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Unique Genius The Business Of Creators’ Podcast Thinkific's Greg Smith On Helping Creators Build Thriving Businesses In The Creator Economy


Unique Genius: The Business Of Creators’ Podcast: Thinkific’s Greg Smith On Helping Creators Build Thriving Businesses In The Creator Economy

Unique Genius: The Business Of Creators’ Podcast: Thinkific's Greg Smith On Helping Creators Build Thriving Businesses In The Creator Economy

Greg Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Thinkific, is on a mission to empower creators to transform their knowledge, passion, and expertise into thriving businesses. In his new podcast, “Unique Genius: The Business of Creators“, Smith delves into the world of online course creation, memberships, and digital products, providing insights and strategies for entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact while building successful ventures.

Smith reveals that the inspiration for “Unique Genius” stems from the countless inspiring stories of Thinkific’s users. “We’ve helped tens of thousands of experts, authors, social media influencers, people who have something wonderful to share with the world, and hearing their stories it’s inspiring,” he shares. Recognizing the value of these stories and the potential they hold to inspire and guide others on their entrepreneurial journeys, Smith felt compelled to share them with a wider audience. “There’s others out there looking to do something similar. They’ve got something they want to share, they want to build a living or grow a business doing it”, he explains. 

Through “Unique Genius: The Business of Creators,” Smith aims to share his insights and experiences with aspiring creators, helping them navigate the challenges and opportunities of the creator economy. By providing a platform for open discussions and practical advice, he hopes to inspire and empower a new generation of entrepreneurs to leverage their unique talents and make a lasting impact on their audiences.

Unique Genius: The Business Of Creators’ Podcast: Thinkific's Greg Smith On Helping Creators Build Thriving Businesses In The Creator Economy

Strategies to Tackle Common Creator Challenges

Many creators struggle with creating products to sell, such as courses, downloads, or merchandise, and generating sales for those products. Additionally, some creators experience an initial spike in success but then find themselves at a loss for how to maintain that momentum and continue growing their audience and revenue.

Through the podcast and Thinkific’s platform, Smith aims to help creators build confidence and equip them with the tools, education, and training necessary to overcome these challenges. “The beautiful thing is, with AI, we can automate a lot of these things for people. We don’t think you should be as worried about being a marketer or being a salesperson or, you know, doing all those other things. You want to be able to focus on that unique genius, that thing that makes you special,” he shares.

One of the most prevalent challenges creators encounter is what Smith refers to as the “content treadmill.” “People do get on a bit of a content treadmill, where there’s this feeling, where it can be a bit overwhelming, where you constantly need to be producing,” he explains. The pressure to continuously generate new content can be exhausting and may lead to burnout if not managed effectively.

Another significant obstacle is the “uncertainty block,” where creators find themselves unsure of their next steps or how to achieve success. “You’re just not really sure where to go next or how to succeed, or whether it’s how to build a body, an audience, or what product to launch, or how to launch it, or how to make sales,” Smith elaborates.

“ What we’re really trying to do is help creators build the confidence and give them the tools and the education, the training. And then, of course, the software to help make all of this stuff so much easier. We want to fill in all the gaps around all those challenges, to make them succeed with their unique genius”, he concludes. 

Unique Genius: The Business Of Creators’ Podcast: Thinkific's Greg Smith On Helping Creators Build Thriving Businesses In The Creator Economy

The Key Differentiators of Successful Creator Businesses

Smith believes that the most successful creator businesses are those that prioritize the customer experience and the impact of their products beyond the initial sale. “The ones I see build large, scalable, sustainable businesses, they care so deeply about the customer experience, the product they’ve delivered, and what happens after the sale,” he says. 

Smith notes that while the overarching goal of helping a specific audience often remains constant, the approach to achieving that goal may evolve over time. “The audience you’re trying to reach, the people you’re trying to help, the bigger picture, often that stays true, but the way you’re trying to help them ends up being quite different than what you thought it would be when you started out,” he explains.

In the context of creator businesses, Smith identifies a deep commitment to the quality of the product and the customer experience as a crucial factor in building sustainable and scalable ventures. “Those that care about the quality of that product, that are delivering results for their audience through that product, those are the ones who build really sustainable, scalable businesses,” he emphasizes. Smith contrasts this approach with those who prioritize quick profits over long-term value. “If you’re just out to earn a quick buck, you end up kind of exploiting opportunities and maybe not delivering or not worrying so much about what happens after you collected the dollar,” he cautions.

The Potential of Digital Products for Creator Revenue Diversification

“Typically if you’re running ads, you might have an RPM of 5 to $8. If you are lucky enough to have a brand sponsor, you might be looking at $50 rpm. But with a digital product, you can often see 1000 or 2000 rpm,” Smith begins. “My personal YouTube channel has a thousand rpm. I know of customers of ours who have 2000 RPMs. And this can happen into the millions of views. So it really can be a completely different economic situation.” Smith believes digital products offer creators a powerful opportunity to diversify their revenue streams and significantly increase their earnings. By shifting focus from traditional monetization methods like advertising or brand sponsorships to digital products, creators can unlock the potential for higher revenue per thousand views (RPM) and improved profit margins.

The key advantage of digital products lies in the creator’s ownership and control over the product itself. Unlike advertising, where the creator receives a small margin of the revenue generated, digital products allow creators to keep a much larger share of the proceeds. “You’ve taken control, you own the product, you actually own what’s being sold,” Smith emphasizes. Moreover, the scalability of digital products enables creators to maximize their revenue potential without incurring significant additional costs. “Because it’s a digital product, if you create it, you can sell it 100 times, a thousand times, 10,000 times. There’s not a lot of additional costs every time you sell it, so you can really scale that revenue with really high margins,” he explains.

Thinkific has been at the forefront of enabling creators to explore and capitalize on the potential of digital products. By providing a platform that simplifies the creation, marketing, and sale of digital goods, Thinkific empowers creators to diversify their revenue streams and build sustainable, profitable businesses. As Smith concludes, “You can have a much smaller audience, engage with them more closely, and generate more revenue than someone with a much larger audience who’s doing a different model.”

The Importance of Human Connection for Sustainable Audience Growth

When it comes to building a sustainable and engaged audience, Smith believes that creators should prioritize satisfying the true needs of their human audience rather than solely focusing on algorithmic hacks or vanity metrics.

Drawing from his experience with search engine optimization (SEO) in the early 2000s, Smith emphasizes the importance of delivering genuine value to the end user. “There are ways to focus on the algorithm, to satisfy the computer, whether that’s Google or GPT or YouTube. And there are ways to focus on satisfying the human at the other end”, he explains. “I have always found that if you focus on satisfying the true needs of the human consumer, then the algorithms will come and go and change, but you’ll pass through that and succeed on the other side,” he says.

While algorithmic hacks may provide short-term gains, Smith cautions that they are rarely sustainable in the long run. “You might succeed for a little while, but it’s not usually sustainable because you know that the GPT and the Googles of the world are constantly trying to fix those holes and come back to what humans want,” he warns. This is why Smith advises creators to focus on building deep connections with a narrower audience segment, prioritizing profit per audience member over sheer numbers. “Narrowing down your audience to a group you really connect with, where you can really help them, and then focusing on ways where you can have a higher profit per audience is usually a more sustainable, highly profitable business than just trying to get the masses,” he states. “If you focus on delivering value for the humans, you usually end up much better off,” Smith concludes. 

Looking Ahead: The Future of “Unique Genius: The Business of Creators”. 

As Thinkific’s “Unique Genius: The Business of Creators” podcast continues to grow and evolve, Smith is excited about the opportunities to dive deeper into the data and insights collected from the platform’s data points and successful creators. “We’ve got billions of data points across billions of sales, actual revenue that it’s been generated by our customers”, he begins. “We get to see tens of thousands of successful creators, and what they’re doing. And so we’re constantly going to be diving in and saying, ‘What are what are the most successful people doing?’ and how we can invite them onto the show and share what they’re doing with others if they’re willing,” he explains.

In addition to showcasing the insights gleaned from Thinkific’s data and successful creators, Smith is also keen on hearing from the podcast’s audience. He encourages listeners to provide feedback and suggestions for future topics and guests, ensuring that the podcast remains relevant and valuable to its growing community. “If you haven’t checked out the show and you listen, leave comments for us as to what you’d like to hear next,” he invites.

As “Unique Genius: The Business of Creators” moves forward, listeners can expect a dynamic mix of data-driven insights, inspiring creator stories, and audience-driven content, all aimed at helping entrepreneurs and creators navigate the landscape of the creator economy and unlock their own paths to success.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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