Business Advice for Streamers and Influencers
Written by Amanda Bower | Published: April 24, 2023
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Nothing is more exciting than being at the forefront of a fast-growing new industry. Those working as streamers, influencers, and other new internet-age professionals know exactly what we mean. While the potential to grow a business from your phone or computer doing something you love is incredibly exciting, there’s one thing that often catches streamers and influencers off-guard: the actual business aspects of their trade.
The truth is that accounting and finances can often be tricky for streamers and influencers to navigate. These businesses can often be slow at first before hitting quick growth spurts.
For example, many streamers and influencers might start without making any money from their work before growing their business to a part-time side hustle. Most are considered “micro-influencers,” with 5,000-20,000 followers on their biggest platform, and only 46% of creators are full-time.
But from the moment a streamer or influencer starts monetizing their platform, things quickly change. Whether only a portion of your income comes from streaming/influencing or your business is a fully-fledged enterprise, you still need to navigate this work’s actual accounting, business, and financial aspects.
With that in mind, here is our complete guide to business advice for streamers and influencers.
Have a Game Plan
The $16+ billion influencer industry can be very enticing, but the best thing to do before kicking off your career? Have a game plan.
Plenty of streamers and influencers start with guesswork, throwing “everything at the wall” to see what sticks. But some precise strategies can help you jumpstart your streaming or influencing business. We outline them below.
A streamer or influencer’s audience is central to the success of their platform. With that in mind, it’s critical to think like your audience, try to understand them (and what they see when they find your content), and, perhaps most importantly, connect with them. Connecting with your audience is critical to retaining their attention and getting them to return to your platform for more.
The age-old adage in streaming and influencing has always been to “niche down.” What does this mean, and how relevant is it today? “Niching down” refers to picking a single topic or set of topics that your content will be about and sticking to them.
Having specific niches has historically been seen as a method for success since audience members (and algorithms) know what your content is about and come to you for that topic. But don’t forget, all rules are made to be broken: plenty of influencers today stick to no niche at all. But when you’re first getting started and growing an audience, consider adopting one.
Another key component of business advice for streamers and influencers is the content itself. Content can be like a double-edged sword: it’s one thing to produce and create and another to consume. Create content that you enjoy creating, and don’t forget to step into your audience’s shoes to consider how they might be consuming it.
With streaming and influencing, consistency is key to success. With that in mind, create a schedule and stick to it. Whether it’s how often you stream, post, engage with your audience or create content, keep in mind that consistency is excellent for both your audience and your business.
Monetize Different Income Streams
While streaming and influencing have the potential to be lucrative, it’s wise to monetize different income streams related to your platform. Instead of having “all of your eggs in one basket” and completely relying on one platform for success, here are ways to monetize different income streams as a streamer or influencer.
One of the easiest ways to monetize your streaming or influencer platform can be through in-platform monetization opportunities. YouTube has its Partner Program, TikTok has its Creator Fund, and Twitch has Bits. In-platform monetization opportunities might only become available when you have an audience of a certain size or a certain amount of content on your platform.
Influencer marketing is one of the most common ways streamers and influencers earn income. This involves partnerships or collaborations with brands or products, which you integrate into your content or feed.
Digital or Physical Products
One of our favorite bits of business advice for streamers and influencers? Finding ways to generate revenue that don’t rely on the platforms themselves, which are susceptible to algorithm changes, audience fluctuations, and other unpredictable factors. If you sell a product, such as an ebook, guide, or merch, you can start to earn revenue through other channels.
Offer Premium/Membership Content
Many streamers and influencers today offer their audience a premium tier of content. Fans can pay a monthly subscription to access your best work.
Don’t Forget About Marketing
While it might seem like some creators simply spring up out of nowhere with huge audiences, the truth is that it takes time, effort, and consistency to build a loyal following. And aside from simply creating the content that you love, streamers and influencers should also be sure to include a marketing component into their business strategy.
One of the most effective methods of marketing your streamer/influencer business? Cross-promoting on different social media channels. Don’t simply stick to the one where you get the most views, but be sure to take advantage of other platforms’ reach to maximize your visibility.
You can also consider collaborations with other creators, host giveaways, and create unique branding that is memorable and consistent with your vision.
Form a Legal Entity
Making a living as a streamer or influencer can be a dream, but the business aspects of this dream need to be taken seriously. With that in mind, our next piece of business advice for streamers and influencers has to do with the structure of the business: consider forming a legal entity.
Depending on how much you make from your streaming/influencing business, forming a legal entity depends on your situation. Individuals earning high income from content/streaming should treat their business as such by forming the correct entity structure.
Depending on the legal entity of your business, you might have different tax obligations or certain protections in place. Ultimately, consult a professional before forming a legal entity, but remember that the correct choice can help you keep more of your money in your pocket during tax season.
Don’t Forget About Taxes and Accounting
While taxes and accounting might seem like some of the least exciting aspects of your business, they’re also some of the most crucial. Your business taxes and accounting influence how much money you keep at the end of the day and how to maximize your income.
For example, it’s crucial you keep proper documentation of all income earned. This can be challenging when income comes from different sources, but it is still a key part of proper accounting for streamers and /or influencers.
Keeping track of your income properly is another critical element of our next piece of business advice for streamers: taxes. When you’re earning money as a streamer or influencer, you still have state and federal tax obligations to be aware of.
In order to pay these taxes, you’ll need to calculate how much of your income is due in taxes and set aside this money from all that you’re earning. Then, depending on when your taxes are due, you’ll need to submit payments to the appropriate sources.
One challenging aspect of taxes for streamers and influencers? Understanding your deductions and what counts as one in your specific industry. Understanding the nuances of tax deductions as a streamer or influencer can help ensure you’re maximizing the money you’re keeping at the end of the day.
We Love Working With Streamers and Influencers to Ensure Their Accounting Is Always Up to Speed
Streamers and influencers are like pioneers in today’s Wild West of digital businesses. And while being at the forefront of these exciting industries can be meaningful, lucrative, and just plain fun, there are still standard business practices you need to keep in mind, like accounting and taxes.
We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a trusted partner to help navigate the “business” side of your profession. Here at hiline, we understand exactly what streamers and influencers need to do accounting- and tax-wise, and we can help you with all of the financial aspects of your business through outsourced accounting for streamers and influencers.
Ready to stop stressing about your business accounting? Contact us today, and we’ll take it from here.
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