Sustaining India's creator economy

Author s
Rahul Mathur

The term “creator economy” has picked up steam in the last few years. As creators amass large followings, investors and startups scramble to build businesses and enable their success.

Despite multiple monetisation models being built, earning a stable living remains a major challenge for most creators. The creator economy follows a power law distribution.

What’s a power law distribution?

A power law distribution occurs when a small number of factors drive a large number of outcomes. Think billionaires being richer than everyone else combined. As per this analysis on OnlyFans , the top 1% of accounts make 33% of all the money. The top 10% of accounts make 73% of all the money. (This article by Yahoo gives a brief about other platforms).

While the top 10% of creators will thrive, everyone else won’t have it so easy. Add to that the challenges of direct monetisation in price-sensitive low-income countries like India. The pool of consumers willing to pay for and support their favourite creators is tiny. That begs the question, how will the creator economy sustain itself?

Some creators will drop out. Others will twist and wiggle to make things work.

One such twist we’ve seen is the evolution of the creator into an entrepreneur.

Dhwani Kathotia is a sustainable fashion enthusiast who started blogging under @mylittlecupboard in 2015. She's since grown mylittlecupboard into a highly engaged community of over 15k followers.

Growing her blog while working as a freelance content expert helped Dhwani establish her credibility as a marketer and build strong relationships with brands. As a result, Dhwani started Distil, a conscious creative studio that works with purposeful businesses on all things content and marketing.

Dhwani’s story points us to an interesting trend playing out. Young, artistic individuals passionate about a subject start creating content around it. Those who stick with it, consistently creating high-quality content develop judgement around what content works and what doesn’t, besides domain expertise.

As they continue generating content, they begin to amass followers and credibility. This serves as proof-of-work, and results in getting discovered by people who will pay for their skills. In other words, freelancing. The ones who can afford to/are keen on an entrepreneurial path dive right into freelancing. Others balance it with their full-time job. Successful freelancers like Dhwani eventually look to scale, turning into entrepreneurs.

It’s still early days in the creator economy but if Dhwani’s story is anything to go by, this could be a pattern for the “middle class” of the creator economy. Creators who don’t become Tanmay Bhat but become successful entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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