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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Social media influencers use social media to build their brand. They influence their followers to buy a product, support a cause, or visit a certain place. You may think that a YouTuber or blogger does it just for fun, but some influencers make lots of money. Not every social media influencer is an entrepreneur. Still, entrepreneurs and influencers have a lot in common.

Are Influencers Entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs see a need for a new product or service and start a business. An influencer affects people through social media and has a more personal relationship with their followers. Influencers who start their own business are definitely entrepreneurs. Are influencers fulfilling a need? Many say yes. Companies are using influencers to sell their products. Influencers can get a company's message out to specific groups, like teen girls or gamers. An influencer's followers are more likely to buy what he or she suggests.

Getting Started

Entrepreneurs and influencers start businesses in very different ways. Nearly all traditional businesses have startup costs. Entrepreneurs have to spend money to buy materials and equipment. They do not always have to use their own money to start a business. Sometimes, they can find investors to give them money. This money is called venture capital. Often the investors get part of the business in exchange. Influencers, on the other hand, usually have much lower startup costs. Many influencers only need social media accounts and a smartphone. Most of them don't rent office space for instance, since many of them work from home.

Building a Brand

Influencers and entrepreneurs both want to build a brand, but they do it in different ways. Entrepreneurs build their brands slowly over time. The product or service comes first, and the brand comes later. For influencers, their brand is their personality. They have to be able to get followers before they can make any money. Influencers have to develop a message to reach and gain followers. Then they monetize it, meaning they make money from it, by working with companies to sell a product. For influencers, personal brand comes first, and reaching followers comes second.

Making Money

Most businesses sell their products for more than it costs to make. This is their profit. After gaining followers, influencers enter partnerships with companies or advertisers. These companies or advertisers pay them to post about their products. Influencers can add advertisements to their page. Most influencers earn money through a combination of advertisements, posts, and sometimes creating products, which of course, they advertise on their social media channels.

Driving the Economy

Entrepreneurship is an important way a country becomes richer, or grows its economy. An economy is growing when new jobs are being created and when people are spending more money on goods and services. Entrepreneurs help the economy grow in many ways. They create new markets and also more competition. For example, Uber was created to fulfill the need for more taxis. Soon, a number of ride-sharing companies sprang up and competed with Uber. As new companies grow, they hire more people, creating new jobs. A vast number of startups have created new technology.

Influencers make the economy grow in similar ways. The number of influencers is growing, and they have become more popular. They have created a new market on social media. Many influencers also hire people, because they need help creating new content. As more people become influencers, there is more competition. Influencers also get followers to join new social media platforms to see their content. As entrepreneurs, influencers create businesses and add a few unique features that continue to boost the economy.

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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