Being a proud millennial, I got hooked on the world of influencers and social media platforms way back in 2015 without really understanding the significance of the word ‘influencer’ or “creator economy”.  

However, I do remember being in absolute awe of Eva Chen (Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram & a social media celebrity) and her popular #EvaChenPose (for those who are unaware, reference below). Truth be told, many unsuccessful attempts were made with my favourite backpack, an apple and my cool Converse. Today, if you search on Instagram for #EvaChenPose, you’ll get a whopping 38.3K results – only a fraction of these are hers. 

Honestly, back in 2015, I did not realize the impact that an influencer or creator can have on you, but today, the creator economy is a mammoth-sized industry that one cannot afford to ignore. 

While a lot of talking has been done on the future of this industry and the trends, I decided to go back to the basics. If you are a newbie to the creator industry and are willing to take the leap of faith, then this read is just for you. I decided to dig deeper into what really matters a.k.a. when should creators start monetizing their content so they can make their profession a wee bit more sustainable. 

Let’s give you a li’l background: How do creators make money?

James Creech, Creator Economy, Creator Economy Jobs, Creator Economy expert

“Most creators earn primarily through ads and sponsored content, though memberships, tipping, merch sales, and digital goods have also become popular revenue streams for many creators.” – James Creech

As the creator economy is a constantly evolving industry, social media platforms seek new and better ways to help creators earn a living from their content. Some of the most popular monetization methods currently are 

Brand Deals 

According to a recent Goldman Sachs report, brand deals are the number one way that creators make money, accounting for almost 70% of revenue. Think, YouTube’s BrandConnect or Instagram’s Creator Marketplace. 

Creator Funds

The idea behind a creator fund is that the platform pays creators for the content they create, based on various metrics like views, likes, favourites and shares. Think, Instagram’s Reels Bonus program or Snapchat’s Spotlight fund. 

A creator should always think of multiple avenues of monetization just not brand deals, for infotainment creators courses can be a good revenue-generating source, for lifestyle and fashion referrals and affiliates might be good.” – Piyush Agrawal 

Ad Revenue Sharing

YouTube is the leader in this space with its YouTube Partner Program. YPP allows creators to earn a percentage of the revenue generated by ads that are placed before, during or alongside their content. 

Merchandise and Affiliates

Creators can also make money by selling their merchandise or promoting brand products and services through affiliate links. However, this channel is one of the lowest ways of earning revenue, less than 10% of revenue is earned through merch & affiliates.

While there are other ways of monetizing content, these are some of the primary channels that content creators rely on, currently. 

Also Read: From The Creator-Verse: Into A World Of Content

Now comes the juicy stuff…

When should a creator start monetizing their content?

If you are coming to YouTube for the money, chances are you will not go very far but if you have a passion for genuine content creation then it’s a La La land of opportunities to monetise your content later.” – Monkey Magic

Can I start monetizing as soon as I hit X number of followers? 

Will monetizing my content lead to a loss in followers? 

These have to be some of the most confusing questions that stare in the face of creators who are testing the waters and learning the game. So, instead of giving my two bits, we reached out to those who are creator economy experts and also who have personal experiences to share. 

James Creech, Founder & CEO, Creator Economy Jobs 

James Creech, Creator Economy, Creator Economy expert, Creator Economy Jobs

If you have been keeping track of the industry and researched about it on LinkedIn, you could not have missed James’ powerful insights and his path-breaking and first-of-its-kind work on listing jobs in this confusing industry. 

Q: When is the ideal time for a creator to begin monetizing? 

J: “A creator should start monetizing as soon as possible. Generating revenue from one’s content helps pay the bills so a creator has the freedom to keep creating. It also allows the creator to reinvest in her business, improving the production quality or growing her audience.

James also pointed out some recent monetization trends that include the growth of social commerce (especially among live streamers) & the rise of creator-led brands. 

Q: Is it true that monetization of content will lead to lower engagement?

J: “Enabling monetization doesn’t always mean lower audience engagement, but creators should be careful to ensure that their monetization initiatives are aligned with their audience and don’t distract from the content itself.” 

According to us, the last bit is pure GOLD

Next up, we decided to reach out to one of the most popular and loved creators in the country RJ Karishma.

RJ Karishma, Forbes 30 Under 30 (Asia), 2023
Instagram: 6.6M 

RJ Karishma, Influencer, Content Creator, Creator Economy, Monetization

Scroll through her feed, watch a couple of her reels, and this RJ turned content creator, manages to blow your mind with her relatable and ROFL-worthy humour. We asked Karishma about her experience with monetization. 

Q: When did you decide to take the leap of monetization?

K: “I believe it’s important to find the right balance between creating content that resonates with my audience and exploring opportunities for sustainable income. While there wasn’t a specific moment when I decided to monetize, as my passion for content creation grew, so did the need to support myself financially through my work. It has been an ongoing process of learning and adapting along the way.”

Karishma then explains the importance of building an engaged community as one of the prime factors to consider for monetization.

RJ Karishma Content Creator, Influencer, Creator Economy, Monetization

“I quickly realized that having a loyal audience who genuinely supports and values my content is crucial for sustainable monetization. It’s not just about numbers, but rather cultivating meaningful connections with my followers.”

Can we just say that nothing absolutely NOTHING comes as close to building a solid, strong community?

Piyush Agrawal, Co-founder, CREATE

Piyush Agrawal, CREATE, Creator Economy, Creator Economy expert

We also had the opportunity to talk to Piyush Agrawal, the man who is making noise in the creator industry with his avante-garde ideas. He shared deeper insights into some of the most common mistakes that creators make while monetizing. 

Q: What is the most important thing that a creator must consider before monetizing their content?

P: “A creator should always think about the number of average views their content is getting, if the average view count on IG is below 100k it will be difficult to make sustained long-term income just being a creator. On YT average view count could be 50k.” 

Q: What are some common mistakes that creators make while monetization?

“Some mistakes that creators make are 

  • relying only on brands
  • monetizing early in their creator career
  • sometimes over-monetization can be also harmful, there should be a balance of value ad and brand plug/other plug in the content”

Q: What are the few factors on which monetization is dependent? 


  • Average Views: It is important to ascertain how many people your content reaches out to, which can help brands decide your rate card, and you can also estimate the revenue for other alternative sources with this metric 
  • Demographics – This includes age, region, and gender data mainly a combination of these three data points, and gives you a rough estimate of the purchasing power of your audience. For example, if you have a Tier 1 city English-speaking audience their purchasing power could be higher which will directly affect the amount you can make via them. 
  • Niche – Different niches have different earning potential, sometime back finance was the most sought-after niche where money could be made, it is still one of the top niches, other top niches include infotainment, lifestyle, entertainment, etc. If the industry trend favors one niche then a higher amount can be made there.
  • Brand Value – If as a creator you are considered to be an influential voice that also helps you make more money.

Monkey Magic, YouTuber 

YouTube: 2.01M Subscribers

Monkey Magic, YouTuber, 100DaysofDreaming, YouTube Channel, Influencers, Content Creator

Lastly, we chatted with Monkey Magic, a Delhi-based YouTuber whose series #100DaysOfDreaming garnered over 340M views in just 90 days. His channel was the fastest-growing YouTube channel in the world for 2 days owing to his successful series. 

He believes passion & a sustainable bank balance are two important factors to consider before kickstarting your monetization journey.  

Q: For a creator who is just starting, what advice would you give about monetization?

MM: “Monetisation is far away for a creator who is just starting. One should have enough savings/funding to make YouTube a profession because it takes years to figure out what kind of content works for you and to foster a community. 

Yes, you can work on weekends alongside a job if you have but if you are thinking of leaving everything for YouTube, you should have a bank balance to sustain you at least for a year.”

Wrapping it up with one key takeaway: if you want to cash in on your content, ensure you have built a loyal audience that loves watching you and looks forward to your content before you think about monetization. 

Until next time.