Talking Growth #14: Monetization for creators

January 8, 2021

Is it just me or since the pandemic started, there only seems to be three days out of the week? Those days being today, yesterday, and tomorrow. This year was both the fastest and slowest all at once, but still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As we head in 2021, this will be the last send of Talking Growth (free) until 2021. Before we dive in today's newsletter, here’s a recap of how we got here.

March - June: I went full-time on my entrepreneurial journey and started working with startups/SMB’s and rolled out my first newsletter Growth Roadmap. During this time I locked a few clients but I wanted to try out and validate other ideas.

July - September: I onboarded a team of 5 to help build out two opportunities. The first was helping influencers with their marketing and the second was pairing brands with freelance creative talent. Both attempts didn’t pan out and I lost a good chunk of money; however, the lessons were gems. Rather than continue to waste my team's time since I wasn't able to pay them and we had 0 results, I ended up shutting down the company.

September - Present: At this point, I started brainstorming and using a framework called inversion to identify what things I didn't want to do. This framework allowed me to hone in on my love for building products, growing them, and creating content. By following my curiosity, I discovered the creator economy, which sent me down the rabbit hole of creating content, building an audience through Twitter, TikTok, and Clubhouse, releasing digital products in the form of the Creators Database and the Creators Hub, and landing the first few creators that I advising. I'm not big on talking about my goals in public, but the goal is to continue to grow the creator advising side of my business.

While there were bumps in the road and setbacks, this year was still a success. I look forward to continuing to share this journey with you in 2021.

📰Talking Creators

Travis Scott Cacti
Travis Scott may be the ultimate case study outside of Rihanna on being a creator that can successfully leverage their brand to produce multiple revenue streams. From the McDonalds collab, Fortnite concert, and the candle with Bryedo, La Flame (that's Travis Scott for those unfamiliar), just announced his hard seltzer line Cacti.

TikTok Music Journalism
While Instagram puts its foot on the pedal to copy TikTok, TikTok is staying ahead with the creator-friendly environment that Instagram lacks. Every week TikTok is birthing new celebrities from people your grandparent's age, to your neighbor who owns a power washing business. In this piece by Rolling Stone, TikTok has also become the next platform for music journalism. Insert MostleyMusic who houses around 150k followers but has such an engaged audience that they were able to boost an artist streams by 10,000 a day for three consecutive days.

How Nadeshot built a $100M Business
To nongamers, 100 Thieves is viewed as a streetwear brand while gamers know Nadeshot for being both the founder of the $100M esports brand and a pro gamer. In this talk with Blake Robbins of Creator Economics, Nadeshot discussed how he built a $100M business and how he was able to build a brand that appealed to both gamers and nongamers alike.

🤳Talking Social & Platforms

Facebook Building Cameo Like Tool
You know my saying, "the platform that prioritizes creators will win". Plain and simple. Facebook must be reading this because it seems like every week they're releasing a new solution to help creators. This time around, Facebook is building a competitor to the popular app Cameo. Similar to Cameo, fans will be able to pay creators for a chance to interact with them during live broadcasts.

Pornhub Sued for $40M
After the release of the New York Times investigation, Pornhub has scrambled in the past few weeks to make drastic changes to its platform to avoid additional lawsuits and increased regulation. From the looks of the latest lawsuit, Pornhub might be the first to fall in a ripple effect that can impact the entire porn industry. Even going as far as to shift how Only Fans monetizes and pays out creators.

The Future of Social Media is Talk
Over the last few weeks, the buzz around Clubhouse has 10x'd. Especially as the invite-only app managed to go from the Top 100 social apps on the app store to the Top 50. It's impressive and shows a growing shift to what the future of social looks like. While isn't completely audio, it's showing a growing trend of the unbundling of mainstream social platforms.

☂️Talking Drops From Creators

Building The Middle Class of Creators
When Li-Jin mentioned she was working on something new, she wasn't messing around. Li-Jin is the torchbearer on the passion economy as Manging Partner at Atelier, an investor in creator platforms such as Stir, and author of some of the most discussed essays on the creator economy.  Her latest piece tackles the issue of monetization impacting mid-size creators.  

My Take
Similar to Li-Jin's call out, the biggest challenge I discover during my conversation with creators is monetization. Creators normally can monetize in a few areas: courses, paid newsletters, advertising, paid communities, merch, and payouts from platforms where their content is hosted.

More needs to be done to create solutions for creators; however, I also believe creators should look at their day-to-day through the lens of a business. The David Dorbik's of the world have teams helping them grow their business. While they have more money to revenue to be able to justify that, mid-size creators can start small and outsource their efforts to virtual assistants. Nowadays you can hire one virtual assistant to manage your emails, edit your content, conduct brand outreach, and post on your social channels all for a starting price of $6.95  Mid class creators will soon be the new SMB's, so one hand, they need cost-effective solutions that allow them to grow, and on the other hand, they need to understand that if they want to reach that next level they have to begin to outsource their efforts. More people want to become full-time creators so the competition will only increase; therefore, how creators operate and execute will become more important than ever.

🏄Things you want to know

Until Next Time

I hope you enjoyed this week's newsletter. If you enjoyed what you read, forward this email to a friend. Just tell them to subscribe. Lastly, I tend to post more short-form content across social, so if you don't already, follow me and say hi.

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