Managing your own time, generating an income from a product you’re passionate about, where there is a genuine need and desire for expertise and being your boss are just a few benefits of becoming an independent creator.
The trend for creative independence isn’t showing signs of slowing down either, with certain brands seeing around 20% to 25% of their product sales through influencer marketing alone.
This begs the question, how are creator payments being processed?
What technology is being used to make it easier for creators to manage their inventory and track sales?
To understand this, we must first unpack the creator economy.
What is the creator economy?
The creator economy is the ecosystem and activities that revolve around independent, self-employed creators generating income through their own work.
This includes writers, gaming streamers, subscription-based creators, DIY makers, photographers and videographers.
This digital content can take various forms, including videos, podcasts, blogs, online courses, and essentially anyone who distributes content, products, and services online.
Creators with a large social media following can now earn money through things like product and brand sponsorship, advertising and merchandise sales.
The rise of the creator economy has been made easier by online platforms and tools that enable creators to connect directly with their audiences, monetise their content, and build a personal brand.
With the number of content creators growing, the demand for digital payment solutions has skyrocketed.
How does the current landscape look for creators?
Independent creators have made a name for themselves across various industries over the last decade.
From artists and writers to entrepreneurs and content producers, these creators are using technology to share their talents with the world.
It is now easier than ever to create content.
Even a decade ago, content production was far more expensive than it is now.
Today, you can create professional-looking videos, images and even art with a smartphone.
Plus, some of the content we see today looks incredibly low-budget (like most user-generated content).
Today, most consumers feel they can trust a product recommendation coming from user-generated content.
Additionally, 82% of people in a recent survey said that they would be more inclined to buy from a brand if it incorporated more user-generated content into marketing initiatives.
In essence, anyone can now become a content creator.
Ways creators now earn money online
There are thousands of ways creators can now make money online. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, a musician or a content creator, the ability to share your talents with your audience has never been easier.
Gone are the days when creatives need to partner up with big media companies or publishing houses to monetise their creative offerings.
Websites like Etsy and eBay are among the more traditional platforms to make money, but creators are utilising a host of other platforms to make their money.
Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have essentially revolutionised the landscape for creators looking to monetise their skills.
Instagram for example, attracts influencers who promote products from third parties to funnel sales using Instagram Shopping.
TikTok, on the other hand, uses its Creator Fund to pay creators based on how well their videos perform.
In most cases, if a creator is using a platform to promote their services or offerings, the platform takes a cut.
For example, if you’re a YouTuber with 5 million subscribers, you generate money through ads, sponsorships, and YouTube’s Partner Program – however, YouTube retains a percentage of your ad revenue.
Independent Creators Are Driving Digital Payment Solutions
The rise of digital payment solutions for creators, was in part, accelerated by COVID. In 2020, content consumption reached peak levels, which should come as no surprise considering there wasn’t much else to do other than scour through social media.
As a result, content was in a much higher demand.
One study revealed that during 2020’s first lockdown, 70% of respondents reported their social media use increased.
Additionally, during the second wave in 2021, 89% of respondents said their social media usage had increased or stayed the same from the first wave.
The result: a much bigger audience and therefore higher demand for content creators. Again, this increased content consumption demands more digital payment solution options.
Creators Still Face Some Payment Challenges
As the creative landscape expands, so does the necessity for payment systems that cater specifically to the unique challenges faced by independent creators.
The absence of traditional backing or corporate support means that independent creators must navigate the complexities of monetising their work on their own.
The freedom to earn money through several means online can also be a blessing and a curse.
While it may be beneficial for some to have so many payment options to consider (if they’re earning revenue off several platforms, for example), for others, it might be a little daunting not having a one-size-fits-all payment solution.
Key Creator Payment Solutions
With so many payment solutions available to creators, it can be hard to choose which is most appropriate for their needs.
For example, if you’re a fashion designer selling silk scarves in a physical store, an effective payment solution may be a card reader. However, if you’re a digital content creator (vlogger, blogger etc) then a platform like Patreon may be more suitable to accept online payments.
But what about those who want to handle their finances all in one place?
This is one of the main issues independent creators face; one dedicated place to track and receive payment for their work.
If you’re frequently on the move as a creator, no problem. Look into payment providers that offer a card machine that pairs with your smartphone and can access cellular networks for flexible payment options wherever you are.
Payment solutions contribute to the overall financial management of creators. Intuitive dashboards, contactless payments, insights into earnings, and invoicing solutions help creators make informed decisions about their content and business strategies.
Digital Payments Don’t Just Make Creators’ Lives Easier
We mentioned previously how having a go-to payment solution makes it easier for independent creators, but what about their audience and their consumers?
Payment solutions shouldn’t just benefit the creator; they should extend to the consumer.
Just look at Apple’s recent advert on contactless payment.
It depicts a customer struggling to pay via traditional means (using cash or a debit card) while the person behind uses contactless payment to pay quickly and easily.
A user-friendly and secure payment process is crucial for enhancing the buying experience for consumers.
If the consumer encounters speed bumps during their buying journey, you run the risk of them failing to complete their transaction.
There are several creator payment solutions designed to help make their lives easier.
They streamline transactional processes, allow creators to receive payments in various forms, and provide insights into earning patterns for better budget planning.
The key is finding a solution that works best for your needs.
Do your research and find a payment solution that works well with your business model and makes your life easier.