Independent Digital Content Creators: 5 Traits

By MBO Partners | February 1, 2024

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Key Points

Independent creators monetize their knowledge and skills by creating online digital content.

Most independent creators work part-time and are highly satisfied with the flexibility of their work.

Independent creators are tech-savvy, and often work in teams.

Independent creators are a group of full- and part-time entrepreneurs and small business owners who monetize their knowledge and skills through online digital content. This group has increased 14% from 2022, becoming one of the fastest-growing self-employment and independent work segments. Entertainers, artists, writers, videographers, influencers, and thought leaders are all independent creators who earn their living by creating online digital content.

MBO Partners’ 2022 State of Independence in America research study took a deep dive into the attitudes, motivations, and demographics of independent creators. Here are five key traits we found.

1. Most Independent Creators Work Part-Time

The majority of digital content creators, 64% or about 5.3 million, report working part-time. Most also report having an additional source of income such as a full or part-time job. The nature of digital content creation is well-positioned as a part-time gig, allowing people to test out a passion before they quit their job and go all in.

Furthermore, the tools needed to create digital content are easy to use and inexpensive. This means there’s a low barrier to entry and low risk if someone decides they want to try creating content or if they want to pivot between a few different business ideas.

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2. Creators are Entrepreneurial and Satisfied with Their Work

Independent creators are by nature entrepreneurial and passionate about their work. Producing content is a creative endeavor, one that tends to be built around a topic the creator is interested in. The ability to build a career around something they are passionate about leads to high satisfaction levels among independent creators. Over 90% of independent creators say they are highly satisfied or satisfied with their work, and 84% plan to continue as independent creators or build a bigger business over the next few years.

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3. Independent Creators Value Flexibility in Their Lifestyle

Independent creators also place a high value on the flexibility and control that comes along with independent work—even more so than traditional independent workers. Eighty-four percent say they prefer a lifestyle that allows them to work and travel and 7 in 10 say that work/life flexibility is more important to them than making the most money. Almost two-thirds say they are currently digital nomads.

Satisfaction and happiness seem to be reflected in the flexibility that comes with the lifestyle of an independent creator. Over 80% of independent creators recommend becoming an independent creator to their friends.

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4. Creators are Tech Savvy

Familiarity with technology goes hand-in-hand with the daily work of being an independent creator. That’s why 87% of independent creators report being early adopters of technology and 84% say they are advanced technology users. Maintaining an active social media presence is important to their core business, so strong tech skills in platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are needed to generate revenue, gain followers, and build their online reputations.

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5. More Independent Creators are Working in Teams

Creating online digital content requires a broad set of skills. Content writing, photography, videography, storytelling, and marketing are common skills needed together. In order to produce high-quality content, many independent creators team up on projects to combine skillsets.

Almost half of all independent creators have teamed up with one another on projects and over the next year 68% say they plan to partner with another independent worker. Teaming up with another professional can allow a creator to take on a more complex project, access new skills, or pitch an idea to a high-value client.

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