So maybe you like to blog in your free time. Or podcast. Or create hilarious Tik-Tok reels.
The act of creating something from scratch and sharing it with the world is a thrill for you. The feeling that you get as you put the finishing touches on your latest creation puts butterflies in your stomach. And the second you press “post”, you can’t help but start to contemplate what your next project is going to be…
If that at all sounds like you, then you’re a creator just like me. And if that’s the case, I’ve got some good news and bad news.
Good News — In 2020, creators run the world. Creators spawn new trends and cultural fads, but also dictate how the general public feels about the latest Star Wars Movie. They can start movements and alter the direction of society.
Creators have become so important to our culture and society that 70% of youtube subscribers relate better with their favorite YouTubers than traditional movie/tv celebrities.
Bad News — Becoming a creator has never been more competitive. Tens of thousands of individuals buy their first camera or microphone each year to begin on a voyage that ultimately ends in failure.
Furthermore, a recent survey showed that 75% of school-aged children want to become content creators when they grow up.
As more and more people hear stories of creators who are making multi-million dollar salaries, the more they’ll start to yearn for that lifestyle themselves.
Given all that, there’s still some glimmering hope you should hold onto. It’s based on a principle that was first noted by economist Vilfredo Pareto in his published work, Cours d’économie politique. In it, Pareto was able to show that about 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Today, it’s known as the Pareto Principle.
The Pareto Principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In the world of online creation, this translates to the fact that 80% of all content is produced by 20% of creators.
This is because the vast majority of people don’t have the motivation or grit to stick with creation long enough to be successful.
However, if you’re in the 20% that truly loves creating something from scratch, you stand a real chance.
I made the jump from the 9–5 cart pushing, college student to full to full-time creator and entrepreneur. Along the way, I’ve met and talked to dozens of top creators including high profile YouTubers, Instagram influencers, and content creators.
This article is a summary of those conversations and my learnings over the past twelve months.
If your goal is to become a full-time content-creator, then there are five concepts that you need to understand.
Unlike other career paths, being a creator means you’re not guaranteed to see a paycheck on day one. In fact, it could be years before you see a substantial paycheck.
This is because you’re starting from scratch. You’ll have to earn every dollar cent by cent.
But unlike, a traditional job, the ceiling potential for what you can make is much, much higher. The top creators are making upwards of tens of millions of dollars.
For this reason, almost no one becomes a full-time creator right off the bat. 99% of creators that I’ve talked to started creating on the side while juggling school or a day-job. It was only when they accumulated a significant following did they make the jump to full-time.
The journey to becoming a successful creator is difficult and certainly impossible to do on your own.
The easiest way to increase your chances of success is to ask for help. The burden is so much easier to bear if there’s someone there to help out. Whether’s a fellow creator, coach, mentor, editor, friend, co-host, etc…
No creator does it alone and neither should you.
Being a full-time creator is often fetishized by the media for the uniqueness of the lifestyle, but it has its drawbacks too. Including:
This is why you must love the craft of building. That’s the only way to stay motivated long enough for you to make it to the promised land.
Given that, it’s also one of the most flexible career paths one can take. It’s truly a career that bends around your lifestyle:
You’ll know if you’re cut out to be a creator when you start doing it full-time and there’s nothing else that you’d rather be doing. This implies; however, that you are doing it full-time. More about that below.
One thing you need to know about making a living as a content creator is that it’s not cut and dry like your standard 9–5. You won’t just have one source of income. Instead, you’ll have likely three or more different streams of revenue.
The make-up of your income will depend largely on which platforms you use and the audience for which you create content.
For simplicity’s sake, there are really only two modes of making income as a creator:
In reality, creators will often do a mix of both modes, but only one will be your primary source of income.
Content can only have two purposes:
Go back and look at blogs posts that you’ve read in the last 24 hours. Each will fit into one of these categories. Sometimes both.
The reason for this is because consumers are either looking to learn something or want to be entertained. Very little lies in between.
To build an audience, you have to nail one of these.
Chances are you probably won’t be a full-time creator starting out. Almost every successful creator that I’ve spoken with started out producing content on the side and only made the leap when they felt they had some sort of traction.
That’s why the first step towards becoming a full-time creator is to make time.
I’ve been there. You come home from a grueling day at work and the last thing you want to do is work some more.
However, it shouldn’t feel like that. If you’re passionate about your work, you’ll want to make time for it. The best creators I know are the ones who treat their work as their hobby.
It’s not something that you have to do. It’s something you get to do.
Unless you make time to create, you’ll never have ownership over your life.
If you're serious about being a full-time creator, make a pact to yourself. No matter what — You’ll spend 15 minutes, at the very least, creating every day.
Unlike banking or computer programming for which you get training in a traditional university environment, there is no formal training for being a creator. At least not yet.
This means you have to consciously seek out training. This could be through networking with other creators, taking an online course, or finding a coach.
Growing up, we were always taught to compete. Compete to get better grades. Compete to get into the best schools. Compete to land the best jobs.
Competition is a lie that puts you in front of a desk working 40-hour shifts for a job that you hate.
To be a successful creator, you need to create something novel. Getting to novelty means to not compete, but create something new of your own.
Audiences don’t want the same thing over and over again. They want something new…or at the very least, something old with a new twist.
If you can find something that resonates deeply with a very specific audience, they’ll become your growth engine. They’ll shout your praises and share your work with others.
I heard a saying recently that really resonated with me: “the riches are in the niches.” Meaning that true wealth comes with the ability to provide value to an underserved market.
The honest truth in the matter is that if you want to become a full-time creator, you’ll eventually need to make the leap.
All the previous steps will help set you up for success, but, ultimately, you’ll need to give creation your laser focus if you want to see any substantial progress.
Remember the Pareto Principle. Only about 20% of creators are full-time. But it’s these creators that account for 80% of the content produced on the internet.
Congrats! If you made it this far, then you’ve already taken the first step towards becoming a creator. Taking the time to read this post means that you’re, at the very least, a little interested in becoming a creator.
My advice? Keep going. One thing has become very clear from my conversations with dozens of top creators: they all have truly unique stories.
Each person was doing something different and had different interests before something happened which put them on the path to becoming an internet entrepreneur (a career which, by the way, didn’t even exist ten years ago!). Through brute force, they were able to make it through and land the career of their dreams.
These are regular people just like you and me. So if they could do it, why not you? Trying and failing is better than not trying at all.
Now that you’ve taken the first step, take the next step.
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