Creator Businesses Are a Risky

How to build with de-risking in mind

Kate Ward
2 min readMar 11, 2021


Photo by Pat Whelen on Unsplash

One of the biggest blind spots in creator economy discussions is about just how risky creator businesses really are. This is for quite a few reasons, but predominantly:

- Creator mental health / burnout: it’s hard to keep up with the joneses.
- Hype cycles: time on top has an expiration date.
- Poor decision making: one bad decision and a creator’s career is over.
- Platforms and algorithms: at the will of platform changes, decisions, and distribution.
- Revenue inconsistent and not diversified: a lot of creators have over 50% of their revenue coming from one source.

The MCN model was to de-risk through volume in exchange for 10% of ad rev. This hasn’t played out because it heavily favored MCNs.

So, I think the better question to ask is: how do boutique management agencies or small creators de-risk? And then, further, how do companies entering the space build with de-risking at the core? Here are some ideas:

Make creator collectives.

Let’s say, a creator agrees to put 10% of her YouTube ad revenue into a pool with a group of amateur creators. Over the long-term, she’s betting that one creator will succeed in a huge way. It may or may not be her. This de-risks and promotes collaboration.

Build out other content / IP.

Simple in theory, more difficult in practice. Study Barstool to understand how to do this well. Look at Disney’s evolution, as well.

Build a better Team 10.

Team 10 gets a bad wrap, but it was a revolutionary idea that fizzled because of the personalities involved. There’s a seed of something there that someone will get right, whether that’s an individual creator or management company.

Build fundamentally great businesses, and hire great partners.



Kate Ward

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