Why Influencers Are The New Entrepreneurs

Why Influencers Are The New Entrepreneurs

A recent study showed that the overwhelming majority of young people want to at least try out becoming an influencer of some sort (approximately 86% of people ages 13-38 to be exact). This data overlaps with another growing trend of younger generations shying away from traditional corporate jobs in favor of remote or “gig” work.

There are lots of reasons that could explain these two trends, but perhaps the biggest is that there are just much more lucrative ways to spend your time than sitting in a cubicle from 9-5 every day. There are things you can do that will make you more money, make you feel more fulfilled, or things that will be better for your health (physical and mental). 

This desire to take control over your life is exactly the same feeling that’s felt by people who choose to start their own business. 

Here is why influencers are the new entrepreneurs.

Who (or what) exactly is an influencer?

Influencer” is still a loosely defined term. The first image that comes to mind is probably a Kylie-Jenner-looking girl on a boat holding an obscure product like weight loss tea or a shaving razor. She has lots of followers and gets paid a hefty sum to pose next to a product in a bikini.

While this may have been how influencer culture came to be, we believe that it’s greatly evolved since then. Nowadays, there are plenty of people who can be influencers.

1.) This 8-year-old boy who reviews toys on YouTube (and earns $22 million doing so) is an influencer.

2.) The people who run meme pages with followers in the millions are influencers.

3.) The person who creates piano tutorials on YouTube is an influencer.

4.) There are food influencers, nature influencers, dad influencers, Disney influencers, political influencers…the list can go on.

The point we’re trying to make is that anyone can be an influencer. That’s because an influencer is essentially just anyone who has an audience and is influential within their niche. “Influencer marketing” has technically been around for years, it just used to be called celebrity endorsements. If you were a celebrity, famous athlete, or movie star then you got approached by brands to feature their products in a commercial.

The point we’re trying to make is that anyone can be an influencer. That’s because an influencer is essentially just anyone who has an audience and is influential within their niche. “Influencer marketing” has technically been around for years, it just used to be called celebrity endorsements. If you were a celebrity, famous athlete, or movie star then you got approached by brands to feature their products in a commercial.

So even if more people have the ability to promote products for companies, how does that make influencers entrepreneurs? Let’s take a look.

Entrepreneurship is evolving

When you think of the prototypical entrepreneur, the story probably looks something like this.

1.) A person takes out a small business loan to start a venture in town. This venture is probably a boutique store of some kind, a service-based business, or a restaurant.

2.) A young computer engineer designs a new website, app, or other type of internet service. After receiving a few million dollars in funding, this new website takes off and becomes a household name.

3.) A celebrity (famous actor, singer, or musician) creates their own brand to profit off their name and likeness. Kylie Jenner creates a cosmetics company, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson launches a tequila company, Kanye West designs a pair of shoes.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of these stories. We just don’t think that this type of plotline appeals to the masses anymore. Now, to say that The American Dream is fading away isn’t true either. We believe that it’s just evolving into a different style of entrepreneurship.

Enter: The New Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur is the influencer. Here are a few reasons why:

1.) They run a fully-fledged business – Regardless of their monetization method or platform, there is no doubt that influencers run a business. They have consumers, create value, and have to think of creative ways to generate income while cutting costs.

2.) They grow their business from the ground up – No social media account in history has started with thousands of followers, just like no business starts with thousands of customers. It’s a long and slow process of building.

3.) They’re responsible for profit/loss of that business – For some influencers, their influencing is their livelihood. This means that they need to make sure they’re earning enough in revenue to offset any expenses (equipment needed to create high-end content definitely isn’t cheap).

4.) They have to handle marketing/branding/PR/etc. – Just like any other business, influencers are responsible for promoting themselves or their channel, creating their own brand, and responding to the public if something goes wrong.

5.) They earn a profit – Just like a business, they have to maximize revenue while minimizing cost.

6.) They have customers – These days, we live in the consumption economy. Facebook is one of the biggest companies in the world but has never sold a product. Netflix is a massive entertainment company that, up until fairly recently, didn’t create their own movies. Just like these companies, influencers have customers in the form of their followers.

When you google “what does a business owner need to know” they break it down simply. Business owners are responsible for costs, revenues, operations, and information. The same is true for an influencer who handles their social platforms, monetization, costs of operations, and content creation.  

Why influencer marketing will only get bigger

One of the best things about influencer marketing (or becoming an influencer) is that it’s a mutually symbiotic relationship. By that, we just mean that it’s beneficial for all three parties involved: the brand, the influencer, and the audience.

1.) The brand – They receive an advertisement from a person who (ideally) really appreciates that brand and the products that they create. They also get access to an audience who will resonate with the brands core offering.

2.) The influencer – They receive compensation for allowing the company to access to their following. They also get to provide value to their audience in the form of quality and honest recommendations.

3.) The audience – They receive genuine recommendations of quality products from people they trust. 

Sure, maybe influencer marketing is essentially just another way for companies to advertise their products. However, the difference is that it’s a much better way to advertise. Similarly to how Uber is just another way to get a ride somewhere but it’s a much better way to get a ride than using a taxi.

Of course, this is all dependent on the fact that the influencers maintain their integrity and don’t just poach products on their followers. As long as there is trust on both ends, there is no reason why influencer marketing isn’t good for all parties involved.

The other reason why influencer marketing will only get bigger is that it’s so accessible. For the traditional entrepreneur, consider all of the potential roadblocks that they will probably encounter:

1.) Access to capital (The need for a loan if it’s a physical business).

2.) Experience in that industry (or knowing where to start).

3.) The risk associated with leaving their job to go full-time on a business venture.

However, to become an influencer, the roadblocks are minimal:

1.) Capital? It’s free to create an Instagram, YouTube, blog, etc.

2.) Experience? You can base your channel around your own experiences.

3.) Risk? It’s easy to start your influencing career in your free time until it generates enough money to go full-time.

That doesn’t mean influencing is easy

Now, all of this isn’t to say that becoming an influencer is easy. Normal entrepreneurship is far from easy and so is building a business as an influencer.

Building a business as an influencer will still require all of the other intangibles that are required from entrepreneurs (hustle, business smarts, late nights, dedication, time spent, etc.) 

There is a famous quote that goes:

“It takes years to become an overnight success”

And we think that this applies to being an influencer. It’s a long and time-consuming process to build your platform. However, the rewards are many and we think that there has never been a better time to start your entrepreneurship journey en route and become an influencer.

We hope that you’ve found this article valuable when it comes to understanding why influencers are the new entrepreneurs. If you’re interested in reading more related to influencers and influencer marketing just create a profile to get alerted of new articles as we write them.

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