What is The Creator Economy? How to Monetize Your Passion in 20225 minute read
You might hear this term everywhere, but what exactly is the “Creator Economy”?
And most importantly, how does it affect YOU?
In today’s article, we will try to define what the creator economy is, how to become part of it and how it is shaping the world and society as we know it.
So without further ado, let’s get right into it:
What is The Creator Economy?
The Creator Economy is a term used to identify new independent businesses that have been rising in the past years, and kickstarted with the global pandemic.
But the creator economy doesn’t just encompass all independent businesses, instead, it describes millions of creators who have harnessed the power of the online world to monetize their own skills, hobbies, and knowledge.
Social media influencers, online course creators, coaches, and anyone that has a skill and manages to monetize it online is part of the creator economy.
Other entities take part in supporting the “creator economy”: numerous companies and tools are being built to meet the needs of these creators and help them in the development, delivery, and monetization of their content.
From content-creation tools to analytics platforms, these companies are helping creators not only monetize their knowledge but also own their work and audience more directly.
Part of these companies is - of course - Heights Platform, an online course creation software that lets creators monetize their knowledge online and build their own businesses (while retaining ownership of their content).
How Was The Creator Economy Born?
While it has been around since the early 2000's but 2020 was probably the year where the creator economy truly took off. The COVID-19 pandemic caused massive disruption to the world economy, leading many workers to find new ways to earn a living and make ends meet. The ability to earn a living in a non-traditional manner proliferated, with masses of people seeking a means to generate income in a way that did not rely on face-to-face interactions.
COVID-19 and the self isolations measures implemented by governments also helped people to make the switch toward an online environment.
These changes in our society helped many people realize they could earn money from what they already know and enjoy - their hobbies and passions.
This realization, together with the realization of all the other benefits of the creator economy (financial flexibility, location freedom, engaging work…) sparked the beginning of what we now call the Great Resignation: a general shift in awareness towards caring more about finding fulfillment in our careers that led many employees to resign from their more traditional jobs.
How Big is The Creator Economy?
There is no defined number for how many creators make up the creator economy, as creators use many digital mediums and platforms. One study calculated around 50 million creators, a number that probably grows every day. As for the market size of the creator economy, it is estimated to be around $104 billion currently, with a massive growth trajectory!
Who Makes The Creator Economy?
As the name suggests, the creator economy is made up of creators from all industries. Anyone who manages to create content online, and monetizes their expertise and authority online can be considered a creator.
The definition of “creators” is rather a general term that encompasses a whole range of individuals. Mainly we can segment this group into three categories:
- Content Creators: people who specialize in creating sharable content in different forms (video, articles, photos, podcasts…)
- Knowledge Creators: people who monetize their expertise around a certain topic (online course creators, coaches…)
- Social Media Influencers: people with a large social media following who literally influence their audience
These three categories often overlap: a content creator can be a knowledge entrepreneur and vice versa. Many times a creator encompasses all three categories into one.
The differences exist mainly in their chosen content distribution channels, and thus, how they earn revenue. Still, the creator economy continues to grow and the lines continue to blur, as easier paths to monetization emerge and the importance of owning your audience is more widely realized.
How Do Creators Make Money?
There are many ways for creators to earn money online, for the sake of the article, let's focus on knowledge creators and how they can make a living.
As we already established, the category of knowledge creators includes anyone who monetized their expertise online by sharing and teaching their skills to others.
There are three main ways to make money online for knowledge creators:
#1: Selling their knowledge under their own business:
This is probably the most profitable way for a knowledge creator to make money online. In this scenario, creators will build their own business through a website or dedicated platform where they can host their content and retain full ownership of it.
This method of monetization includes creating online courses, selling digital products, offer coaching services or training calls. By selling their content through their own website or utilizing a platform that allows creators to fully own their content, they can maximize earnings and have the freedom to promote, price and structure their business as they want.
Creators can use Heights Platform to host their online courses, and membership sites, sell digital products and coaching services while retaining full ownership of their content and get the flexibility to define their own business model. Using Heights Platform is easier than creating your own website using a WordPress site for example, as the platform is specifically designed for online course creators.Create Your Online Course Today
#2: Selling their knowledge through third-party apps:
Another way for knowledge creators to monetize their expertise is by using third-party apps to reach a broader audience of potential buyers.
Depending on the type of content the creator wishes to sell, there are many platforms and marketplaces like this.
In the case of online courses, marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare lets creators post their content through the platform and sell to the existing audience. While this way of selling online can be easier in terms of promotion and attracting new clients, the creators are generally losing a large portion of their earnings to marketplace commission/transaction fees, and are restricted by the rules of the third-party platform.
Learn all about this: Online Course Software vs Marketplace - Which is Better for Your Business?
#3: Monetizing their content via partnerships and advertising:
This way of making money online can apply to all creators, not only to knowledge creators.
If creators have a large audience and social media following, they can leverage their online influence to be hired to promote third-party products and services. The bigger the audience and the highest the engagement, the more money creators can make through advertising.
More so than knowledge creators, influencers specifically depend on sponsored posts or affiliate marketing to generate income instead of selling any products or services of their own creation, which is how knowledge entrepreneurs make income.
A knowledge creator can leverage all three earning strategies by selling courses on their own website, using third-party apps and through paid promotion, however, ad revenue or affiliate commission is often seen as an "extra" revenue stream, not the main focus for knowledge creators.
Conclusion: The Best Way To Monetize Your Knowledge as a Creator
The creator economy is growing exponentially, so what does this mean for you?
If you have a passion, a hobby or you are knowledgeable about a specific topic, why not monetize your expertise online?
Knowledge entrepreneurs create online courses, membership communities, digital downloads, coaching programs, newsletters, and podcasts as a way of monetizing their content and expertise.
These products and services can be sold through marketplaces, third-party apps or by the creator themselves, on their own websites. The latter is the best option of knowledge creators, here is why:
For creators of all types, it’s key to diversify income streams and secure a platform where you own both the content and audience relationship. This allows direct monetization of products, services, and content.
Another important reason why this approach is better for creators is that owning your content means that you are not at the mercy of a third-party app, and even of the creator economy itself.
With Heights Platform, it is easy to create and sell online courses, digital products, membership sites, challenges and coaching programs. Plus, you fully own your content, there are no transaction fees or sales percentages to pay and you can customize your site to reflect your brand's image.Create Your Online Course Today