Tilt Take: Content platforms like Substack are in business to make money for them, not their users’ business.
  • Quick look: YouTube now lets creators post members-only Shorts to encourage viewers to subscribe to the entrepreneurs’ channels. [Social Media Today]
    Tilt Take: The members-only concept can work well with audiences. They create a feeling of exclusivity that most people appreciate.
  • Search revolution: A new analysis of Google’s AI-powered search generative experience (SGE) responses shown at the top of results finds 62% of the links in the answer come from domains outside the top 10 organic results. [Search Engine Journal]
    Tilt Take: There may be increased hope for people to find your content even if you don’t make the top 10 rankings.
Tech and Tools
  • Tune up: Adobe Podcast Studio was recently launched for beta users. It uses AI-powered tools to help creators improve their audio products. [podnews]
    Tilt Take: Publishing good audio should always be the goal.
And Finally
  • LinkedIn’s time: The business professional network is getting in on the short-form video feed game. It’s testing a video tab in its navigation bar. Users who tap it will enter a vertical feed of short videos that they can swipe. [Tech Crunch]
    Tilt Take: Great step to strengthen its relationship with users, especially those in the TikTok generation.

Please Help Spread The Tilt Message!

Share The Tilt Newsletter with other content creators.

Your unique link:[RH CODE GOES HERE]

Or share via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.