If you are trying to break into the creator economy, you need to know what the best tools are to make and grow your money.
Wait – don’t you just dance around on Instagram and suddenly money falls out of the sky? That might be what it looks like to the average consumer. But there is much, much more going on behind the scenes!
Yes, TikTok, Youtube, Instagram and even Snapchat are the leading platforms where creators are seen, but it goes a whole lot deeper than just the social platform they appear on.
The social platform is the tool they use to attract an audience, but it’s everything else they have set up around it, that actually makes it a business.
I’ll explain it all to you. Read on to discover the top 17 creator economy tools to make money.
Let’s turn your Insta-fame into a lucrative, sustainable business!
What Is The Creator Economy?
The creator economy is taking the planet by storm, with more people than ever leaving the traditional workforce, in favor of earning substantially more revenue as creators on social media.
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Anyone can join the creator economy. Any niche can be monetized.
You could place Monumetric ads on your website and earn when people click.
Or you can simply create entertaining content that doesn’t sell anything directly, but which earns revenue from Instagram’s creator program based on views and badges.
The choice is yours.
Yahoo Finance suggests that the creator Economy is worth $104.2 billion and growing daily.
Especially since the pandemic, more traditional employers are having more trouble than ever staffing their businesses.
Because, why work a minimum-wage job you hate, when you can earn 6 figures from home, doing something you are passionate about?
The highest-earning creators build a whole ecosystem around their brand, with the right tools. They are strategic about where they send their social traffic to, to generate revenue and they have systems in place to support it.
My Experience Going From A Broke Waitress To A 7-Figure Creator
From personal experience, I’ve been in the creator economy since 2007, but back then, my online ventures were small side hustles, while I completed University, waited tables, and tried to climb the corporate ladder.
I absolutely hated being an employee with every bone in my body.
Leaving my cozy home every day to go work for someone else’s dream made me dangerously miserable!
And not just in a “wah I hate Mondays” way but a universal innate belief that traditional employment was not my soul’s purpose and the longer I stayed in that lane, the faster I would deteriorate.
Both financially, emotionally, creatively, and everything.
Letting my life go by and NOT being an entrepreneur was going to ruin my life. I had to acknowledge this and change my life’s direction – fast.
I finally quit the workforce for good in 2016 to focus completely on my online business. At the time, it was just one small blog that I was running.
Once I was free from having to work a regular job, I suddenly found that I had the time and creative headspace to focus on actually monetizing and growing my blog.
My blog blossomed and soon started earning more and more affiliate marketing revenue, and in its second year was earning over $4,000 per month.
Then in 2017, I began focusing on blog flipping (buying, scaling and re-selling websites) and by 2018 I had grown a 6-figure company. I had grown several niche sites that generated over $20,000 in monthly revenue – each – and then I sold them for 40x profit.
By 2020 I hit 7 figures and now I’ve lost count.
If I can share one piece of advice that really, really helped me grow, it’s this:
Don’t be afraid to invest in your creator business from the beginning.
Invest in it by buying the right tools before your business is making money, so that it actually can make money.
I see so many creators who are scared to invest in their business and try to do things the cheap DIY way, and then wonder why they aren’t growing.
Be a professional from the start. Put out a professional look for your brand and give your audience a world-class experience from the start.
Your business is not something to cheap out on.
Top 17 Creator Economy Tools To Make Money
When it comes to my business, I’m all about keeping things simple.
Why take 10 steps when 3 will do? Why use a super-confusing software when a simple one gets the job done?
Since starting my biz, I’ve tested out dozens of tools, programs, and platforms for bloggers and entrepreneurs.
Some I instantly fell in love with, and some, not so much.
In today’s post, I’m talking about the tools that stuck — the ones that are now so ingrained in the day-to-day management of my blog and business, that they have become my essential creator economy ecosystem.
These 17 tools made the cut because:
a) They’re easy to use once you master the learning curve
b) They save me tons of time every week
c) Their price tag is totally worth it
d) They help creators make more money
17 might sound like a lot, but these truly are the best tools for running my online creator business, including social media scheduling, invoicing, collecting payments, selling courses, and more.
1. List Building & Management: ConvertKit
The first and most important focus of any business is your email list.
That is where you will make the majority of your sales, in people’s inboxes. And so, you need to have a place for your list to live and thrive.
What is the point of growing a big audience on social media (which you don’t own), if you aren’t navigating those people into your list that you actually own?
Your presence on social media is rented, and you could lose your account there at anytime. But when you grow your community via email marketing as well, you own the property.
ConvertKit is by far my favorite email list provider. I’ve been with them since 2017!
One of my favorite ConvertKit features is how easy it is to “include” and “exclude” certain subscribers from receiving certain emails.
For example, you can exclude people from a launch email sequence if they’ve already purchased the course or product, or send an email only to people who are enrolled in one of your courses.
Prices start at $29/month.
» And then Join ConvertKit here – you can also get a free trial first and play around with it!
2. Page Builder: LeadPages
LeadPages is another email list tool, and it’s been a huge help in growing my list. With LeadPages, you use their super easy drag-and-drop templates to create things like:
- Landing pages for freebies and digital products
- Pop-up boxes
- Webinar signup pages
- Thank you pages
- Giveaway signup forms
- And more!
If you’re not particularly design-savvy, LeadPages will be your best friend when it comes to creating gorgeous landing pages without the hassle.
It’s a fine investment, and you’ll use it for literally everything, so the price tag is well worth it.
3. Creation Tools: Adobe Creative Suite
No matter what niche you are in, every content creator has one thing in common – we all make content! And to make content, we need quality content creation software.
Adobe Creative Suite gives you Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing, Illustrator and InDesign for designing digital products and graphics, Premiere Pro for editing videos, and Audition for editing audio.
I won’t list out all of the premium design features you have access to in Creative Suite, but let’s just say there are a LOT. Anything you can dream up, you can create with these tools.
I absolutely love it and will never go back to anything else!
>> Ready to step up your content creator game? Get Adobe Creative Suite here!
4. The Right Equipment
Don’t worry, you do not need to buy any expensive, state-of-the-art film equipment in order to create quality content in today’s world!
Have smartphone? Great! Now here are the few other things that I recommend, and each one is less than $200:
5. Getting Paid: Thrivecart
Thrivecart is the platform I use for selling and hosting my online courses, digital products, membership and even my high-ticket coaching program.
You can preview all of my programs here.
The biggest reason I chose Thrivecart for my courses and products is that it has everything I need all in one place.
Not only does it host my programs, it also allows me to create sales pages, generate coupon codes, set up an affiliate program, and more.
6. CRM: HoneyBook
For the longest time, I used to try to operate my business without a CRM, using only Gmail for communication. It was out of control hectic!
Once I switched to HoneyBook, I never looked back.
Honeybook provides email management (so you never lose an email from an important brand sponsor), scheduling (so you can book clients automatically), contracts and designing (so you can send your sponsorship contracts to brands), contact forms (so people can reach you) and so much more.
And of course, I am so much happier now that my inbox is clean and organized 24/7. I highly recommend HoneyBook to anyone who receives a lot of emails and wants to stay on top of things!
7. Web Hosting: BigScoots
You must have your own website! Do not make the mistake of building your business ONLY on Instagram. You need your own website as well.
As I’m sure you know if you read my blog regularly, I’m a huge fan of self-hosted WordPress.
It wasn’t until I switched from Tumblr way back in the early 00s to WordPress that my blogging income skyrocketed, and it’s what I recommend to all of my readers and students.
I recommend BigScoots as the very best web hosting choice.
I’ve been very happy with them for many years, and they’re great for blogs that need more robust hosting.
I put my thoughts into a Bigscoots review. Read it, to see why I think they are the best, as well as reasons why they may not be right for everyone.
» Get free access to my website set-up class and you’ll have your very own website set up in a weekend!
8. Styled Stock Photos: Haute Stock
For the longest time, my visual branding suffered because my photos and graphics just weren’t up to par. I’ve never been a wiz with a camera and trying to take photos for my blog posts used to be a nightmare.
I’ll admit that I was hesitant to subscribe to a stock photo membership at first, but when I finally found the perfect ones, I knew that it was the right investment.
Since I started using premium stock photos, my business has only continued to grow!
I highly recommend this membership to anyone who struggles to take their own photos and wants something quick, easy, and gorgeous.
9. Pinterest Scheduling: Tailwind
Tailwind is the best (and really the only!) Pinterest scheduling tool out there these days.
It’s undoubtedly the main reason my Pinterest account has grown so rapidly and I continue to get tons of traffic to my website from Pinterest every day.
If you want to grow your business with Pinterest, you definitely want to get on board with Tailwind!
10. Social Media Scheduling: SmarterQueue
If you want to automate your social media accounts, particularly Facebook and Twitter, SmarterQueue will be your best friend.
It allows you to “recycle” your content so that every so often (on a set schedule you create), the same content is shared to your Facebook pages and groups or Twitter account over and over again.
Why waste time creating fresh content every day when you can simply re-use the great stuff you’ve already created?
11. File Management: Google Drive
My business was a MESS before I discovered Google Drive. I had folders scattered all over my computer, I could never find what I was looking for, and it always made me super stressed out.
Sound familiar? If so, you need to get on board with Google Drive ASAP, trust me.
Not only is it the perfect way to store all of your business-related files, images, and documents, it also has built-in tools for creating spreadsheets and slideshows.
I especially like using Google speadsheets to track my business income and expenses, blog post links, and affiliate marketing info.
12. Video Hosting & Livestreaming: Vimeo
Youtube Live is one way to live stream, but if you use Youtube, it will be covered in ads and video recommendations from other people. Including your competitors. So I don’t use Youtube for my webinars, or course video lesson hosting.
I have found that Vimeo is the very best video hosting tool. But it also does so much more!
One of my favorite ways to grow my email list, connect with my audience, and sell my paid offerings is by hosting live online workshops or webinars.
But you don’t need to pay for any fancy third-party webinar software. Vimeo has its own!
I actually use Vimeo’s live streaming tool to run my all of my webinars and virtual summits!
Plus, a lot of my video tutorials and course lessons involve me demonstrating a tool or technique on my computer screen. To film the actions I’m taking on my computer, while also sharing my screen.
I use Vimeo for this too!
It’s an all-in-one video creation tool.
13. Customer Intel: Interact
Next up, every successful creator knows that in order to sell to their audience, they must know what exactly who their audience is, and what they actually need.
And the best way to get that valuable information is to straight up ask them, using a lead quiz as a marketing tool.
Enter: Interact, the very best tool for discovering important data about your customers!
14. Website Themes: 17th Avenue
I’ve used many different WordPress themes, over the years, and the themes at 17th Avenue Designs are hands down my favorite.
Here are some of my favorite features of their themes:
1. You have six different sidebar options to choose from: left sidebar, right-sidebar, two on left, two on right, one on each side, or no sidebar. You can set a default sidebar layout, but you can also change the sidebar position on a single page or blog post.
2. You can create a static homepage with sections of different columns (one column, two columns, three columns) that can be re-ordered however you want. This makes designing a cute homepage super easy!
3. Google fonts and Font Awesome icons come pre-installed, so you have tons of choices for different fonts and icons to use on your site.
4. You can change the colors of absolutely everything: headings, fonts, sidebars, the footer, top menus, and more — without needing to know any code.
15. Audio Leads Automation: Manychat
If you speak on Clubhouse stages or are a guest on podcasts, you will need some way to invite listeners to sign up for your lead magnets and programs. And spelling out a super long URL is not fun for anyone.
That’s where Manychat comes in.
With this app, you simply set up a trigger word that sets off a string of commands that work with your Instagram and Facebook messenger.
When someone sends you a DM that includes that trigger word, they’ll get the autoreply you set up.
So for example, on a podcast, you could say “To get free access to my next live class, DM me the word masterclass on Instagram.”
Then when the listener DMs you the word masterclass, they will instantly receive the link to the workshop.
16. Fillable Lead Magnets: PDF Escape
With PDF Escape, you can make your workbooks and checklists “fillable”, meaning people can type right into the PDF on their computer without having to print them out.
It allows you to make fillable boxes in your PDFs that people can type right into (great for workbooks or worksheets), and checkable (is that a word?) checkboxes where a tick mark is added up whenever someone clicks on the box.
It’s super cool, and I use it for all of my opt-in freebies and course materials now.
17. Legal Bases Covered
Making sure the legal side of your creator economy business venture is taken care of is top priority. It doesn’t have to be scary!
- For your website, these legal page templates include the required legalese you need, for the 3 legal pages you are required to have on your site.
- For your trademarks, this trademark registration service has you covered
- To register your business, use this if you are American or this if you are Canadian
- Speak with your CPA to discuss tax planning, and be sure to set aside money each month, for next year’s taxes.
The Top 17 Tools To Make Money In The Creator Economy – Conclusion
So there you have it. The very best tools for creators to make money in the creator economy.
Each of these together will help keep your business running smoothly and help you earn a living online.
What are your must-have content creator tools?
Do you already use any of the ones I mentioned above?
And put a little heart on my TikTok post about this if you can relate! 👇
@herpaperroute 5 tools every creator needs for growing a successful digital products business this year. Ive posted all the creator tools that I use and recommend on the HerPaperRoute blog today including “🖤Friday” details – check it out! #digitalproducts #digitalproductscreation #sellingtips #creators #creatortools #businesstools ♬ original sound – Chelsea | HerPaperRoute ✨