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How to earn a living as a creator

How to earn a living as a creator

There are endless ways to make money as a creator but sometimes choosing the right business model is the hardest part.

In this article, we'll cover:

  • 10 ways to make money as a creator
  • How to choose the right business model

Let's dive in.

10 ways to make money as a creator

Whatever stage you're at in your creator journey, there's a business model for you.

Affiliate marketing

If you don't have a product to sell, affiliate marketing is a great place to start. This is when you promote a product or a service to others and earn a commission in doing so.

MKBHD, a YouTuber with 3 million subscribers, reviews tech products for his audience. By having product links on his YouTube page, he makes money when people click and make a purchase.


Brand deals or sponsorships are the gold standard for how creators make money. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge audience to do this, you just need to understand a brand’s goals. If you want to get more sponsorships, set up a Passionfroot page and let people know you’re open for business!

Digital products

Selling digital products like self-directed courses or Notion templates is a great way to make passive income. As Kevin Kelly said, to make a living on the Internet, you only truly need 1000 true fans.

For example, Niharikaa, a Twitter creator with 20K followers, sells multiple digital products. This has made her financially independent.

Coaching and consulting

Coaching and consulting are businesses where you help others solve specific problems.

For example, Treyton DeVore is a certified financial advisor. He writes about his personal finance journey and educates others along the way. His content becomes organic marketing for his consulting business, All Street Wealth.


You might not earn a huge amount of money with tipping, but it’s a great way to earn some extra cash. Marie Poulin asks her fans to buy her a coffee if they enjoy her content. It’s a simple way for your audience to thank you for your content if they don’t want to pay for your other offerings.


Advertising revenue is a business model that works well if you get a lot of traffic to your content. If you’re a YouTuber, you can earn money from ads once you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program. If you're a blogger, you can add ads to your websites.


As Ali Abdaal said, "if your business is reliant on brand deals or ad sense, then it’s not sustainable."

That’s why many creators like Dickie Bush, Ali Abdaal, and Nathaniel Drew teach about writing, YouTube, and storytelling. Courses can help to boost your revenue as a creator. The only downside is they require more time and effort. You can start small with workshops and build your way up.


YouTubers like MKBHD and Emma Chamberlain sell clothing and coffee to their audience. This works well when you have a strong brand and it fits into your content well.

Subscriptions and memberships

Yoga with Adrienne has a subscription-based business model as a creator. On YouTube, she offers free yoga practices. In her paid community, they get access to her lifestyle and vlog content. Subscriptions are great for people who want more of you but you don’t need a personal brand to do this. Jay Clouse’s made $300,000 in a year from his paid membership, The Lab, which is a community for creators.

Public appearances

You might be used to doing all of your business online as a content creator but that doesn't mean you can't take it offline. You can get paid to share your expertise as a keynote speaker for events or if you're a personal creator with a large following, you can have ticketed meet ups so your fans can spend time with you.

How to choose the right business model

Choosing the right model requires trial and error. You have to consider your resources, audience, demand, and competition. Ask yourself:

  • How do you want to present the solution you're offering?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a creator?
  • What is your target audience's willingness to pay for your content?
  • How much time, money, and effort do you want to put into the business?
  • What are your competitors' business models? How can you differentiate yourself?
  • What are your long-term goals and how can your business model support them?
  • What would you enjoy doing?
  • Do you want it to be a one-off project or ongoing?

Final Thoughts

With so many options, there's a business model for every creator.

If you want to learn more about going from creator to entrepreneur, listen to Akta's conversation with Ali Abdaal on the Creators On Air podcast!