Have you been hesitating to jump and commit to the pursuit of becoming a digital creator due to feeling like “maybe it's too late”?
Cast your self-doubts aside because it's not too late. In fact, NOW is your perfect time to enter this market and reap its rewards as one of many brilliant digital creators from all over the world!
Believe it or not, after witnessing a dizzying and growing list of creators, everywhere, for years, the creator economy is still in an early stage of growth.
It may feel like everyone else has already jumped on board the digital creators train, but that is just simply not true. It also doesn't mean there aren't any more opportunities out there waiting for your creative touch. There are still plenty of open, green and untapped markets and audiences that are just waiting to be discovered by ambitious creators and businesses alike.
Audiences age and come and go like the seasons, just as we have seen digital creators do, which means opportunities to satisfy curiosities and to gain a following constantly evolves.
Who are the Digital Creators in this creator economy?
You may have an image of a bunch of confident and fresh-faced teenage YouTubers or crypto-tech preaching bros, when you hear the phrase ‘digital creators’.
While these types definitely exist and some are actually making a killing out in the digital wild, the definition of ‘digital creators’ extends beyond that.
Digital creators are groups (collaborators, agencies or digital companies) or individuals who use digital technology to produce unique and original materials that are entertaining, educational, informational or even commercial. These digital materials are published and distributed for online consumption by listeners, followers, visitors, or subscribers; in short, audience.
Materials include but are not limited to:
- articles and blog posts
- social media posts
- case studies
- online courses
There are roughly 207 million digital creators globally today. A 2021 survey determined that nearly half of the digital creators or 48% are millennials, 27% are Gen Z, 5% are Gen X and 8% are Baby Boomers. Also, more than half (64%) of digital creators are women.
According to an Adobe survey conducted in May 2022, since 2020, 8 million have joined the UK creator economy. The survey also found that digital creators now make up to 25% of the UK population.
Oxford Economics also conducted research in 2021, finding the YouTube creator economy to have supported more the 40,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the UK, contributing around £1.4B to the country’s GDP.
How Open is The Creator Economy Space for Digital Creators Right Now?
The aforementioned figures might seem overwhelming and give you the impression that the creator economy is now bursting at the seams. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Followers/consumers are just as unique as digital creators strive to be.
For example, not every gaming fan will watch each and every single e-sports and gaming creator on Twitch. Aside from it being humanly impossible, there is simply no way that all messaging, personalities, or gaming preferences will appeal to the same exact viewer. Some followers may prefer @Zerkaa’s experience and friendly approach over @Wolfabelle’s girl-next-door charm, and vice-versa.
Your brand and communication style will attract its own appreciative audience who relates and connects with the unique content you produce as a digital creator.
You might be surprised to know that on the topic of ‘travel’, successful and trusted digital creators/agencies Conde Nast Traveller and Visit London are not even among the top 10 digital creators among UK audiences; they rank at 60th and 79th respectively. This goes to show that engagement ranking does not necessarily indicate success or disadvantage for digital creators.
Growing Investment in the Creator Economy, Post-Pandemic and the Great Resignation
The combined economic fallout caused by the pandemic and its subsequent Great Resignation phenomena caused by collective burnout and lack of fulfilment has seen a staggering 400 million jobs lost worldwide.
This has allowed several people from all over the world, including white-collar professionals, to marry creativity and productivity and reclaim more freedom in taking up gigs that fit their own idea of a healthier work lifestyle. This also means creating time and space to pursue creative and fulfilling endeavours that share their interests with a vast potential audience, with the goal of earning revenue from their passions.
Although advertisers’ investment growth in most platforms has slowed down a bit in the aftermath of COVID-19, there are no signs of it stopping, especially for the top-performing platforms.
For example, in 2020, 50% of global marketers advertised on YouTube. Based on different research and surveys conducted in 2022, this has recently grown to 70-80% of global marketers investing in YouTube marketing; this growth is still predicted to continue as YouTube remains the most visited video platform today.
This investment growth is also evidenced by YouTube’s payout figures to its creators: the platform shared that they had paid out a total of more than $30B to their digital creators from 2017-2020. But just in 2021 alone, YouTube payouts amounted to an astounding $28B.
New Technology and Better Ideas Support Each Other
One thing that hustling digital creators can also note is that many other creators are just starting— and most digital creators (experienced and beginners alike) are just starting to experiment with the new tools available online. This makes “catching up” easier for newbies.
With this, everyone has space for growth and experimentation as new ideas continuously crop up, to be potentially explored with better technology.
For example, better editing tools and hardware are always being developed in the photography industry. This allows digital creators to experiment with speeds, light, and angles, and empowers them to explore new subjects and more challenging environments, raising standards and elevating artistry within their community. Mobile tech companies have been competing at furious speed to equip our phones with incredible cameras that are more than capable of recording, editing, and producing high-quality video.
A Digital Creator Middle Class is YET to Emerge
According to a report commissioned by Meta and written by Richard Florida, creating a sustainable and sizable “middle class” of digital creators who earn a decent living is still an important challenge for the current Creator Economy.
Right now, success as digital creators is still mostly exemplified by those who rake in millions in a winner-take-all fashion (like Pewdiepie and Mr. Beast).
But, of course, not everyone can or should be expected to be obscenely rich as a digital creator in order for content creation to be considered a viable career or industry.
With improving support from creator platforms and the government, we can still look forward to an increasing middle class (£33-70K annual earnings, full-time) of digital creators to emerge and dominate in the future, establishing then that anybody can earn substantial livelihoods from their creative pursuits and production.
What Should New Digital Creators Do?
Be Patient and Consistent; It Takes Time to Gain Trust in the Creator Economy.
It takes an average of six and a half months for digital creators to earn their first quid, 17 months to be able to earn sustainably, and 25 months to be able to hire their first freelancer or employee. This is not surprising as brands and consumers alike look to creators who have already built their online credibility with the quality and quantity of their materials.
Being a digital creator can be fulfilling for those who are prepared to play the long game. While being ambitious and optimistic is valuable as a digital creator, it is most important and incredibly advantageous to be patient, consistent, and determined.
Feed your ideas and your drive with curiosity and inspiration. Observe what your audience is sharing, liking and following. Read regularly about news and trends related to your niche. Don't forget to stay true to yourself, and make sure to check this blog, where I have written more on the topic of quality vs quantity.
Research about the opportunities, lack, and pain points expressed in your chosen community that you can address with your content.
Before you practise signing your ‘autograph’, focus on making a habit out of creating and posting content. Establish and follow a daily routine that will allow you to produce sustainably and publish regularly.
Sometimes you will lack motivation, you may even lack belief in your own ideas, and on worse days you may feel discouraged because you are not seeing the results you want. But remember: you get better and faster with practice. Your video editing or copywriting skills will get better with each video or blog you make. You will find speaking easier with each podcast episode you record and edit.
Stop comparing yourself with established digital creators; it took them time and a LOT of mistakes and effort for them to get to where they are. As long as you keep creating, producing, and improving, you are right on track and time!
Experiment with Tools and Platforms to Become More Efficient.
Speaking of creating content faster and easier, there is no shortage of tools and resources currently available and being developed to support digital creators.
From social media post schedulers to video editing applications and USB microphones, tools are very helpful in organising and setting efficient processes for digital creators who aim to produce content regularly and grow their following smartly.
Experiment and practice in order to distinguish and master the tools that will be most helpful to you.
Collaborate and Learn.
When you collaborate with brands and other digital creators, you are expanding not only your content and brand, but also your presence and market.
I mean, imagine if you were able to get a “yes” from one of your favourite digital creators from your niche. That one relationship will not only help you get your foot in the cool kids club, but it will also introduce you to tens of thousands more users who may also follow you and consume your content!
Collaboration will also expose you to creative, business, and technical processes of more experienced creators and brands that you may find helpful in improving your flow and approach to your own work.
The creator economy is still far from saturated— so don't let any naysayer tell you otherwise!
There is still a sea of opportunities out there for digital creators, and now is STILL the perfect time to create and partake in the fun and competition of the creator economy. You still have an amazingly huge chance to find success in being a digital creator if you start now!
So don’t waste another minute wondering if you are too late. Create, experiment, form great productive habits, and patiently put in the work as a digital creator!
I hope this article helped you understand that joining the creator economy now still means exploring countless opportunities and reaping incredible rewards. Subscribe below if you wish to read more on how you can pursue success in the creator economy and enjoy everything it has to offer. I am looking forward to helping you make your mark as one of the top digital creators in the future!
Best of luck!