The tech employee-creator dilemma

More and more employees are moonlighting as influencers on platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube.

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The tech employee-creator dilemma


Future. More and more employees are moonlighting as influencers on platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube, raising concerns of work-balance, insider knowledge, and how best to earn money. But with seemingly everyone trying to be a creator these days, companies may have no choice but to prepare for (and possibly reward) the inherent conflicts of interest.

Insider influencing?
Working for a social platform and also creating on it… what could go wrong?

  • Employee-creators run the risk of making content that could be considered embarrassing or inappropriate to the company.
  • Further, it raises questions among staff at how committed an employee is to their actual 9-5 job if they have time to create content… especially since these tech companies often have a strong all-in hustle culture.
  • Outsiders may also question if someone has become famous because of some inside knowledge that the employee-creator has about the platform or algorithm.

Some may shake their head at someone like Jenna Palek, who ironically became a TikTok influencer because of a TikTok video she made to land her job at the company (eventually leaving the job because she made enough from her beauty videos).

However, one recent study from the Academy of Management found that “the emotional and cognitive benefits that workers derive from side gigs enhances their performance in their regular jobs more than it hurts it.”

Patreon saint
Also, it’s a no-brainer that companies want to hire people that know and are passionate about their platforms… but each company has taken a different stance on what to do about the employee-creators.

  • YouTube, Twitch, and Meta let employees earn money through subscriptions, online tipping tools, and ad-revenue sharing on their personal accounts.
  • YouTube also allows employees to take part of their creator fund.
  • But Snap doesn’t allow employees to earn money through its tipping feature or the creator fund.
  • Patreon, on the other hand, encourages employees to also become creators, with 1-2% of employees eventually leaving the company to go at it full time.
    • Even the company’s CEO and co-founder, Jack Conte, has a Patreon page for his band, Pomplamoose.

No matter which platform these employees create on, they can expect to receive both a W2 and W9 from the same company this tax season.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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