We checked the forecasts. We asked the experts. The results are in: 2023 is the year of the part-time creator. Why? Well, with the economy on fire and layoff news making many of us a little jumpy, now is the perfect moment to shift your focus from things you can’t control (i.e., everyone else’s business), and start investing in yourself.
So what are you waiting for? Start doing more of what you love and sharing it with the world. You might just make a killing with your new side hustle.
Why become a part-time creator now?
With the current economic climate, you might not want to leave your job to become a full-time creator just yet — and that’s the beauty of becoming a part-time creator. You don’t have to put all of your eggs in this new — and perhaps, you feel, risky — basket, because being a content creator doesn’t have to be a full-time thing. In fact, it probably doesn’t require as much time as you think.
“If you have time to shower, you have time to create content,” says Greg Isenberg, community builder and CEO of product studio Late Checkout. According to Isenberg, a minimum of 70 minutes per week is all it takes to be a part-time creator. If you have some time to spare, it could be enough to create content, reply to comments, and foster a community.
So why start now?
Our situationship with the economy
Let’s face it, the current economic reality is grim with shocking cutbacks, eye-popping inflation, and growing fears of a recession. But we see this situation as an opportunity. It could be the external motivation you need to start the part-time creator business you only daydreamed about under bluer skies. If you needed that extra push to get going, the economic downturn could be just the trick.
As anyone who’s had a side hustle can tell you, having income from multiple sources adds to your financial security. Going part-time as a creator is no exception (more on the earning potential later). Having an extra income stream means that if your industry gets hit by recession and you’re laid off, you’ll have somewhere to turn to bridge the revenue gap until you can find something new. Being a part-time creator also means you don’t have to give up your career or say goodbye to your steady salary — though it could set you up to do so down the road.
While being a part-time creator with a full-time job might seem daunting, it’s actually a great idea, financially speaking. Especially considering that you don’t have to put in an unrealistic amount of hours. Plus, the extra cash means you won’t be hit so hard by inflation.
“It’s actually really good for people who are employed to start down the creator route, because they don’t have to put financial pressure on their content business,” says Jay Clouse, founder of Creator Science. “They’re able to make the right long-term decisions, and not worry about the timeline of earning revenue from it.”
Seek fulfillment outside the grind
If you have a passion for something, you probably wish you’re doing more of it, or talking more about it. Although most of the world’s biggest creators are entertainers like Khaby Lame or Addison Rae, we recommend you focus on becoming a creator educator. It’s what brings the highest earning potential for anyone with an expertise, even if they have a smaller audience.
But what is a creator educator, anyway?
Creator educators are niche experts who take to social media to share their knowledge. Many of them do it part-time. Even with a more modest following, this can be a well-paid gig, on top of helping you connect with a like-minded audience. Creator educators tend to have audiences that are naturally pre-selected to be interested in the products and services they have to offer, meaning it’s easier to make a buck.
Get the raise you deserve
Wage growth in the U.S. has been struggling to keep up with inflation for some time, not to mention the skyrocketing real estate prices, interest rates, and the constant up-and-down of the stock market. At this point, the economy is making it difficult for people to get ahead, even when they’re progressing in their careers. Sound grim? It doesn’t have to be. Living in this new reality simply means we need to think outside the box when it comes to generating extra income.
Take Justin Welsh, for example. Welsh is a business expert whose side hustle of teaching LinkedIn audience growth courses — in addition to selling other digital products and subscriptions — now grosses him over $3 million annually. As Welsh’s focus has always been on getting his time back, much of his content creation work is dedicated to automating revenue. For instance, creating newsletters, templates, and courses with affiliate programs that can be downloaded or distributed repeatedly. These are all things you can do on a part-time basis that can help you make bank.
How to start monetizing as a part-time creator
Don’t know how to start monetizing? We got you. Below, find four easy ways to start cashing in as a part-time creator.
Idea 1: Sell templates
People use templates at work, at home, and to get the friend group to input their segment of the travel itinerary. Templates save us time — except when it comes to the upfront time cost of building them. And that’s why many will pay good money for your carefully thought-out, pre-made templates.
There are two areas you may want to investigate for template inspo. Firstly, if you’re already creating certain templates for yourself, capitalizing on your time and selling them to your followers is a no-brainer. From the spreadsheets you use to track your monthly budget to your workout guide, you may be surprised by what people will pay for.
If you don’t have any personal templates to share, or if you’re low on ideas, try to find the pain points in the day-to-day admin of your niche or industry, and build out a template to speed them up. That could mean a content calendar template or a stock tracking spreadsheet. The popular graphic design platform Canva is also a smart place to start creating templates, whether you want to provide the perfect layout for a social post or do something more niche, like creating a daily journal for getting through a breakup.
Idea 2: Sell ebooks
If your audience is constantly asking you questions, it means that you’ve earned their trust — and you have a lot more knowledge to share with them. This might be the right time to write and sell an ebook. Or better yet, a series of ebooks.
A great way to increase ebook monetization is to divide your larger topic into subtopics, then build out an ebook for each of them. That way, you won’t be stuck trying to cram everything you know into a single ebook, and you’ll be able to keep bringing in revenue over time as you release ebooks related to each subtopic.
When it comes to creation, remember to keep your ebook factual, concise, and clean. You’ll want to include appealing graphics and design if you can.
Idea 3: Create UGC for brands
If you don’t have much of a following, or you haven’t decided on your content niche, creating UGC (user-generated content) for brands is a great place to start. All you need is your phone and glowing reviews of products you love.
Brands are always on the lookout for real people to attest to the quality of their products — and that’s exactly what UGC creators get paid to do. Paid UGC gigs can include filming yourself testing and commenting on products, writing up blog posts with product plugs and reviews, creating testimonials, and even submitting Yelp reviews. Companies will post your content directly to their social channels. And if your content proves to be high-converting, brands will likely send you more products to review.
Idea 4: Start a paid newsletter
If you’ve got an audience that loves what you have to say, whether that’s due to your expertise or sparkling personality, a paid newsletter might be the perfect first foray into part-time content creation.
With the rise of publishing platforms like Substack, paying for newsletters hasn’t just been normalized. It’s even drawn in famous writers like Cheryl Strayed and Roxane Gay, giving us a way to connect with the people whose opinions we cherish in a deeper, more frequent way.
As a creator educator, you can populate your newsletter with tips from your niche, behind-the-scenes content, and exclusive information. Remember to give your followers a reason to subscribe: provide special-access information or in-depth details that you don’t address in your free social content.
Tips for preventing burnout as a part-time creator
While getting your side hustle up-and-running is exciting, we’d be remiss if we didn’t warn you to beware of creator burnout. Working your regular job on top of launching your part-time creator business can feel challenging at first. However, if you follow these tips, you should do just fine and might even thrive.
- Set firm boundaries that allow you to carve out time for resting and socializing.
- Decide on a realistic number of hours to dedicate to your creator business weekly — and respect it.
- Similarly, commit to making some days totally work-free.
- Decide on the frequency with which you publish content. Make this choice based on your limits — not arbitrary numbers spouted by other creators.
- Find tools that help you automate certain processes, like templates. (Pro tip: these templates could be a great first digital product to sell to your audience!)
- Get organized. For example, spend time setting up your agenda.
- Take vacations, making sure they include time off your main gig and your side hustle.
Time to get started
Going part-time as a creator is exciting and empowering. And honestly, it’s incredibly cool that you’re thinking of putting yourself out there for new opportunities to grow and monetize. Once you’ve chosen the type of creator you want to be, that’s when the fun really starts: you’ll figure out how to connect with your audience, and how to start monetizing your new side gig.
Ready to start making money as a creator? Download The Leap’s free guide on 12 Ways To Make Your First $100 Online.