Creator Economy - The Beginning of the Creator’s Economy, Career in Content Creation, Multiple Income Sources

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Feb 1, 2022 16 min read
Creator Economy - The Beginning of the Creator’s Economy, Career in Content Creation, Multiple Income Sources
The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet. - Naval Ravikant

We are in the 21 century, the century of the internet and technology. It is such a unique time that it sometimes becomes unbelievable. Technology and the internet have joined hands and this amalgamation has made some very beautiful things happen in the world.

One of the magical things is that it has massively broadened career prospects. It has helped people earn a living with an “activity” that earlier was dismissed as a hobby or a mere interest activity.

Today, a person can be a YouTuber or a podcaster. One can be a content creator. This new career line confuses most of the people who have an old mindset but is relatively easy to understand. This is the line between content creation and community creation.

There is a new economy that is being built on the internet. That economy is known to us as a “Creator’s Economy”. If you don’t understand what that is and where it can go, or you doubt it as a good career option then this is the right article for you. We will discuss what a creator economy is and how it has become a buzzword. Then towards the end, we will see if this is a viable career option or not, read on to know more.

Technology and the Internet
Content Creation and Content Creators
The Boost in Technology and the Rise of a New Economy
What is the Creator Economy?
Income-generating Sources (Revenue streams) of Creators
How Content is Winning?
Is Content Creation a Viable Career?
FAQ

Technology and the Internet

If you look back about five-six years from now and focus on the tech specs of your smartphone. Then it is highly probable that you will get shocked by the improvements that the mobile industry has shown. In the past decade, some 500 megabytes of RAM was considered good enough and now, the phone with the least specifications comes with 2 Gigabytes of RAM.

This is not just the case with your smartphone but the improvement in the technology sector is immense. It has not only gotten better but it has also gone a lot cheaper. This has enabled everyone to have a smartphone. At least a basic smartphone is in every hand if not the best flagship out there. Technology has penetrated to great depths in our society and it continues to penetrate more.

The next thing is the Internet. We define the internet as a connected network of computers over a large area. However, it is a result of technology development, so we chose to name it separately as it has its own journey. Earlier, the Internet was expensive and this feature of the internet allowed only some users to use it.

Over the years of the technological revolution, the internet got its much-needed boost. It became cheaper and cheaper up to the level when almost everyone could afford it. Now we see almost everyone has a data pack in his/her smartphone. This makes the world hyperconnected and results in some more interesting aspects of the world. Let us study one such aspect, the creator economy.

Content Creation and Content Creators

In this world where technology is a backbone, it has a lot of consequences. The internet has not just hyperconnected everyone, it is now working overtime to entertain us also. Think about what you do when you’re online?

You most probably are a person who scrolls social media, or you entertain yourself with YouTube, Netflix or you read a blog post about content creation. You could be someone who loves to watch gym videos or yoga tutorials. You might be interested in knowing everything about movies and reviews. You can be anyone, but you know why you are on the internet and for what purpose you’re online.

Almost everything that you see online or hear online is content. Creators spend a lot of time creating content and people view that content with full attention. This is what it is, things on the internet, usually filled with some information of use or sometimes filled with pure entertainment.

While there is no exact definition of the word content, it can be defined as something information-dense over the internet. That information can be educational, and it can even be for leisure and entertainment. There is not just one creator of content on the internet on a specific thing, there are multiple. All fighting a healthy competition of more and more engagement.

Today in 2022, two years into the pandemic, we are seeing something totally different. Our world economy or our country’s economy is maybe most probably down with the ongoing pandemic, but this economy is booming like anything. The economy we are talking about is “The Creator Economy”. This has seen a massive recent boom and it is forecasted to do well in the near future as well. Let us see what it is.

The Boost in Technology and the Rise of a New Economy - Creator Economy

The motive behind our preface about technology and internet globalisation is to set up a suitable land for our next topic. By now you must be wondering that the tech sector is booming and that boom is multiplied because of a global pandemic.

This is true and everyone is on their devices now, giving out more and more attention to the internet online world. When this is happening, creators will get more and more engagement which will turn their businesses more profitable. Well, this is true. The technology boost that was witnessed in the recent past has also massively boosted the creator business. As everyone is sitting online and people creating content online have more of an audience for themselves.

This has not just pumped up the creator game but it has also pumped up the whole career line. There are businesses around this sector. There is a whole ecosystem in place that is built around the content creation industry. Let us throw some light on that.

This is now when the word ‘Creator Economy’ gets in the picture. A creator is a person who creates something in the world. In this article, we will be talking about content creators. While there is no proper definition of the word content, it can be explained as a set of things like a video, photo, audio sort of media which travels freely over the internet.

Anyone who creates content over the internet is known as a content creator. What we now want to focus on, is the economy that is being built around content creation. Yes, there is a whole ecosystem in workings around the epicentre of content.

What is the Creator Economy?

The word 'economy' is something that means an ecosystem that is self-sustaining in producing and running itself. Here, the meaning is the same and all the dynamics are the same too. A creator economy includes all the businesses that are built around the game of content creation.

This is a relatively new field of commerce that has recently come to life and limelight. Now, there are businesses that are built specifically for one purpose and that is to help content creators get more engagement and attention, which can be turned into real cash.

The creator’s economy is at a genuine high time in its graph. All thanks to the accelerated and rapid scaling in the social media platforms and streaming services in the world. In the pandemic times, there can be seen a handsome increase in content demand from the public. This is a trend that can be capitalised on and has the potential to provide employment to a lot of creators.

When a content creator creates content, it has to reach the masses and add an effect on their lives. This is what gives them more and more engagement. It is mostly always about relatability and sometimes about originals and art forms. The more engagement and attention a content creator generate, the more and more brands try to take him/her on board for sponsorships and endorsements. This is the primary source of income that we can think of when we think about these influencers.

Source of Revenue for Creators
Source of Revenue for Creators

Not only does content creation help the creators get some reach and eventually some cash but it also helps brands too. Brands and marketing agencies can use the creator economy to become more relatable to the general public.

They can now look up to the content creators for inspiration, talent recruitments and their return on investments that will save/produce real cash. That was not possible earlier. Brands like Zomato and Bumble do that a lot, partnering with content moguls and sharing relatable public images and quirky memes. This is the new normal.

Social media has done a lot of growth in the recent past and for the last decade, it has turned to be marketers favourite destination to market products. During the covid 19 pandemic, this luxury item became more important and more essential for the survival of the economy. It was the pulse of the heart of the economy.

Everyone was locked inside their homes and businesses were forced to move to online mediums, they had to find ways to boost their products virtually and online, via the internet. thus. Content creators found their demand boom. For the general public, they began spending more time with their devices and thus became a large audience for creators. Apps such as TikTok took off, which now dominates other platforms with roughly a billion active users.

That is literally a new type of business that is emerging. You may have heard about B2B or B2C, but this creator economy works on a new model. The C2C model is also known as “Companies for creators”. These are companies that specifically focus on helping and catering to the content creators out there. They try to magnify creators' revenue which helps them generate their revenue in return.


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Income-generating Sources (Revenue streams) of Creators

Think about a YouTuber, the primary source of income for that is the subscribers base and the advertisement revenue that those subscribers generate. This is what most people suppose of a YouTube star, but it can be more than that.

In fact, not just a YouTube person, any of the creators on any of the global platforms can have more than just one source of income. Let us see some examples to make it more clear. Here we will read some common and some uncommon sources of income that an internet celebrity can have.

Content Subscribers

The most popular platform is YouTube, it works on a subscribers model. The more a person can make it engaging and the more he/she can have a subscriber base, the better the income. This is the primary source on this platform.

Twitter recently started its paid tweets feature in their famous platform. That is called super follows, it allows creators on the internet to create a subscribing audience that pays to watch their exclusive tweets.

Twitter Super Follow
Twitter Super Follow

It can range from 2.99$ to specified by Twitter. This source of income that uses the algorithm and the platform as the epicentre is the most famous and known source of income.

Exclusive Stuff

Once a creator is an established creator, he can add more exclusivity to its content. Youtube allows that, by allowing creators to add a “Join” button to the channel. Viewers can access those exclusive content by paying a minimal monthly fee. This is not just limited to this feature of exclusivity, this was just the beginning, it can expand to more types.

YouTube Join Button
YouTube Join Button

A content creator can create merchandise that is exclusive to his/her style. In this world of hyper technology, established creators can even launch their NFTs. A famous internet creator Logan Paul reported some abnormal gains in the sale of NFTs.

He reported that the NFT he launched was sold for 200 Ethereum. That is an insane amount of money and obviously some supernormal returns. It is mind-blowing to see how much he can earn with the 2.5+ million dollars that he has invested in NFTs.

He also owns a clothing brand and is trying to set up a sports drinks business. There can be no limit to the number of exclusive items a creator can launch and market.

Specific Information via Courses

Yes, you read it right and this point validates your thoughts. Almost every content creator can create a course online and spread it out with his/her audience and for the world out there. The course can be some specific and distinguished information or it can be his/her learnings in the content game.

The most famous example right now would be Ankur Warikoo, the entrepreneur who rose to fame with his educational and motivational YouTube videos. YouTube is just one sort of income stream, he also sells some courses online.

The courses are some specific knowledge that he has gathered in his life, some entrepreneurial skills and some public speaking lessons. Raj Shamani can be another example who sells courses apart from his content creation game. The point reveals itself that in this modern world if you have some hungry audience, you can have multiple streams of revenue.

Fan Interactions and Events

Once you are a regular surfer of the content waves, it is now the time to jump to another level. If you have an audience that loves you and is really fond of you, then this can be one more source of revenue.

Many online creators organise events that are funded by their lovers (Audience). There are many circumstances when some organisation hosts an event and pays the creator to join it. These concerts or fan interactions can also become a revenue stream for these creators. However, the pandemic did add a lot of restrictions to this but they are always available with little tweaks here and there.

Merchandise

Merchandise is something that we all have seen at some or other point in time. They are some products that creators release for people to buy. They can be anything with the creator’s unique tagline or a symbol or anything that is uniquely identified. Famous creators often release them for their fans.

Logan Paul is the owner of “Maverick” clothing. Bhuvan Bam is the creator behind the Youthiyapa merchandise. Almost every creator is releasing his/her own merchandise. They can have mugs, phone covers, and more added to their definition.

Bhuvan Bam Merchandise
Bhuvan Bam Merchandise

These are some of the most uncommon revenue streams that content creators can have. Not just limited to these, there can be more options than just these, depending on the audience relation and type of audience that the creator has. Like a tour and travel blogger will get some sponsorships of places and cuisines. Some vloggers can get sponsorships for tourism spots and travel destinations. The line between all these domains are very little and they often diffuse into each other.

According to Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw, “Creators now make so much money from social media that crossing over isn’t the be-all and end-all. They can make millions of dollars in advertising on YouTube and sponsorships on Instagram. They leverage their audience to start their own clothing or make-up line. And unlike many other creative pursuits, the creator economy has proven pandemic-proof.” Thus, there is a huge incentive that is there in this line of career.

You have to be able to build some base audience first and then you can think of some real cash. There is always a first-mover advantage in terms of engagement and reward in views. It is a test that someone has to pass before becoming a celebrity. Yes, celebrity is a real word in the urban dictionary.

It can easily be said that content is the most profitable product of the 21st century. Not just that, but it has grown much. Now, there is a whole industry that works around content. There is a whole ecosystem in place which is trying to help people get more attention sell more and eventually generate more cash. The C2C commerce, Companies for creators.


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How Content is Winning?

There are over 6 billion people who use a smartphone device, according to Statista, and almost 4 billion of them are active on a social media platform. This is easy to say that everyone is on their phone consuming content, but few are the people who are creating content. However, you might find them in thousands in numbers but again India has about 130 crores of population. So why is content winning you ask?

It is super accessible. You install a social media app on your phone. Technology is cheap and great, making an account with one email is easy. Sign up and you can access a lot of data information and content. A report said that 30 thousand hours of content is uploaded every hour. It is not just easy for the audience to watch cool things but it is also easy to hop on the content creation ride.

There are many possibilities. Many many possibilities. Those which we discussed in this article are probably just the tip of the iceberg. Never in the history of time, things like these were possible.

You learn a thing, or you find something that is natural to you, you go online, create an account and post content, and you grow. Once you are consistent enough and successful in building an audience, there can be endless possibilities to grow more from that stage. Marginal growth becomes easy and multidimensional.

Money - it is where the money is. Content creation is where the big money lies. It is the place where everyone lives, the online world. That online world is not expected to close/shut down in the near future. That is why it has a lot of potential to earn money.

Another reason why content is winning is that creators are creating not just content, they are creating ‘Asymmetric information’. There are many content creators who know branding and marketing way better than brands and marketers. They know the code of conduct in an online marketplace and that is why brands love to collaborate with them. This is sometimes the very basis of paid partnerships in the online world.

Is Content Creation a Viable Career?

Yes and No. There are still high doubts about content creation being a viable and stable career. When we talk about a career we generally mean something related to two factors. We mostly want stability and high reward. There is stability in the career but it comes with a different definition. There exists high rewards too in this career but only after some tests.

First of all, not everyone can be a content creator. Someone has to be a viewer and follower. It has to be noted carefully. If you’re someone who is just starting out, then you would be looking at statistics a lot. They have to rise if you want more engagement/subscribers/likes/shares. You have to create content that the audience would love.

To be super honest, that is not as easy as it looks from a distance. Instagram Stars like Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh, Ankush Bahuguna, and others do that every day. It can seem easy from a distance but creativity is not as easy as it sounds and looks. You have to find some hook, on which you can build up. That hook will grab people’s attention. Not to mention that there is always the first-mover advantage.

Secondly, even if you create content, building a community is hard. You have to be super specific in your content and whatever you show and speak online. The likes and shares would look easy but they are hard-earned. So, if you are starting out, try to be clear with your approach.

Try to enhance your content every day and just keep doing it until something big happens, even after that, don’t stop. It is often called luck. Some people call someone lucky to be at some specific place at a specific time. That is not entirely true, and hard work matters a lot.

Another thing that a lot of creators have mentioned countless times is the “Fun” part of creating. Most of them have mentioned that it is about individual preferences. If you’re having fun creating something for the world then you should go ahead and dive into the content game. Metrics like the number of subscribers, likes, shares will come after you have mastered your area. It is always the process and only after a while you do find a happy destination in your career as a content creator.

The recent surge in the pandemic has not affected this economy and it is growing at an even better rate. The Creator's economy’s adaptability and resilience that it showed during the pandemic added high hopes from this sector. As individuals, now creators can have multiple income streams and that too with growing influences in the market.

Now brands from all over the world can be more and more influenced with the help of these content creators. Instead of investing millions of dollars in advertisements and placing them during prime time television shows, they can use creators for brand placements.

This can help brands with getting a ready-made audience for their products or services. This makes marketing easy and product placements even better.


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Conclusion

Social media has been a very crucial part of marketing over the past 10 years. With the advancements in technology and diversification in devices, we are seeing a massive boom in online marketing. All these acts and the current pandemic has boosted the audience that creators have online. Which has in effect turned the content creation into a well profitable game.

In the history of the internet, this is probably the best time one can be a content creator. Moreover, there is now a new online economy solely dedicated to this domain. When everyone is on their devices and giving out free attention to the internet, it is probably a tight time to turn your hobby into a full-time career.

The creator economy, often abbreviated as something that can turn your side hustle into your main hustle is booming. But can everyone be a content creator? The answer is very subjective Yes and No. You have to let go of the skin of the game.

You have to keep upgrading your tools and techniques to get more attention. More importantly, you have to enjoy the process, because if you enjoy creating, then most probably the audience will love interacting with your content. It is a double-edged sword and both the edges are sharp.

FAQ

What is the creator economy worth?

The industry of content creators, content curators, and community builders is worth nearly $20 billion dollars.

How many people are in the creator economy?

As of 2020, there are 50 million global content creators.

What is an economic creator?

Any content creator or community builder who uses platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube etc to monetize their fanbase is termed creator economy.

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