The death of legacy brands and the "crazy level of affinity" that followers have for creators

Amanda Northcutt Amanda Northcutt, founder and CEO of Level Up Creators

“The vast majority of my career has been made up of a bunch of happy accidents,” starts Amanda Northcutt, founder and CEO of Level Up Creators. “My path has been super nonlinear. But that tends to be the path of most people. We tend to end up where we're supposed to be as long as we're being intentional and strategic.”

Her parents always joke that she never spoke until my brother went to college. "My brother's a very successful lawyer, but he took up all the 'airspace' in the house. He went to college when I was 14 and heading into high school. I started coming into my own as that airspace was available in the house."

Amanda's first job was at a shoe boutique. "Everyone thought that I would fail miserably because I was very shy. I completely came out of my shell and started selling shoes like crazy, breaking national sales records. I loved it! I fell in love with business at the age of 16 so I knew at that time that's the path I wanted to pursue."

Then Amanda went to university and linked up with a friend who was starting a website and needed someone to sell advertising on it. "This was in 2005 when selling online advertising was like banner ads. It was like selling air! I heard the word 'no' a lot and got over any fear of selling to people pretty quickly," she recalls.

Being thrown into the deep end

"I got my chops by being thrown into the deep end," she continues. "I parlayed that little sales gig into a bigger sales gig at a young company called and ended up working there for almost a decade. That's where I really learned business." During this time, she figured out the membership model, recurring revenue, adding value, maximizing LTV, and selling sponsorships.

"It's not a cool little website anymore. It's like the largest collegiate fan site in the world. I was the second employee there and had an absolute blast," she smiles. "I learned how to lead and manage people. That's where I fell in love with the membership model and recurring revenue. That was in 2005. Next year, I will have been in this space for two decades. Crazy how time flies!"

The business attracted thousands of people paying $13 a month for information about Texas A&M University sports teams. "We also cracked the code on moving from banner ads to sponsorships (brand deals in today’s terms). Companies were trying to reach our audience and we were allowing them very unique access points that were trackable and moved the needle for those businesses," she says.

Amanda took that model and started Northcutt Media, using the sponsorship model that they refined at TexAgs, and took it to similar websites around the country. "That was my first business, at age 22. We got to travel a lot and things like that."

But a few years later, her health started to suffer. “I needed to take some time off, but also dial in on lifestyle architecture,” – Amanda needed to redress the balance of priorities in her life, mainly her health, husband and baby son.

Amanda has started to share about her health journey more publicly and plans to do more. She has found that a lot of women who have intense, stressful jobs tend to have autoimmune disease or similar. “The more I can be vulnerable, the more I can lead the charge in that way," she says. "Every time I say something about my situation, someone new comes forward and messages me and says ‘Hey, can we talk?’ and that's wonderful.”

Amanda changed things up. “I needed to be a mom. I needed to be the manager of my health and I needed to be a consultant.” In order to restore some normality to her career, she and her husband bought out their other business partner at Member Up and took it over, to run as a consultancy.

“I had a wonderful time helping membership businesses that covered all kinds of subjects – stuff that you would never think of unless you're in this world and you know that there's a niche for each type of interest, and there are people on the internet who want what you have.” After a long stint in the membership niche, she pivoted to fractional executive work at various SaaS companies around the world.

In this new more balanced lifestyle, Amanda reduced her work to 20-30 hours a week but focused on being “extraordinarily impactful” at each of the organizations she consulted for. She left Silicon Valley at the end of 2022, to found Level Up Creators: “I wanted to take everything that I had learned in this B2B, primarily SaaS world, and bring that to creators – and specifically women.

“I'm really interested in helping women create generational wealth cycles and leverage their knowledge by providing tremendous amounts of value to their communities of followers and get paid in kind.”

The services offered by Level Up Creators

So what does Level Up Creators do? “We're looking to optimize impact and income for female creators in particular. I truly believe I've assembled the top team of operators on planet earth,” she replies.

They help people identify where they are, where they're going, and what's keeping them from getting there. Then they orchestrate how to knock down those barriers to get you where you want to go. “Our sweet spot is if you've gathered followers around one specific topic – that's very important – and you've got 50,000 social media followers and or more than 2,000 email subscribers.”

“When you approach us, I'll probably ask you about a hundred questions first,” says Amanda. “I'm always looking to understand before being understood.” She gathers a quantitative and qualitative data set from a creator so they can help them identify their options.

“We want to help subject matter experts create a product suite. We want some lead magnets, then a course, perhaps a three-part masterclass or something like that, and then we would move into a recurring revenue product. Maybe that's a $49 or $79, or a $249 a month membership.”

Then Level Up Creators would move customers to group coaching with higher tiers of recurring revenue. This is when “you have proven you're able to provide consistent, repeated value that's really on point for your community of followers and customers,” she adds.

The Level Up Creators team The Level Up Creators team - image ©

It’s how she helps people professionalize their creator mindset. “Oftentimes, subject matter expert creators are hesitant to do brand deals or to make products and ask their audience to buy them. I'm on a mission to help creators understand that they're in such an amazing position to continue to provide value over and above what can be provided for free on social media.

“We all want power, respect, authority, love, relationships – foundational desires," she continues. "We feel that we know creators we follow. We know so much about their lives and we want to be more like them.” Amanda believes that if creators can provide an avenue for us to be more like them, there's an opportunity for creators to sell things that add value and help those followers achieve those desires, creating “a virtuous cycle of value”.

"We have so much more affinity for creators than we do these gigantic global legacy brands, because we're talking to a human, not a logo. Our mission number one is saying, ‘It’s okay to sell stuff – because people want to buy what you have.’ We don't do icky marketing or sales, and we don't work with creators who are not providing real legitimate value to their communities. That's table stakes."

The future and the death of legacy brands

“I'm excited to be in a position where we're helping creators again, and really doubling down on helping women,” Amanda muses. We are a professional services firm, but we are working toward mirroring our client businesses, being a creator-first business ourselves.” She sums it up that they are here to educate creators on how to think like CEOs and properly run their businesses.

“We are building some killer products!” she laughs. In fact, the team is launching the Level Up Creators School on March 1st 2024. This is a membership based business school for creators. “We’ll offer our knowledge and expertise to create the exact education, community, resources, and high-touch support to help creators reach their next big income milestone – the first of which for many creators will be $50,000 MRR and we’ll be using our Fastest Path To 50 framework to get people there. I’m pumped about that!”

In a final thought about the industry in general, Amanda concludes: “The world is moving toward this direct-to-consumer model where creators are having more power in consumer spending and content curation. It's crazy the level of affinity that followers have for creators they love.”

Amanda explains that millennials and Gen Xers don’t go to large legacy brands for their news anymore: “These big cable networks are dinosaurs! They can either get on this train or they are gonna die.”

“I am totally calling my shot: that is the future. I've built a company to propel that future into reality and help people be wildly successful. I want money to go straight to creators as opposed to gigantic companies. It's like, ‘All right, let somebody else have a turn!’ It’s a good time to be a content creator!” she smiles.

More information

Amanda Northcutt is a consultant, coach and six-time exec who has launched and scaled online businesses for D2C, B2C, and B2Bs.

She founded Level Up Creators to help influential creator educators build sustainable businesses. Level Up Creators offers strategies and systems to people who have at least one existing product in fields like wellness, personal finance, travel or sports, and are ready to scale their impact and income. For more information, visit

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