Catherine Yeo: The Creator Revolution
Hi friends! Today I wanted to experiment with a new format for the newsletter, through interviews. The only way for me to deliver a holistic perspective of what the creator economy is about is by communicating different perspectives and stories. I figured that it is time to start inviting other creators into this conversation, and today, please enjoy my conversation with Catherine Yeo, the author of The Creator Revolution.
I started a podcast under the name of Creator Flow, as I realized there is an existing podcast platform named Creator Lab. It is available on Spotify if you would like to watch the full recording, however, I have documented the key points during our conversation below!
[This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity. Full remarks can be found via the podcast on here]
💡What is the origin story of The Creator Revolution?
Catherine: The origin story started way before 2021. When I was younger, I loved big fictional franchises like Harry Potter and Star Wars, so I started publishing more fiction and art on the internet over time and built up a following of hundreds of thousands of people. By the age of 15, I was offered money to create specific writing or art people wanted, and it was a huge shock. And you know, as a 15-year-old, who are you to turn down money? Making money on the internet was a new business, so I kind of turned that into a side business. I didn't realize that then, but I was a creator.
Fast forward to the start of the pandemic, I realized I wanted to document this era of a societal shift in the content explosion, and its footprint across every aspect of our lives. Over the last year and a half, I interviewed hundreds of creators, investors, and employees who worked on social media platforms to gather their insights and stories and turned them into a book.
✍️ What does the ideation/writing process like?
Catherine: I had an idea of what I wanted to write, but I didn’t know what the thesis of the book was going to be like, or what the audience was going to take away from it. So I started conducting a lot of primary research about the history of the creator economy. As I gathered more thoughts from people, it helped me develop more clarity around what the structure of the book is going to look like. The Creator Revolution is divided into three parts: (i) societal shifts in the future of work, commerce, education and media (ii) self-made successes on how individuals can leverage content to springboard successes, and (iii) challenges and opportunities for creators including topics like mental health, inequities, and web3 opportunities.
💰 What does the crowdfunding journey with her Indiegogo campaign like?
Catherine: It was a really fun creative way for me to not only like start the selling process of my book, but it was also a great way for me to validate the product I was making. People who supported me on my early Indiegogo campaign were able to essentially be my author community, which is an incredible community of supporters who gave me a lot of feedback throughout the process, which was super helpful.
👭 How do you engage with your author community?
Catherine: Yeah, I considered a lot of routes, and I decided to create an email group because I realized the people who supported my Indiegogo campaign were spread across a wide range of ages and regions like there didn't seem to be just one app or one social media that everyone would be on and go check regularly. Therefore, I chose to communicate updates primarily via email.
I would send out an email maybe every three weeks, about what I've been doing and what I will be working on, and people would reply with their thoughts, suggestions, feedback, or just general support, which I really appreciated a lot.
😖What was the hardest part of creating and publishing the book?
Catherine: The hardest part of the process was confronting my self-doubt. I had to get over my questions like if the world needs this book, or if the world is going to care what a 20-year-old thought about creators. I am really glad that I persisted through the journey and finished it. I think there is a crazy statistic that only 2% of the people who started a book actually finished and published it.
😳 What was the most surprising part of the journey?
Catherine: I realized through my interviews that creators can have so many different roles. Some creators can be a teacher, an activist, entrepreneurs, sources of representation, and curators of information and news. The broader news media tends to spotlight the same group of creators with a narrow definition, and as a result, most people associate the creators of the term with specific images and personalities.
One of the coolest people I interviewed was a TikToker (@itstyreek), who just really likes to cosplay. He would cosplay as many superheroes and share them on social media. Then as he grew his presence, he suddenly realized he was becoming a representative for the whole Black community even though that wasn't the goal he started with in mind. Representation became one of his roles and he now uses his voice and platform as much as he can. There are so many other examples of people who started posting certain pieces of information because they wanted to share with their friends and turned into advocates or activists or educators on certain topics over time. So, so many cool roles and stories came out of that and I'm glad and grateful I got to share them in my book.
🙌🏻 What is a piece of advice you would give to people who are new to writing and content creation?
Catherine: For writers specifically, you just need to keep practicing. Sometimes I look at the writing I did years ago and I cringe, I look at the writing I did last week and I cringe. Because I just feel that I get better with each week and you just have to keep writing. Practice makes perfect.
For a broader creator, this also applies to writers, I think that the biggest things are to think about who's your audience. What do you want your audience to take away? Like what value can you provide them? Do you want to entertain them? Do you want to educate them? Do you want to inspire them? How can you leverage your background and story to provide extra value and expertise to them?
One other piece of advice, which is very cliche but true, is that the hardest part about creating content is just getting started. Communities are also super helpful in keeping yourself accountable and motivated.
🪞What do you want to be known for in the future?
Catherine: I’d like to be known as a genuine person who loves her family and community and does her best to bring the world greater joy and impact, however that ends up looking like.
📚 Where can you get a copy of Catherine’s new book The Creator Revolution?
💡 This Week's News In the Creator Economy
Prime Energy signed a partnership deal with Arsenal
Colin & Samir revealed Youtube AdSense represented 10% of their income
Instagram CEO responded to “Make Instagram Instagram Again” backlashes
Youtube released the “State of The Creator Economy 2021 Report” with Oxford
Google allows users to live stream GoogleMeet meetings on Youtube
Onlyfans signed content deals with Chloe, Demi and Frankie Sims
Reed Duchscher released “How Creators Should Prepare for a Market Crash”
Variant Fund Raised a $450 Million Fund III to invest in Creator/Web3 Ventures
Pinterest signed partnership deal with JellySmack to release Creator-led shows
✌️ That’s it until next time!
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