It might seem like things are bad on the surface, but the creator economy is more than just a buzzword that’s losing interest among venture capitalists. Despite challenges on a platform level, creators are continuing to make a living outside of the bounds of traditional media and will only continue to grow in 2023.

TikTok has long been the dominant platform in short form video, while Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube largely copied the newcomer to keep up. But creators will finally be incentivized to flock to YouTube Shorts once they can actually earn ad money there. The best part? There has never been more pressure on TikTok to follow suit.

What’s a buzzword? You know it when you see it. It’s when Facebook rebrands to Meta and you suddenly get hundreds of emails about “the metaverse,” or when a crypto startup declares its commitment to fostering “community” just because it has a semi-active Discord server. You could also classify “creator economy” as a buzzword — I personally find myself cringe whenever I say it out loud, but I stand by the fact that it’s a much easier shorthand than saying “the industry in which talented people on the internet are leveraging social media audiences to develop careers as independent creatives.”

But all of these buzzwords actually represent real things. Yes, even the metaverse is a thing, though I’d argue we’re talking more about Club Penguin than whatever Mark Zuckerberg is into. The problem with buzzwords, though, is that they dilute real phenomena into fads that get further muddled by disconnected venture capitalists doubling down on the trend with over-enthusiastic investments.

“The passion economy isn’t sustainable,” he read, quoting his prediction from last year. “Nailed it! Who talks about creators these day? Nobody!”

I don’t think this means that the creator economy is failing, though. It could just mean that the industry is correcting for over-investing in a bunch of creator-focused companies that creators didn’t actually want or need. Also, you know, the economy.

I’d go as far as to say that it’s bad for creators when there are too many startups angling for their partnership. We know that most startups are doomed to fail — what happens if you rely on a company to offer your business some sort of service, and then they fail within a few years? This is why I’ve made it a personal policy of mine to always ask creator-focused startup founders how they would plan to protect their creators from harm if their company fails.

No matter where the VC funds may fall in 2023, the playbook for creators’ success remains the same. Diversify your income streams, build trust with your audience, and make sure you don’t burn yourself out.

Despite securing massive funding rounds and mammoth valuations, the model that these companies operate is still relatively new, and creators should exercise caution, as they should with any business deal.

What to expect from the creator economy in 2023 by Amanda Silberling originally published on TechCrunch