The creator economy needs a back-office solution

Because solopreneurs need accounting and benefits help

✍️ The big story

Today I’m going to do something a little bit different and not to cover a particular story but instead take a look at a trend that appears to be cropping up lately—i.e., the growing number of banking and accounting providers for small businesses and the self-employed.

The impetus was the below tweet from On Deck Fintech Program Director Sar Haribhakti, who pointed out that “there is an arms race to become the next SMB banking + financing + accounting provider” by citing a bunch of funding rounds related to startups building and competing in that space.

Everyone seems to love the idea of the “passion economy” or the “creator economy,” and we’ve seen tons of cash pouring into startups like Substack and Clubhouse with the intent of helping creators find and monetize an audience.

But getting paid is just the first step in becoming an independent creator. And it seems like less attention has been paid to what happens after someone has made money from their work, whether it’s from a newsletter or podcast or video or whatever.

That’s a major stumbling block if the creator economy is going to actually take off. Beyond just fear of failure, one big reason not to become a solopreneur is the lack of services and benefits that come with having a regular old 9-to-5. ‍As Li Jin writes:

When workers are unbundled from institutions, they lose access to many of the services and benefits that traditional employment conferred: income smoothing with automated tax withholding (i.e. a paycheck), healthcare, employer-sponsored retirement plans, as well as a sense of comradery and community.

So it’s no wonder that startups like Better, Collective, Keeper, and Wingspan have emerged to help try to solve the tax and accounting side of the creative business, or that companies like Catch and Decent are offering up alternative forms of health insurance.

Ultimately, the success—or failure—of the passion economy trend will depend on people’s willingness and ability to support themselves. Giving them the tools to do so only makes sense in the long run.

📖 What I’m reading

How to quit your job in the great post-pandemic resignation boom [Bloomberg]
What to expect when you’re expecting to quit.

You probably shouldn’t work at a startup [Napkin Math]
The potential financial upside just isn’t worth it for most rank-and-file employees.

Nine Inch Nooks - Closer [YouTube]
A literal shot-for-shot remake of the Nine Inch Nails video for Closer, all done in Animal Crossing. And here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two.

Dear Journalism: You are not for me [Noteworthy]
The hours are long, the pay is low, the work is often thankless. There’s a reason why burnout is pervasive across the news industry.

The most radical thing about Ford's F-150 Lightning? The price [Wired]
It’s simply incredible that a full-size, fully electric truck is priced under $40,000—and that’s before tax credits. Frankly, this could go a long way toward spurring more adoption of EVs.

🧘‍♂️Your moment of zen