As I established last time, there is a growing awareness of opportunity in the creator economy. As with anything else, it takes a while for innovation adoption lifecycle curve to play out, but it’s fair to say we’re only in the early adopters phase now.
Just because we’re in the early part of the curve doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a collapse, but if everything continues exactly at has been going, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe there will be any kind of implosion.
Many people assume the issue to be one of multiplication – in other words, one day the number of creators will be so great, and the competition so immense, that the sheer impracticality of entitled people sitting at home “doing nothing” instead of working a “real job” is unsustainable.
Not at all. There will always be a demand for public figures. We’re enamored with celebrity, and even those who have the guts to admit that celebrities are just as human, are still often beholden to names with a household stature, regardless of talent, skill, experience, or any other rational factor. Celebrity status, by definition, is irrational.
The greatest threat to the creator economy isn’t that there will one day be too many creators and not enough people to consume their content. The greatest threat is the government, red tape, monopolies, and other factors that many write off as “tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theories.”
“Entitled People Sitting at Home Doing Nothing”
I will get to the greatest threats in a moment. And if you want to skip over this section, I understand. But if you’ll indulge me for just a moment, there’s no fair comparison for a creator’s daily schedule to that of the average worker.
Sure, there might be a few lazy and entitled creators out there. But aren’t there people like that at your workplace too?
Almost categorically, I have not found creators to be lazy.
Firstly, creators don’t work for a guaranteed paycheck. They work for advertising revenue shares, affiliate income, and sponsorships (though there are other income sources as we talked about last time). The slightest of changes in platform-based algorithms can mean more views one week, fewer the next. There are no guarantees. Income is always a moving target and planning for these changes is incredibly challenging.
To make advertising income on YouTube, a creator needs to grow their channel to 1,000 subscribers. Similarly, a new Medium writer would need to grow their following to 100 followers to be able to join the partner program and start earning on their articles.
That’s just to begin earning. There is no real money in YouTube until one can reliably generate hundreds of thousands if not millions of views per video. Similarly, there isn’t much money in Medium until one can reliably generate thousands if not tens of thousands of views per article.
Secondly, a creator’s workday is generally “all day.” There is no cutoff. When they’re not creating videos or writing their next newsletter, they’re busy editing their content. When they’re not editing their content, they’re looking for inspiration. When they’re not generating ideas, they’re working on their next piece of content. It’s a hamster wheel, even if it’s fundamentally an enjoyable one.
I don’t know how my life looks from the outside looking in, but most days I write “reams of essays” to the tune of 5,000 words or more. Even billionaire comedian Jerry Seinfeld considered writing 500 words per day (that’s five hundred, not five thousand) sheer torture. That should tell you something.
And if not writing, I’m working on client websites, my latest podcast episode (which can easily consume 10 hours of my workweek), community endeavors (The Indie YYC), stacks of social media posts, and other marketing activity. And no, it isn’t all fun and games. Most of it isn’t. Imagine that. I’ve scraped and clawed for everything I have, and some would say that empire doesn’t even amount to much.
Most people aren’t willing to tolerate this level of risk. Unpredictable income? 12-hour workdays? Yeesh!
And that’s one of the reasons it will never get to a point where there’s no one working a day job.
If you want to get anywhere with anything – Patreon, NFTs, Substack, or anything else creator economy oriented you can name – one must approach it like a business. Ask entrepreneurs and they will tell you – entrepreneurship takes everything you’ve got, and then some.
Many assume government is a fluid thing, adapting based on economic conditions, disasters, pandemics, the wellbeing of citizens, and so on. Not so.
Just for fun, research Agenda 21, which is a publicly released 20-year-old United Nations plan. For most, the details of Agenda 21 will fall under the category of “unimaginable,” and “that will never happen,” but people said the same thing about vaccine passports in 2020.
Government is much closer to a ridged set of railway tracks than a sequence of turns to be negotiated on a highway. There is a plan. And it is being followed. And it is usually mapped out well in advance.
And what do we know about the government? For the most part, exactly what they want us to know. This information is typically relayed through the mass media.
One of the things they frequently talk about is preventing terrorists and the illicit from taking advantage of cryptocurrency (typically without citing any real-world scenarios that have actually played out). It’s mostly government agencies publishing these types of works, by the way. Do your own research.
Web3, NFTs, blockchain-powered social networks, and cryptocurrency are fast taking center stage in the creator economy as we speak. How does that bode for the creator of the future, if the government intends to seize what is fundamentally decentralized and transparent?
Or how about the idea that the internet of the future will be ruled by few? Conversations around removing the address bar in your browser have been going on for years. What if the internet was Facebook? Or Amazon? Or Apple? Or some combination thereof? You might think it absurd, but Microsoft isn’t the only monopoly to ever exist.
Also consider the unfolding conversation around disinformation, which has become more pervasive in the last two years. We’re already using so-called “fact checkers” to validate the accuracy of information (unsuccessfully, in my opinion). How much do you think “they” really want to keep the internet around, when the only truth is their narrative driven truth, and if you so much as question it you’re labeled a danger to yourself and the world?
With Facebook groups being deleted, YouTube accounts being shadow banned, individual tweets being censored or monitored, the internet is far from neutral already. Should push come to shove, “they” shouldn’t hesitate to pull the plug on this infrastructure.
If all this is a little too mercurial for you, let’s hit a little closer to home. About three years ago, the controversy around YouTube’s adoption of COPPA threw many creators right under the bus for something that fundamentally wasn’t their fault.
COPPA is important, YouTube basically started enforcing it retroactively, putting many creator categories, like visual artists, between a rock and a hard place. It might be out of sight out of mind now, but at the time it was a heated issue.
Will the creator economy implode? At the end of the day, anything could happen. But there’s no reason to think it will come to an end because there are too many people pursuing the path of the creator. If there is a collapse, it will likely be because of external factors.
In the last 20 months or so, we’ve seen the growth of more platforms, more opportunities, and more schemes than ever in history.
Cryptocurrency, blockchain-powered social media, NFTs, Patreon, Fangage, Substack, Ghost, Steemit, OnlyFans, NewsBreak, Clubhouse, TikTok, Odysee, Rumble, DTube, and countless others.
And I recognize that certain opportunities have been around for longer but didn’t necessarily rise to prominence until more recently.
What I want you to take from this is that the velocity at which new opportunities arrive is only going to increase. Rest assured; this is not a passing trend.
The spoils, though, aren’t going to go to the first movers.
That’s right – for the most part, the greatest rewards will not be for the first movers to claim, regardless of what you’ve come to believe about being the first to something. I’m not saying first movers will do badly, but they are going to end up leaving opportunity on the table.
You know why?
And like I said, because opportunity is coming at us with unprecedented velocity, you will find first movers jumping from one platform to another like they were frogs hopping lily pads.
Now, there’s no question we need to move with opportunity.
But whoever declared the death of blogging got it all wrong. I have never seen blogging more popular than it is today!
Who is winning the blogging game? People who’ve stood the test of time – Seth Godin, Neil Patel, Mitch Joel, Derek Sivers, Brian Clark, Jon Morrow… we could be here all day.
Identifying the right opportunities can be admittedly tricky. Sticking with a sinking ship isn’t going to serve any of us.
But flaking out is just as grave if not more so.
Seek out opportunities with staying power. And if you’re going to take advantage of opportunities that might be a passing thing (and most social media sites are), be sure to create a backup plan. Protect your assets.
I have a friend who recently lost $1,800 in a crypto investment.
I cautioned her against investing more than she was comfortable losing. I warned her that there were many so-called gurus out there shilling shitcoins. I told her that transferring her Bitcoin balance to someone else was dangerous.
She still had to learn the hard way…
And this is not a “told you so” kind of situation. It pains me to see her lose. I was the one who turned her onto crypto investing in the first place.
But you can’t let failure stop you. Just be sure to look at everything with a critical eye before jumping in with both feet.
Quick reminder – you can now pre-order the Kindle edition of The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition (just in time for the holidays). Don’t get left behind – be the first to get my latest work into your hands!
Mostly out of sheer curiosity. And Tom Kuegler’s recommendation didn’t hurt.
I don’t experiment with every new platform under the sun, but I come close. And these days, I’m relatively quick to recognize when something isn’t working or worth my time.
This is basically what I found with Twitter this year. I love Twitter. I wanted to make a real go of it. But the effort to reward ratio was nothing like I expected or was promised.
I can see now that a big part of that was a lack of conversations and a proper collective supporting each other. I now know just how powerful that can be, given how great my team has been in supporting the creation of my new membership.
So, if there’s a takeaway there, it’s to get into conversations and put structures in early. Make the decision to grow together with your collaborators or team. Support each other in setting and reaching goals and be fully committed and unreasonable in reaching those goals.
On that note, would you like to be a part of my BitClout game? Let me know.
This week’s theme has been “dissatisfaction.” It’s not something I wanted to focus on or give too much attention to. But when emotions surface in your life, I think it’s best to sit with them, and allow them to play out as they will.
As we move into a new week, my focus is already shifting to ideas. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.
So, here’s this week’s #StrategySunday breakdown.
Here is what I went over during this planning session:
I went over my content responsibilities for the week.
I reviewed current products in development. Two products are inching closer to completion.
I went over my admin duties for the week.
I looked at what I’m looking to accomplish musically. One project is nearing completion.
I reviewed my project queue. I’m a little behind on one project and I’m looking to wrap it up this week.
Was there anything that came out of this week’s reflection and planning session?
I shared about how it’s easy to get caught up in stats and outcomes this past week. What I’m thinking now is that perhaps the only number worth worrying about is how many blog posts and products I publish.
I am finding that dedicating some time to personal development and reading grounds and balances me. It’s also relaxing. Although I’m not affirming anything new here, it’s a good reminder.
Were there any ideas that came out of this week’s session?
If the only number I pay attention to is the number of stories and products published, it might mean doing less overall. Although syndicating and distributing content only takes 10 to 15 minutes per day, I’m not sure if this time well spent (though it does give me something to talk about in future stories). Still evaluating.
I’m thinking about moving some money into crypto and gold. Investing into crypto is basically like gambling, so I’m just looking to put a bit of surplus into it, not using money that I’m unwilling to lose.
Although I’ve gone back and forth on this, I’ve started thinking about turning Music Entrepreneur HQ into a content site again, especially considering a new podcast idea I’ve been working on, as well as some of the things I’d like to do with Content Marketing Musician. I will need to put more thought into this.
Although this is not something I would or even could action now, I’ve been thinking about a 100-day music publishing experiment to see how many songs I could launch in that time and how much I could grow my overall listenership and revenue. Again, I’ll want to deliberate further before committing.
Thanks for joining me, champ!
If you need more inspiration, refer to yesterday’s weekly digest.
That’s it for this week’s #StrategySunday. Wishing you the best of weeks!