TikTok star Hannah Williams hit various achievements in 2023. The 27-year-old ex-data analyst is married to her better half and business partner, James Daniels. She was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Also, in the first entire year of maintaining her business, Salary Transplant Street, made more than $1 million in income.
Williams figured she could get more cash-flow on TikTok with very engaging videos, thus she began asking people how much money they make on the video sharing platform back in mid 2022. She understood she could adapt and monetize the thought through brand partnerships, and within a couple of months, Williams and Daniels quit their jobs to jump into their own business full-time.
“Part of me is still kind of shocked at how big the number is,” Williams says of crossing the $1 million mark after joining TikTok. “But then at the same time, I’m like, that was a lot easier than I thought it was at the start of the year,” she adds. In 2024, she has her sights set on bringing in $2 million.
97% of her income comes from brand partnerships with huge names including, Indeed, Capital One and The Knot, according to documents, while about $30,000 came from creator funds via YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
Regardless of the achievement, Williams rushes to take note of that maintaining a business with $1 million in income doesn’t mean she, at the end of the day, is soaring — she’s making somewhat more than she did working for a business full-time, and her family profit have taken a plunge.
Williams was making $115,000 as a senior data analyst prior to leaving her place of employment to run Salary Transplant Street full-time in 2022. That year, she paid herself about $150,000. Williams claims to have increased her salary to $200,000 at the beginning of 2023. But by the middle of the year, her accounting team had suggested that she keep things under control if she wanted to hire more people to help the business grow.
“As a founder, there’s been situations where I’ve had to take less to make sure that my business can last in the long run,” Williams says. “And the only reason that that’s worked out for me is because I have set up a really successful budget for myself and my family. I don’t live beyond my means. Even though technically I have a million-dollar business, I haven’t changed my lifestyle in any way.”
Williams has since brought her salary down to $125,000 each year. Her better half Daniels takes a $65,000 compensation to work parttime hours as a videographer.
According to Williams, Daniels’ salary was also intentionally thought out. However much she’d need to pay her prime supporter his past compensation of $112,000, she needed to be cautious about not just paying people more since they’re family versus what their market rate is.
“If for whatever reason James wants to go do something else down the road, it’ll be bizarre to now be like, ‘Oh, we have to hire a new videographer for 20 hours a month at $112,000.’’
The couple makes roughly $37,000 less today compared with two years ago. It’s “challenging to the budget,” Williams says, “but I think we’re very comfortable.”
She adds that Williams receives disability payments from the military “that helps sustain us,” but “by all means, we’re still making a little under $200,000 as a household. I’d love more, but I can’t complain with what I have. I live a good life.”
Williams has hired a team of contractors and part-time employees since the company’s inception, including an accountant, lawyer, social media manager, website development team, newsletter writers, and blog writers.
Williams says the greatest lessons she’s learned has been to recruit slow and fire fast.
“It’s definitely something I’ve learned the hard way: Sometimes people make really great friends, but they don’t make great employees,” she says.
Presently, Williams evaluates the worth of a competitor’s abilities and what they convey for the team.
She recognizes it’s “an anomaly” that she and her husband work so well together as co-founders. She boils it down to consistent communication, transparency and a mutual respect for each others’ roles: “I don’t step in his lane, and he doesn’t step in my lane.”
In the next year, Williams hopes to build Salary Transparent Street into a platform that discusses financial transparency at large and how people spend their money on housing, insurance and other everyday costs.
She’s also thinking about how to ensure transparency and equity discussions move beyond social media and into the real world. Williams previously testified in front of the D.C. council in support of its Pay Range Act to require employers to list salary ranges on job postings.
She hopes to share what she’s heard from everyday people with legislators to ensure the “information we collect isn’t going nowhere,” she says. “How can Salary Transparent Street take our interviews a step further to create protections and policies for workers in the workplace?”