Creator Spotlight

8 of the Top-Earning Creator Educators of 2023

by Jenni Stablein · Published Aug 24, 2023

The global creator economy has an estimated worth of $250 billion — yes, that’s right, hundreds of billions of dollars. By comparison, the box office revenue for the North American film industry was only $5.99 billion in 2022. If these numbers say anything, it’s that content creators are quickly becoming even more influential in the entertainment industry.

But the creator economy isn’t just made up of content creators that are entertainers. Of the estimated 50 million people contributing to the creator economy, there’s an increasing number of creator educators producing informative content for large audiences.

Read on to learn more about the difference between a creator educator and a creator entertainer, and how you can monetize your knowledge like the 8 top-earning creator educators listed below. 

What is a creator educator?

While a creator entertainer is primarily focused on — you guessed it — entertainment, a creator educator produces content with the end goal of helping their audience learn, upskill, and generally become better versions of themselves. 

If you’re a content creator looking to monetize your knowledge, keep in mind that you don’t want to completely skimp out on the entertainment factor of your content. While producing educational content should be at the forefront of your content strategy, creator educators should still place a heavy emphasis on amusing their audience. At the end of the day, high-value education goes hand-in-hand with high engagement rates.

The key differences between creator educators and creator entertainers 

Creator EducatorsCreator Entertainers 
Their goal is to…Teach and inspireEntertain
Their monetization is…Recurring revenue streamsAds/brand sponsorships 
Their audience aim…Engage deeply Cast a wide net
Their followers…Devoted to a topicLittle in common

Creator educator content niches 

top earning highest paid creator educators

The creator educator category encompasses a broad range of content niches, including fitness and wellness, language learning, makeup tutorials, cooking tutorials, finance and investment advice, among many more. 

Hot tip: Given the current economy, finance content is overwhelmingly popular as a content niche (many of the content creators on our top-earning list fall within this category). So if you’re just starting out in the content creation game and wondering which direction to go in, anything to do with financial health or investment strategies is probably a safe bet. 

Creator entertainer vs. creator educator income stream potential 

top earning highest paid creator educators

While major creator entertainers like MrBeast, Charli D’Amelio, and Emma Chamberlain have massive followings and make a mindblowing amount of cash, it’s also their massive following that sets them apart from creator educators. 

Essentially, the audience demographic of a major creator entertainer is so big, it’s impossible for all of the members of their following to share anything hyper-specific in common. That means, beyond brand sponsorships, affiliate revenue, and personalized merch, a creator entertainer’s revenue streams are somewhat limited. 

On the flip side, a creator educator’s audience is already devoted to their content niche, which means that if a creator promotes a digital product or service, the chances that their following will already be interested is high. 

Long story short, don’t be discouraged if your audience is smaller than that of a creator entertainer. In reality, approximately 76% of Instagram creators have less than 100,000 followers, and only 0.5% of creators have over 10 million followers

Huge audience numbers aside, ultimately, it’s your revenue opportunities that will bring you success. So if you’re an aspiring content creator with a well of educational content to share, the future is already looking bright. 

There are several ways you can monetize your knowledge through sharing informative content, including: 

  • Creating and selling digital products (these may include templates, ebooks, spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Affiliate revenue 
  • Email newsletters
  • Workshops
  • Merchandise and physical products
  • Self-paced online courses 
  • Cohort-based online courses
  • Higher-priced memberships or subscriptions 
  • Advertising and sponsorship opportunities 

Read on to learn more about how much money top-earning creator educators make, their various revenue streams, and what type of content makes them so successful.

8 of the top-earning creator educators in 2023

1. Kayla Itsines 

An advocate for helping others live a more mindful and healthy life, Kayla Itsines is an elite personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Sweat, one of the most influential fitness apps for women. 

Early to the creator and digital product game, Itsines started her Instagram account back in 2014 by posting before-and-after photos of her clients. She then used the success of her Instagram to sell ebooks with personalized training and meal-planning tips. 

Within the fitness world of content creation, Itsines is the queen of using social media to promote her brand. By the time the Sweat app was founded, the fitness mogul’s massive IG following made it easier to launch the app, which has now been downloaded by over 30 million people and generated $99.5 million in revenue in 2020

Income streams

While Itsines has yet to officially publish her earnings, in total, the following income streams helped to launch the success of her fitness platform Sweat, which she sold for $400 million in 2021.

  • Ebooks 
  • Email newsletter 
  • Higher-priced memberships or subscriptions 
  • Sweat app 

2. Kevin Espiritu 

In 2013, Kevin Espiritu started a hobbyist gardening blog called Epic Gardening that quickly transformed into what Fast Company describes as a “direct-to-consumer gardening empire.” 

Today, Epic Gardening educates over 6 million people across the world on all things plant-related. With an audience of 2 million on YouTube alone, chances are if you’ve looked up how to keep your house plant alive or how to build a raised bed in your backyard, an Epic Gardening video was the first to pop up in your search results.

As the head of one of the largest gardening-only accounts on social media channels like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, Espiritu has had the opportunity to expand his content into several different revenue streams.

Income streams

While Espiritu has yet to officially publish his earnings, in total, the income streams below have helped to launch Epic Gardening into a projected revenue of 8 figures for 2023: 

  • Brand sponsorships
  • Podcasts 
  • Amazon Associates 
  • Affiliate links 
  • Physical products 
  • YouTube Adsense
  • Email newsletter 

3.  Ella Mills 

UK.-.based Ella Mills is all about sharing delicious ways for people to feel better. She started her blog Deliciously Ella back in 2012, after a year of battling several personal health issues that led her to explore a natural, plant-based diet. Her mantra to live a healthier life fueled by simple plant-based food recipes and wellness tools quickly resonated with a rapidly growing audience.

One of the top-earning creator educators online today, Mills now has over 2 million Instagram followers, six cookbooks, an app with over a hundred recipes, and a personal line of plant-based products. 

Income streams

In total, these income streams helped the Deliciously Ella brand generate $25 million in revenue in 2022: 

  • Physical products 
  • YouTube Adsense
  • Books
  • Workshops
  • Podcast
  • Deliciously Ella app 

4. Ali Abdaal 

A former medical student turned doctor, Ali Abdaal started making content to help his fellow medical students crush their final exams — that was in 2017. 

Fast forward six years later and Abdaal is now one of the top-earning creators producing educational content online. With several different content streams — including YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and a number-one ranking podcast — Abdaal is one of the world’s most-followed productivity experts. 

Abdaal is also known for his transparency regarding his many revenue streams, and shares an annual breakdown of what he’s made as a content creator each year since he started in 2017.

Income streams

In total, these 12 income streams helped Abdaal generate over $4.6 million in 2022: 

  1. YouTube Adsense
  2. Amazon Associates 
  3. Affiliate Income
  4. Youtube sponsorships
  5. Podcasts: Adsense and brand deals 
  6. Email newsletter 
  7. Instagram and TikTok sponsorship 
  8. Merchandise 
  9. Digital products 
  10. Skillshare courses 
  11. Self-hosted courses 
  12. Cohort-based courses 

5. Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap is on a mission to help women fight for their financial rights — all while making some serious cash. Dunlap started her content creator journey writing about her experience working towards saving her first 100K by the age of 25. Not only did Dunlap succeed, she also grew a massive social media following in the process.  

So, naturally, Dunlap did what pretty much any 25-year-old dreams of. She quit her corporate job and started her own business as a content creator. Ever since, Dunlap has been churning out high-value content aimed at giving women the financial resources they need to save money, pay off debt, and feel financially confident.

Income streams

In total, these various income streams helped Dunlap make $4 million in 2022

  • Long-term brand sponsorships 
  • Podcast 
  • Book
  • Self-hosted courses 
  • Digital Products
  • Cohort-based courses 
  • Merchandise 

6. Kat Norton 

@miss.excel

Formatting tip 💡 Use Text to Columns to format dates in Excel 📅

♬ Lil Boo Thang – Paul Russell

Kat Norton, AKA Miss Excel, has built a career on everyone’s least favorite software: Microsoft Excel. Her energetic teaching approach and abundance mindset have resulted in a highly successful content creator career that’s scaling at exceptional speed.

Super accessible and set to a soundtrack of trending songs, Norton’s informative content on all things Excel originally went viral in the summer of 2020 when one of her videos earned 100K views in just a few weeks. 

By January 2021, Norton quit her corporate job to become a full-time creator educator. Today, she reportedly only works 4 hours a day, creating and producing content. Sounds pretty sweet, right? How does she do it?

While social media videos may have catapulted Norton’s career, it’s her digital product offering that helped launch her $2 million business, with online courses offered through her website as her bread and butter. 

Income streams

Whereas other content educators rely on several different types of income streams, the bulk of Norton’s continued success relies on only two major income streams. In total, these income streams helped Norton make $2 million in 2022: 

  • Self-hosted online courses 
  • Consulting 

7. Justin Welsh

Justin Welsh helped build two companies past a $1 billion valuation and raised over $300 million in venture capital before he burned out and decided to redesign his life. What’s the redesign look like? 

Becoming a full-time creator producing educational content that teaches an audience of over 360K content creators on LinkedIn and Twitter how to monetize their skills. 

Welsh aims to help his audience understand how to identify a profitable niche, and then find the best practices for creating and sharing quality content across several social media platforms. He developed and packaged his systemized approach into a self-hosted online course called the Content Operating System (or The Content OS).

Welsh’s Content OS course aims to help aspiring content creators learn how to generate a consistent flow of content ideas, write and promote high-quality newsletters, repurpose content for distribution across multiple platforms, and learn how to use templates and automation to streamline the content creation process. 

With a target audience of “solopreneurs,” Welsh is also one of the most influential creators providing educational content on how to grow and monetize a LinkedIn account. 

Income streams

In total, Welsh’s multiple income streams helped him make $1.7 million in 2022.

  • Email newsletter  
  • Affiliate income
  • Self-hosted courses 
  • Sponsorships
  • Corporate coaching  

8. Vivian Tu 

Vivian Tu is @YourRichBFF for a reason. With an impressive résumé that includes working as a trader for JP Morgan and a strategist for Buzzfeed, Tu left her Wall Street career and stable salary to teach her rapidly growing audience how to get rich. 

Tu’s no-BS financial advice on budgeting, saving, and investing has earned her 2.4M followers on TikTok, 1.8M followers on Instagram, and landed her a spot on the Forbes Top Creators 2022 list after only one year of producing content.

Income streams

In just her first year of producing content, Tu was able to make a total of $0.2 million across the following income streams:

  • Brand sponsorships
  • Amazon Associates 
  • Affiliate marketing  
  • Newsletter 
  • Podcast 
  • Merchandise 
  • Book 

Start earning money as a creator educator! 

When you’re just getting started as a content creator, the struggle is real. Figuring out how to monetize your content while also creating content is a full-time job (and chances are you already have a full-time job). It can take a while before you start making money, but don’t get discouraged! 

Once you make a bit of cash from your content, you’ll only feel more motivated to keep the ball rolling.  

Ready to make some bread? Check out our FREE guide on 12 ways to make your first $100 online.

12 Ways to Make Your First $100 Online

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

Photo: Courtesy of Kat Norton

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Further reading

jenni stablein
About the author

Jenni Stablein

Jenni Stablein is a content marketer and freelance writer passionate about producing compelling and educational content for a range of clients across tech, fashion, product design, and art. When she's not writing, Jenni is nerding out about clouds (yes, clouds) or how to keep things alive in her garden. 
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