The result is not that we should be looking for the 1% cream-of-the-crop aspirational stories, even if those may seem the most compelling and can drive the most traffic. Instead, if the goal is to raise all boats, it would be better to focus on telling the tales of the creative middle class—the people who may not have quite as compelling a story as someone who is making millions of dollars on YouTube or TikTok, but who have found a degree of sustainability in the work that they do. (They could use the attention, anyway.)
Last month I discussed the fate of the mid-tier creator in the context of “The Newsletter Underclass
,” but I think it also needs to be considered more broadly. People with top-shelf skill sets are studied for broader successes, but if their success is not representative of the whole, the result is that their lessons will only go so far unless you totally copy them and lose your unique approach along the way.
(In case you’re looking for an idea of what I mean, I would point to the work of Simon Owens
, who has been quietly mining the lessons of all parts of the creator economy for years.)
The creator economy will be stronger if more people have the space for a unique approach, and that means not looking at only the top-of-the-pile success stories (or at least studying them too hard), but finding ways to tell your own story and finding your own path to success. That sounds harder—and requires looking at more than the usual suspects—but it also will lead to better results in the end.