Skip to main content

Unboxing the Reality Behind Making a Living as a Content Creator

Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up these days and it’s more likely you’re going to hear “YouTuber” before you hear something like astronaut. But a career in content creation is far from child’s play

Stuart Meczes

Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up these days and it’s more likely you’re going to hear “YouTuber” before you hear something like astronaut. But a career in content creation is far from child’s play – in fact, 2022 saw an estimated 390,000 full-time jobs supported by creators on YouTube alone (and that’s just in the US). 

According to Goldman Sachs, the creator economy ballooned to over $250 billion in April of 2023 and is expected to grow to $500 billion within the next 5 years. With that kind of financial promise, it’s no surprise that degrees in social media are popping up on college campuses. 

The reality of making it as a creator, however, is not always as glamorous as the Mr. Beasts of the world can make it appear. Let’s unbox some of the harsh realities behind a career in content creation. 

The system is skewed in favor of the 1%

Obviously celebrities are going to have a leg up when it comes to gaining followers and all the potential money that can come with those numbers. But becoming a self-made creator who builds a massive following (and revenue stream) from scratch is similarly rare. 

Take YouTube and Twitch, for example: 5% of YouTube channels account for 90% of the subscriptions. On Twitch, 90% of the revenue is going to less than 10% of streamers. The reality is, 70% of content creators are working for someone else, only a small fraction are self-employed. 

And although social media has given powerful platforms and voices to everyday people, it’s not immune to bias. According to a recent report, only 46% of BIPOC influencers scored brand deals by the end of their first year as creators, compared to 73% of white influencers. 

When it comes to posting, there’s no such thing as #nofilter

Everybody knows all is not always what it seems in the lives of creators, but it’s easy to forget, especially when it comes to lifestyle influencers. But even the most candid and authentic of creators have lives outside of what we see on the screen. In fact, many top influencers are coming from backgrounds with economic and social privilege – they haven’t exactly bootstrapped their way to #luxury. 

There have been many, however, who have landed themselves in serious debt trying to keep pace with these more affluent creators. And if you’re a creator who is scratching your head about the sheer volume some are able to create, remember that the more income a creator is bringing in, the more likely they are to be outsourcing and delegating their work to others. 

If it seems too good to be true, it is

There’s no shortage of creators out there whose content is aimed at “helping” others make “easy money” with side-hustles like selling t-shirts on Etsy or re-selling Goodwill finds. With the rise of AI tools, these false promises have sky-rocketed. There is no shortage of content out there promising to teach you how to use AI to make a business plan, website, and blog content. 

The thing is, most of those people are really just looking to build their subscriber base with viral videos. They’re making money off your views, not side hustles or ChatGPT hacks. 

While snake oil salesmen have been around since well before the internet even existed, in some ways, it’s understandable that some creators turn to grifting. Content creation is hard work that deserves to be compensated fairly, but as we’ve just gone over, the landscape is brutal. 

Make real money fairly on Contnt

We created Contnt to make a place where creatives can freely create without having to hack an algorithm, mold themselves into a brand-friendly caricature or turn to grift-y money making schemes. 

We prioritize spotlight equality because we believe all creators deserve to be compensated fairly for their work – whether you have a million followers or are just getting started. Subscription-based creation means you have the freedom and autonomy to create authentically. And our automated NFT capabilities means you have full ownership over your work.  

With Contnt, you are in control. 

So Join the Contnt revolution by subscribing and securing your handle today!