The Creator Economy

I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about the economic shifts that are happening around us. Now I’m not an economist, and I really respect that profession so this isn’t going to try and explain the nuances of what’s going on around us. That being said, here are a few of the ‘soundbites’ as it were, that have caught my attention:

“The best minds in the world right now are working in advertising”

“Influencers/Creators are now small business in their own right”

“Creators have started funding creators”

Colin and Samir

Whatever you think of this collection or facts and opinions, there can be no denying the emergence of this new sector. The influencer market is only expected to grow, most teenagers want to be YouTubers, and demand for the digital skills that creators possess has never been higher. Just look at this job board from Moment for example. I would have loved to have seen listings like this as a teenager, there’s so many exciting career choices there.

One of the great things about this new creator economy is the power that it gives to the individual. When you listen to YouTubers like Matti Haapoja or Oliur, a theme you’ll pick up is they enjoy the freedom that their career brings them. It doesn’t mean it’s not hard work, or that there isn’t pressure. But these are creative people who thrive on being able to express themselves without having to go through the pain of dealing with clients all the time.

Just a note that this isn’t the case for all creatives. Filmmakers and photographers like Eric Floberg and Peter McKinnon still work for clients, so it doesn’t follow that just because you don’t have to, you don’t want to.

That being said, what fuelled this post is thinking about the comparison between working towards a rewarding position in a corporate environment, and working for yourself. I saw this quote recently which was attributed to The Rock, although I see absolutely no evidence for that, I’m happy to pretend it is his words. 🙂

IG I @businessgrowthmentor Dwayne Johnson @ <i @TheRock Dont work 8 hours  for a company and then go home & not work on your own goals. You are not  tired, you are uninspired.. - )

Now, this definitely doesn’t apply to everyone (sorry Dwayne). As this article from the BBC points out, there are plenty of people more than happy to work a 30-40 hour week for someone else, and then go home and not think about anything else. I have a lot of respect for those people.

But there can be no denying that when you take matters into your own hands, and attempt to play The Great Online Game, a different set of rules to the big business world apply. And that feels liberating for a lot of people (I know it does for me). You’re no longer relying on a single person, or a few senior people, to provide you with the next step up. Yes there are a whole load of other variables to play with, but effectively if you put out top quality content, you will likely get at least a decent return. (More on this from my own brief history of content creating in a future post)

One old rule or saying that came to mind for me was this:

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”

One of the attractions of the creator economy, is that you are no longer reliant on who you know. And what makes it even better, is that the knowledge economy (what you know) is very closely linked to the creator economy. If you know a lot about a specific topic: think James Hoffman with coffee, or Gerald Undone with cameras, then you already have a sellable resource.

The other big change, is that it now matters less who you know, it’s more about who knows you. It’s about your reach, your influence. Finding people that care about what you care about, and creating content for them. The better your knowledge and content is, the more likely it is that you can reach those people, and that they’ll stick around. And voila! You have an audience. Welcome to the new economy.