What’s a Creator?

I get asked a lot about the world of content creation, so I wanted to take a minute and break down the creator economy.

What is a creator?

Today in the world of social media, the word “creator” is such a buzz word and there are 207 million people that are considered “creators” in a professional sense.

The anticipated size of the creator economy is around $104.2 billion according to Influencer Marketing Hub.

There is a common misconception about this stat.

The creator economy is often linked to “influencer”, but that is only a part of the story.

If you break the numbers down more, the influencer market is a fraction of that at $16.4 Billion.

About 94% of creators will make less than $10K in their first year. Only 35% of them are monetized and aren’t making enough money to quit their day jobs.

It’s just like any other startup small business that you have to build on the nights and weekends.

So where is the rest of that money?

There are a couple of buckets you see “creators” grouped into, and if you mixed all these “creators” into a room, they would need to be broken into smaller groups.

I’m going to generalize the details of each. These are just my observations from working in the space and seeing more brands taking different social media platforms more seriously.

  • Influencer
  • Characteristics: Your online personality is your business.
  • Superpower: Connection with the audience.
  • Revenue: Mostly brand deals. Ad sense, products, courses and other can make more of the rest.
  • Artist
  • Characteristics: You have a defined skillset like photography or painting.
  • Superpower: Artwork
  • Revenue: Prints and commissions and brand deals.
  • Production
  • Characteristics: You work as an agency, creating professional content for brands.
  • Superpower: Quality, workflows, and deliverables.
  • Revenue: Production services and retainers
  • In-House
  • Characteristics: You work as the in-house content creator for a brand
  • Superpower: Jack of all trades
  • Revenue: Salary or contractor.
  • Thought Leader
  • Characteristics: Usually an entrepreneur or coach. You use social media to grow your business. You grew a following and now you are technically a “creator”.
  • Superpower: Message, delegation to production/in-house.
  • Revenue: Main business, speaking, books.

You could almost put “YouTubers” in their own category.

For over a decade, I have been doing “production” for other brands and have slowly moved more of my time into the “artist” or “influencer” category just based on where my revenue comes from.

The number one thing you need to know is that you shouldn’t rely on just one source of revenue. Your DM’s, networking, and cold outreach can grow a variety of verticals.

Hope that helps.