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Here’s a Bird’s-Eye View Into the Future of the Creator Economy

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The creator economy is booming. At last count, its total size was estimated at more than 50 million people. With such an influx of independent influencers, bloggers and videographers using social media to build online communities, it was only a matter of time before investors took notice.

In 2021 alone, VCs invested roughly $2 billion into 50 creator-focused startups. Such a move will likely fuel the next stage of growth for the content creation industry. I say this with firsthand experience as the general manager of a payment automation software provider.

Mainstream platforms have certainly gotten on board the short-form content craze, launching new monetization features and creator funds. Last year, Meta announced its plans to invest more than $1 billion in programs for creators to earn more money on Facebook and Instagram. YouTube has done something similar with the introduction of its Shorts Fund, which coincides with its “Shorts” feature and competes directly with TikTok.

TikTok was quick to respond, establishing its own channel-specific creator fund. Much like other platforms, the investment supports those in the content creation industry hoping to bring in additional earnings. Short-form content monetization spells huge growth potential for the creator economy and the platforms that give creators a home. TikTok, for example, expects its ad revenue to triple this year, going from $3.88 billion in 2021 to $11.64 billion.

Related: Influencers Are The Future of Marketing. Here’s How To Prepare Your Brand

The natural evolution of short-form content monetization

Short-form content creation is extremely accessible. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection to create and upload content. The most significant change to the content creation industry is the rapid rise of monetization, causing brands to do much more than just pay attention to the potential influence. They’re now treating creators like true talent, streamlining the entire experience and making the relationship more lucrative. Even something that might seem as trivial as a complicated payout system can have a negative impact on creator satisfaction. A creator will not want to create for a platform that makes it hard to get paid.

If anything, monetizing both short- and long-form content has led to an even greater rise in influencer marketing. It makes sense: As more people stayed home and boosted their screen time, sponsorships and promoted ads became more prominent in the marketing scene. Advertising has always followed the eyeballs, and if the eyeballs are on content creators, they will also be on the ads. Marketing teams must approach content creation differently.

This goes beyond mere personalization. Using a person’s name in an email just doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, marketers are now tasked with creating content that genuinely reflects individuals.

Segmentation can take you only so far, leading marketers to leverage the power of influencers — and the content creation industry as a whole — to diversify their messaging and improve their reach.

As more and more brands establish relationships with content creators, a shift will inevitably occur. How this shift will change the brand-creator relationship is still unknown, but a few likely scenarios will occur. Here’s where the content creation industry is headed.

Related: 10 Factors That Will Make or Break Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

1. The relationship will become even more symbiotic

Brands need content creators to bring in audiences to monetize either short-form or long-form content. On the other hand, creators need both brands and platforms to create and host content — and get a cut of the monetization pie. As the importance of monetization grows, an increasing number of creators will begin creating full time. New (and old) platforms must then find ways to attract talent to continue driving traffic and ad spending.

YouTube has a long-establish ad-sharing model, taking 45% of the ad revenue, with the remaining 55% going to creators. On the surface, it sounds like a boon for the content creation industry. If you dig deeper, however, the reverse is often true. Channel holders only get paid when audience members watch full ads, but 65% of people report skipping online video ads.

Related: YouTube Ad Revenue Is Down, Is TikTok to Blame?

2. The relationship will place greater focus on creator experiences

User experience has long been all about the end user. That’s likely to change with the inclusion of creators themselves. TikTok and Instagram are making moves to turn active audience members into creators. The creator funds serve as an example of that, but so do new app functionalities. With just the press of a button or swipe of the screen, creators can post content in moments. Other brands need to make similar moves.

Nike has done as much, flying several influencers out to its facilities a few years ago to explore the brand’s products — naturally, free merch was also part of the equation. But the gesture wasn’t all about goodwill. The influencers were set to create a series of videos to be published on a popular YouTube channel, but it’s hard to deny the focus Nike placed on the creator experience.

Related: Turn Your Customers Into Influencers to See Tremendous Growth

3. The relationship will continue to be about talent and compensation

Exclusivity deals are nothing new. But as brands become more reliant on creators’ talents, the competition for these independent influencers, bloggers and videographers will only heat up. Chances are, you’ll see higher revenue-share and sponsorship deals to secure creators. Streamlined payment options and other incentives will come down the line soon.

Amazon recently struck a multiyear exclusivity deal with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to return to its Twitch platform, who’d left for another exclusivity deal for a reported $30 million. Before the controversy, YouTube struck an exclusive live-streaming deal with Swedish gaming star Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg in 2020. The list goes on and on.

Influencer marketing has already been around for years, and the creator economy is following a similar trajectory. So, it’s up to brands and platforms to establish these relationships now or risk losing talent to whatever competition lies ahead.

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10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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