A new kind of labor

“These days, when you talk to one person, you’re talking to a thousand.”

This is a line from an American television series called House of Cards. The character Zoe Barnes, a young social media savvy reporter who worked for the Washington Herald, said this to her boss who called her a sexist slur and fired her while she tweeted about it in front of him. The quote reflects how audience reach has become broader and more defined.

When it comes to the internet, content is king. Never has producing content been more attainable for the average person. Video cameras and computers are affordable and there are several video editing, animation, and art freeware available for free. With some creativity, writing skill, and talent, almost anyone can create content without needing to get noticed by corporate traditional media.

Some websites such as Smosh and College Humor has capitalized on creating video and blog content for the vast audience. Average people can make money off of their content by targeting specific niche markets. Certain websites provides the opportunity for average people to create content and publish it on the web and make money doing so. The content creator only needs to sign up and maybe set up a Paypal account. I call this concept “laborpreneurship.” Here are some example sites that compensate Users for providing content.


YouTube offers content partnership with Users as long as the User follows the rules and create content that doesn’t violate their copyright policy. Partners make advertising revenue and are compensated based on the number of views.


Lulu is a self-publishing website. The average person does not need to go to a prestigious book publishing company to publish his or her own book. Creators can create fictional and non-fictional novels, photobooks, calendars, and e-books. They can also purchase professional editing and advertising services but it isn’t required. Creators can use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise their published books.

Yahoo! Voices

Aspiring journalists and bloggers should seriously consider publishing their content on Yahoo Voices. Anyone can sign up and upload content of their choice or claim an assignment. Yahoo Voice accepts non-fictional articles, fictional stories, and videos. The content creator can decide ownership and compensation methods. In exchange for content, Yahoo compensates the creator based on the number of views. I recently opened a new account and tested it out. Once I submitted my first two articles, it took up to a week for an editor to provide feedback before approving to be published.


Amateur graphic artists can publish their art on products ranging from T-shirts to bumper stickers and coffee mugs. The owner of a Pro-Obama Facebook page was unemployed and needed a way to make some extra money. He started making political graphic designs on Cafepress and it became a hit with his Facebook fans. He would always talk about the orders, share the design on his wall, and share photos of fans who bought the bumper stickers and T-shirts. In addition to making some extra money, he would contribute a portion to the Obama 2012 campaign. He had a following and was able to make money off the content he created.

Granted, none of these laborpreneurship sites provide stable income at first. In addition to production cost, the provider also gets a bigger cut of the income, leaving Content Creators with a certain percentage of the cut. But every little penny counts. With enough content reaching a niche market, the average person can make income from his or her own creation.







About Crystal J. Hollis

Crystal Hollis is a North Texas area artist, video/photographer, multimedia producer, digital marketer, and writer. She holds an M.A. degree in Interactive, Virtual, and Digital Communication and B.A. in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of North Texas. She has five years of experience shooting and editing videos and photography. Her interests include film, television, American and Japanese animation and graphic novels, video games, race and gender issues in media, digital media, online marketing, and the art of transmedia storytelling. You may reach her at crystaljhollis@gmail.com.
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