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The way people view work has fundamentally changed – how they work, where they work and who they work with. The future of work is no longer based around the idea of a 9-5 job, but is becoming much more fluid, letting people’s creativity, passion and skills shine. As this evolution continues, the creator economy and the ethos that creators embody will pave the way for the future of work.
In many ways, the future of work is already here. The creator economy is estimated to be over $104 billion by the end of 2022. More than 50 million people consider themselves creators, and about 30% of American youth want to become digital creators rather than pursue traditional jobs like doctors and lawyers. But being a creator isn’t just about leveraging social media or monetizing online content. Being a creator means doing work you’re passionate about — which often means sharing experiences, expertise, or creativity with an audience. This audience can be millions of subscribers on YouTube or a few dozen customers on Kajabi. That’s the beauty of the creator ethos: no matter what you have to share, there will be an audience eager to consume it.
Also see: How to break into the creator economy in a digital age
Embracing a strong sense of self
At the heart of the creator ethos is a strong sense of self. Rather than being “one of many” or working for a company or marketplace, being a creator means being able to succeed on your own terms. In fact, this strong sense of self is one of the biggest differences between gigworkers and creatives.
In the gig economy, workers have some freedom, but for the most part they are constrained by platforms that encourage uniformity among workers. For example, if you are an Uber driver, it will tell you who to pick up for a ride and what time to pick them up. This is quite different from an artist who has the freedom to sell their work on Instagram or collaborate with other creators to produce art and feature on YouTube, or an aspiring musician who not only makes music on Spotify, but also Artists collaborate with other artists to create music that will be picked up by TikTok creators.
Related topics: Can the creator economy help democratize entrepreneurship?
There’s never been a better time to embrace the creator ethos
A confluence of events from the pandemic to laws to technology to pay transparency makes this the perfect time to let your creator ethos shine. While the germ has always been there, this way of thinking has become more prevalent as the way we think about work continues to change. The barrier to entry, which used to be traditionally high for most jobs, is dramatically lower. Today you don’t necessarily have to go to school to become an expert at something. You can learn from a variety of online courses, both from institutions and from other developers.
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the shift to remote work, making it easier for those who want to pursue their passions to have the flexibility to do it wherever and whenever they want. Additionally, the pandemic has caused many people to reevaluate their relationship with work and the way they choose to spend their time. Many people quickly realized that life is too short to do something they are not passionate about.
For some, embracing the creator mentality was an inevitable decision. For example, my wife quit her 9-5 job to start her own coaching and counseling practice after her passion for helping people helped her see the freedom to leave repressive systems. For others, becoming creators has been more awkward, like those whose livelihoods have been threatened by the pandemic and who have unearthed dormant creative skills to stay afloat.
Broadway artist Kari Cotone shared with me her story of how she channeled her writing skills when Broadway was shut down during the pandemic. Before the tech tools that powered online creators, she had to juggle between a performing contract and working in bars and restaurants. Now she is able to run a freelance writing business, collaborate with clients online, and adjust her workload to accommodate upcoming artistic performances.
We must not forget the role of technological innovation in creating the environment and tools developers need to pursue their passions. Without the creation of communication platforms like Slack and Zoom, the proliferation of affordable laptops, high-quality ubiquitous Wi-Fi, and more, it’s hard to imagine developers making a living, let alone being successful.
Related: How to Make Passive Income in the Creator Economy
Companies need to make room for passion
There is no question that passion breeds creativity. In today’s landscape, creativity creates more business impact than just hours. In fact, McKinsey research finds a strong correlation between creativity and financial performance and creativity and innovation.
I believe that in the next 10 years over 90% of Americans will have some kind of passionate income or job. The time people invest, the income they earn, and the size of the audience they reach can vary significantly; However, it is inevitable that work driven by passion will continue to increase.
Whether you’re a small business owner, a startup founder, or a Fortune 500 leader, every business needs to adapt to this new reality and think about what it takes to thrive in this changing environment. As business leaders continue to adapt to remote work and accommodate their employees’ desire to be part of something bigger, issues need to be addressed in the context of this changing climate.
Now is not the time to hinder creativity and passion, but to encourage it. When business owners encourage their employees to embrace the creative ethos and employees give themselves permission to spend more time doing what they love, the future of work looks a lot brighter.