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If you’re feeling discouraged about your growth as a creator, consider this theory: it takes just 1,000 “true fans” to start a successful career in the creative profession.

When we see digital creators like MrBeast and Jake Paul make millions of dollars every year thanks to their huge audiences, it’s difficult to put non-celebrity followings into perspective. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t need millions of fans to have a successful creator as a digital creator. Even those with modest audience sizes can make a decent–even extravagant–living as a creator without celebrity status. How?

Build an audience of 1,000 true fans to form a solid foundation. Here’s how to do it.

What is the 1,000 true fans concept?

The 1,000 true fans concept is an idea originally shared by Kevin Kelly in 2008. His essay predicted that there would be an industry made up entirely of creators with successful careers in the creative industry by having just 1,000 true fans.

True fans are loyal and diehard followers who will “buy anything you produce.” These super fans will watch every second of every video you upload, buy every product you recommend, attend your meet-ups, and like every single one of your social media posts.

There are two requirements to the 1,000 true fans concept:

  • You must create enough (content, art, etc.) to make an average of $100* profit from each true fan per year.
  • You must have a direct relationship with your true fans who pay you directly, and you keep most of your gifts.

*For the sake of this blog post, we consider a “successful career” as a baseline living wage of $100,000 per year. However, this number is just a starting point. The sky’s the limit when it comes to increasing your profit!

How can I make money from 1,000 true fans?

Let’s break down the math on the 1,000 true fans concept. The calculation for making a successful salary from true fans is as follows:

1,000 fans X $100 profit per fan per year = $100,000 annual income

Luckily, with so many different monetization models available to creators these days, there are unlimited opportunities to earn $100 per fan.

SVOD, or subscription video on demand

  • A filmmaker with 1,000 subscribers paying roughly $9/month for subscription video services.
  • A fitness instructor with 42 clients paying $200/month for subscription workout classes streamed to Roku at home.
  • A travel vlogger offering exclusive travel planning videos with 1,000 yearly subscribers at $100/year.

TVOD, or transactional video on demand

  • A digital educator selling online classes for $100/video to 1,000 students or $50/video to 2,000 students.
  • A fitness instructor streaming monthly live workouts to 500 people for just $18/event.
  • A film festival hosting an annual online festival for $100/ticket to 1,000 attendees.

These examples are just starting points for calculating potential earnings through SVOD and TVOD services. The sky’s the limit when it comes to earning potential for digital creators.

For example, take the film festival example shown above. Here’s how the 1,000 true fans concept is applied to a film festival with smaller or larger audience sizes and varying prices associated with each ticket.

Likewise, 1,000 true fans can earn you even more money when you provide more ways to support with additional revenue models.


We understand that there are other costs involved when building and managing a content platform, such as content acquisition, production, marketing, and other administrative tasks. The 1,000 true fans idea is considered a theory for proving the merits of starting a profitable business with a niche content platform or modest audience size. With valuable content and a small but loyal audience, success is within anyone’s grasp!

How do I get 1,000 true fans?

The best part of the 1,000 true fans concept is that it supports a healthy and attainable goal. Rather than setting your sights on 1,000,000 fans from the get-go, building a fanbase of 1,000 true fans seems much more realistic. Plus, a true fan’s loyalty goes beyond profits. True fans use word-of-mouth to shout your name from rooftops! Their loyalty builds awareness of your work and helps you gain even more followers.

Remember that not every one of your followers will be a true fan; that’s just the nature of the creator game. Kelly estimates that “for every single true fan, you might have two or three regular fans.” Regular fans are still valuable, as they can provide a one-off profit, though because they’re not super fans, their average profit may be lower than your true fans.

Now that you understand the 1,000 true fans concept, it makes sense that Jake Paul and his crew earn so much money! Building an audience of their size can be time-consuming and challenging, but don’t let that discourage you. Just focus on the first 1,000 true fans and take it one step at a time.

During your journey, Endavo is here to support you. Our platform is unique because you can choose your revenue models and monetize in-platform to profit directly from your fans and track your progress in real-time. We also help you grow and provide the best user experience for your viewers while letting you control your channel and brand. Get started on the journey towards a better OTT channel – sign up now for our risk-free 30-day trial and let us help you start monetizing your true fans!