First, What is the Creator Economy?
Creator Economy (sometimes referred to as the passion economy) is the rise of solopreneurship in the content creation space online.
The same way the railroad created jobs for the locomotive industry, the internet has created meaningful jobs for the creator industry: Content Creators, Social Media Influencers, Bloggers, Photographers, Videographers — the list goes on.
From side hustles to independent businesses, the creator economy started before the Remote Work Boom and has become amplified thanks to the latter.
So I ask you: Are comedians in the creator business?
Some hands going up, some down, some people not sure what to do with their hands.
The answer currently is Yes and No.
Seasoned comedians are behind on learning the new tools (this becomes a growth blocker)
New comedians are comfortable with technology and accustomed to self-learning but don't have the comedy skillset that takes years to develop (this also becomes a growth blocker)
The undesired result of this juxtaposition is tribalism and purism. One camp saying "talking into a camera doesn't make you a real comedian" and the other camp dismissing the years of sweat equity put into the craft.
It creates ideological divides rooted in stand up ideology alone.
But here's the twist.
Comedians are the future of the creator economy.
Despite ideological divides, because stand up as a craft goes deeper, and creator economy as a market goes wider, comedians will come out on top due to diversification.
Authentic creators create authentic communities and I would argue the comedian's sole mission is to be as authentic as possible. Couple that with a globally-available market and you got future Walmarts and Amazons currently slinging Tinder jokes at an open mic.
Another way to think about it? You're the goldmine you didn't know you were sitting on.
So what does it take for comedians to dominate the creator economy?
Here are a few ideas off the top of my head:
Self-Education. Every day. We need to be teaching ourselves the things we don't know every day. The way I break it down: What do I want to learn? What could I learn that would help me improve what I'm trying to accomplish? Who can I learn from? If you believe your ideas can make an impact on others then your #1 investment should always be your education.
Re-Investment. Just got $600 from a show? Cool. Is that going up your nose or in your belly? Just a pile of coke and poutine. Or is that going into a better web cam? A podcast mic? What about investing in a better bed so you sleep better? Or a virtual assistant so you can accomplish more? We should be encouraging and teaching each other how to reinvest in ourselves.
Untribalism. Comedians need to work with comedians from different camps. Not only do you expand your worldview by intentionally working outside of your own echo chamber but you create more opportunities for each other by integrating your audiences.
Sharing. Don't hog knowledge. If something helped you overcome a challenge or you learned a hard lesson that was painful to experience — share your new information.
On that last point, and this more philosophical, but I am firmly rooted that the best career in the world for you is the one you create for yourself. This happens by giving more than you receive. Make that video. Write that ebook. Start that newsletter. Do the thing you can productize so you can reinvest in your own career. No one else is going to do it for you.
Comedians are pigeon-holed into a negatively selfish stereotype. They're the one in the spotlight, the only one facing the other way. But giving is positive selfishness. It makes you feel good to help others which in turn energizes your work. Hold onto that. It's the thing that's going to open up independent markets in the future.
Three Jonathon Winters quotes to bring us home:
"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it."
"I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it."
"Behold the turtle; the only time he makes progress is when he sticks out his head."