Perfectly polished photos. Sponcon. Being chained to social channels day and night—the markers of influencing established early in the 2000s are pretty established and yet, more and more of those who want to reach their followers are opting out of influencing all together.
For anyone on social media, the unrest has been obvious for quite a while. Creators are feeling the impacts of ever-changing algorithms, brand deals drying up, and unreliable creator funds to name a few challenges. The rise of the creator economy—rooted in owning your voice, your content, your time, and your narrative—seems to be accelerating as more and more audiences look for authenticity (and fewer ads) above all else.
We’ve seen creators navigate the uncertainty lately with stories about deinfluencing hitting newsfeeds everywhere. And posts calling out blatant attempts by some creators to make content solely to feed the algorithm monster.
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It’s no surprise that creators are looking outside of influencing for more control and more reliable means of income. And for many, that means joining the creator economy to take control of their finances and engage with their audiences more authentically. For others, like Lee Tilghman, it means embracing the 9 to 5 grind.
What is influencing?
Influencing in its heyday was groundbreaking because it let anyone with an audience become a micro-celebrity. For influencers with about a million followers, brand deals could fetch anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per post.
But in recent years those brand deals have started to fetch less. And audiences started to experience influencer fatigue, with up to 47% of consumers reporting fatigue from repetitive influencers. Leaving influencers feeling the need to hustle harder, sacrifice breaks and time off, and burn out just to maintain their income. Enter, the creator economy.
What does the creator economy offer creators?
If influencing offered creators the chance to cash in on their audience, the creator economy gives them the opportunity to spend their time engaging in ways that are actually authentic to their brand (no more forced reels when all you want to do is write!) Creators also get an advantage when it comes to monetizing and building a lasting business because they’re in control and they’re building an audience who is bought into whatever it is they do; not just viewers endlessly scrolling social.
Creators have started selling their own merch to their audience, creating niche newsletters, and building online communities they facilitate. Many are using tools like ours here at Teachable to share their knowledge through online courses, coaching, and digital products.
Where we’re headed
Whether it’s called influencing or not, the world of creators is still booming. The creator economy is estimated to be worth $100 billion, meaning there is plenty of room for everyone.
The appeal for creators is undoubtedly the freedom to take their finances into their own hands. When you control the content and its value, you control your financial future, how you engage with your audience and your time. While influencing was a stepping stone for creators, it’s no longer the most viable or reliable means of making money online in 2023