When Dasha Kennedy broke her foot, she took time away from her 9-to-5 role as a debt collector to heal. She couldn’t afford to lose her job, but her employer made her feel guilty for taking time off — she suddenly felt disposable to the company where she’d spent years working.
Meanwhile, her side hustle was taking off: In her free time, Kennedy would share tips on personal finance for young Black audiences through her Facebook group, The Broke Black Girl. As her follower count grew, so did the offers for paid opportunities. Kennedy realized she had another viable career option, one in which her job security wouldn’t be dictated by someone else.
“I didn’t start off chasing a profit as much as I did chasing a purpose — it’s an important distinction,” she said. “Now I get paid for doing what I love.”
The entrepreneurial army of influencers on Instagram and TikTok, as well as other enterprising innovators monetizing their social-media audiences, is gaining momentum. The global creator workforce is valued at more than $100 billion and counts an estimated 50 million people as participants, according to a recent study by the Gen Z- and millennial-focused marketing agency Influencer Marketing Factory. Today, creators are launching businesses and using monetization tools to lure customers away from
and onto apps or websites they made.
Growing numbers of people hope to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps. A recent report by Morgan Stanley found that 36% of European workers are earning additional income from e-commerce and content-creation platforms; about 40% of them plan to exit the workforce in the next two years. At the same time, social-media platforms from Pinterest to LinkedIn and Facebook want to host creators, and companies and marketers want to work with them.
But exactly how the creator workforce will change the greater employment and entrepreneurial landscape remains an open question. With lower barriers to entry and more opportunities to make money, it’s both a popular and exceedingly competitive venture to start.
The desire for flexibility and cash fueled creators’ growth
The growth in the creator workforce is driven by three factors, said Matt Cooper, CEO of online-learning and professional-development platform, Skillshare. There’s a gradual fragmentation of careers, a desire among employees for more flexibility in their work, and the digital transformation of business and work in the pandemic, he said.
Young people don’t want to put their professional eggs in one basket like older generations; they want to diversify their income streams, Cooper said.
Additionally, today’s workers increasingly seek ownership and control over their careers, Cooper said. So much so that flexibility is more important than salary or other benefits, …….