INS & OUTS Of The Creator Economy with Jennifer Phan

Jan 22, 2024


In today’s episode of our podcast, we dive deep into the intricate world of the creator economy, exploring various monetization strategies and the unique journeys of creators across different platforms.

πŸ“œ Video Overview:
Join Andy and our special guest, Jen, as they unravel the secrets to thriving in the creator economy. Whether you’re a seasoned creator or just starting out, this episode is packed with valuable insights and actionable advice to help you navigate the ever-evolving landscape of content creation and monetization.

🎀 About Our Guest:
Jen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the creator economy, providing invaluable insights into the world of content creation and monetization. Her expertise and passion for helping creators thrive make this episode a must-watch for anyone looking to make a mark in the creator space.

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Jennifer Phan:When we started our podcast, Creators on Air, where we interview creators, we got our first sponsor without even having a first episode out there before launch.

Andy Mewborn:Where do you think the creator economy is going?

Jennifer Phan:So what I see on one hand is there are going to be more and more creators. AI, you know, makes obviously even content creation easier and efficient and more automated. The second thing is I talk to a lot of people who are actually in a full-time job. So they're doing, you know, they have their full-time job. They're doing it and they're starting it on the side. They're making, you know, really good money. At some point, they're going full into it.

Andy Mewborn:What are the ranges to which people are paying to sponsor podcasts? Is it similar to that of the newsletter based on what you've seen?

Jennifer Phan:You mean like price ranges?

Andy Mewborn:Yeah, price ranges, like what they're doing.

None:Jennifer, Jennifer, how are you doing? Good.

Jennifer Phan:How are you doing?

Andy Mewborn:Good. Jin, I would love to hear from you. So passion fruit, amazing. Right. For people that are listening, it allows you to create a storefront to easily get how I would describe it, to easily get sponsorships for a newsletter or your podcast. Right. So a live link. Here's my link. Here's how much my stuff costs. Go ahead and pay me and we'll schedule something. I just signed up. So I'm super excited. But would love to hear like, obviously, this is very creator focused. Like, give us the backstory of this. I'd love to hear it. And kind of like what insights led to what you're doing now.

Jennifer Phan:Sure. So maybe to start off, so I was working before partial crude actually in venture capital as an investor. So investing in startups, loved it. And in 2020, obviously a lot of things happened, right? The pandemic, Asian hate crimes, Black Lives Matter. I mean, the world was crazy. And I think for me, and you know, I would be curious to hear your story on how you started to or why you started to create content. But for me, it was really about making sense of the world and what was kind of like going on. And I found it in actually creating content. So I started to write. Writing always helps me, you know, to provide clarity. So I started this newsletter on Substack. uh just more as a passion project but loved um that it just gave me a way to creatively express myself you know like you do i have my you know like day job as an investor but then just doing my own thing on the side on the evenings and on the weekends and And I just loved it so much that I thought about doing it full-time, leaving my job and just going full-time into building up a creative business, whatever that means. Which means writing and just learning and putting thoughts out there. And yeah, and just talk with a bunch of creators or people who are, you know, like have great content on LinkedIn, have a podcast, like you have a newsletter, YouTube channel. There was suddenly this new wave, I feel like of knowledge, content and entrepreneurs were building up, you know, like the new generation of media brands. And I talked with them and I found it so interesting how we're just redefining of what it means to actually work on your own terms, what it means to build a company, which doesn't have to be a VC-backed startup and code and AI, but actually putting your personal brand out there and building something out around it. And what I saw there was just this huge white space of how the tech stack of the future actually should look like for those small teams or those solopreneurs. So that's in the end kind of like why we started PassionFruit. PassionFruit is really about how do we empower creators really shifting their thinking around, I'm actually a CEO of a mini media company and I want to monetize it and I want to monetize it in a sustainable way. I want to scale my own operations and scale my own brand. And Passion Fruit helps you basically to streamline a lot of your work. to monetize, but ultimately it aims at to really become the operating system for you as a modern content entrepreneur in that regard. So that's kind of like the backstory of how we actually founded PassionFruit.

Andy Mewborn:And you have, I'm looking at your site, you have like some of the biggest creators. You have like super, you know, the superhuman folks. Yeah. Yzlo, you've got Ali, you've got my friend Alex, my friend Dan Go here. You've got Arvid. You got like some of the biggest creators using Passionfruit, which is like freaking awesome. So how, like, I want to talk through, like, how did you get through the cold start problem, Jen, in terms of getting traction? Like, walk us through that.

Jennifer Phan:Yeah, I mean, you know, what they say is also how it works, like do the things that don't scale. So, I mean, in the beginning, it was mainly, we've done tons of user research, right, before even writing the first line of code. It was really just about understanding deeply the problems of creators. So, in the beginning, it was really more about understanding, you know, like their pains, their issues, et cetera, yada, yada. And at some point, we had this first group of creators, which we were in contact with, started to show designs, started to show our prototype. So from there, it was a lot of direct outreach for reaching out to identifying the right type of creators that could actually fit you know, like to, to, to, to, to passion food and what we offer, and understand kind of the value proposition, I think that's kind of important. So a lot of them, you know, we're on Twitter, LinkedIn, I would say actually Twitter is kind of like our biggest channel. So we reach out to them and then suddenly the growth loop started. So suddenly creators obviously shared like, hey, I'm using this awesome tool called Passionfruit. You should also use it. So I think that's the powerful thing though once you have the first set of creators that if you build a good product and you do a lot of things that don't scale in the beginning, that the growth loop at some point does start to go, because obviously creators have their own audiences as well. So again, direct outreach, doing a lot of things that don't scale in that regard. Having a first set of early believers that then also spread the word for you. And then for passion fruit, it is a lot about, in that regard, product and growth as well. So you see how superhuman is using passion fruit. they're sharing it on their newsletter. So that's in the end also how a lot of our users actually then sign up because they hear about or they see people like Superhuman linking it then in their newsletter.

Andy Mewborn:Wow. Okay. Got it. Yeah. Which is awesome. Cause as they share their link in their newsletter, people, you get people's eyeballs on passion fruit and use that as kind of a growth channel, which is awesome to make your own thing. Wow. Awesome. Awesome. And with you, like what I'd love to hear from you, Jen is like, where do you think the creator economy is going? Right. And why I asked that is because Becoming a creator is freaking hard. Building a business to live off of as a creator, as a full-time creator. I've been doing it for a few years. It's very difficult. You have to be on point. You have to be there every day. It takes a lot of discipline. It takes a lot of iteration. It takes a lot of experimentation. I think there's two sides that people have. Right. Which is like one, the creator economy is going to be this huge, massive thing. Right. And my creators are going to be, you know, the, the, the main, you know, be able to create their own businesses and, and it's going to be a huge thing. And then there's another side of it, which is like, oh, people think it's way too hard for, for most individuals. If they want to say, Hey, I want to be a creator. It's easier just to get a job. Right. So, um, you know, are you, you're, most likely bullish on it because you probably wouldn't have built something there. But tell us a little bit of where you think it's headed because that's what I'm curious of, right? Like where you think this is going to head the next one to five years.

Jennifer Phan:Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think what is, I'm talking every day to creators, right? And the stories I hear are so diverse. And the people I talk to are at different, you know, stages in their, in their kind of creator lifecycle. So what I see on one hand is, there are going to be more and more creators. A, AI, you know, makes up of the content creation, easier and efficient and more automated. So we do see already that a lot of people are actually leveraging that. So that's one trend I see. The second thing is I talk to a lot of people who actually have full-time jobs. So they're doing you know, they still have their full time job. They're doing it and they're starting it on the side. They're making, you know, really good money. At some point, they're going full into so they're, you know, balancing basically that risk out. Sure, it is hard. But basically, they have still kind of a safety net, right, of their corporate or their full-time job. And then at some point, they're doing it full-time. With the money they have, they're starting actually to hire someone in to, you know, to some of the partnership staff. They have an assistant, they have a sales manager. They're building many teams around them, which helps to make the whole journey easier. That's what you mentioned. I think you need to have at some point either through AI or through human resources. It's things that are being taken care of. That's a second trend or that's the second thing I'm seeing. And I still do believe that a lot of creators can build businesses. That's what we've been seeing even in the past month. A lot of creators start with passion fruit and then at some point say, I'm actually making five, six digits per week, per month. I'm quitting my full-time job. And I'm doing it now for time and I'm having a business now. So that's definitely something we're seeing more and more of. It's just I completely understand that it's a very hard journey as well. But again, I think that's why it's important to have the right people or even the right tools around you so that it becomes still easier, at least partially. One concrete example is a lot of creators do make money with brand partnerships and sponsorships. And even the biggest creators we talk to get so much inbound But the market is still so inefficient and so broken on both sides that brands and creators have such a hard time, you know, finding each other that if you can create value around that inefficiency, that it kind of lifts the entire, you know, economy up in that regard, because the market just becomes more efficient. So I think that's kind of what is happening, starting to happening, a lot of things are being invested into the space. So again, I'm still bullish on it, but I do acknowledge and understand definitely also the difficulties around the whole creative journey. And I think that's kind of the part of every... Yeah, exactly.

Andy Mewborn:Yeah. Yeah. Making it easier. I will say, yeah, because, um, it's interesting, right. Giving creators the tools that they need basically to be successful. Right. And I will tell you from my perspective, you mentioned something interesting, which was the market and, and how inefficient it was today and like getting these greater sponsorships or like brands and creators working together. I would tell you it is like, I don't know if you're creating a marketplace, you might already have one for like brands that are looking for the perfect creators. I don't know if you've, how much you've streamlined it yet, but that is, that is something interesting there, right? That marketplace. And I know that there's a lot of people trying to do it. But really like finding the right brands is hard because me as a creator, I have a newsletter, right? Which is what, 26K, 27K. I have 170K on LinkedIn, right. I have 10K on Instagram, which isn't huge, but like, so my biggest channel is LinkedIn. Now, getting to the people that want to spend money and see the, see the power of using in quote unquote influencer, right. It's actually very hard. Like I even have someone like a person that's kind of helped me on commission only, commission based only going out and helping find deals. Right. And I thought it was going to be easy, but like, it's really not. And you kind of have to have two things. It's like companies that believe in influencer marketing and that companies that have the budget to be doing it right now with additional creators. Right. So it is pretty difficult. Now, once we find someone that has those two, it's a no brainer for them. Right. We figure out something and doing it. But like getting discovered is sometimes like the hard part. Right. Which is funny because you would think it'd be easy when you have a big following. But no, like there's just so much other noise out there, which is Which is so interesting. So yeah, I'm excited personally to use passion fruit because I want to like make it easy one and then to see if there's a I would love to have a network of people that are like, oh, we want to do something on LinkedIn. Here you go. Here's the perfect creator for that. Right.

Jennifer Phan:Which would just be amazing, super amazing. Yeah, so we started kind of a creator tooling, right? Like single player mode, which helps you and equips you as a creator to just streamline from the first kind of like request, almost like a Shopify store, right? Like with your storefront. to payments, to everything in one place. And that was great. That also helped us to build out the first user base. Then what we definitely heard as well, what you also mentioned is, hey guys, actually, it's also really time consuming and hard for me to actually get those founders in the first place. And that's obviously where our scaling or network effect come in as a platform. Because the good thing about creator marketing, obviously, is that they're rarely just sponsoring or partnering with one creator. They're usually doing a campaign with several creators. So there is repeatability in this business and there is the need for a network effect. And I think that's where you can outsource that part or that job of doing the outreach for you, finding relevant brands or companies to work with. That's basically then what we're tackling next. And I think what is so super interesting is that this whole space we're in is in its infancy, which means B2C, there was a lot of the classical B2C influencer marketing on Instagram. the whole B2B space. companies that are software companies, productivity tools, finance, education companies, they're just actually getting started now. So I think that's kind of also where we're in and why it's so interesting, because it is a new market, definitely. And that's where we already see like, yeah, again, huge inefficiencies, but great also a new category to shape.

Andy Mewborn:Yeah. Yeah. The B2B is interesting, right? Like, um, I was talking to Jay Klaus a couple of days ago. We'll have a pod out with him as well. And, and, uh, I asked Jay, I was like, Hey, what do you think about like this, the B2B creator economy? Uh, and then we got, we kind of got into some semantics and stuff of like, what's really the difference like between a creator, right. Um, but like when I look at this B2B creator space, What I look at it as is less like beauty companies wanting to sponsor people to sell their chapstick or something, and more like you said, software companies realizing that like, holy crap, cold email, this predictable revenue model doesn't work. We need to use people that get attention because any sales channel that you're doing is you're trying to get people's attention. And what is the best way to do that today is people that already have it. It's kind of like when you break it down. And I think they are starting to realize that And personally, I work with a couple of companies, right? Well, first off, my own distribute, like my own size, right? I like to think we have a leg up because I already have an audience in distribution. It's kind of like a hack, right? Per se, which is awesome. But other companies that are not like creator led or I shouldn't say creator led, but like creator founded, right? Like your creator founded as well, building a company for creators, very similar. Um, they are starting to see the light. It is very early though. Right? Like, um, I think you can tell by the way they're like, oh, well that's if we do a post with you and it gets 50,000 impressions, that would cost this much on Facebook. And they try and compare it to like Facebook impressions or something like that. Um, they're like, that would only cost us this much. And you're like, yes. However. that's just a random ad from your company on Facebook. There's no, you're not tying it to an individual. You're not targeting. Yeah. You're not targeting. Right. Like it's sure. Facebook's good at knowing, but you're not attaching it to a known person's identity. Right. Yeah. Um, so that's, yeah, I mean, what's that, that's where the higher cost is. Right. And so I think in my conversations, these companies are still trying to like associate with something they know and they're, and then, you know, It's up to the creator to have that conversation with them and say like, yes, but it's not like apples and apples, right? It's kind of apples and oranges of what that looks like. So from my experience, they're very early, like they're still trying to figure it out. But I am a big believer in that, like, what they're going to start doing is basically And I'll tell you what I'm doing with my company, right? Distribute is like, I'm finding my favorite creators and then I'm essentially getting them to do sponsored posts. Like I'm going to use them as my sales team, right? With content, right? That's going to be the way I think about scaling sales. How do I get creators pushing our stuff, paying them, sponsored posts, right? And then giving them a bump with affiliate links as well and building up that affiliate network. And those affiliates I'm going to recruit who are content creators, right? And this is going to be something interesting for you, Jen, which is And I'm telling everyone I'm going to build this company, but we're going to do basically double down on affiliates, right? These affiliates are going to be content creators. We're probably going to give them a, pay them like a, an amount and then also give them an affiliate link where they'd get a commission on everything. Right. And the, I think the big mistake that I've made in the past and building these out is people have thought about an affiliates like, Oh, I'm going to put a link on my website and hope that people sign up. When really, I think what a big thing is coming is affiliate and creator affiliate enablement. So what you do is like, honestly, someone, and there's probably already someone that does this, but in these B2B companies, they basically one recruit affiliates and then to help set them up for success, like their employees, right. Give them the resources they need, tell them about what's coming, help them become successful in building out their content. Right. And so they still have their kind of own thing. They're maybe working for other companies, these creators, right? But they're working for multiple and creating content around multiple things. So that's kind of where I see it going. And that's what I'm doubling down on, right? It's like, how do you do that? Because if content's the way to create demand, find the people that create content. But I don't know, how are you thinking about this in terms of what B2B companies are doing, what they're doing right, what they're doing wrong? I would love to hear your perspective.

Jennifer Phan:Yeah, no, totally. I mean, I think what's really cool is that we have hundreds of B2B companies actually even joined our Passion Food Partner Network. So we do see on a day-to-day level what type of companies are basically interested in and getting it and how they work, what they need, what is their pain. So we're sitting on the tons of insights there. I think the focus previously was really around how do we build a tool or product that is really for creators because we still believe that that's the right way to build the product because otherwise a lot of products or platforms or even marketplaces out there were really built in mind for enterprises. So you just create a bunch of LinkedIn profiles. I mean, companies can just pay a Zasky for that and then just find creators that might fit or influencers. And that's kind of it. So what we see right now, I mean, again, I think a lot of startups or scale-ups that are starting to tap their tools into the space, I think are just getting started with it. There is still a lot of education to be done between how many clicks can you actually give me? What's the real return on investment here? Is it a brand awareness campaign or is that a campaign that really brings me... What's the cost per click? There are different, I think there's still education to be done, that newsletters, sponsorships are not necessarily the type of marketing where you calculate it based on signups or clicks, because that's not where the user at the end makes the buying decision right away. It takes a lot of time to warm up. So it is more like a brand awareness. type of campaign. I think that's kind of what we see. So do marketers understand how actually creative marketing works? Are they willing to invest budget in into brand awareness campaigns? Or are they really looking only for metrics, metrics, metrics? And at some point, it doesn't even matter for them anymore with whom they partner up unless basically those creators just bring them customers in. That's two very different approaches between ad network and bespoke ads. How much do you care as a brand with whom you work, I guess? That's what we also see as different preferences, but I think both can exist and you can even do both. You can do two or three creative partnerships which are more bespoke, which are more about having the right thought leader, talking about your product, and then you have like an ad network campaign where you don't really care who you actually work with and it's more about metrics and if they basically get enough like signups or clicks for you. I think that's kind of also where we're seeing it heading, combining basically those two different approaches. And then on the affiliate marketing, yeah, it's definitely something we also hear very often. I mean, Hashtag Group doesn't tackle that at all. We really are trying to make it easy for creators to have bespoke sponsorships. But affiliate marketing is definitely something I think is very, very interesting and also just in its infancy. So a lot of actually marketers do want, I mean, it's more though wanted by marketers, I feel less by creators. They still prefer flat fees. That's the problem, I think. Yeah.

Andy Mewborn:Yeah. Yeah. I agree with you. Like I don't do, I've never done affiliate only deals, right? Like it's just like, no, I'm still taking the time to do this. Like, you know, Yeah. It's kind of like the way someone I talked to, I was like, well, do you get paid only if you hit your, your sales goals? You know, like, like, no, you still get a flat fee, right? Like you're still getting paid and then you have your bonuses. That's the same way. Right. So I think a lot of companies make that mistake. And they're trying to do this affiliate only creator thing and they're going to figure out that's not the way to do it. Like I took anyone that ever asked, like reaches out. I'm like, nope. I'm like. It could be 50% or whatever, which is great. But I'm like, sure, the 50% sounds great, but I would still love a flat fee. Do both. Because I can't control the messaging that you want me to use and all that. It's not going to be exactly what my brand is about. You can get it close, but it's not. People can tell, I can't control if they're going to buy your stuff or not. There's so many factors I don't have control over. the landing page to where you ask people to sign up. I don't have control over how good that is, right? And if it converts or not. Yeah. To get that affiliate actual fee, right? Like it's the stuff that I can't get. So I think this comes back to it's in its infancy. So people are starting to figure it out. But let me ask you, who do you think is doing this kind of creator influencer marketing super well right now? I'm sure you see a lot of people booking creators. Right. And so who do you think are like the top two or three companies that other people should model?

Jennifer Phan:I mean, I think Notion, obviously, is actually doing really well on that. So they're, you know, investing a lot into specifically like, for example, creative on YouTube, you know, or producing like content on studying productivity, lifestyle. So I think they actually work with a lot of creators. Then we also have actually a lot of AI companies from the past month. They all went into creative marketing straight away. That was one of their main channels, which was super, super interesting because there are also so many people who are writing about AI creating posts about AI, creating Twitter threads about AI. So I think UAI had a couple of campaigns on YouTube, but also on Twitter and newsletters. They actually went full into creative marketing. So I think they're also a good example. And then who else? Superhuman actually also did software. So actually a bunch of startups in the software productivity space are doing it pretty well and experimenting also with different uh, with different platforms and different type of creators.

Andy Mewborn:Yeah. Yeah. I love notion. That's who I was thinking too. Cause notion, they kind of broke all the rules, right? Like they, like from a B2B sat, well, they're kind of B they're, they're most actually B2C I would say, but, but they're a software company. Right. And they went to, I think TikTok was like their main channel for growth, right? And like, they went there and they owned it. And I was like, wow, this is like, amazing. You know, they had everyone creating stuff about Notion. Obviously, Easlow's on your, on your, on your using passion fruit. But yeah, people like Easlow. I wonder how much they pay him. I'd be interested to see that. Uh to do it or if I think he might do a lot of it for free because he's just a notion. Yeah, but Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, that's his thing But uh, yeah, they broke the rules and they're like, oh, let's go to tiktok when most people were like, oh no tiktok is for Dancing or whatever the heck most people thought about it as right and that was like notions a major growth channel over the past few years, which is just Crazy to me. Yeah um, so i'm I was pumped about that. I'm excited to see what other kind of creator influencer channels other people use. Mine is LinkedIn, right? So I'm going to try and create this whole LinkedIn kind of... What do you think?

Jennifer Phan:I mean, what are your thoughts around, you know, like LinkedIn, B2B creators or creators on LinkedIn in general? LinkedIn as a platform for creators.

Andy Mewborn:So for creators specifically, LinkedIn is interesting, right? Interesting because if you look at the algorithm on LinkedIn, they've had the same. algorithm type for a while where it was like a for you feed and that was the main feed, right? Like for you, whereas everyone is now shifting towards the for you feed, right? Like Twitter, like everyone's like, I mean, TikTok is for you mostly, like it's not mostly your followers, right? Twitter is shifting more to for you. So they've kind of have, I think, they're behind in some ways, but they've also been ahead of the game in some ways. Um, and obviously I love LinkedIn. I've helped like thousands of creators get started on LinkedIn through, through my program, brand 30. But, um, you know, so I'm obviously very bullish on LinkedIn. I will say though, they move very slow in terms of updates and stuff. Um, when it comes to content, like there's only a four year fee, there's still not a following fee. I love that. Right. Um, The way they surface content that you like is not as good as I would expect. But overall, I'm very bullish on LinkedIn. And I'll tell you the one simple reason why, because there's people have skin in the game. You can tell exactly who someone is. It's not a bunch of like cartoon character accounts. Right. Yeah. Twitter's great. Like, so you can see if people there, you can see their credibility and their expertise, like, and you can get a sense of that pretty quickly to be like, Oh, is this actually someone that is worth following? Or should I actually get insights from and all that? So I think that's one reason. The second reason is still like, I think there's 900 and last time I checked, like 950 million LinkedIn users, right? And not that many, I think less than 1% of those people create content. So what does that mean? The organic reach is amazing on LinkedIn, right? And when people are on LinkedIn, they're in their kind of work mode too. So for B2B creators specifically, it's amazing, right? Because if they're ready to buy something for software companies, they're kind of in that mode of, and they're on it all day because there's so much data on LinkedIn, where people work, who knows who, mutual connections. All that stuff means it's very sticky. So that's what makes I'm bullish for B2B specifically. It's going to be the main. I still think it's the main channel. I mean, I've built seven figure businesses on LinkedIn. I have friends that have built seven, eight figure businesses on LinkedIn. Right. And so, you know, I'm very, very bullish on LinkedIn for that reason. Now, that's for a certain type of content, though. B2B, very specific content, looking at different tooling, stuff like that. However, the half-life of LinkedIn is very small, right? Like if I make a post, that post is dead in four days, right? Three days. If it goes viral in a week, you'll never see it again. People won't ever see it again, most likely. Whereas like YouTube, I think YouTube is amazing and I'm putting more efforts into YouTube now versus Twitter or anything else because I like video. I think I see the future of video and YouTube, the half-life is way longer, right? So you can make a video and it could continue to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, right? And if you think about YouTube, it's the second largest search engine in the world, right? Like, I don't know about you, but the first thing I searched when I need to learn how to do something is YouTube. I don't even go to Google anymore. Yeah. You know? So like, I want to see the video version of how it's done. Um, and so, That's where I'm also bullish on YouTube because you can do long form. They have shorts as well. Right. And so in the half life is pretty long on YouTube, which is what I like. Right. If it's useful information. So, yeah, overall, LinkedIn, I'm very bullish on it. I think it's going to I think they'll make it better. It'll take time. It'll take they'll learn from everyone else's mistakes. I think I'm optimizing and trying to build it for everything. And they definitely live by the like. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Like mentality, LinkedIn. It's funny because a lot of people used to hate on LinkedIn on Twitter. You've probably seen that, right? They're like, LinkedIn is garbage.

Jennifer Phan:The content. The cringe posts.

Andy Mewborn:Yeah, the cringe. And sure, there's people that do those. But I look at Twitter as like a great place to like make new friends and like see what people are about. And then LinkedIn is a way to like monetize and do

Jennifer Phan:Yeah, I agree. I think there's definitely a high density of buyers and decision makers. So what you also mentioned around people actually working or being in working mode and also you see where they work, what type of work they do. There's definitely a high density of decision makers there. So I think, for example, what Zain Khan did, he started to... I think when he onboarded onto Patreon, he had like 10,000 subscribers and wasn't sure if he should do sponsorship or not. He grew massively, obviously, on Twitter, but actually very, very smartly also on LinkedIn and try to leverage that. I think he's at $700,000 on LinkedIn now. It's getting tons of basically leads, sponsorship leads also from LinkedIn that monetize through LinkedIn, but getting actually the leads from there, right? It's the brand up there and then monetize with the newsletter. So I think that's kind of a very smart strategy as well. So diversifying and actually not staying only on Twitter, but actually going to LinkedIn, that was very interesting move.

Andy Mewborn:Yeah. Question for you, Jan, is what are other creative ways you see people monetizing besides the standard newsletter or sponsored posts? Is there anything interesting that you've seen? Because that's where everyone goes to, right? Is newsletter and sponsored posts. And both of those, there's a high barrier to entry, right? Because to get any value, you need to have a lot of subscribers, great open rate, great click-through rate, right? sponsored posts, you need a lot of followers, right, or a lot of like leverage in that sense. So if I'm a new creator, right, and I want to like monetize in some way, maybe I like 10k followers, 20k, whatever, like, what do you see in people doing that's interesting, that's not your your typical newsletter, or, or, you know, sponsored posts?

Jennifer Phan:And yeah, I mean, first of all, I think at 10,000, honestly, oftentimes it's really about the niche, right? The niche you're in. Sometimes converting three people for a high value software product is already much more valuable. So in that sense, actually what we've seen is tons of creators will have much lower audience sizes. but are in a very attractive high-value niche are making actually more money than the large creators. So that's maybe on side. Different ways to monetize what we see is A, Even if you have a podcast, so when we started our podcast Creators on Air, when we interviewed creators, we got our first sponsor in without even having a first episodes out there, you know, like before launch. Because it is also a way for them, right, to associate themselves with a brand. So we were very clear on this is our speaker lineup, this is going to be our season, these are going to be topics. And then we got Inbound from Riverside, actually, the tool we're using right now. actually a request to sponsor our podcast without even having launched it officially. So I think that was an interesting way you can definitely get started even before, specifically for things that are more you create a brand around, you have the right speakers in or the right guests in. The second one is community. A lot of creators we see are actually also monetizing and upselling, cross-selling with their community. So many have maybe a certain community, a stack community. They basically offer not only sponsorships in the newsletter, but they're creating this whole package. I'm doing five sponsored posts on LinkedIn, plus newsletter, plus my Slack community of 400 people, which is not much, but creating a whole package around it and offering, that is basically another interesting thing we saw how creators can actually get started right away, even though they have maybe small audience sizes.

Andy Mewborn:That would be interesting. There's a way right there. For that, Jen, what are you seeing the ranges? And again, I'm a noob on podcast sponsors. So if someone wants to start it, what are the ranges to which people are paying to sponsor podcasts? Is it similar to that of the newsletter based on what you've seen?

Jennifer Phan:You mean like price ranges?

Andy Mewborn:Yeah, price ranges, like what they're doing.

Jennifer Phan:And honestly, it really depends on the niche and the type of content you're putting out. Yeah, the size you're putting out there. So can be anything from like, you know, 200, 300 per episode or per newsletter issue up to like 1000-ish. But really depends on, again, the size, the niche.

Andy Mewborn:the audience you know like readers profile etc yeah yeah yeah similar like newsletter it's kind of like that that's the market of like yeah hey size all that stuff interesting okay yeah that was a beginner question just because obviously i'm doing it Um, so I wanted to know, but Jim, Hey, this has been awesome. Um, and I, we really dove into the creator economy and kind of like where things are going, how people can monetize, um, different strategies people are doing. Right. Um, one last question before we head out, I have for you, what do you think is the most underrated channel right now for beginner creators to get started?

Jennifer Phan:It's a good one. I mean, I need to obviously also promote our own. So we have a creators on air podcast, which is amazing because it is a YouTube channel plus also podcast that actually interviews creators who share their journey and their experiences from monetization grow across different platforms. So that one is definitely underrated, but highly appreciated by many creators. Cool, so that one. Then obviously, I mean, you mentioned already, I think Jay is doing a terrific job. I think he ramped up or stepped up a lot of his YouTube and and game on creator science. So I think that one is definitely great also to learn from. And then there's a newsletter, which is called Growth in Reverse. I think that one is also really great, where basically there are deep dives around how creators grew actually to a certain size. And they're really like breaking it down. And I think the writer spends 20 hours researching basically that. and sharing great stuff for content. Yeah.

Andy Mewborn:Wow. Okay. Well, you heard it false. Nice. Nice. Well, thank you so much, Jen. It's been amazing.

Jennifer Phan:Yeah. Thank you so much.