The Platforms & Tools Powering The Creator Economy

Franco Varriano
January 25, 2021
 min read

A growing wave of customers—from fans to collaborators to community-members—are looking for new ways to engage with and support businesses that do things differently.

You may already be wondering how you can reach these customers. What can you do to deliver a better customer experience? How can you create multiple revenue streams that allow you to earn money in a way that's authentic to you and your followers?

There isn't a one-size-fits all answer—and that's kind of the point. Instead, there are many exciting ways to tackle this challenge...

Creative Layer is on a mission to empower every creator and business to offer truly personalized products. But these products are only one important component of the end-to-end customer experience.

That's where this post comes in.

We've compiled a list with all the best platforms, tools, and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs forging their path through the Creator Economy. We will continue to refresh this list as exciting new innovations emerge.

At this point, feel free to skip ahead to our list.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in learning more about the trends and shifts that are powering this new industry, read on!

Where did the Creator/Passion Economy come from?

In late 2019, Li Jin, a former member of the Andreessen Horowitz investment team, was studying the dynamics of several types of marketplaces. These businesses ranged from Uber, to Airbnb, to Substack, and beyond.

Jin wrote an essay about her findings, revealing a rapidly emerging class of users who shared a similar mindset. Individuality was their main motivating factor.

This insight led Li to further distinguish between the Gig Economy and the Passion Economy. Whereas the GigEconomy includes platforms for standardized experiences with no ownership over the end-customer/user, the Passion Economy is all about platforms that empower individual creators to take full ownership over these same groups.

Author and podcast host Adam Davidson observed a similar trend and has written a book, The Passion Economy, on the subject. Together, both he and Jin have helped to formalize and spread the concept of the Passion Economy.

This new breed of personality-led business is here to stay – making the Passion Economy the latest evolution of an older and broader movement that is the Creator Economy.

The platforms and tools powering the Creator Economy


This list is by no means complete. The landscape is changing so quickly that it would be impossible for us to list every app in one go!

Some tools may fit within multiple categories, but we've attempted to classify them along their primary use. With your comments and help, our plan is to update this list frequently.

The selection criteria for the platforms & tools that have been included are:

  • they empower creators to create their content directly through the tool (or enable importing and delivery of some form of content);
  • they enable some degree of direct connection or shared ownership over the customer or fan.

Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn if we’ve missed anything!

Other Resources:

We’ve drawn information and inspiration from a number of sources. They’re pretty cool and you should check them out:

Market Map Overview:

Category 1: Personalized Product Experiences

Category 2: Becoming a creator

Category 3: Link in bio & mini-site generators

Category 4: Audio

Category 5: Coaching

Category 6: Celebrity/influencer fan interaction

Category 7: Community Management Platforms & Chats

Category 8: Digital Assets & Crypto Infrastructure

Category 9: Education & Training

Category 10: Membership Tools

Category 11: Newsletter/Email

Category 12: Operations

Category 13: Commerce & Payments

Category 14: Product Lines & Merchandise

Category 15: Professional Network

Category 16: Rights Management

Category 17: Streaming

Category 18: Talent Marketplaces

There's never been a better time to build a business—no matter what you're interested in doing!

Regardless of what changes come to the world of business, better serving your fans, community, and customers will never go out of style. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help you deliver a better customer experience and monetize in ways that make sense for you and your customers.

As product personalization plays a bigger role in customer experience strategies, you have to continue taking into account other tools and phases along the customer journey.

Sign-up for early access to Creative Layer if you're interested in learning more about the future of personalized products and how to build stronger businesses.

Have thoughts on this subject? We’d love to continue this conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn!