Author’s note: Insights from this article were pulled from Season Two, Episode Six of #CreatorTeaTalk—The Tea On Women In The Creator Economy, sponsored by Sprout Social.

Whether founding our own brands and online communities or working behind-the-scenes to partner with creators and influencers, women are leading the way in shaping a more inclusive creator economy. By creating opportunities for ourselves and other creative entrepreneurs—or “creatorpreneurs”—we are building a space that is equitable and profitable.

Despite us dominating the content creation and influencer marketing conversation, men still outearn women when it comes to revenue from their businesses. According to ConvertKit, 35% of men earn over $100,000 from their businesses compared to 19% of women; additionally, men are twice as likely to earn over $150,000. The obvious pay gap and other challenges beg a discussion about how we can better support women making way for themselves in the creator economy.

To find out, I spoke to five women in the space who are carving their own paths and empowering other women to do the same.

The creator economy is the gateway to entrepreneurship

For many female creatives (particularly Gen Z), starting a business is an opportunity to reimagine what work looks and feels like. As cultural attitudes toward the traditional 9-to-5 have shifted toward a desire for autonomous and remote work, more creatives are looking for opportunities that make that lifestyle their reality. Over 50% of Gen Z individuals desire a job as an influencer (or creator) and see it as a respectable career choice, according to a Morning Consult study. Simply put, the creator economy allows women to secure our bags.

An Instagram Reel from Morning Consult, featuring an infographic showcasing how 57% of Gen Z and Millennials would become an influencer if they could

Qianna Smith Bruneteau, Founder of the American Influencer Council, has built a nonprofit that prepares female creators for entrepreneurial success through mentorship, small business development, educational resources and community.

“I started the American Influencer Council to support women creators. When I think about women starting their own businesses, influencer marketing feels like such a great segue into entrepreneurship. During the pandemic, we saw how brands couldn’t work with many production companies, so they turned to creators. Now, whether they are full-time or part-time, we’re seeing women transform and redefine the future of work.”

While more people see influencing, creating and entrepreneurship as viable career options, stigmas around the influencer role may still cause individuals to hesitate.

Tiffany Hardin, CEO of Gild Creative Group, an award-winning full-service influencer marketing firm, says that while that has been the case, a female influencer’s point of view and voice still matters because they bring financial value to businesses that other influencers may not be able to replicate.

Influencer marketing, at its core, is about trust. Back in the day, people didn’t take mom bloggers seriously. Still, the companies that were [partnering with] mommy bloggers were getting paid big bucks to activate and mobilize those groups of women because they were trusted [by their communities]. We’re even seeing it now with the Stanley cup craze. There’s a direct correlation between women involved [in influencer marketing] and profit.”

Of course, as more women step into their creatorpreneur eras, monetization opportunities become a priority, whether through sponsorships, product and service offerings, e-commerce, or more. Knowing these income streams are essential to the success of their business, women are calling on marketers and brands to challenge gender biases, promote equal opportunities, and ensure fair compensation for all creators—regardless of gender.

The pay gap is a systemic issue

The pay gap—and its impact on women in and beyond the workplace—has become a topic of conversation across industries. When women are not valued or compensated fairly for their creative work compared to their male counterparts, it perpetuates systemic gender discrimination. While women make up the majority of the creator economy and influencer marketing space, economic disparities still make it difficult for women to have financial stability and advance their creative careers.

For Georgina Whalen, Influencer Marketing Expert and Consultant, early education is the key to closing the pay gap.

“It’s similar to other issues in the world and [the US] in particular. It’s a systemic issue that starts when we are very young in school or when we are given career guidance. Then it travels all the way to [the workplace] in hiring, promotions, or how we’re perceived when we’re negotiating. Until those systems are broken down and rebuilt, we’re only going to see incremental change.”

An Instagram post from Hashtag Pay Me, explaining that creators should stop waiting for permission to get paid for their work

Georgina and many other women in the space feel that more conversations around the pay gap are needed to foster an environment of transparency in the creator economy. However, the responsibility of pay transparency falls on more than creators and influencers. It’s also the responsibility of individuals who partner with them. Christina Le, Social Media Manager at OpenPhone, has had first-hand experience.

“Women and girls have always been taught to portray themselves in a way that’s likable, whereas boys and men have audacity [because] they were built to ask for what they want, and they think in their heads, ‘This is what I deserve.’ I’ve seen how when you ask women for their rates, they will always ask for less than the man does. If you’re working on the brand side, do your due diligence and help a girl out. Tell her what she could be making.”

Pay transparency throughout the creator economy, whether you’re on the creative side or brand side, allows women to advocate for themselves so they can get the compensation and opportunities they deserve. This is how we create an industry that is equitable for everyone.

Advocacy and community leads to equity

While more conversations around the pay gap and pay transparency are bringing to light many of the challenges we face in the creator economy, we must advocate for ourselves and go after the things we want with confidence—or, as I like to call it, standing on business.

Brianne Fleming, Brand Marketer and Creator of the Making the Brand podcast, feels being direct and knowing what value you bring is the best approach for getting the opportunities you want.

“We don’t have to wait for someone to see us. We need to be more confident in asking for higher rates. That’s something that I have worked on when trying to negotiate—coming to the table, knowing what I offer, and knowing how to communicate it. I don’t use filler language or things that water it down for likability.”

As more women excel in the creator economy, there are a growing number of tools and communities available to help them build successful, sustainable businesses. When asked which creator or influencer platforms and tools they recommend for people who want resources on pay transparency, establishing rates, negotiation, marketing, and branding, the ladies mentioned the following brands:

Okay, okay. I put the last one there myself, but this article is about taking control of your narrative. The reality is that the creator economy is ripe with opportunities for women who want to be the entrepreneurs they want to be and build the brands they want to develop.

As someone who has done it herself, I have found that leveraging my community, advocating for change in the industry, and championing other women is part of a more significant social justice movement. One that fosters equality and fairness for all individuals, regardless of gender.

As Beyoncé’s husband once said, “Nobody wins when the family feuds.” For all of us to win, we need women to win.

Want to dig deeper? Read more about why diversity in marketing and social media is non-negotiable.

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