When You Need To Baby-Step Your Way Into The Life Of A Content Creator

We’re all guilty of thinking that our reality is very similar to that of other people.

It’s how the mind works. For the most part, we’re all self-centered.

When it comes to leaving a mark on the world, this can be a problem.

If what you see is all there is, there’s little room for addressing the realities other people reside in. 

It may become more difficult for you to spot opportunities for business. 

You might miss out on a trend, simply because you’re not part of it.

Living In Delusion

I’m living a very sheltered existence. 

On the one hand, I am so sensitive to other people’s emotions that I can pick them up just by passing them on the street. If I walk past a fighting couple, it will be difficult for me not to be infected by their agitation. 

My sensitivity should qualify me to be very aware of other people’s desires and their experience of the world. It should allow me to find out what people need. But it doesn’t.

My perception of the world is too much colored by my own experience. 

Therefore, even when seek business opportunity, try to understand market behavior and or potential customers I’m noticing how I’m just scratching the surface of what’s actually out there. 

That’s why I came up with the notion of baby-stepping my way into content creation—slowly reshaping my perception into a more accurate reflection of the world. It’s almost like trying to change your grandpa’s opinion about the local political—I’m fighting an uphill battle.

They’re Not Who You Think They Are

Here are some beliefs about consumers, business and the market, that you—like me—might find difficult to grasp if they lie outside your current reality.

1) People like to watch what other’s are doing

This one is still strange to me. Unless I derive a direct benefit (such as important life lessons) from watching another person’s life, I have zero interest to tune into what they are doing. In my world, if it’s worth doing I will try to do it myself—otherwise I don’t have to see it.

But the reality is that most humans have a voyeuristic streak. They enjoy the passivity of seeing somebody else deal with the challenges of life. They enjoy participating in the lifestyle of people with more resources or fewer resources than themselves. They get a kick out of feeling that they ‘know’ somebody they’ve never met. People are wired to be spectators. 

Almost of what’s happening on social media now is catering to spectators. Sure, there’s an element of interaction involved. But more than anything, content creator are modern-day show-people and get paid in exchange for letting others into their lives.

As I’m baby-stepping my way into the life of a content creator, I’m actively trying to get rid of my belief that nobody wants to see me. After all, everyone who’s successful on the internet, to themselves, is just ‘me’. 

But the mistake we make (especially those who are more on the conscientious and neurotic side) is to believe that ‘me’ is not enough. But it is. Me is all there is on the internet.

There’s also the actual content: how the video is done, the subject of the podcast, or the article. 

But when it comes down to it, people follow other people because they’re interested in their lives—their insignificant ‘me’.

They want to see how content creators deal with a set of challenges. This set of challenges is chosen by the content creator and it defines their audience

A movement coach’s life is all about movement, so people who’re interested in learning about movement will flock to them. A make-money-online-channel is all about, well, you know it—so it will get a certain type of people.

This leads us to the second point.

2) Many of people will never do anything about their interest in a subject.

This, too, strikes me as outlandish. Yet, we all need to learn this if we’re interested in the business of content creation.

When I want to do something, I get the information on the subject and then do it. If I don’t want to do it enough, which usually becomes clear rather quickly, I just move on to the next thing. Rarely have I spent ages consuming content about a given topic without acting upon it.

Therefore, I will also have the (incorrect) belief that it’s wrong to create content if people don’t take action. What’s the point if the information I provide doesn’t change anything for most of my audience? Isn’t becoming a part of the content-machine is unethical?  ‘Doesn’t make me being part of that world just another a scammer,’ I wonder.

But the reality of how people tick is this: they’re perfectly happy being interested in something, perhaps even for years, without doing anything about their interest. 

They’ll be happy to be part of that community, interact with others, and even pay content-creators for their work. 

They’ll be happy to say that they ‘do x’ or that they are a ‘part of the movement y’ because it provides them with a sense of identity. 

As future content creators we need to accept that the content itself is of value to people—not the actual results they will produce by consuming it. People buy products because of how they make them feel or the potential benefit they hope to get from it. But often it’s more about the hope for the result—a dream—rather than a realistic estimate that it will happen.

Our responsibility is the content. But the customer—if they are even interested in taking action to begin with—will have to take responsibility for the positive change in their lives (unless they subscribe to the $5000 monthly mastermind of course).

3) Content creators are just the winners of a land-grab for authority

We tend to think that content creators were are always ‘the experts’ in a give field. You’d figure that there is a very good reasons that their content rises to the top. 

And there is are reasons, but they’re not what you think.

The people at the top are often really just in the process of learning themselves—it’s only that they’ve grabbed ahold of the role of the educator. 

In that sense, everyone is almost on the same page, only that the top benefits (a lot) and the masses often don’t notice and happily pay for ‘expert advice’ (which may even have been around for ages in different form).

Without a doubt, some content creators are actual experts. And many of them have become experts over time. 

The important lesson for us is that process is a sufficient starting point. 

The important lesson for us is that process is a sufficient starting point. 

Expertise on the internet is almost arbitrary. It’s exposure and time that makes people into experts.

So if you’re currently in doubt whether you know enough to start sharing ideas on a topic, think no further. You don’t have to know everything before you start. To the contrary, you become an expert once you start creating content. 

This ideas is difficult for me to digest.

I would personally try to avoid listening to anybody who doesn’t have the track record to back up their claims. Studying science has left me with a compulsive desire to see ‘evidence’ and a critical attitude that doesn’t mesh well with the internet.

The truth is that there is content out there that matches every temperament. There are prolific scientists on the web, too. 

But the majority of experts on any subject are self-made

The good thing about that is that you, too, can make it happen. 

All it takes is to start making content, rather than worrying about whether you have something valuable to share in the first place. 

It’s a little bit sad. But it is what it is. For me, baby-stepping myself into the role of a content creator means to start accepting that reality. 

Our knowledge and experience will never be just right and suddenly deserve to be shared. It will become right, influential, and beneficial to others only when we start to publish. 

We will become experts as we create. The process itself it part of your resume. 

We will become experts as we create. The process itself it part of your resume. 

There is no way around it.

4) People don’t mind their short attention spans and happily consume the content that matches them

A short attention span is bad, period. If you cannot sit down for hours at the time to read, think, or work, you have a problem. 

It’s a problem that has now ceased to be a problem and has turned simply into the experience of our lives.

To me, my attention span is sacred. Anything that seems harmful to it makes me shrink away in fear. I know that if I let my brain go unsupervised for long enough, I will be unable to think at the level that I would like to. 

A sufficently long attention span is a fundamental trait that will guarantee success in modern society. There’s no way I would risk losing the ability to focus for prolonged periods of time. 

But most people don’t seem to care about the loss of their ability to pay attention. 

We don’t know if it’s because they don’t know it’s happening, or because they’ve decided that the pleasures of TikTok are worth it any day of the week. Perhaps their attention span is simply to short to notice!

All we know is that it is what it is.

Five to sixty second content is becoming increasingly more common. 

A musician recently told me that they’ve started to record shorter songs to increase the click rate. When I was younger, I remember that songs used to have different lengths, usually somewhere between three and five minutes.  As the musician explained, they try to keep the songs at a maximum of around two and a half minutes, which increases the possibility that we listen repeatedly (which in turn increases the click-rate). 

Here, too, my natural response would be to be critical and lament the direction in which society is heading. It also makes me question the ethics of being a content creator. Your job is to provide thirty-second-highs to your audience. And they are unlikely to have any positive effect on their lives (if you don’t count the short giggle or a fleeting burst of ‘inspiration’).

If you want to become a content creator, you need to become comfortable with the notion that a part of your job description is to cater to people’s attention spans. If you don’t want to be ignored, you need to produce and share the type of content that makes people stop and click. 

There are different stages to this, of course, and there’s certainly also room for long form content. Tim Ferris, for example, swears on it.

Nevertheless, the moment you turn into a content creator, you also turn into a dealer. Your drugs are emotions, which you need to be able to evoke in a relatively short period of time. 

Becoming a content creator seems to be about taking responsibility only for the content itself. 

Becoming a content creator seems to be about taking responsibility only for the content itself. 

You design the content so that it gets clicked on and delivers values in a short period of time—just enough so that people will come back for more. 

Everything else is up to the consumer. Protecting their ability to focus? Their job. Taking action with you information? Up to them. 

Unless you want to make yourself crazy, focus on the one job that you have: creating content that spreads and makes people happy.

5) People want to buy stuff online

This last one is especially difficult for me to believe, and yet it’s true. 

In the end of every journey of content creation, there will be some form of product. It doesn’t matter if you’ll sell a cookbook, t-shirts or a digital course. Rarely do people spend years of their life sharing free information without asking for anything in return at some point.

So if you’re not the kind of person who buys Youtubers’ merchandise, or goes for your favorite Instagrammers new protein powder, you might have a hard time understanding how content creation can actually lead to an income in the long run. If that’s the case, you’re not alone.

But here’s what you’re forgetting: people are on the web because they seek community and identity. 

Buying stuff allows them to get the most out of either of these desires. 

People will buy stuff without ever using it. (I will beat myself up for a day if I buy as much as snack which turned out to be not only unhealthy but also didn’t bring me any happiness!)

People will buy stuff just to they can show it to their friends and parade what it ‘says’ about them.

People will buy stuff because they feel like owning the thing takes them closer to who they want to be. If they buy a bodybuilder’s tank-top, for example, they will become a little more like them. 

People buy stuff all the time, and they like it. They pay for memberships, coffee-cups with your face on it and donate money to your Patreon (if your content is good enough, that is).

Getting To Know Reality

For me, getting rid of my limiting beliefs surrounding being a content creator is an ongoing process.

There are good reasons to feel critical about the world of content creators. 

But at the same time it doesn’t help. It is what it is.

We can whine and criticize for as long as we want, but if we want to get anywhere, we need to start taking action. 

Taking action, these days, means creating content that is easily accessible to people’s needs—content that provides what consumers perceive as value.

When our focus becomes content creation, we can stop thinking about the aesthetic aspects of it all, and start gathering real-life feedback for what we produce.

When our focus becomes content creation, we can stop thinking about the aesthetic aspects of it all, and start gathering real-life feedback for what we produce.

Some people will end up watching and use us to fuel their voyeuristic desires. That’s fine, even if they never actually do anything with our content. We cannot take responsibility for how everyone and their uncle is doing. 

But there’s one thing we can take responsibility for: the content itself. 

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