Creator News

Forbes’ Top 50 Creators of 2023 — And the Wild Ways They Make Money

by Nicholas Bouchard · Published Oct 6, 2023

Multi-million-dollar earnings, partnerships with huge global brands, massive companies of their own. If you keep up with some of the biggest content creators out there, you’ve probably already heard bits and pieces of this sort of news. But do you know who’s at the top of the content creation game? And how much money do they really make?

Forbes recently released its Top 50 Creators of 2023 list, which covers some of the richest creators on the internet, their social media following, and how much money they raked in last year. Read on for the main takeaways from Forbes’ latest creator ranking, and to see some of the wildest income streams on the list.

5 lessons from Forbes’ Top Creators 2023

Before diving into the list, let’s see what you can learn from these creators and their mega success. 

More followers don’t necessarily mean more money

While having millions of followers means having a bigger audience to monetize, making your follower count go up shouldn’t be your first priority. While TikTok darling Charli D’Amelio (#5 on the list) has almost three times the amount of followers that Markiplier (#13) does, the YouTuber’s earnings are slightly ahead.

Diversify and reinvest

The most successful content creators on Forbes’ list don’t just stick to content creation. That’s because being too dependent on a single platform can artificially cap your income. Whether you want to launch a venture capitalist fund like the D’Amelios (#5 and #18), or make a foray into professional boxing like KSI (#2) and Jake Paul (#3), it’s smart to diversify your income streams and reinvest some of the money you make into other ventures.

Find income streams that match your brand

If you’re a lifestyle vlogger, it makes sense to partner with cosmetics or fashion brands. But if you’re a master trash-talker like Jake Paul (#3), you can make a lot more bank hyping up a boxing match. Find your niche, and be creative when you explore new revenue streams.

Try new types of content

While diversifying your income streams, you also need to be willing to experiment with new types of content. Just because you’re great at making short-form videos for TikTok, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try filming longer videos, or even podcasting. Some of the most successful creators on Forbes’ list, such as Alexandra Cooper (#12) and Emma Chamberlain (#8), started podcasts that eventually led to lucrative deals with Spotify.

Engagement isn’t everything

On top of tracking earnings and number of followers, the Forbes list shares engagement metrics for each creator. Twitch streamer Kai Cenat (#44) has the highest engagement rate on the list at 25.75%, but both his audience and earnings are surpassed by dozens of other creators. It goes to show that while metrics like engagement are important for a channel’s growth, they aren’t the be-all and end-all of your success.

Forbes’ top 50 creators of 2023

See the key stats of Forbes’ 2023 creator ranking at a glance — from how much top creators earned last year, to their most impressive income streams.

#1: MrBeast

Earnings: $82 million

Total followers: 312 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Feastables, a chocolate and snack brand.

#2: Olajide Olatunji (KSI)

Earnings: $24 million

Total followers: 112 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: PRIME Hydration, the workout drink brand he co-founded with Logan Paul.

#3: Jake Paul

Earnings: $34 million

Total followers: 66 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Betr, a sports betting app that raised $50 million from investors.

#4: Rhett & Link

Earnings: $35 million

Total followers: 51 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Mythical Accelerator Fund, a vehicle for investing in up-and-coming creators.

#5: Charli D’Amelio

Earnings: $23 million

Total followers: 213 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: 444 Capital, a venture capitalist firm investing in tech and consumer brands.

#6: Logan Paul

Earnings: $21 million

Total followers: 74 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: A lucrative contract with the WWE, which has already seen him wrestle at Wrestlemania, the Super Bowl of professional wrestling.

#7: Elliot Tebele (F*ckJerry)

Earnings: $30 million

Total followers: 17 million

Top platform: Instagram

Wildest income stream: What Do You Meme, a Cards Against Humanity-style game where you create your own memes.

#8: Emma Chamberlain

Earnings: $20 million

Total followers: 28 million

Top platform: Instagram

Wildest income stream: Chamberlain Coffee, her namesake tea and coffee brand. It raised a $7 million investment from venture capitalists in August 2022.

#9: Matt Rife

Earnings: $25 million

Total followers: 22 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Matt Rife is a standup comedian by trade, and he’s sold over 750,000 tickets for his latest tour.

#10: Brent Rivera

Earnings: $17.5 million

Total followers: 96 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Amp Studios, an incubator for digital creators and channels.

#11: Khabane (Khaby) Lame

Earnings: $16.5 million

Total followers: 244 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Khaby can bring in $750,000 for a single sponsored post.

#12: Alexandra Cooper

Earnings: $20 million

Total followers: 5 million

Top platform: Podcasting

Wildest income stream: Call Her Daddy, exclusive podcasting deal with Spotify worth $60 million.

#13: Mark Edward Fischbach (Markiplier)

Earnings: $30 million

Total followers: 68 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Cloak, a clothing merch brand aimed at gamers.

#14: Jacksepticeye

Earnings: $27 million

Total followers: 26 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Top of the Mornin’, a coffee brand.

#15: Huda Kattan

Earnings: $13 million

Total followers: 69 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Huda Beauty, her eponymous makeup brand valued at $1.2 billion.

#16: Preston Arsement (PrestonPlayz)

Earnings: $35 million

Total followers: 26 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: The Mystery of the Super Spooky Secret House, a graphic novel.

#17: Ryan Kaji

Earnings: $35 million

Total followers: 36 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: A branded line of toys and clothing.

#18: Dixie D’Amelio

Earnings: $11.5 million

Total followers: 91 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: 444 Capital, a venture capitalist firm investing in tech and consumer brands.

@dixiedamelio

had the most magical time being a boss with @BOSS in milan 🤍 ciao for now #bossmilanshow #beyourownboss #ad

♬ White Light – rosi

#19: Zach King

Earnings: $13 million

Total followers: 125 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Zach King Magic, a series of books for kids.

#20: Drew Desbordes (Druski)

Earnings: $10 million

Total followers: 12 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Druski is a comedian as well as a creator, and recently went on his sold-out comedy tour: “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.”

#21: Chiara Ferragni

Earnings: $7 million

Total followers: 36 million

Top platform: Blogging

Wildest income stream: Her own brand of eyewear, shoes, clothing, makeup, and swimsuits.

#22: Bailey Sarian

Earnings: $13 million

Total followers: 13 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Dark History, a podcast.

#23: Addison Rae Easterling

Earnings: $6 million

Total followers: 142 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Starring roles in two upcoming feature films, “Thanksgiving” and “Animal Friends.”

#24: Adam Waheed (Adam W)

Earnings: $11 million

Total followers: 38 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Creator Cricle, an education company Adam W uses to help other creators go viral.

#25: Josh Richards

Earnings: $5 million

Total followers: 34 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Animal Capital, a venture capitalist firm with $17 million in funding.

#26: Tinx

Earnings: $7.5 million

Total followers: 2 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Rich Mom Gear, a clothing company specializing in embroidered sweats and shorts.

@tinx

And i dont stop till weve got the shot

♬ STAY THE NIGHT PLUGGNB ON SC – cadenkala

#27: Kaitlyn Siragusa (Amouranth)

Earnings: $15 million

Total followers: 12 million

Top platform: Twitch

Wildest income stream: Adult-themed product lines and premium content on Fansly and Onlyfans.

#28: Dani Austin Ramirez

Earnings: $12.5 million

Total followers: 2.7 million

Top platform: Instagram

Wildest income stream: Divi, a hair growth brand.

#29: Mark Rober

Earnings: $6 million

Total followers: 29 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Crunchlabs, a STEM subscription box for children.

#30: Dream

Earnings: $6 million

Total followers: 47 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: A recording deal with Republic Records. His hit song “Until I End Up Dead” has a million monthly listeners on Spotify.

#31: Ninja

Earnings: $102 million

Total followers: 70 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: A 30-day course for aspiring streamers with MasterClass.

#32: Marques Brownlee

Earnings: $8.5 million

Total followers: 29 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: His YouTube ad revenue. In a 2019 interview, he revealed that it made up about 40–50% of his total income.

#33: Michael Le (JustMaiko)

Earnings: $4.4 million

Total followers: 56 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: A merch collection based on his first music single.

#34: Bella Poarch

Earnings: $3.3 million

Total followers: 112 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Dolls, her first EP, which has received hundreds of millions of plays.

@bellapoarch

This trend was so funny to film😭😂

♬ ETA – NewJeans

#35: Nick DiGiovanni

Earnings: $4 million

Total followers: 25 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: Osmo, a line of salts with flavors like garlic, pumpkin spice, and Sriracha.

#36: Mikayla Nogueira

Earnings: $7 million

Total followers: 17 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Her collaboration with cosmetics brand Glamlite.

#37: Brooke Monk

Earnings: $2 million

Total followers: 36 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: A swimsuit line launched in partnership with Blackbough Swim.

#38: Madison Beer

Earnings: $2.75 million

Total followers: 62 million

Top platform: Instagram

Wildest income stream: Madison is a musician, with two studio albums out and a collaboration with League of Legends-themed virtual girl group K/DA.

#39: Nick Kolcheff (Nickmercs)

Earnings: $11.5 million

Total followers: 8 million

Top platform: Twitch

Wildest income stream: The creator plans to launch his own brand of tequila in the near future.

#40: Anthony Dawson (TooTurntTony)

Earnings: $2.9 million

Total followers: 25 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Too Turnt Teas, a line of hard teas.

@tooturnttony

let ‘em know the bayou bandit is comin.

♬ Levels – BigXthaPlug

#41: Aimee Song

Earnings: $4.7 million

Total followers: 8 million

Top platform: Instagram

Wildest income stream: Song of Style, her clothing label.

#42: Alix Earle

Earnings: $5 million

Total followers: 8.5 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Hot Mess, a podcast where she delves into in-depth, exclusive details of her life.

@alixearle

My sorority nightmare OUT NOW! @Hot Mess with Alix Earle

♬ original sound – alix earle

#43: Drew Afualo

Earnings: $2.9 million

Total followers: 9 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: The Comment Section, a podcast that just became a Spotify exclusive this year.

@drewafualo

I crack myself up tbh LMFAOOOOO the amazing & legendary @Bobby Berk is on The Comment Section this week & we’re talking all things interior design babyyy 🫡 check it ouuuut!! #spotify #fyp

♬ original sound – Drew Afualo

#44: Kai Cenat

Earnings: $4.7 million

Total followers: 22 million

Top platform: Twitch

Wildest income stream: According to estimates from Social Blade, Kai’s YouTube channel brings in an estimated $65,000 to $1 million a month.

#45: Alan Chikin Chow

Earnings: $1.6 million

Total followers: 40 million

Top platform: YouTube

Wildest income stream: A series of massive brand deals with companies like Netflix, McDonald’s, Coachella, and Old Spice.

#46: Vivian Tu

Earnings: $3 million

Total followers: 5 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Partnerships with Credit Karma, lululemon, and Invesco.

#47: Monet Mcmichael

Earnings: $4 million

Total followers: 5 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Brand deals with MAC Cosmetics, Fresh Beauty, and Bumble.

@monetmcmichael

anyone else go outside for too many days back to back and then need a week to recover? asking for a friend 🫣 #AD RESET DAY! 💆🏽‍♀️ Today is a BIG holiday – National Quesadilla Day! I’ll be hereeee with my @Chipotle carne asada quesadilla, ty @DoorDash They are giving away 20k quesadillas with $25+ orders exclusively for DashPass members today, 9/25, using promo code “QUESADILLA”. While supplies last. After the quesadillas have been claimed, you can still get $5 off $25 with the same promo code. Terms apply: https://shorturl.at/cmvQ1

♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K

#48: Olivia Dunne

Earnings: $2.3 million

Total followers: 12 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Endorsements from Motorola, Caktus, American Egale, and Vuori.

#49: Drea Okeke (Drea Knows Best)

Earnings: $1 million

Total followers: 7 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Partnerships with brands like Nissan, Google, Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven, Disney, and Netflix.

@dreaknowsbest

Don’t come for Mama D 🫨😅unless you can handle her savage roast! @Abyss Market #nonsense #mamad #nonsensebymamad #clapback #parentsbelike #ethnicparents #africanparents

♬ original sound – Drea Knowsbest

#50: Dylan Mulvaney

Earnings: $2 million

Total followers: 12.5 million

Top platform: TikTok

Wildest income stream: Sponsorships from companies like Crest, Nike, and Ulta Beauty.

Step up your content game

One of the most encouraging things to see from Forbes’ Top Creators list is just how much variety there is in the content creation world. Whatever your background or the type of content you make, you can find your niche, cultivate an audience, and make some serious bank doing it. Hope this list inspires you to up your content creation game!

Forbes Top Creators 2023 FAQ

Who was the biggest creator in 2023?

Number 1 on Forbes’ list for the second year in a row is MrBeast, the powerhouse YouTuber who many would say has completely redefined the game. With a total audience of 312 million and earnings over $80 million, he’s crowned the top creator of 2023.

How do Forbes‘ top 50 creators make their money?

While partnerships with brands come back again and again, there’s a ton of ways the Forbes honorees make money. Here are some of the standouts:

  • Exclusive boxing matches
  • Venture capitalist funds and incubators
  • Beauty products
  • Food and drink lines
  • Comedy tours
  • Books
  • Exclusive podcast deals
  • Clothing and swimwear

What’s the average revenue of a creator on Forbes‘ Top Creators 2023 list?

The Forbes list shows just how much variance there is in the content creation game. MrBeast (#1), the highest-earning creator on the list, brought in a staggering $80 million in earnings, while some of the creators lower on the list earned $1-2million.

So, what is the average amount earned by a creator in Forbes’ top 50 list? $14 million.

While the creators on this list are at the very top of their game, it gives the rest of us something to shoot for, right?

Want more tips for earning money online? Download our free guide on 12 ways to make your first $100 online to get inspiration from a dozen creators.

12 Ways to Make Your First $100 Online

Get inspiration and pro tips from a dozen creators who know how to make bank!

Follow The Leap on TikTokInstagram, and YouTube for more monetization tips for creators. We also make a newsletter.


Further reading

Nicholas Bouchard
About the author

Nicholas Bouchard

Nick Bouchard is a content writer and marketer with a passion for creation. His hobbies range from writing fiction to wrestling. He can only be photographed in national parks and on mountains, and pictures of him usually come out blurry. Some wonder if he even exists at all.
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