Ashley LeMiuex, the Co-Founder of CreatorSource, was a creator before social media fully emerged. Twelve years ago, she started a blog to pursue her dreams of becoming an author.
At the time, there weren’t many ways to monetize your audience online, but Ashley began reaching out to brands and selling ad spots on her blog’s sidebar. As Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms launched, Ashley expanded into social media.
After a decade of social media and creator experience, Ashley founded CreatorSource, a multimedia company providing creators with the tools to negotiate brand deals, scale their income, and price themselves effectively.
What is CreatorSource?
CreatorSource is an online dashboard offering strategies and tools to help creators make a steady income. CreatorSource’s features include a step-by-step game plan, a customizable pricing calculator, a complete social audit, and a content database with templates.
Tools like the customizable rate calculator help creators make more money and stop selling themselves short because they don’t have to guess how to price their services.
Ashley adds, “We also have templates so that when you are reaching out to the brand, you know how to pitch yourself. The right key points so that you can sell yourself and your story and what it is that you’re doing. We have templates so that you know how to respond to brands.”
CreatorSource also has a library of five-minute training videos from industry experts, creators, and strategists so creators can constantly learn and stay abreast of new topics.
Ashley shares, “A lot of times, people give up too early, or they wonder if they’re doing it right, and there’s a lack of confidence because you don’t have any way to gauge how you’re doing because no one’s talking about it. We wanted to create a community where you could have the support and the validation you need to grow as a creator.”
Key Trends in the Creator Economy
Ashley explains that authenticity is critical for creators to stand out amongst the constantly evolving trends and changes in the algorithm.
She says, “Something that we are seeing right now is that people who have stayed very true and authentic to themselves are doing really great in the creator space. Things like the very raw day in the lives and behind the scenes type of content are doing really well.”
People want to know who a creator truly is, and showing them who you are through raw vlogs or content is one way to stay afloat during rapid changes in the creator economy.
The Main Challenges Creators Face in Today’s Digital Landscape
According to Ashley, one of the biggest challenges creators face is knowing what steps to take once they’ve grown an audience.
She explains, “I know so many creators who are so talented or might not even know they’re talented, but just have these people suddenly following them, and they’re like – what do I do with this? Where do I lead these people? How can I do this full-time?”
Most people don’t realize how much time goes into content creation. If a creator doesn’t understand how to monetize themselves effectively, they can leave a significant amount of money on the table and burn out trying to work other jobs to make more money.
Many creators also believe they must hit a specific number of followers before they are successful enough to charge higher rates. However, this isn’t the case.
Ashley shares that a creator can be very successful with a small but engaged number of followers if they understand how to monetize their audience correctly while avoiding burnout.
For example, one Instagram and TikTok creator with around 10,000 followers on each was receiving plenty of gifted items but had never been paid for a collaboration. After four weeks of working with CreatorSource, she secured $4,000 in campaigns and continues to land consistent brand deals.
In contrast, another creator using CreatorSource had 400,000 followers on TikTok but wasn’t making any money on brand deals. After creating a content strategy and taking actionable steps, like negotiating with brands, the creator gained another 250,000 followers and signed her first brand deals for significant money.
The moral of the story? Information is power. Regardless of audience size, creators can make money if they know how to negotiate effectively to get paid for their work.
The Financial Value of Creators
UGC content is becoming increasingly valuable and doesn’t require the creator to have a sizable audience of their own. If you’re a natural on camera, consider making UGC content exclusively for the brand’s social media.
Small communities can also be incredibly successful because the creator’s audience often trusts the creator’s opinion on niche subjects more.
Ashley adds, “Some of the most successful creators I have worked with and have talked to are actually under a couple hundred thousand followers. People in their space and their community really trust them, and they drive a lot of value to brands.”
Utilizing available tools to gauge your monetary value is another important step. Tools like a pricing calculator help creators calculate their value to brands so they’re not losing money by either pricing themselves too low or overshooting and scaring brands away.
Ashley’s Advice for Aspiring Creators
Ashley recommends, “My advice is to keep going. There have been so many times where I wanted to throw in the towel because it can feel exhausting or like you’re not making progress, and why would anyone want to consume what I’m creating? I encourage you to keep going. There are so many people looking for what you have to share.
She adds that it’s very common to compare yourself to people who already have many followers, but it’s crucial to stay clear on your purpose and mission.
In addition, Ashley stresses the importance of diversifying your income streams. Algorithms can change rapidly, quickly impacting ad revenue or brand deals on that platform.
Set yourself up for success by having multiple social media platforms, connecting with people through a podcast, creating an email list and newsletter, or building a website so you’re not left hanging if the algorithm changes.
The Future of the Creator Economy
In the future, Ashley predicts that the creator economy will only continue to grow rapidly, especially as brands determine the ROI of influencer marketing.
She explains, “I love that I’ve been seeing a lot of creators who’ve been around for a while, who have their audience, who have been working with brands, they are now being asked to be brand ambassadors. They’re being asked to be on commercials. They’re being asked to host events.”