Dreaming of becoming the next MrBeast, PewDiePie or Khaby lame, millions of Americans are now churning out content on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitch, with the hope of becoming the next hot influencer.
7.1 million independent workers now earn income through the creator economy, according to a research brief by MBO Partners, a back-office services provider to independent workers.
For 37% of these content creators, it’s a full-time pursuit; the rest are part-timers, according to the report, “Welcome to the Creator Economy.” But many aren’t earning millions or anything close to that. 59% haven’t quit their full-time day jobs yet.
So who are the self-employed entrepreneurs diving into this field? Many are young men. All told, 76% are under age 40 and 55% are male.
· 48% are Millennials
· 27% are in GenZ
· 17% are in GenX
· 8% are Baby Boomers.
The field is attracting diverse talent. While white and Asian content creators are represented at about the same percentage as they are in the U.S. population, African Americans, who constitute 12% of the U.S. population, make up 19% of digital content creators. Hispanic creators are still underrepresented, making up 8% of content creators, less than their 19% share of the population.
Most of these influencers are enjoying their careers. 83% of digital content creators said they’re highly satisfied with their work, while 9% said they’re satisfied. Only 4% are dissatisfied. 82% plan to continue working in this field over the next 2-3 years, with some planning to grow their businesses. Interestingly, 83% say they’re happier than if they had a traditional job, and 84% say they’re healthier.
Almost all (89%) identify as early adopters of technology, and 83% say they’re advanced technology users. 96% of the content creators say social media is very important or somewhat important to building their online reputation or brand.
The report points to some downsides to this type of career: unsteady income, the constant need for self-marketing and the lack of health benefits. And it’s not easy to fill the giant maw of social media with at constant stream of engaging content. 34% of content creators struggle with burnout and setting boundaries around their work.
But MBO Partners predicts the field will only grow as Gen Zers enter the workforce. That’s not to mention the burgeoning number of startups providing tools for these creators. Venture capital firms invested $2 billion in creator economy startups in the first half of 2021, the report points out. As the next competitor to Instagram and Tik Tok comes onto the scene, so will a lot more content creators.