How To Take Your Creator or Influencer Business Full Time

Jesse Clemmens
Jesse Clemmens
Co-Founder @ HiBeam
Cover Image for How To Take Your Creator or Influencer Business Full Time

The rise of the creator has enabled countless entrepreneurs to realize the dream of paying their bills while doing what they love.

Not every content creator will strive to go full-time or derive a majority of their income from activities related to content creation. Amongst those that do try, not all will be successful. The content creator space is exceptionally competitive.

The creator job is typically only one part of a larger strategy for the subset of creators who aim to produce a single income from their work.  For example, some creators market a physical or digital business like a fitness creator who monetizes from coaching services. Others lean more heavily on their audiences, monetizing by ads, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, fan payments, and even branded products. 

Regardless of your strategy and whether or not you think of content as your primary or secondary purpose, you should consider a few things first before you consider going full-time. 

Run the Numbers 

If you've already decided that you'd like to pursue your passion full time, the decision on whether it's possible to go full time as a content creator is typically a financial one. 

  • Put together a financial plan and budget: everyone knows that they should have a personal financial budget, but many people do not. If you're in the latter category, take the time to dust off your Google or Excel Sheets and put together a financial model. Write down all the monthly expenses you have, both fixed and variable, as well as the income you are currently bringing in. You can layer on one, two, and three-year revenue or income goals once you have a clear picture of the current state.  

  • Figure out where creator income fits: is it direct, meaning that you earn money directly from posting content (platform revenue or sponsorships). Or is it secondary, where you promote or sell products, sponsored content, Shopify sales, or referral revenue?

  • Make sure you have momentum: it may be tempting to think that dedicating all of your time to content creation and monetization will mean that you can solve monetization questions. But consider waiting to go full-time until you have at least three months of sustainable month-over-month revenue growth. Think hard about whether your past successes can be realistically replicated and expanded. If not, you should spend more time figuring out your growth plan before making the switch.   

Savings and Emergency Fund

Do you have a savings or emergency fund? While creator income can scale substantially, it is inherently more volatile than a traditional job or career. Common advice is that you should have at least six months of savings tucked away, even while drawing a stable hourly or salaried income. While each person's needs vary, you should likely err towards a higher number when transitioning to a full-time creator. Giving yourself some financial cushion will buy time, make any missteps or surprises more manageable, and provide you with time to correct. 

Be A Legal Eagle 

If you are moving from working for an employer to working for yourself as a content creator, you'll have some initial decisions to make on the legal front. If you haven't already done your research on legal and tax matters, you should do so before you make the jump.

  • Tax Matters: how can you safely record and pay taxes when earning as a creator?

  • Legal matters: should you set up an LLC or another form of business entity?  

There are plenty of resources to be found on the internet in these subject areas, but it may be best to consult a tax and/or legal professional once you've put an initial plan together.

Set Yourself Up For Long-Term Success and Avoid Burnout

Creator Burnout is a real challenge and one that you should be prepared for when moving full-time. No matter what industry you work in, humans are susceptible to burnout. Burnout is a general term that can include many different symptoms: anxiety, neglecting your own needs, lack of enjoyment, and procrastination. Luckily, there are several methods you can employ to stave off burnout, including:  

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Remember - it's a marathon, not a sprint! 

Have A Backup Plan

While it may be tempting to go into your new creator business with optimism, there will be challenges. However, there are a few qualities that will help you adapt to any unexpected challenges.

  • Resilience: even if you have momentum going in, you'll need to remember that earning a full-time income by being a creator will take time and persistence.

  • Flexibility: remember to keep things fresh for yourself and your audience by experimenting with new channels, formats, platforms, and content types. You never know what may help you break through to the next level. 

  • Honesty: being a full-time creator may not be possible. Or, you might end up hating the job and decide to scale back to a part-time hobby. Either way is OK as long as you are honest with yourself and prioritize your long-term happiness.

Finally, remember that the best time to start creating a backup plan is before you get started. A contingency plan can help remove pressure and stress from your day-to-day. 

Summary

If you think your creator journey might take you to full-time content production, keep in mind the following:

  1. Run the numbers to know your current state and where you want to go

  2. Have an emergency fund in case of surprises

  3. Get your legal stuff in order by consulting a professional

  4. Avoid burnout 

  5. Have a backup plan

  6. And don't forget, have fun!

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