Influencers: The Modern Entrepreneur

Influencers: The Modern Entrepreneur

Though there are some key differences between them, today’s social media influencers have much in common with traditional entrepreneurs when it comes to driving the economy.


3 - 12


Social Studies, Economics


Social Media Influencer

Some social media influencers use their platform to earn money by partnering with companies to advertise services or products, like lipsticks, to their followers. Like traditional entrepreneurs, they jump-start new businesses.

Photograph by weedezign
Some social media influencers use their platform to earn money by partnering with companies to advertise services or products, like lipsticks, to their followers. Like traditional entrepreneurs, they jump-start new businesses.
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Influencers use social media to gain followers. They have the power to affect people. They may convince their followers to buy something or visit somewhere. It might seem like they do it just for fun. However, some influencers make lots of money.

Are Influencers Entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs have an idea for a new product. They start a business to make it. Some influencers start their own businesses. They are definitely entrepreneurs. But are influencers fulfilling a need? Many say yes. Companies are starting to use influencers to sell products. This is because companies can reach specific groups through an influencer. Followers are more likely to buy what the influencer suggests.

Getting Started

Entrepreneurs and influencers start businesses in different ways. Traditional businesses usually have startup costs. These are costs to buy materials and equipment or rent an office. Starting a business can be expensive. Influencers usually have fewer startup costs. Many influencers only need social media accounts and a smartphone. Most of them do not need to spend money on office space. Many of them work from home.

Building a Brand

Entrepreneurs and influencers both want to build a brand. Yet, they do it in different ways. Entrepreneurs build their brands slowly over time. The product or service comes first. The brand comes later. For influencers, it is the opposite. Their brand is their personality. They have to get followers before they can make money. Influencers develop a message to reach followers. They make money from this relationship. They may get their followers to buy a product, for example. The company that makes the product pays them.

Making Money

Influencers have different ways to make money. They can try to convince their followers to buy a product. Companies will pay them to do this. They make even more money by putting ads on their pages. Some influencers create their own products. Of course, they advertise these new products on their social media channels, too.

Driving the Economy

Entrepreneurs help make a country richer. They help the economy grow. An economy is growing when jobs are being created and people are buying goods and services. Entrepreneurs create new markets. They make people realize they want something they did not know they wanted. Then, similar companies start. This type of competition can help the economy grow even more. For example, Uber is a ride-sharing company. It was started because people needed more taxis.

Soon, more ride-sharing companies sprang up and began competing with Uber. As new companies grow, they hire more people. Many startups have invented new technology.

Influencers make the economy grow in similar ways. They created a new way to make money on social media. They also create new jobs, because they need help making new content. As more people become influencers, the competition between them gets stronger. As entrepreneurs, influencers continue to make the economy stronger.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Freddie Wilkinson
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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