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Not every creator economy startup is built for creators

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Ten years ago, if you were a scrappy kid somehow making a living off of YouTube ad revenue and brand deals, you were probably told you didn’t have a real job. Now, if monetizing your creative output is how you pay your rent, you’re part of the creator economy, a buzzy new industry.

An often-cited landmark report from the venture capital firm SignalFire says that creators are the fastest-growing type of small business. Despite the creator economy only really forming a decade ago, there are now 50 million people who consider themselves “creators,” and more American children want to be YouTube stars (29%) than astronauts (11%), per SignalFire. So it makes sense that more and more startups are cropping up to provide tools for creators — it’s an opportunity to cash in on a growing market, and savvy entrepreneurs want to make money.

As this market has expanded, I’ve written about credit card companies for creators , community-building tools and companies that help you design a product to sell, among other ventures. But as my inbox teems with too many creator-focused startup pitches, products and opportunities to ever even consider, I’ve noticed a troubling trend — not all of these businesses […]

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