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Social-Media Influencers Aren’t Getting Rich—They’re Barely Getting By

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the challenges and realities of being a full-time social media content creator, including the difficulty of earning a reliable income, the changing platform payouts, and the uncertainty around the future of TikTok.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Challenges of Being a Full-Time Content Creator

1. What are the key challenges faced by full-time content creators?

  • Making a decent, reliable income is difficult, with most creators earning $15,000 or less per year
  • Creators don't get benefits like paid time off, healthcare, and retirement contributions that traditional employees receive
  • High inflation and rising costs of living make it harder for creators to get by
  • The money from platforms, sponsorships, and tips is irregular and could vanish at any moment

2. How do the experiences of different creators vary?

  • Some creators like Clint Brantley struggle to make ends meet despite having over 400,000 followers
  • Others like Jason Cooper maintain a side creator gig while keeping a full-time job to ensure healthcare coverage
  • A few like Brandon Granberg have seen sudden growth and success, but still face uncertainty

[02] Changing Platform Payouts

1. How have platform payouts for creators changed over time?

  • Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat previously had dedicated creator funds and bonus programs
  • These have now been scaled back or discontinued, leaving creators with less predictable and lower payouts
  • Creators like Yuval Ben-Hayun have seen their per-view earnings from TikTok's rewards program steadily decline

2. What are creators' concerns about the changes in platform payouts?

  • Creators feel the platforms are not sharing a fair percentage of the revenue they generate
  • There is a lack of transparency around how creators are paid and a desire for more consistency

[03] The Uncertain Future of TikTok

1. What is the potential impact on creators if TikTok is banned or shut down in the U.S.?

  • Many creators like Brandon Granberg rely heavily on TikTok for their income and growth
  • Losing TikTok would be "devastating" for these creators, as it is a major source of sponsorship deals and marketing opportunities

2. How are creators and the platform responding to the potential TikTok ban?

  • TikTok's parent company ByteDance has sued the U.S. government over the ban, alleging it violates free speech rights
  • Some U.S. creators have also joined the lawsuit against the potential TikTok ban
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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