You’re a creator. You’re passionate and hardworking, but maybe you’re not seeing the revenue you want.
You’re not alone: Over 65% of content creators make less than $10K a year.
The good news is that a cohort on the rise within the creator economy is making long-term creator careers more realistic. Introducing: the creator middle class.
What is the Creator Middle Class?
The creator middle class is made up of people who make enough money through content creation to be in the middle class earning bracket.
The idea of a creator middle class didn’t become popular until recently, largely during the Great Resignation. Texas A&M associate professor Anthony Klotz coined the term when 68.9 million people in the U.S. either lost or quit their jobs in 2021. Of that 68.9 million, 47.4 million people voluntarily quit because of burnout or health concerns due to the pandemic.
For many people, the pandemic made them reevaluate what they wanted to do with their lives. This caused a surge in people becoming content creators working from home and pursuing their passions. In 2021, the creator economy brought in $66 million in earnings.
From that, we’re now seeing the creator middle class emerge. Currently, 22% of full-time creators make between $50K-$150K a year, placing them firmly in the middle-class earning bracket.
According to Li Jin, a writer for the Harvard Business Review, for the entire creator economy to thrive, it needs a strong middle class. Jin believes a strong creator middle class will:
- Promote trust within and toward creators
- Provide a stable source of demand for products and services
- Drive innovation
Here’s how creators can get into that middle-class earning bracket.
Monetizing content with digital products
A digital product is anything digital that can be sold. Things like eBooks, NFTs, and online courses are all digital products.
The great thing about digital products is they only need to be created once and can be sold infinite times. This can be a great source of passive income for creators.
There are many different kinds of digital products. You can:
- Teach an online course. Xayli Barclay, for example, teaches small business owners and startups how to market their businesses.
- Write an ebook. Srini Rao wrote about his journey to becoming a creator and then put that content up for sale.
- If you’re a musician, you can make music to sell, like Jeffrey Goldford does.
- Get paid to write a newsletter, like Anne-Laure Le Cunff, who writes a newsletter about how people can achieve more while still taking care of their mental health.
Start selling within minutes
As a creator, you deserve to get paid for your work. ConvertKit Commerce is ready-made to help you sell digital products.Get paid with ConvertKit Commerce
How to monetize with ConvertKit Commerce
ConvertKit is a tool that helps creators with lead generation, email automation, and ultimately, driving sales. A few ways they help creators monetize:
A Tip Jar
If you offer free content that teaches people about something you’re passionate about, you can ask people to support you through a tip jar. Dylane Moreau offers free French lessons through videos on her website and Instagram. She encourages people to support her work by either buying her book or giving what they can through her tip jar.
A one-time purchase is when a product only needs to be bought once and then can be used for as long as the buyer wants, like Ellen Mackenzie’s social media masterclasses. Once her customers buy them, they can use them as many times as they want, whenever they want.
If a customer needs to continue to pay for access to a service or product, that’s a recurring subscription. For example, Mojito Marketing is a marketing community that gives subscribers access to the latest news and networking benefits.
Pay what you want plans
Pay what you want plans allow creators to give audiences the option to pay as much as they want. For example, creator Melanie Mideggs cares more about helping business owners with their spiritual and mental health than making money, so she offers her business chakra meetups and allows people to pay whatever they can afford.
Discount incentives are a great way to get new customers to try a new product. For example, creator Matt Ragland offers $20 off his journaling course to encourage potential customers to try his teaching methods. Once they try one of his courses, they’re more likely to buy more courses from him.
How top-earning creators use ConvertKit Commerce
Want to see these ideas in action a bit more? Here are a few creators who use ConvertKit Commerce to boost their annual incomes.
Sahil Bloom is a creator, entrepreneur, consultant/coach, and managing partner at SRB Ventures. Bloom integrated ConvertKit Commerce with his email marketing to keep track of his monthly retainer engagements. He loves that ConvertKit Commerce allows his clients to complete payments so seamlessly.
In the future, Bloom plans to integrate ConvertKit Commerce with more aspects of his business. For example, he wants to integrate it with the sale of future products offered through his emails. Because of the dynamic way ConvertKit Commerce allows Bloom to operate his diverse creator business, he highly recommends ConvertKit Commerce to other creators.
I recommend ConvertKit Commerce to any creators looking to build out their creator ecosystem and monetize more efficiently.
Cory Ames is the founder and CEO of Grow Ensemble, a media and education company that focuses on sustainability and social impact. Grow Ensemble includes a podcast, blog, YouTube videos, and digital products focused on building a better world.
Ames has been a ConvertKit user for the last four years, but before ConvertKit Commerce rolled out, he used other payment processing tools like PayPal. The problem: every product he tried was messy and complicated. Then he switched to ConvertKit Commerce.
Currently, Ames mainly uses ConvertKit Commerce when working with sponsors on partnerships. In fact, Grow Ensemble’s partnership programs have added $25K this year while using ConvertKit Commerce.
Ames attributes a lot of that revenue growth to how ConvertKit Commerce keeps things consolidated and simple, as well as the lightning-fast way he can go from the conception of an offer to collecting payments.
I really like the way ConvertKit Commerce looks. It’s got a nice balance of looking very official but still being super easy right out of the box to set up.
As an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and keynote speaker, Robert Glazer knows a little about helping creators market themselves for success. On his website, you can listen to his podcast, the Elevate Club, take one of his courses, or even watch his TEDtalk.
Glazer chose ConvertKit Commerce to manage payments and onboarding for his podcast, the Elevate Club in 2022. In fact, he waited to launch until he could find a platform, like ConvertKit Commerce, that could be a middle ground between handling everything manually and having a full-service (and expensive) platform.
So far, his experience has been very positive. The Elevate Club has had well over 100 people join in the first six months and Glazer has seamlessly collected payments and integrated them into The Elevate Club’s private Slack community.
Some features that Glazer loves are:
- The easy way he can create a product page through ConvertKit Commerce
- Being able to embed product page links in his website and promotional emails
- Being able to create discount code links for his pilot price for the Elevate Club
- Responsive and useful ConvertKit support team
The ConvertKit support team is really useful and responsive—I’ve worked with them on complicated asks in the past and was really impressed with how committed they were to get the job done.
The founder of Luento Email Marketing, Aquila Farrell, is a ConvertKit expert. Farrell has been using ConvertKit for over six years, so when ConvertKit Commerce launched, she knew it was the perfect fit for her email marketing agency.
Farrell uses ConvertKit Commerce to help her clients sell their digital products. She’s able to create the products there, automate the email marketing campaigns, process customers’ payments, and deliver the purchased digital products to customers (all on one platform.)
The result: Farrell has helped multiple clients earn up to six figures in revenue.
All of my client wins are a direct result of the fusion between ConvertKit’s ESP and ConvertKit Commerce.
The thing that Farrell loves the most is the convenience that ConvertKit Commerce provides. As a small business owner or creator, things are complicated enough. So Farrell says, having an all-in-one solution for the marketing, sale, and delivery of digital products for an affordable price is invaluable.
Start seeing the revenue you want
The creator middle class is growing, and you can be a part of it. These tools are here to help you succeed. You just need to take that first step. Take the examples above so your creator business can earn more with ConvertKit Commerce. Sign up today.