The Creator Economy Is An MLM

Not all of it — just the part you’re thinking about right now.

John Gorman


Photo by Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash

Look. What I’m about to tell you isn’t, like, a new idea. Ain’t even new to me, but today we’re going to talk about “making it.”

I’ve been rolling this around since college — right around the time I first watched Matthew Lesko hawk free federal grant money in his bullhorn-loud Riddler-meets-Bill Nye getup, promising you riches if you paid him $49.99 for his book.

Okay, here goes:

[*clears throat*]

Ever notice that entrepreneurs who talk about being successful entrepreneurs appear to make their money by … talking about being entrepreneurs? Ever wonder why?

How Did We Get Here?

People get rich by teaching other people to get rich — a tale as old as time. I’ve spent a lot of time on the internet and a lot of time in marketing and boy howdy, do I see the same wash-rinse-repeat template play itself out ad nauseum.

Here’s the usual blueprint:

  1. A person who’s — and this next part is weirdly key here — not horribly unattractive writes succinct, confident, and utterly boring prose about being successful as a [content creator/entrepreneur/freelancer].
  2. They accompany this pseudo-wisdom with heavily stylized photos— pensive, grinding, thirst-trappy, casual, at rest, at home, on the job, at a function, vacationing, “unplugged”, giving a talk.
  3. They occasionally deploy some ALL CAPS urging you to CALL IN what’s DIVINELY YOURS and some emojis for extra oomph.
  4. They inform you they’re hosting a free webinar THIS SUNDAY.
  5. In that webinar and in the two weeks after, they offer you a course/workshop/coaching slot to replicate their success for $497. Inevitably, they’ll offer a code for you to get in at $297.
  6. They’ll write an impossibly boring eBook.
  7. They’ll show up on podcasts you’ve never heard of and would’ve never thought to listen to.
  8. After a couple of rounds of one through seven, the phrases “money mindset” and “multiple six-figure business” mysteriously show up in every other post, as well as…



John Gorman

Yarn Spinner + Brand Builder + Renegade. Award-winning storyteller with several million served. For inquiries: