Everyone wants to be a blogger, YouTuber, Instagram influencer, etc. I hear that all the time. And it’s true that a lot of people want to “be” some type of content creator. But, there is a difference between being and becoming.
The difference is the work.
A lot of people can see themselves with a successful blog or social media channel, but they aren’t realistic and prepared to put in the work required to get it. Let me give you three reasons content creators fail.
A lot of people hear how long it takes –usually least two years, and in many cases longer—to get a strong following and start earning money.
But they don’t process that information.
Every day I come across people online who want to be YouTubers or Instagram influencers and they’re complaining that their engagement, followers or views aren’t increasing. In a lot of those cases, they’re expecting to see results after every post or video. They think there’s something wrong if the month has passed but their numbers stayed the same.
People tend to think somehow the journey is going to be easier, kinder, and quicker for them. Maybe they think the clock will tick faster. Maybe they believe some brilliant idea will make them an overnight sensation.
Whatever they have in mind, it does not include producing more content without getting more. It does not include trickling results. And it certainly doesn’t include working for free for two years.
So, a lot of content creators get frustrated by the lack of buzz and revenue, and they quit.
If you can see yourself working without pay for at least two years, you should even waste your time getting started. In some cases, you may get money coming in before then. But 2 years & no pay should always be in your mind.
Recently, I was talking to a YouTuber about why he wasn’t posting as regularly as he had been. One of the main reasons, he finally admitted, was because it was too lonesome.
He had a sidekick who helped him record and would hang around during the brainstorming and editing processes. But his homie moved and his motivation to work on the channel declined.
“Now it’s all me. Going to the site, setting up, shooting, editing. It’s just me.”
Well, that’s how it is for must of us. We operate in solitude, extra-large helpings of solitude.
By now, it seems writers should have received the memo that it’s a lonely job. But YouTubers, Instagram influencers and other creatives haven’t been warned as much.
So let me tell you all collectively, if you want to be any type of content creator, you will be spending a lot of time ALONE. It’s not uncommon for successful content creators to work 10, 15 or 18-hour days. And a lot of them spend most of that time in their bedroom, home office or some other isolated space.
A lot of people start out thinking, oh that doesn’t faze me. But many of those content creators quit or become too inconsistent to be successful because they can’t stand the loneliness.
Being the Boss
People pursue creative careers thinking I want to be my own boss. But being your own boss means you have to be your own employee.
And that means you have to set requirements and hold yourself accountable.
The downfall of a lot of content creators is they’re mesmerized by the thought of doing what they love. They expect to spend most of their time shooting video footage, staging photo shoots or sharing their posts and responding to comments.
Unless you’re that rare cat who is enthralled with the entire process, the part of the job you love is probably only going be a small part of what’s required.
To turn creative effort into a bonafide, sustainable business you need to devote a lot of time to unglamorous, boring and tedious tasks. As a boss, you have to force yourself to sit down and do the necessary editing, coding, research, website maintenance, outreach, marketing and so on.
You can’t allow yourself to sink all of your time into traipsing around doing what’s fun.
Being the boss also means you have to force yourself to work consistently and stay on the job until the work is done.
A lot of people want to be in charge because they want to work less. But to succeed, content creators usually have to put in far more time than full-time employees.
But a lot of people can’t operate like a real boss because they cut themselves too much slack.
A headache or a minor cold is enough for them to take off. They’ll put work to the side because the kids are screaming to come to watch a movie or their girlfriend is complaining it’s Friday and they should be going out.
That’s not going to work. A real boss wouldn’t accept those as reasons to ignore your work.
If you don’t have self-discipline, you’re not going to make a good boss. And if you’re not a good boss, your creative business is going to flop.
So yes, a lot of people want to be a successful content creator. But they’re talking about enjoying the results.
What else aren’t people realistic about when they talk about being bloggers, podcasters, Instagram influencers, etc… Keep the list going in the comments.