10 Ways Creators Are Like Startups

And NOT just influencers

Kate Ward


Photo by Daniel Schaffer on Unsplash

The credo of One Day Entertainment is that:

“Creators and artists shouldn’t be treated like influencers, they should be treated like startups. They need managers who act like CEOs. Not agents.”

So today, I thought I’d write up a handful of direct / indirect similarities between startups and creator businesses that I think about often:

1. A creator’s brand is the product / platform. It exists separate from any one platform, maybe somewhere in between all of them.

2. Their videos, essays, and social posts are like features. Success isn’t hinged on just one. Some will lead to meaningful pivots, while others will crash and burn. All of it is helpful data.

3. The goal is to iterate obsessively until reaching creator-market fit. And then, to pour gas on the fire.

4. Content acts as top-of-funnel marketing for other features, products, and services. And it’s the best distribution on the planet.

5. The core metric of success is active users, or “true fans.” Think of all the ways someone can interact with a creator’s brand on a daily basis: by wearing a hoodie, responding to a Community text, watching a video, reading an essay. How many people are doing this? How many do you “own” on another platform? And what do you think the LTV of a fan is?

6. The key to long-term success is attracting and retaining talent. Creator businesses can’t scale without talented writers, editors, and producers. Making a creator business a great place to work is should be a bigger priority than it often is.

7. Relentless reinvestment and smart capital allocation are a huge competitive advantage. The creators you’ll hear about for the next decade will have invested their capital into building, supporting, and scaling businesses, instead of on fancy cars and houses. They’ll start the next Patagonia and completely disrupt venture capital.

8. At scale, audience / customer data becomes more valuable. A creator has their own personal focus group telling them what to build and create. Don’t sell data; build and invest in businesses based on fan insight analytics.

9. Managers are CEOs. Their job is to build and manage teams, own the balance sheet, diversify revenue streams, and deploy capital into investments. Hiring a great manager is a HUGE hack.

10. Turn expenses into profits. Jeff Bezos managed to turn every expense on Amazon’s balance sheet into a revenue stream. Creators can do the same. The picks and shovels of this industry don’t exist yet.

Any others? Comment below 👇



Kate Ward

Thinking deeply about how to make myself and the world a little better. & writing about creators mostly | email: kate@onedayent.com