Can Kids Be Part Of The Creator Economy? Oh, And What Is The Creator Economy?

Let’s face it, the business arena is growing at a pace never before seen! Even with a recession looming, more and more people are starting businesses…successful businesses. A large part of the growth can be attributed to the booming “Creator Economy”. Its impact on the traditional business model has been phenomenal. The explosion of this new and exciting “work trade” really gained a foothold when social media personalities started taking slices of viewership from the mainstream media and national broadcasting conglomerates. Although we creators have been around forever (Noah building his really big boat, Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel,Gutzon Borglum sculpting Mount Rushmore ), we really didn’t have a way to showcase our creativity in a way that the world’s population could observe. Enter the internet! 

The addition of the internet to the world stage was a game changer for the creator and his/her creations. Suddenly, creators, like myself, had a way to take what we designed, built, devised, conceived…created…and share it with the world. But, within the creator community, there were a few individuals who wanted not only to showcase their inventions, designs, and artwork…they wanted to showcase themselves.  Enter the Social Media Influencer.

Content creators who used their talent, knowledge, and personality to gain followers (customers) became an international staple around 10 years ago. YouTube stars like PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg), Logan Paul and Jake Paul, and Miranda Sings (Colleen Ballinger) started taking over the airwaves. It wasn’t long until teens and adults alike were binge watching YouTube channels as opposed to shows on NBC, CBS, ABC, and HBO. These self-made social media stars and starlets were bringing in big bucks…some of them with annual salaries in the millions of dollars…MILLIONS!  But the creator economy wasn’t about to be limited to twenty-something entertainers who planted their flags on their crazy antics and (sometimes questionable) humor. The creator economy was evolving.

People have started realizing that social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and now TikTok have the power to take their intellectual and physical creations and put them in front of eyes around the globe. 

Artists, musicians, and designers can create amazing artwork, music, and designs and then post their finished products to their preferred social media outlet, and their fanbase can easily access their creations. These fans can then purchase the creator’s music, art, and designs, thus allowing the creator a way to make some much needed income…even full time income in some cases. It’s really a beautiful thing. Being able to take something you’ve created, share it with the world, and then allow people to show their appreciation for your hard work by giving you money for what you’ve produced. The concept is groundbreaking.

Furthermore, creators can let the world in on, and be a part of, their creative process. Some of the most watched videos on TikTok and YouTube are “behind the scene” posts that allow viewers to see how someone’s creativity comes to fruition. Viewers are welcomed into the homes of the author, composer, designer, and inventor through video segments that allow them to literally witness the maker’s thought as he/she documents how they take a concept from design to completion…all in a 60 second snippet. Also…anyone…anywhere…can start and record a podcast that highlights their passions and hobbies and upload it to any number of podcast streaming platforms quicker than it takes to boil an egg. How awesome is that?

A major PLUS to entering the creator economy is that it can all be easily done in the comfort and security of your own home. Musicians are producing amazing music in makeshift recording studios in their bedroom…not some expensive and costly major label professional sound mastering office in some big city somewhere. Artists are painting and drawing awesome works of art in their garage…not a fancy art gallery or studio. Designers are able to make architectural creations and t-shirt designs from their home office…not some fancy office found on the 30th floor of some overpopulated metropolis. Thanks to the easy access to the creator economy, walls, stumbling blocks, and barriers that once stopped great minds from introducing the world to their brilliance, now have immeasurable opportunities to build phenomenal communities around their own personal intellectual endeavors. No more “middle man” for start up businesses and personal expression ventures.

So…is there a place in the Creator Economy for teens, pre-teen, and young adults? YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY!!!

Today, more than ever, students have the ability to join and be productive, successful, and amazing members of the “Creator Economy”. Not only are they able to join this rising arena of Capitalism…they should be encouraged to do so! 

Parents and family members should be teaching this avenue of creativity to their children, grandchildren, and younger siblings. There are currently (as of this writing) 7.9 BILLION(ish) people on this planet.  That’s 7.9 billion potential fans, customers, and like minded people who just might like what a teenager has to offer online. 

Maybe a teen is a master of the German language…they could start (with help from mom and dad) an online German Language Tutorial class. Maybe a pre-teen has a passion for baking and cooking…they could (with help from mom and dad) write a cookbook and share it with the world via social media. Maybe an 18 year old college freshman has an amazing singing voice…they could (with help from mom and dad) upload their songs to an online platform and let the world be blessed by their amazing music…OR…they could teach music lessons online.  Maybe a 5th grader is an amazing mystery story writer…they could (with help from mom and dad) write a short story and then upload it to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and sell their book on Amazon…OR…they could start a mystery themed podcast. The sky’s literally the limit!

With all this being said, as a creator, because there are so many creators out there, it can be hard to separate yourself from all the other creators in specific genres and make your “product” stand out. There are tons of musicians trying to get their music into the ears of fans on platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes. So, to get noticed, students will need to find a way to “cut through the clutter”. Uniqueness counts. Student artwork, music, designs, and inventions need to stand out and be noticed. Effort needs to be given to branding across platforms and marketing strategies. Students need to identify why they are wanting to share their creativity with the world and lean into that knowledge base.

In all honesty, teachers in upper elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms should try to include some form of “creator economy curriculum” in their daily lessons. This curriculum should include digital citizenship, marketing, branding, and the various platforms available for creative students to share their work. If our goal is to truly teach these students how to be successful, effective members of society, then we should be helping them discover how they can take their creativity and share it with the world. 

PLEASE NOTE: I’m not in any way suggesting that this be done without parent (guardian) involvement. Parents, grandparents, and other family members should WITHOUT A DOUBT be a part of any online endeavor a student attempts. They should be there helping students understand the importance of digital citizenship. They should be there to help students identify online threats that might have a negative influence or impact on the child. They should be there to help raise a child who understands that a large percentage of what is seen online is totally false and intentionally misleading. In other words…the parent should be present in the online life of the child…just like they are (or should be) present in the everyday non-cyber life of the child.

Helping students enter the Creator Economy is where I proudly plant my education flag!  I’m passionate about equipping teachers and parents with the skills they need to create, launch, and grow an online digital art business.  When I designed the Student LIke A Boss Curriculum I knew that students, under teacher and parent supervision, could learn to utilize their God-given creativity and carve out a slice of the Creator Economy for themselves. By harnessing the power of the creative economy, students have the potential to build character, build confidence, and possibly build a side business (or full time business) that has the potential to help their families gain some much needed “extra” income. I’ve been blessed to witness this “awesomeness” in my classroom. It’s a beautiful “thang”!

The “Creator Economy” is awe-inspiring, majestic, and spectacular all at the same time. AND…it has the potential to help people from around the world share their creativity, experience, and knowledge with like minded folks. Students should respect it and make sure they are staying above reproach when interacting within the creator economy, BUT… there is no reason why students can’t be a part of this emerging avenue of economic growth and financial opportunity. 

Borrowing (kinda) from Dave Ramsey…teach students while they are young how to live like nobody else, so when they are older they can live like nobody else.

Blessings Y’all!


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