This is the very first edition of AltPath; a newsletter that sources ideas, stories, tips and resources to help you get started in the creator economy. 🎨
The goal is to give you actionable steps and advice that you can directly apply to your own initiatives, whether that's a hobby, a side-hustle or a full-time career.
In this first edition, I'm going to cover some core elements that you can expect to see from this newsletter going forward.
But first, what is a creator economy?
Today, all of mankind's collective knowledge is available for free on the internet. Individuals have more subscribers, reach and impact than entire TV networks. And no-code tools have removed the barrier of entry allowing anyone to put their ideas, apps and products online.
The creator economy is a term used to describe the shift in power we're seeing from traditional institutions to the individual. And creators are the individuals who are actually building the things that are changing the world.
Don't get scared-off by the term 'creator'. I'm not only talking about YouTubers and photographers here. A creator is simply someone who invents, produces, makes or builds something. They're creating content, apps, media, audiences and businesses that have the ability to impact millions.
Why be a creator? 🎨
There are a number of reasons, but three big ones are:
- Fulfillment - Imagine creating something that positively impacts hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. We're living in an age where a single person could literally change the world for the better.
- Money - The starving artist trope is gone. Creators can unlock additional income streams and earn anywhere from an extra $50 to $20,000,000/year (and no, that's not a typo).
- Freedom - When your salary doesn't just come from you 9-5, you gain a ridiculous amount of freedom in life. Some creators keep their day jobs, others travel the world and do yoga for 2 hours/day. The point is that you get to decide how you spend your time.
When I made the leap to entrepreneurship I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Now that I've been self-employed for almost 3 years, I can't imagine life any other way. I have more freedom, flexibility and pay than I could've imagined. And I've only just scratched the surface of this new career path.
I'm super passionate about the creator economy. I think in 20 years there will be drastically more people who are self-employed. And I believe there's a unique career path that is perfectly tailored to each persons' unique skills/abilities just waiting to be discovered.
This newsletter is my way of contributing to a future I believe in. This is the kind of content I wish I had access to when I made the jump into the creator economy. This is a collection of lessons, resources and opportunities to make future creators' lives easier. This newsletter will cover:
- 🎨 Unique career path ideas and opportunities
- ⚡ Downloads, templates, guides and resources
- 🚀 Tips, tricks and hacks for creators
- 🎙 Interviews & insights from full-time creators
- 🎓 Stories & anecdotes about life & business
- 💰 Real-talk about money (pricing, clients, pay)
I'm super grateful that you're along for the journey. If you ever have comments, ideas or feedback please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
🔑️ Key Idea
Each week I'm going to go in-depth on one key idea that you should consider if you want to find your own path in the creator economy.
This first key idea I want to talk about is niching down.
When you hear the term 'creator' you might think of the most common career paths in the creator economy like photographer, videographer, designer, writer or youtuber. You might also think that in order to make it in any one of these fields you need to be as good or better than the competition.
But did you know there are literally millions of niche career paths that fall under those umbrellas that have much less competition? Paths that focus on niche content/audiences that don't need to appeal to the mainstream?
There's no sense in competing with the best right out of the gate. Peter McKinnon is one of the most popular photo/video creators on YouTube, so naturally people try to replicate his style. But within that same niche there are number of individual creators who all appeal to a slightly different segment of the audience.
- Gerald Undone focuses on the hyper-technical parts of photo/video
- Potato Jet skips epic cinematics in lieu of witty banter & personality
- Daniel Schiffer became known for his unique b-roll techniques
- Brandon Li is known for his rocksteady hands & gimbal work
Becoming a full-time creator takes less time, money and experience than you think. You just need a core group of people that want exactly what you have to offer. The more niche your audience, the better.
More examples of niche creators:
- Primitive Technology is a channel that builds things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. They've amassed +10 million followers on YouTube with almost no dialogue or fancy cameras.
- Kayla Greer is a multi-international award-winning dog photographer. Her niche work has taken her all over the world and she's now the star of the Nat Geo show 'Pupparazzi’.
- Chapo Trap House is a political comedy podcast that earns roughly $95,000 per month from their patreon alone.
Niching down has helped me in my own businesses as well. I found that when I reduced the number of services I offered, referrals and revenue went up.
The bottom line? Find your niche. Don't try to blend in. Nobody has the same style, expertise and life experience as you do. Instead of looking at that as a detriment use it to your advantage and embrace your uniqueness.
Alright, now on to the rest of the newsletter!
👨💻 My Latest Posts
Instead of bombarding your inbox with every single post, I'll link my top posts from the week in the section below so you can read what's relevant to you.
- Why I'm taking a break from Zoom 🙅♂️
- Why you get anxiety when posting on Instagram 😰
- How an $18 notebook changed my life 📓
🧰 Creator Toolbox
Each week I'll add a few items to your toolbox including tips, hacks, apps, websites, products, books and mental models.
- Hedge Presets (free for subscribers!): Hedge is my favourite tool for offloading photos/videos. I use the app so frequently that I've developed some handy presets to make offloading footage even easier.
- Typefully is an awesome tool that lets you create better twitter threads. 🧵Compose your tweet storm and see a preview before you post. This tool was created by the Mailbrew team (@linuz90 and @frankdilo).
- Freewell just dropped a new filter system to make filming in tricky conditions even easier. The 7-in-1 system allows you to stack ND filters with mist and polarizing filters. Super cool.
- Zhiyun just released the Weebill 2: a portable gimbal with a flip-out LCD. I'm less stoked on this one since I have a love/hate relationship with gimbals, but the new features does make this one stand out.
🚀 News & Updates
I'll keep my finger on the pulse of the creator economy and keep a look out for news, opportunities and updates so that you don't have to.
- Webflow is building native membership capabilities. No ETA yet, but this is huge. The top players in the space are Ghost and Patreon. Add in Webflow's ease of use and we're bound to see way more membership communities in the next couple years (@YS)
- Ghost just launched invite-only communities. This is great for hyper-niche communities that have member-cap limits (Ghost Blog)
- Why working from home is here to stay (CNBC Make It)
🎨 AltPath Career Spotlight
Each week I'll cover one niche, unique or interesting career path in the creator economy. This week we're looking at the wild world of Mukbangers. 🍜
Mukbang is a mash-up of the Korean words “muk-ja” (let’s eat) and “bang-song” (broadcast). Basically these creators eat copious amounts of food on-camera and broadcast the experience for everyone to see.
While this new type of content might seem simple from the outside, Mukbangers put in a ton of work behind the scenes including research, planning filming, editing, branding and community engagement.
If you're thinking this couldn't possibly be a legitimate career path, think again. Top Mukbangers have millions of subscribers and have reported earnings of over over 2 million USD per month. This video alone has over 100,000,000 views. 🤯
🏁 Top Mukbang Players
- DONA 도나 (9.3M subscribers)
- Jane ASMR (13.7M subscribers)
- [햄지]Hamzy (7.08M subscribers)
- Eat with Boki (6.11M subscribers)
🎓 Further Reading
Never stop learning. Any other interesting links, articles or videos that I come across that could prove valuable to new creators will go here.
- How to get started in the creator economy (Ghost Blog)
- New photographer? Ignore these 6 things (Omar Gonzalez)
- How I built 21 streams of income as a YouTuber (Think Media)