Every successful content business needs revenue to survive. But content entrepreneurs know it usually isn’t the easiest part of their business. We asked some of the expert creators presenting at Creator Economy Expo to share their first earning opportunities and best advice for gaining creator revenue in 2023.

Alexis Grant

1. Alexis Grant, founder and CEO, They Got Acquired

First revenue stream: Services

Length of time to earn: Immediately

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Offering services is a great way to earn revenue and learn what your audience needs and will pay for. Then you can figure out how to create products or other offerings that decouple your earnings from your time.

Anthony Fasano

2. Anthony Fasano, author, speaker, trainer, and executive coach

First revenue stream: Sponsored podcasts

Length of time to earn: 2 years

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Big-ticket clients. I recommend corporate clients if possible.

Ashley Cummings

3. Ashley Cummings, co-host, Freelance Bitters podcast

First revenue stream: Blogging

Length of time to earn: Within a year

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: I’d say building your audience on an owned platform. Social media is all over the place right now. The best way to secure your audience and your income is to make sure you own it.

.@AshleyRCummings says building an audience you own is the best revenue opportunity for #Creators. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Becky Pierson Davidson

4. Becky Pierson Davidson, head of product, bossbabe

First revenue stream: A productized service – a “power hour” workshop

Length of time to earn: I set it up without an official launch, and I saw passive sales from my newsletter and website after 1 month of sending my newsletter.

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Focus on finding out what the biggest challenge or problem is that their audience has and come up with ways to solve it. Solve it by focusing on building one product that aligns with your values and lifestyle. For example, if you create a community that is something that needs nearly 24/7 maintenance, and one-on-one consulting or coaching means a busy calendar of calls.

.@BeckyPierson saw passive income from her #Newsletter one month after she sent it. #CreatorExpo #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet
Bernie Borges

5. Bernie Borges, host, Midlife Fulfilled podcast

First revenue stream: Sponsorship

Length of time to earn: About 9 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: It depends on the creator’s tilt and primary content delivery platform. As for me, on the Midlife Fulfilled podcast, I’m focused on “immersive storytelling.” This is a form of sponsored storytelling. I feature people who share a personal story about some transformation in their life influenced by the sponsor’s product or service. The people I feature are customers of the brand sponsoring the series. I’m doing these in batches of five 30-minute immersive storytelling episodes. Each one is a distinct story “brought to you by brand XYZ.” I price it as a five-part “immersive storytelling” series. 

This approach to a sponsorship model enables me to take the focus off the reach of my podcast (downloads) and puts the focus on the alignment of my podcast audience with the brand’s target audience. When the alignment is strong, the sponsor is more amenable to working with me even though my show doesn’t have huge download numbers. I stress the evergreen nature of podcast content as a selling point for future reach with five episodes.

.@BernieBorges sells sponsors a five-part "immersive storytelling" series for his #MidlifeFulfilled podcast. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Brian Piper

6. Brian Piper

First revenue stream: Speaking

Length of time to earn: 6 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Speaking at events is one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert within a niche market, network with other influencers and decision-makers in your area, and connect with targeted audiences interested in what you have to say.

Chris Ducker

7. Chris Ducker, CEO, VirtualStaffFinder.com and Youpreneur.com

First revenue stream: Mastermind day

Length of time to earn: 1 year

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Create a digital, evergreen product or course. The ability to be monetizing “all the time” cannot and should not be underestimated. People are more likely to invest in accessing your experience bank so that they can go further, faster than ever before. Being in a position to make that happen helps your community members and puts money in your pocket at the same time. All based on your experience. Win/win.

Create a digital evergreen content product or course to earn revenue for your #ContentBusiness in 2023, says @ChrisDucker. #CreatorExpo. Click To Tweet
Daphne Gomez

8. Daphne Gomez, founder and CEO, Teacher Career Coach

First revenue stream: Online curriculum

Length of time to earn: 3 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Course creation. There will always be a place in my heart for learning and growth, and courses are a wonderful way to showcase your expertise, earn revenue, and help others.

Daren Smith

9. Daren Smith, founder, Craftsman Creative

First revenue stream: Freelance work (sound, producing, etc.)

Length of time to earn: 1 month

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: High-value, done-for-you offer that generates at least $2K in profit every time you get a new project or client.

.@DarenTSmith says high-value, done-for-you offers attract new clients. #CreativeExpo #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet
Dee Brissett

10. Dee Brissett, community and programs manager, Creator Wizard

First revenue stream: Sponsorships

Length of time to earn: Years

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Sponsorships

Gianina Skarlett

11. Gianina Skarlett, founder, CEO, lead engineer, W3 Learn Academy, Crypto Tech Women

First revenue stream: Content creation

Length of time to earn: 6 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Sell digital products – NFTs, ebooks, courses, templates, or any other type of product that can be created and sold/delivered electronically. They can be created once and sold repeatedly, allowing for passive income. Additionally, digital products often have low overhead costs, which means that the profit margins can be high.

Gianina Skarlett of @CryptoTechwomen suggests creators earn revenue from digital products that can be created once and sold repeatedly. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Gregarious Narain

12. Gregarious Narain, co-founder, Zealous

First revenue stream: Consulting

Length of time to earn: Months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Revenue they can derive directly from their audience – it’s still a missed opportunity and a chance to build relationships that can’t be disrupted.


Derive revenue directly from your audience. It's also a chance to build relationships that can't be disrupted, says @Gregarious. #CreatorExpo #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
J. Thorn

13. J. Thorn, host, Writers, Ink podcast

First revenue stream: Book-coaching client work

Length of time to earn: Within 6 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Coaching, coaching cohorts, or mentoring seem to be AI-proof, at least for now. It doesn’t scale like productized services, but they have a higher perceived value.

Jay Acunzo

14. Jay Acunzo, founder, Creator Kitchen

First revenue stream: Keynote speaking

Length of time to earn: Seven months before launch (I left my day job in the fall of 2016, but I was earning revenue on the side of that job for about seven months before leaving. I couldn’t recommend trying this strongly enough. It gave me the confidence and the funds I needed to become a full-time creator. For as much praise as entrepreneurs receive for taking risks, they’re even better at mitigating risks.)

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Social media is becoming worse and worse as their algorithms reward more and more basic or sensationalized content in the name of their own growth. (Our content is their ad inventory, after all.) My sense is now is the time to start building a membership of some kind, whether it’s patron-first or community-first. Establish your own corner of the internet, and become less and less dependent on social networks – as fast as you can.

Earn revenue from your content business before leaving your day job. @JayAcunzo says doing so gave him the confidence and money he needed to become a full-time creator. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Jay Clouse

15. Jay Clouse, host, Creative Elements

First revenue stream: Group coaching/mastermind

Length of time to earn: 2 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Create a digital product that you know serves your typical audience member. I call revenue generated from your audience direct revenue, and that’s much more sustainable in the long term than indirect revenue (like sponsorships or affiliates). The sooner you have an asset like this for sale, the sooner the benefits can compound. Audience growth should correlate directly to revenue growth when you have sources of direct revenue.

Revenue generated directly from your audience is more sustainable in the long term than sponsorships or affiliates, says @JayClouse. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Jay Baer

16. Jay Baer, founder, Tequila Jay

First revenue stream: Private education events and tastings

Length of time to earn: 5 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Probably paid courses of some kind, as it’s a direct connection to your audience and doesn’t require selling time for money (once the course is built).

.@JayBaer started #TequilaJay with private education events and tastings. He likes revenue streams directly connected to the audience. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Joe Pulizzi

17. Joe Pulizzi, founder, The Tilt

First revenue stream: Consulting

Length of time to earn: 3 months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Low-hanging fruit revenue opportunities for content entrepreneurs are consulting and sponsorship. After that, online events are promising (both sponsored webinars and virtual events). If none of those work, affiliate marketing can be a solid place to at least get started.

Content entrepreneurs should consider low-hanging fruit revenue, such as consulting and sponsorships, says @JoePulizzi. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Justin Moore

18. Justin Moore, founder, Creator Wizard

First revenue stream: Amazon Associates

Length of time to earn: 3 years

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Building a newsletter. Not only will it help you establish a direct connection with your audience, but there are tons of monetization opportunities down the line (sponsorships, courses, coaching, digital products, etc.)

Newsletters offer a lot of monetization opportunities – sponsorships, courses, coaching, digital products, and more, says @JustinMoorefam Click To Tweet
Kate Ahl

19. Kate Ahl, owner and CEO, Simple Pin Media

First revenue stream: Client work

Length of time to earn: Within the first month

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Email marketing combined with affiliate marketing. It’s an easy win right now and will accomplish both goals of connecting with your audience but also sharing with them authentic products you know will help their life. Don’t just put up any affiliate link but really ask people what they need from you. Then seek out an affiliate link that will give you a kickback for sharing.

Don't just add any affiliate link to your emails to earn revenue. Ask what your audience needs, then find affiliate deals that relate to that, says #KateAhl of @SimplePinMedia. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Katie Brinkley

20. Katie Brinkley, social media strategist, Next Step Social Communications

First revenue stream: Done-for-you social media services

Length of time to earn: I was laid off from what I thought was my dream job in November 2016. My boss gave me the inspiration to try to find a job where social media was my “main job,” after struggling to find that job, I decided to start freelancing. I landed my first client in January 2017, and that client is still with me today as my business has grown from side-hustle working nights and weekends to a full-grown agency.

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: As a social media strategist with a passion for organic social media strategies and community-building, I recommend content creators concentrate on authentic community building as a primary revenue opportunity in 2023. 

Building a genuine connection with your audience is crucial. By focusing on showing up as your authentic self and fostering a sense of community, content creators can develop a loyal and engaged following. This strong connection makes creators more appealing to their target audience, leading to higher conversion rates and better ROI. When creators prioritize authenticity, they can attract an audience that shares their values, making them the brand that people want to do business with. So don’t be afraid to show up as yourself on social media. You will attract the right audience that connects with you and your business. 

Kyle Reidhead

21. Kyle Reidhead, co-founder, Impact Digital Marketing & Web3 Academy

First revenue stream: Selling hockey cards on eBay

Length of time to earn: As fast as the purchaser could send the cash

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Subscription-based memberships. Low friction to purchase and incredible retention rates. One of the greatest business models to exist.

.@KyleReidhead says subscription-based members are a great revenue stream for creators in 2023. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Mike Paramore

22. Mike Paramore, comedian

First revenue stream: SiriusXM radio show

Length of time to earn: Immediately

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Instagram Reels because it is a self-sustaining way to profit off of posts you are already going to post anyway.

Nora Dunn

23. Nora Dunn, founder, The Professional Hobo

First revenue stream: Google AdSense from blog project for freelance writers

Length of time to earn: My freelance gig with Wise Bread morphed into a book deal a few years later (that was fun) and, eventually, a healthy buyout of all my articles, followed by a flat rate payment per article submitted thereafter. 

Although I understand why guest posting is a great marketing and backlink-building tactic (and it was a topic of a Tilt newsletter recently), with my roots as a freelance writer, it’s a tough nut to swallow because it devalues an entire industry of writers who deserve to be paid for their efforts. 

That said, not all publications give freelance writers backlinks anymore; I am lucky enough to have gotten into the game early enough that I built my entire online business by getting paid to write freelance articles for other publications that gave me incredibly high-quality backlinks to my own channels.

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Freelance writing pays on delivery of an article! Though it can take some time to create pitches and land gigs. I employed a creative cross-niche approach to pitching that served me well and got me hired (and paid) within a couple of weeks of starting.

I don’t think there’s a magic bullet. No one platform or revenue opportunity that every content creator needs to focus on. It has more to do with personal style (i.e., selecting a medium you can do well – be it audio or video or the written word, and that you enjoy enough to keep going with even if you don’t see results for a while). Also, go to where your audience is. If they are predominantly on one platform/medium over another, then your choice is made.

#ContentEntrepreneur @HoboNora says no magic bullet exists for revenue. It's about your personal style and expertise and where your audience is. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Robert Rose

24. Robert Rose, founder, The Content Advisory

First revenue stream: Consulting

Length of time to earn: Immediately. The one that currently comes from the audience/customer base they have.

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Put simply: I would have a strong focus on doubling down on increasing the revenue from existing audiences independent of what that is.

Double down on increasing revenue from existing audiences, says @Robert_Rose. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Roberto Blake

25. Roberto Blake, founder, Awesome Creator Academy

First revenue stream: Affiliate marketing

Length of time to earn: 1 month

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Building your own products or memberships.

.@RobertoBlake earned his first dollar from affiliate marketing just one month into his #ContentBusiness. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Tim Stoddart

26. Tim Stoddart, CEO, Stodzy Inc.

First revenue stream: Google Adsense from my blog

Length of time to earn: Few months. I didn’t even know it was happening. I checked the mail one day and saw a check for $28. I still have it.

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Services. They are high ticket and never go out of style.

Trish Witkowski

27. Trish Witkowski, chief folding fanatic, FoldFactory.com

First revenue stream: Corporate sponsorships for video series

Length of time to earn: 1 year. I had to prove that I had an audience and that I had enough great content to keep the show going. I also had to prove that I would actually show up and produce a quality show every week. After a year, I could point to 50 episodes, and that closed the deal.

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Everyone is different, but I’m a huge fan of evergreen content. A downloadable resource to be used as a lead magnet, a book, an online course. These things can last and last and bring in passive income and leads for years. Speaking events can bring in fast cash, but they take a lot of time to prep, perform, and followup. For some reason, no matter how much I’m paid, I never feel like it’s enough for the time investment. Others have mastered the event category, but it’s kind of a hamster wheel for me. So, my advice is to think about what great things you already have and how you can turn them into evergreen content that makes money for you in the background.

Wave Wyld

28. Wave Wyld

First revenue stream: TikTok audits

Length of time to earn: 2 weeks

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: One-on-one audits were a great way for me to dip my toes into one-on-one coaching. It gave me confidence and the opportunity to speak to many business owners. From those conversations, I learned what my target audience was struggling with. I saw patterns and then created strategies that could help them. Doing over 400 TikTok audits of these formed the basis of my first course, which was launched four months into my business.

.@WaveWyld did 400 @TikTok audits to earn her first revenue and turned what she learned into another revenue stream: online courses. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Wendy Williams

29. Wendy from Fruitloops, host, Fruitloops: Serial Killers of Color

First revenue stream: A listener with a small business wanted to advertise on the show

Length of time to earn: Few months

Revenue opportunity for creators in 2023: Patreon because they allow creators to have a ton of freedom, transparency, and an ability to rock with our audience in ways that IG or YouTube sometimes don’t.

Wendy, host of @FruitLoopsPod, says @Patreon offers creators the freedom to rock their audiences that Instagram and YouTube sometimes can't. #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
Learn revenue opportunities and much more with experts at Content Entrepreneur Expo (May 5-7, 2024).  Registration is now open!

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.