I’m Not a Creator. I’m a Business Owner who Happens to Create Content
A unique job has emerged since the advent of the social web — one that seems to be gaining popularity as a career path. Nowadays, you can go into pretty much any classroom and find a handful of students whose ambition is to become a successful example of this career when they grow up.
That job/career? Creator.
For those of you over the age of 35, I know what you’re thinking — it sounds like a religious icon or someone who makes crafts for a living. The title definitely needs work. But you wouldn’t be too far off. The idea is to become famous (aka religious icon) for making creative stuff on the internet (aka making crafts for a living).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s awesome that the tools of the web have made it so simple to publish articles and videos and more so that anyone with an idea can reach an audience. I’m all for the idea of amateur content and bringing down the years of old skool gatekeepers that were often filled with bias and nepotism. I love that this is happening. Hell, I’ve even dabbled in it myself.
But I’m not a Creator. I run a business and I happen to create content. And that content? It helps me grow my business, which is one build on a pretty traditional model of providing services and getting paid for the time I spend doing that.
Last year I came across Dan Lok, “The Millionaire Mentor”, at VidSummit. I loved his presentation. His message to the audience full of hungry, young people looking to “Make money with YouTube” was: “Stop trying to make money on YouTube!” He wanted to let everyone know that he uses YouTube to support and promote his very viable consulting business. He had no patience for the idea of trying to be paid to be influential about something.
More and more, I’m seeing people around me leave (or aim to leave) their day jobs and current careers to become “online influencers” and “creators” — spending time on scheduling inspirational posts with pithy quotables and silly questions that are intended to “engage an audience” and “curating” other people’s content (aka ripping off), all the while feeding this content into Buffer or some other terrible social media management tool to feed a growing audience.
Hey used-to-be-friend-or-acquaintance who is now an “influencer”, “You don’t really care if I’m a cat versus dog person (dog btw), and I can tell you are just posting through a third-party app because when I do comment, you never show up! That hurts.”
All of this creator stuff is just making the internet and social platforms insufferable.
Look, I think content is important and I think lots of people should be creating much more of it. I take lots of hours out of my busy schedule of running a growing business to write and record videos and post tweets and stuff. Doing this has helped me grow my business and I know if I stop, I will lose momentum as well as the edge that actually helps me keep up with this ever-changing industry.
But, much like Dan Lok, I have no desire to try and make a living as a creator. Not withstanding the fact that you need to be in the top 0.1% of creators to even make enough money to pay the rent (let alone enough to put away for that rainy day that you are yesterday’s news, which you will become pursuing that career), most people who are pursuing this line of business are TOTALLY DOING IT WRONG AND FOR THE WRONG REASONS.
The people who showed the world that this could actually be a thing that makes you great money (Jenna Marbles, PewDiePie, Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, etc etc) didn’t start out to be famous. They had a passion for something and pursued it and were lucky enough that it blew up.
So, stop trying to be a creator or influencer or the like. Instead, do something good and important. Bring value to the world. Work your ass off. Hone your craft. Care about something. Differentiate yourself. Pursue lifelong learning. Meet as many people as you can and learn from them (and make real friends!). Build a business where you give or make something of value and someone pays you for that. Help someone else build that business. Save lives. Help others. There are SO many more worthwhile things for you to do.
You never know, those other paths may just lead you to real success.