Are Creators Recession-Proof?

And what will happen to them when we hit one?

Kate Ward
2 min readMar 24, 2021


Photo by Wahid Khene on Unsplash

The creator economy — in it’s current boom — hasn’t been around for a recession. Which begs the question…

What will happen to creators when a recession hits?

Here are a couple of potential outcomes:

More creators will start. Being a creator is permissionless. You can start while working a day job or collecting unemployment. We saw this last March with Substack newsletters and TikTok accounts. Being a creator is increasingly becoming a brilliant hedge and source of leverage.

The cream will rise to the top. Top-tier creators will crush during a recession, buying up all kinds of distressed assets with excess cash, while smaller ones will struggle to get deals.

Top-tier creators will bank roll smaller creators in exchange for IP. Imagine MrBeast just goes and buys up 50% of 10 channels he believes will be really successful over the next 10 years.

Creators will be forced to look for other ways to monetize. We’ll see a merging between gig and creator economies. This will be everything from freelance editing to consulting.

Views will increase, but CPMs and consumer spending will go down. This means, a creator’s brand and awareness will grow during a recession, but they might get paid less for it. Net-net, I have no idea how this plays out.

True fans will become an even more important metric. Creators don’t typically sell necessities, they sell commodities. So, honestly — how many people from your audience would buy from you if they could only afford one hoodie, subscription, or journal this year?

Creators will start pushing recession-proof products & services. These will be the clients with money to spend. Think gig economy tools like Fiverr, AirBnb, and potentially even an Uber Eats.

Creators will be well-positioned to help small and local businesses. A little bit of cash and direct distribution will quite literally save companies from going under.

Fortune 1000 brands may spend more with creators because there’s a clearer ROI function. Top-tier creators will win a lot of these deals, but there may be a trickle down effect.

Employees of creator businesses will convert to 1099s. Top editing and production talent will work with numerous creators, not just one.

Other ideas? 👇



Kate Ward

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