Creator Economy: From Passive to Purpose

Creators are shifting their focus from creating passive income to creating purposeful content. Over the past few years since I’ve been working on becoming more mindful and intentional about my life, I’ve noticed that there are two movements happening in the same space; the creator economy.

The first is a term you’re probably familiar with; “hustle culture,” which has blossomed out of the need for constant content creation. Creators are searching for brands to pitch content to for sponsorship and ad revenue. Content creators know that they can create great content, but they don’t know how to monetize it.

A few of the past ways creators monetized their content included: affiliate marketing or brand ambassadors, now called influencers. YouTube creators, bloggers, marketers, and social media creators have built large audiences by leveraging their audience to get brand deals.

On my morning walk, I was listening to an episode of a podcast called Powerhouse Women (highly recommended!) How To Start Monetizing Your Platform With Ashley LeMieux, Co-Founder Of Creator Source, in which the guest, Ashley, made wonderful comments about community building.

“Viral [content] isn’t what you are going for… How can you speak to that one person that can resonate with what you are talking about?” said Ashley. Lindsay (the host) shared that it’s hard to know what content will land with your audience.

The second, more intentional and mindful approach is to consider creating intentional content right from your member’s own needs. It takes time to understand your people, but Ashley says it’s worth it. She prints out social media comments and hangs them up on her wall to inspire her to create content that fits the needs of real people. The challenge with this is that it isn’t scalable. But does it need to be?

Our culture is focused on finding a new way to work. What I’ve learned is that it is easier to work with smaller groups of people and charge $1,000 than try to sell thousands of $10 something (memberships, courses, programs) every day, month, or year. But if you aren’t going to build an audience of 100,000, how do you become profitable as a community builder or membership site? Find your niche.

How to find your niche in your business and community

When I first started my community, I yearned to provide a place for people to find resources and calm in one place. But by the end of my first year, I was exhausted. I’d provided plenty of content and experiences but struggled to gain traction. Now I know why: I hadn’t identified clearly who the community was for. Various topics meant I was trying to serve everyone under the sun.

Yes, I had a compelling goal: to relieve anxiety and stress. But as I see now, this theme was way too large. My finding calm umbrella was compelling enough to attract people, but it hadn’t provided a specific solution for a specific audience.

I’d recruited amazing people to speak, and I’d valued every single session. But as it turned out, I’d promoted their services, offers, and products–while having no money to show for my own. In my attempt to provide a calm space for others, I’d worn myself out.

But as entrepreneurs know, success comes from setbacks–assuming we’re willing to learn from them. In my case, the bright spot came from the members themselves. After connecting with these individuals from June through December each week, I noticed something.

A portion of them had something in common: They were community builders themselves. They were leaders who shared my belief that people come first. They had similar goals and challenges, and I sensed I could help them. Not only that, but they told me so, point blank!

Over time, they also told me just what they wanted, which led me to reshape my community. Listening to their needs, I launched a new community. This time, it was just for them, and it addressed their isolation by including structured cohorts.

Know Your Strengths, Skills, Values, and Purpose

Indeed, listening to your people is critical when launching a community. But equally important is knowing what matters to you.

When was the last time you checked in with your strengths, values, and preferred skills?

As you explore the next best direction for your business, you’ll benefit from revisiting these things. I highly recommend taking the Clifton Strengths Finder Top 5 strengths assessment to identify what drives you. Then, if you need help finding your values and preferred skills, you may want to check out YouMap® assessments, which I found helpful for developing my business.

My clients have discovered that running a community can be rewarding and profitable. But there’s no getting around that building, and maintaining it takes energy. The better you know yourself (and your team), the better prepared you’ll be to build a community structure that lasts.

For this reason, I’ve become a certified YouMap® Coach. I use these tools to help new business owners clarify their strengths, values, and preferred skills. It’s also important to identify your burnout skills. These are skills you don’t enjoy doing.

Many clients refer to writing, editing, or recording videos as a few of their burnout skills. I recommend identifying all your tasks and determining which ones you could ask someone else to do. Finding what’s enjoyable in your community’s operations brings significant benefits from knowing yourself.

Here is a list of categories that might help redefine your skills:

Motivated skills are ones that you enjoy and you are good at doing.

Developmental skills are ones you like but haven’t had the opportunity to learn.

Burnout skills are ones that you are good at but don’t enjoy doing.

Low-priority skills can be things you don’t enjoy or encourage advancement.

This year YouMap has added a new feature to their assessments called Purpose Map® which is based on the concept of spiritual gifts and personal values. It helps clients narrow down their most important values and hone in on what an “ideal day” would look like. I recently wrote a blog about this titled: 3 Steps To Discover Your Life’s Purpose.

Step 1: Move past impostor syndrome by aligning your values, preferred skills, and interests to identify your superpowers!

What are you really great at, and do you see a need in the market that you could align your life’s experience with?

Step 2: Reflect on your Purpose Statement to dig deeper

Could you create your purpose statement by listing your strengths, skills, values, and purpose? I am [Value or Strength] who can [what you can do best] because [your reason why].

Step 3: Brainstorm Ideas of how to offer what you do best and what is needed right now for market fit

What products, services, or offers fit with your vision for your life and would help others solve their problems, navigate challenges, improve their well-being, or help them develop better personally or professionally?

Email with questions or comments.



Deb Schell, Author and Community Strategist

Community Strategist, Author, Podcaster, Designer. Find Calm Here, where community strategy meets intentionality.