Build a community -> ask for money later

Let’s do a quick exercise.

Think about a stranger or group that you have found yourself following religiously almost on accident because their content is so great.

Okay no not celebs like famous comedians, talk show hosts, rockstars, or politicians.

I am talking about someone whose content you follow on Twitter, engage with on LinkedIn or keep watching on your For You Page on TikTok.

Maybe it’s a podcast that you enjoy listening to or a blog that you look forward to reading their insights.

Or perhaps it’s a video game streamer on Twitch or sketch comedy group that does bits you watch on Instagram.

Got your person? Good stuff.

Whether they know it or not, this person is part of the creator economy and they are more than happy to have you as a part of their community.

The good ones are focusing on putting out content, but the all-stars are focusing on leveraging this community they have built to offer paid experiences in order to earn from this following they’ve created.

Creators can be broken down into many groups but it’s easiest to think of them based on the medium used to connect with their audience.

  • On-Camera Talent
  • Photographers & Graphic Designers
  • Up & Coming Musicians
  • Seasoned Writers
  • No Code App Developers
  • Voice Stars on Podcasts & Clubhouse

No matter the category, they curate an audience in a genuine way on one platform and then typically move to another platform to monetize the audience they have built.

Let’s break down some creators who are earning in a previously unconventional way and the platforms they use to add cash in their pockets.

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Weekend Hack Tracks COVID vv Well

Product & Creators: The Coronavirus App built by tech team Kevin BassetGyubin Byoun & Maxime Michel

Community Platforms: Progessier

Helping Pay the Bills: Buy Me a Coffee & Donations on Platform

Over a weekend in January 2020, this Taiwan-based team built a simple app that made it easy to track COVID-19 from their phones FO’ FREE

16 months and millions of global users later, the app is still free of charge with an option to donate through the tool.

Similar apps were built since January 2020, but few can claim to have nailed the UI and experience as well as The Coronavirus App (Screenshot taken 4/8/2021)

Take the Guys Out to Coffee (kinda)

In addition to asking for small donations on the free site, the team has linked up with a platform called Buy Me a Coffee which is a fun way to donate to creators that aren’t making a buck in other places.

For a creator, those coffees can really add up – today The Coronavirus App has 3,226 supports donating ~$12.50 each on average.

*pulls out calculator*

That’s over $40k in donations just from Buy My Coffee alone.

Not bad for a weekend project that’s helping millions around the world.

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Newsletters Don’t Have to Be Boring

Product & Creator: Not Boring written by Packy McCormick

Community Platforms: Twitter & Substack

Helping Pay the Bills: Newsletter Ads & Investment Syndicate

I have been following Packy since Not Boring first launched and chatted with him briefly over Twitter DMs. Side note: DM openness is consistent across all strong creators no matter the platform.

Ever since then I have been a big fan of what his team has built which is a community of curious people across industries like finance, design & real estate looking to learn about business in a well, Not Boring way.

Build It and the Startups Will Come

As a combination of their previous connections and the community of now 43k+ subscribers, Not Boring has launched a syndicate dedicated to make investments and provide insights to some of the top startups today.

Direct from their syndicate page hosted by AngelList

The Not Boring Syndicate is the first to use a newsletter to generate dealflow, think in public, and bring the power of a targeted community to bear on early stage fundraising…

…Not Boring will work directly with founders to write public investment memos that explain their company – and the markets they operate in – to both potential investors and customers…

…provide founders with a unique way to raise capital and drive awareness during the fundraising process. We plan on using the newsletter as a proprietary channel to generate high quality deal-flow for member LPs, and the community as a unique resource to support the success of our portfolio companies.

So instead of just running a paid ad to the newsletter which already runs companies from $1-7.5k per post, Not Boring is getting in on the action themselves by making deeper connections with high potential startups.

All this to say, it’s definitely Not Boring.

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TikTok Helps Us Laugh at the Corporate BS

Creator: On-Camera Talent Corporate Natalie

Community Platforms: TikTok, Instagram & Podcast

Helping Pay the Bills: Sponsored Ads & Cameo

Her rise to fame was the result of employees having to work from home and the meteoric rise of TikTok where people like Natalie unintentionally became well-known creators.

By consistently posting funny content inspired by her day job, she has amassed over 250k followers combined on TikTok & Instagram and has transcended from video to a podcast as well.

Get Natalie to Tell Your Directs They’re Crushing It

In addition to running paid ads for millennial-focused brands like Warby Parker, Budweiser, Crunch Bar, Twisted Tea, and Nutiliti, she’s also joined celebrity video messaging app Cameo.

Cameo recently raised $100M at a $1B valuation (is unicorn really still a thing?) enabling creators like Natalie to charge for a personalized video to her biggest fans.

Currently charging $35 per video and sitting side by side with B to D List stars like Vanilla Ice, Dennis Rodman & Lindsay Lohan, she’s found an easy to both deepen the relationships with her fans and make some cash along the way.

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Of course the social platforms are hating that this revenue is slipping away from them so action is being taken across the board by some of the biggest players

…just to name a few so keep your eyes peeled for past free services starting to ask for your credit card info

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Thanks to Growth Berries subscriber Bradley Smith for the topic reccomendation! Would love to hear what else you want to learn about feel free to email me directly at dan@growjuniper.com

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