So you want to be a full-time creator?
So, you want to be a full-time creator? (Sing that to the tune of “So you want to build a snowman” in your head). Whether you’re POSITIVE that’s the route you want to go or you aren’t quite sure, I’m breaking down exactly what that means and looks like. Let’s dive in!
So you want to be a full-time creator?
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
There are a lot of options for online business owners right now. One of the fastest growing and most popular avenues is the influencer/vlogger realm – people who are full-time creators.
This isn’t new. Bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers have been around for a while. But the idea of doing it full time is relatively new! And people outside of the industry have started to somewhat understand it (not fully, but you know what I mean).
To make sure being a full time creator or influencer is right for you, you’ve got to try out all the different pieces of the puzzle. I wouldn’t have known I loved creating content if I hadn’t tried it out. So if you’re feeling skeptical, give it a try!
What is a full-time creator?
Creators exist in all shapes, sizes, and platforms. But for my examples, I’m going to be talking about Instagrammers, or people who create content on Instagram, which I also lump Tik Tok creators in with. I’m also going to reference YouTubers, who create content on YouTube. A full-time creator is someone who is able to sustain themselves on the income they make as a creator.
You could create content all day long and never monetize it – which is definitely possible. There are people with more than 100,000 or 500,000 subscribers on YouTube who don’t make that much money from their content because they haven’t taken that step.
I recently talked about how my YouTube channel is dying. Because of a dip in my views, my YouTube income was actually WAY more around 80,000 subscribers than it is at 117,000. I was making around $3,000 per month at that 80,000-90,000 subscriber mark, and right now it’s around $1,400-$1,600 per month.
There are some different reasons for that dip, but it serves as a good picture for you. If you have 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and they're doing NOTHING but pulling in AdSense money (meaning no sponsorships or other avenues or income), they aren’t making much. They’re making about $16,000 – $18,000 per year. At that point, I wouldn’t consider that person a full-time creator because they aren’t making the equivalent of a full-time job.
That threshold is definitely subjective, but I don’t think anyone would consider $16,000 per year full time.
My journey with content creation
I’ve mentioned this a lot recently, but I’m working on switching my mindset to that of a content creator rather than a business who creates content.
If you asked me the ONE thing I would do forever if it would pay the bills, I would say content creation. I love everything about it – the process, the strategy, the creativity, and content marketing as a whole. That’s where I feel like I should be.
That being said, I make money outside of the content itself. My content is the vehicle I use to sell my things. I want to think of myself as a creator who sells resources to my audience rather than a business who creates content to make sales. See the difference?
To get started – pick a platform and a niche!
You have to pick a platform and focus on being a creator on that platform. As you grow, you may branch out onto another platform. But when you start, you HAVE to focus on one.
If you’re looking to be a full-time creator, I would recommend that you start on YouTube. You have a much quicker ability to make money on the platform itself than others. Instagram is starting to roll out some paid creator funds, and TikTok does as well, but YouTube is the quickest path to income for putting out content.
Then, you’ve got to niche down (as I’ve said 1,000 times in the past). What’s your focus? You can’t be everything to everybody.
Now, what are your GOALS for that platform? What is your income goal? Where do you want to be? That will help you figure out where the money comes from.
Where does the money come from?
Make money for putting up content on a platform
As I mentioned, you can get paid just for putting content up on a platform like YouTube. You have to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch time hours within a 365 day period to qualify for monetization on YouTube. They put that two-fold qualification in there to make sure the creators are actually making good content and can’t just bring over an audience from elsewhere before they've made videos.
Once you hit that marker on YouTube, you get paid just for putting content up on the platform. Here’s how that works.
Joe over here tells Google that he wants to spend $1,000 on advertisements on the YouTube platform for his real estate business. Let’s say I have a video that is performing really well with his audience of real estate investors. YouTube (we’ll pretend) decided to spend all of Joe’s $1,000 of advertising money by putting ads on my content. Then, I would make $500 from that ad and YouTube would make $500 from it as well. They split the money made from each video between the platform and the creator.
There are two stats you need to know about with YouTube here: CPM and RPM
CPM stands for “cost per mille,” with mille meaning 1,000 views. That’s how much money someone pays for their ad to get 1,000 views on your videos.
RPM stands for “revenue per mille,” meaning how much money YOU make from an advertiser to get 1,000 views on your videos.
Every video will have a different CPM and RPM, because there are different advertisers spending different amounts of money to show up on various pieces of content.
For example, I have a video on affiliate marketing that gets targeted by a ton of “bro marketers” who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on ads. That means there’s a higher CPM and RPM on that video on my channel.
I uploaded a video called “My Channel is Dying” that has a little over 8,000 views and more than 900 watch time hours in two weeks. That video has made me $178 in two weeks just by being up on the platform.
At this point in the year (the beginning of August), I’ve made about $14,000 from YouTube AdSense alone. That’s JUST to put content on the Internet – no strings.
Make money from selling products via your content
You could sell digital products, physical products, courses, or something else. Using your content as a vehicle to make sales can be a great way to make money when you want to be a full-time creator. Sponsorships can also fit in there.
So, you create content that somebody out there wants and enjoys. Then, you can sell those people resources to help them. You can also send those people to affiliates that they will love and you make money from as well.
Maybe I’m an Instagram fashion influencer about mid-size fashion. So, I attract an audience of people interested in mid-size women’s fashion. Maybe I’m getting paid by the platform (Instagram is new there, and it’s incredibly small right now).
Otherwise, I could be making money through affiliate links for clothing I recommend, sponsorships of different clothing brands, or even digital products. I could make a guide to a capsule wardrobe and sell it as a digital product for $7. You could even sell physical products by partnering with a brand or your own product. I see a lot of brands partnering with influencers lately to create their own lines of products.
In this situation, creating content is the job because it attracts an audience who then wants your other resources. This is definitely a passive income setup!
Content creation is the main thing that I’m responsible for in my business right now.
So, you want to be a full-time creator
Pick a platform, pick a niche, set your goals, and then figure out the method you can use to achieve them!