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The creative industry has seen a huge popularity with digital info products and advice monetization. It's an advice gold rush and everyone's looking to cash in. Click through to read how this is hurting the creative industry

Is advice still free? Everywhere I turn, advice is monetized. E-courses that talk about ways to increase audience, page views, and 10 tips to do X and X. Ebooks that are a “crazy deal” and promise to give the low down on how to get going on with your business. The creative world has been going through an advice monetization era.

I know that obviously advice is still free. There are super helpful blog posts being written, gracious people give out wisdom on social media, and relevant Facebook mastermind groups full of advice with a variety of perspectives.

However, the monetization of advice has been growing more abundant. Everyone wants to be an authority figure. Cranking out ebooks, e-courses, filling their content with several sponsored posts, and churning out repeated advice.

What happened to starting out and just creating? You know, setting out to do something, experimenting, failing, and experimenting some more.

The creative world’s advice problem is people who are spouting out advice without experience behind it and action in it.

I thought, at first, the issue was solely with bloggers. For the past year or two, the business blogger selling their advice has become a popular thing. Bloggers aren’t the only ones after all. Many of the ebooks, e-courses, and workshops churned out are valuable. Even still, the amount of non-stop selling, vague statements, and courses about mindset rather than actual strategy have been increasing.

A teacher I had back in middle school said a quote that sticks with me to this day: Nothing is ever truly free, everything has a price tag. 

Does everything really have a price tag? There is lots of free good and bad content out on the internet. Aside from paying for an internet connection, you don’t have to pay for the actual content you reading.

Unless it’s a post meant to convert, which consequently happening a lot more. You read an article that promises a free download (checklist, cheatsheet, resources guide,etc) and the only way to get it is to provide your email.

Then, provide your email and then you’re added to a list in which you can start being sold to. There’s nothing bad about this. Everyone has their ways and is trying to make a living. Problems happen when all the emails end up being sales pitches. One after the other. Over and over. People are tired of being sold to. 

The creative world’s advice problem isn’t tied just to bloggers as I thought, it’s going on throughout the industry. Advice is churned out over and over. Now more than ever, people must be intentional with their content consumption.

With seemingly every other person taking their slice of the pie and selling their advice, it’s important for people to be intentional and understand their behavior towards spending before they go and buy another information product.

There is still great advice out there. Even great advice that doesn’t require your email address :). Many times, an online course or ebook isn’t the only way to get the information. Cue the old grandpa voice saying there weren’t many e-courses back in my day (let’s say 2010). I had to look up the information all by myself! 

There’s a good possibility that free alternatives are out there.

Being an authority leader isn’t the be all version of success in the creative world. Advice should be something given without the constant thought of monetization and making an income off it.


Do you think the creative world has an advice problem? 

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Colin // RebelwithaPlan

Colin Ashby is the writer behind Rebel with a Plan, a website dedicated to people who choose to rebel against the norm of living in debt and feeling financially unenlightened. He believes everyone has an eccentric quality to embrace and that lattes are sometimes a necessity (despite what the personal finance community tells you).

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8 Comments on The Creative World’s Advice Problem

  1. Mrs. Groovy
    July 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm (4 years ago)

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I appreciate that people want to make a living and expert advice may be worth the price if the person is truly an expert…Mr G and I were listening to So Money with Farnoosh Torabi some months ago. And she had on a young lady who was out of debt for like 3 minutes and was selling a course about getting out of doubt – and she was charging THOUSANDS of dollars. Are you kidding me? I could go to the Boglehead or MisterMoneyMustache forums and read much better advice for free!

    Reply
    • Colin // RebelwithaPlan
      July 13, 2016 at 4:31 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, it’s becoming more of a problem. I don’t have a problem with people monetizing their advice, putting in affiliate links but there is a balance to strike. No one should be in sales mode 100% of the time. It makes their audience exhausted and tired of them.

      Reply
  2. From Pennies to Pounds
    July 12, 2016 at 9:03 am (4 years ago)

    Yes, I think that’s true. But then that’s how people make their money so it’s a difficult one, lol! I’m trying to get as much free info as I can at the mo!

    Reply
    • Colin // RebelwithaPlan
      July 13, 2016 at 4:30 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, there’s a tricky balance to strike. It is how people make their money. The point behind this post was to address how EVERY thing someone might do seems to have the end goal of making a sale.

      I’m fine with people monetizing advice, putting in affiliate links, etc. but the problem happens when they are in sale mode 100% of the time.

      Regina from ByRegina is a great example of someone who strikes a good balance between selling things to her audience while not being in sales mode 100% of the time. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  3. DC @ Young Adult Money
    July 13, 2016 at 3:22 am (4 years ago)

    It’s a fair question. I had to laugh a bit as I recently started to require people to email opt-in to get the spreadsheets on my blog posts. For me I need to monetize or my blog is just a hobby that makes no money. And that’s fine, but there’s a lot of other things I’d rather do than blogging if there is no financial gain from blogging. I would have burnt out long ago if I made no money (or if it cost me money) to blog.

    Reply
    • Colin // RebelwithaPlan
      July 13, 2016 at 4:35 am (4 years ago)

      Your blog is awesome! I understand people needing to make a living from their endeavors (especially something as time-consuming as blogging!). However I like the balance you strike on your blog. Your site has lots of great free content and you’re not in sale mode all the time.

      Investopedia uses several affiliate links and I still like to read the site. This post is mainly aimed at people who are in sales mode all.the.time.

      How has book stuff been going so far? Do you have more up your sleeve? Congratulations again!

      Reply
  4. Latoya S
    July 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm (4 years ago)

    Yeah, I definitely can understand this perspective, which is why I really have been hesitant to add opt ins on my site. Part of it is due to my laziness…I mean I know the email thing is supposed to be all the rave, but I have freelancing clients and a blog that Im trying to manage and to add in a weekly newsletter? Nah…so I settled for once a month. And the thing is I don’t have anything to really sell either. I’m sure down the line I will add some other forms of monetization but I would think long and hard about the value that is being provided. If it’s content that everyone else has an opinion on or expertise on, I don’t see the value in that.

    Reply
    • Colin // RebelwithaPlan
      July 14, 2016 at 3:03 am (4 years ago)

      I know other bloggers have done things like link round-ups and written mini blog posts for their email newsletters. Even content/industries that are “oversaturated” as people say, still have room for someone to offer their unique expertise.

      The problem happens when people are just in sale mode all…the…time..

      Reply

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