In defense of creators

Creative economists have it all. A quick glance at their social media shows a life of international travel, lucrative brand partnerships, and glossy content. They occupy some of the most coveted jobs of the modern era, so much so that, according to a recent Harris and Lego poll, children in America and the UK are more likely to aspire to become vloggers when they will be as tall as astronauts.

There are several reasons why this career path seems appealing. Creators work at their own pace, their briefs are varied and exciting, and it can be a well-paying profession. But there is also a common misconception surrounding the designer economy, a phrase often uttered by industry cynics:

“It must be so easy.”

It is only by speaking directly to creators that the workings of a complex and often stressful profession are revealed. The filter-tinted viral posts we see online always take a lot longer than ten minutes to work. They are just the tip of an iceberg of the same stresses faced by digital workers, entrepreneurs and creatives in more traditional fields.

“People think it’s easy work when it can actually be quite stressful and a lot of work is put into the content I produce.” says UK-based TikTok comedian Kyron Hamilton. “For content creators, there’s definitely a lot of pressure to come up with new content on a regular basis, and sometimes I get a creative block. ”

Kyron turned to TikTok after his drama school experience was cut short by the pandemic. Over a million followers and nearly 50 million likes later, he’s still worried about the threat of creative blocking. This would be a major problem for most artistic endeavors, but in the fast-paced and highly competitive world of TikTok, where followers expect new content most of the time, it poses an existential threat.

The time, effort, and creativity that goes into creating content is grossly underestimated. In fact, making it look easy is the art form. Subscribers demand authenticity, feel like they’re in the room with the person they’re looking at. That’s why creators spend hours making their posts as natural as possible.

Jade Fox, actress and content creator living in Portland, Oregon, tries to inject that kind of authenticity into all of her videos. “I felt like there was no one in the LGBT space on YouTube who was creating entertaining content for the community,” she comments. “Back then, a lot of creators were claiming the lifestyle and education sectors, but few were doing comedy or relevant content. I saw an opportunity to occupy this space, and have been doing so ever since.

In Fox’s case, she didn’t accidentally fall into a thriving digital career. She identified a lack of representation in a certain field online and built her own community there, from scratch. It was a conscious and informed decision, and far from easy to make. In addition to her digital follow-up, she then launched a consultancy firm, the Hillfox agency, “to create safer spaces for LGBT people” within businesses, as well as a t-shirt shop making designs. with inclusive messages.

All of a sudden, everything doesn’t seem so easy, does it? In fact, it seems more time consuming than 99% of “traditional” jobs.

Creating digital tracking, especially monetizable, is clearly a full-time job. With multiple sources of income available, the job requires good organizational skills, unlimited energy, and great entrepreneurship. A high number of subscribers alone doesn’t make you rich overnight.

Take the case of British actress TikTok, Grace Keeling. His videos, mostly light commentary on current trends and news, have racked up nearly 50 million likes to date. Keeling says that “at the start of this year I made a conscious decision to really work and try to make it my career. I think I’m finally at this point where people recognize I’m serious about this. Keeling’s case shows how far you need to go before your followers can support your entire lifestyle and career. And even once it’s done, taking the plunge takes courage and conviction. Committing to full-time content creation as part of your career is just as courageous as trying to become an actor, musician, or writer full-time.

The more we discover what it means to be a creator in the digital economy, and the more we talk to the people who actually do it, the more real this kind of career seems. While Instagram posts can be a window into someone’s life, you don’t see the hard work behind the scenes, the painful hours spent on administration or video editing. This shouldn’t deter aspiring creators from chasing their dreams, but it could provide a reality check for anyone who thinks social platforms are easy and quick money.

Hannah Lee Duggan, a nature-oriented vlogger who lives between her van and a cabin in the woods, echoes this advice. “It kills me to see people bet on the desire to be creative. Put it second. Being famous and being successful on the internet shouldn’t be your primary goal, it should be secondary to what you enjoy doing. I think to be a genuinely engaging designer you first need to be invested and excited about something personal, be it photography, travel, construction, fashion, comedy, cars, etc. Create content from your life, don’t live your life to create content.

Those who do will reap the rewards. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy along the way.

By Gustav Lundberg Toresson

Discover my website Where Twitter.

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