Social Media

Meet the TikToker Who Went From Sleeping in His Truck to Starting a 7-Figure Tax Business

Today, 28-year-old Duke Alexander Moore is living many a millennial entrepreneur‘s dream: He’s successfully zeroed in on his niche and is using social media to turn a major profit.

The founder of seven-figure business Duke Tax, a membership-based tax service for creators, influencers and entrepreneurs, Moore parlays his extensive tax knowledge into content for his TikTok account @dukelovestaxes, which presents critical tax tips with an entertaining flair to its 3.4 million followers.

But the path to becoming a multi-million-dollar business owner wasn’t a straightforward one.

Despite having an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as he can remember (he sold CDs, complete with graphics and labels, in elementary school), Moore found himself at a difficult crossroads after college. “I got in trouble because I was selling things I was not supposed to be selling,” he tells Entrepreneur.

Having a record made finding employment difficult. In 2014, at 24, Moore had secured a job at a warehouse as a forklift driver, but he was deeply unhappy.

In 2018, when Moore’s boss screamed at him one day for finding a more efficient way to complete a task that wasn’t “the right way,” he broke down — and realized it was time to strike out on his own.

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business | Entrepreneur

“At an early age, I was self-taught: taxes, bookkeeping and write-offs.”

Moore knew that he needed to “become an expert in something” if he was going to succeed. So he began to consider what he liked — and was already good at.

Moore had “enjoyed numbers” since he was a child playing with multiplication machines. He was also familiar with navigating the tax system: As a teenager, he’d modeled for the Campbell Agency, which meant he’d had to file as an independent contractor.

“That’s how I originally got involved with taxes,” Moore explains, “because at an early age, I was self-taught: taxes, bookkeeping and write-offs, just learning all that jam.”

Committed to his new venture, Moore trained with QuickBooks, the accounting software developed by Intuit, to become a pro advisor. That designation allowed him to be listed in QuickBooks’ directory and have business sent his way.

Then, when one of Moore’s first clients requested help with her taxes, he decided to get some official expertise in that area as well. In 2019, he became an enrolled agent — the highest credential the IRS awards.

But in those early days, it still wasn’t enough to make ends meet. “During that period, I experienced homelessness for a couple months,” he says. “It was very, very tough…I slept on the street two or three times, but most of the time I was either sleeping in my truck or at a friend’s house.”

Related: How Andres Pira Went From Homeless on the Beach to Real Estate Tycoon

“[TikTok] took me from zero to seven figures.”

Moore, who “refuses to take no for an answer,” wasn’t willing to give up on his business.

At the time, Moore, like millions of Americans, would often scroll through TikTok. And what he discovered on the app would ultimately change the trajectory of his career and life.

“I’ll never forget, I saw this one tax video [on TikTok],” Moore says. “I’m like, Okay, I’m in taxes. I can do that too.

So he decided to give it a try. Moore started with a tax series, replicating some of what he’d seen on the app. But the content wasn’t sticking, and Moore’s confidence was low. “I was very nervous in front of the camera,” he recalls. “Very shy. It was so bad. I don’t even know how I can just pick up a camera today. It would take me almost a day to record one video.”

When [someone’s] scrolling the For You page, how do you make your video fit in with everyone else’s videos?

Then he began to take a closer look at the kind of content that was performing on the app.

TikTok is a really entertaining and engaging app,” Moore says. “So when [someone’s] scrolling the For You page, how do you make your video fit in with everyone else’s videos? Could you imagine someone dancing or making a skit, and [then] you have someone like, ‘Hey, you need to file your taxes.’ You’d be like, Oh my God, skip. Block.

On a mission to up his content’s entertainment factor, Moore scrolled for inspiration — and found it in the form of someone wearing a bath towel on their head. Moore followed suit, putting a towel on his own head, and continued to talk taxes.

The unconventional move was successful — incredibly so. After that point, Moore’s account ballooned, growing to three million followers in just a year and a half. “Then it took me from zero to seven figures,” he says.

@dukelovestaxes Claiming your BF/GF on your taxes #taxtok #taxnews #taxes #tax #dukelovestaxes ♬ original sound – Duke Tax

Related: 3 Ways To Go Viral on TikTok With Audio | Entrepreneur

“[Duke Tax’s] goal is to be your protector and have you pay the least amount of tax possible.”

As Moore continued to expand his business, it became clear that many CPA firms don’t fully understand content creator taxes. In fact, confusion often comes from both sides. Many creators don’t realize they’re running a business; they owe money and are eligible for deductions, just like any other business owner, Moore says.

Moore set out to fill the tax-service gap for creators, and today, Duke Tax focuses primarily on helping them and entrepreneurs with their taxes.

Creators are business owners, so Moore helps them behave accordingly: setting up an entity structure, like an LLC, and keeping proper books.

“This IRS thing is just a game,” Moore says. “They want to have you pay the most amount of tax possible — that’s the game. [Duke Tax’s] goal is to be your protector and have you pay the least amount of tax possible. There’s not much we can do without bookkeeping.”

Moore also stresses how important it is for creators to reinvest their earnings, as there’s no guarantee the brand deals will keep coming.

Perhaps better than most, Moore understands that no entrepreneurial endeavor comes without uncertainty and challenges, but the willingness to keep going — no matter what — is what sets apart those who find success.

“My No. 1 lesson I preach at all times is progress, not perfection,” Moore says. “There are so many times we focus on the perfection of things, which [prevents us from] actually getting the thing done. It’s repetition that makes perfection. Go out there and make mistakes. It sounds weird, but every time I make a mistake, I always learn something.”

Related: Keep Going: How to Avoid Burnout as an Entrepreneur | Entrepreneur

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