No More Hustleporn: How I Became a Personal Finance TikToker

Tweet by Austin Hankwitz

I create personal finance & investing content - empowering everyone to become an educated investor. Featured on @cnbc @wsj @nytimes

1/ I started posting personal finance & investing content on TikTok March of 2020 — I quit my FT job in corporate finance March of 2021. In this thread I’ll explain my entire playbook in hopes to help other creators wanting to make the leap / start creating.

2/ I found @garyvee in 2017 and something he always said was to start creating content online. I was an avid @GrahamStephan @realMeetKevin @andreijikh and @nateobrienn watcher on YouTube, so why not start with personal finance and investing?

3/ Took what I learned from studying finance and economics at the University of Tennessee and working in corporate finance for a healthcare company here in Nashville, TN and began filming for YouTube.

4/ Quickly realized to compete / be watched I needed movie production quality videos — I had an iPhone 8 and the microphone that came in the box at the time, which isn’t exactly YouTube quality.

5/ Like everyone else during the pandemic’s eclipse, I spent my spare time scrolling on TikTok — a platform that encouraged people to record natively within the app on their smart phones.

6/ Taking another page out of @garyvee’s book “it doesn’t matter how the content looks, what matters is what you’re saying” — so I recorded my computer screen talking through dividend investing and why people should consider starting.

7/ 1M views and a lot of positive feedback came only a few days later. Realized I needed to start a Patreon account to further explain my ideas and concepts in a long-form written format, so I did — and it was well received online.

8/ For 3 months I posted value-adding, educational personal finance and investing videos to TikTok. No fancy equipment, just my computer screen or my pen and paper. Lucky for me, one of those pen and paper videos went ultra viral (20M+ views across platforms).

9/ The video was a step by step guide on how anyone can begin investing toward retirement through a Roth IRA, and how I was using Betterment to do so myself. Simply explained how much $250/month could turn into over 40 years.

10/ Betterment didn’t pay me to post the video. They added so much value to me when I started, I was confident they would add value to others - so I mentioned them. After tens of thousands of people signed up for Betterment, we got in contact and worked out a deal for the future.

11/ I then realized that retirement investing was only one “segment” of this entire thing. You also have real estate, crypto, and alternative assets — not to mention personal finance’s budgeting, credit cards, student loans, and others.

12/ I wrote down the “segments” that I use and who I use for them. Then I reached out to my audience and asked them what “segments” were most important to them. We aligned on about 5 of them and I got to work! Cold emailing and warm intros all over the place to get in touch.

13/ After a lot of time spent explaining and negotiating, I was able to lock in long term contracts with these companies in a manner that provided value for my audience — if that’s waiving management fees or getting an extra bonus upon sign up.

14/ It was always an audience-first mentality. If I could be the bridge between incredible fintech companies and millions of people responsibly investing toward their futures, count me in.

15/ Eventually though, I’ll stop making TikToks. With this reality, I needed to begin thinking long-term. That’s when strategic investing came into the mix — I’ve taken a majority of the money made from TikTok and invested it into countless fintech & creator economy companies.

16/ For what’s next, @KingBach and I are starting a podcast (Exposed Wealth) — chatting with music artists, athletes, and celebrities about how they made their money and where they’re investing it for long term growth. Big shoutout to King Bach for the opportunity. Eager!

17/ In summary, like @naval says — have specific knowledge. Then figure out a way to leverage that knowledge in a way that provides value to others, then to others at scale.

18/ I understand people are fast to write off finance creators on TikTok as scammers, or peddling get rich quick schemes — they exist. That’s not who I am. I create personal finance and investing content to empower everyone to become an educated investor. That’s it. Education.

19/ couldn’t have done any of this without the inspiration & help from creators MUCH more deserving than myself — @Humphreytalks @AdmaniExplains @acouplecents @ChrisCamillo @KayKilbride @kylascan @JayHoovy @vanadergrowth @tejashullur @KingBach @BEAUcasperSMART + countless others.

20/ finally, my DMs are open. If you have any questions about getting started, content strategy, negotiating pricing, running a creator business, or anything in between — don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll try and provide value any way I can. ❤️