I came across “The Upload: The Rise of the Creator Economy” as a podcast, discovering later it’s the audio track of a YouTube series, backed by YouTube. Episode 1 repeated a number of points that I have been hearing from multiple sources about the “creator economy”.
Here is my summary of episode 1:
- Lilly Singh is an entertainer who loves telling stories.
- She loves YouTube because she can tell her own story directly – media companies don’t control her “voice”.
- Being a [professional] creator is a business. You need to treat it like a business if you want to make money.
- If you think being a business person is about always being cut-throat, you are wrong. You do need to be tough at times, but business is about dealings with other people. Be nice if you want an ongoing business relationship.
Her advice for new creators:
- Expect to do everything initially – from lighting, video editing, sound engineering, marketing, tracking business metrics – it’s all you. “Starting out as a professional creator is not like a full time job. It’s like ten full time jobs!” If you grow, you can outsource things later.
- Pick an area you are passionate about. That is more important than the current trends. It’s a lot of work, so you need to love it to stay passionate.
- Don’t focus on doing what others do – work out who you are. Faking it takes a lot of energy, you will just burn out.
The episode ended with someone from YouTube talking about monetization paths. Not everyone is going to get millions of viewers. Be realistic in your expectations. Think about monetization paths: ads, sponsorships, paid memberships, selling merchandise, maybe publish a book – work out what makes sense for your efforts. The right answer is not the same for everyone.
I think of DIY plumbing videos on YouTube, like how to clean hair from the shower drain. They will never make someone rich from ad revenue (there are so many!). But they could help a plumber get more (local) business, allowing them to increase their rates.
You can watch the full 30 minute episode here: