The first 10 subscribers

Over the past few months I’ve found myself really interested in newsletters.

Many of the blogs I used to regularly read are now sites I check out every once in a while or have just forgotten about altogether. People don’t blog (or read blogs) like they used to and the sort of blog content that worked 4/5 years back is now the sort of thing that gets posted on Instagram.

However, a newsletter is a great way to keep readers or followers updated in a way that feels personal. This blog is now in it’s fourth year and my intention is for it to expand beyond just blogposts.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking to create a newsletter. However, I currently only have one email subscriber (the majority of readers follow this blog via WordPress) so I’ll hold off for a little while. I’m waiting until I reach the first 10 email subscribers before putting out my first newsletter.

It’ll be a monthly summary with extra bits and pieces that don’t get shared on the blog. My newsletter is for all my readers but mainly those that find it hard to keep up. I think a monthly email with links to top posts, recent content and recommendations will be much easier to keep up with.

I look forward to putting out my first newsletter in the coming weeks or months. I hope you look forward to reading it, sign up below:

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Creators and consumers

One thing I have observed over the years is that there is a very clear difference between being a creator and being a consumer in the online space.

It is first worth noting that all creators consume and all consumers create. However, the title you choose or align with most is based around what you do the most but also how you do it.

Secondly, you don’t have to have a big number of followers, make money or work with brands to be considered a creator, it’s more about the intention behind what you put out.

It could be someone with 237 followers sharing photos of what they eat at home each day, where they spend time and care on the presentation of each meal, in order for it to look visually appealing. It could also be someone with 52,375 subscribers making fashion videos that give their audience outfit inspiration.

For creators, I think it is important that you are creating more than you consume otherwise you end up getting swept up and spending your time in a way that does not benefit you.

Adding new features vs making things better

When changes get made to something it usually involves adding a new feature, improving an existing one or both.

But sometimes the addition of something new isn’t helpful, you’d be better off improving what’s already there. Often adding something new is about innovation and creativity which doesn’t always result in an improved experience for the user or customer.

There can end up being so much focus on the exciting stuff that the basics get pushed aside.

Le’ts say you sell plain t-shirts and the stitching is poor quality to the point where it’s loose. You could improve what is already there by making the stitching better on the next batch or you could add something new like embroidery, a new neckline or a different length.

If you’re focused on adding new things you’ll end up with a poor quality t-shirt with embroidery on it when you could have had a good quality t-shirt that is plain. Once you get the basics right, you’re now in a better position to start adding new features.

The right time is now

Sometimes you need a few words of encouragement to get started. maybe you’re afraid and keep putting things off because you think it will be much eaiser to do it later.

Instead you find that the longer you wait, the less you feel ready to begin.

You make excuses like it’s not the right time, you’re not good enough or that you need to spend more time planning and preparing. And it’s okay to need more time but it’s not much use without having a deadline for when you will begin. You could end up planning for the next 10 months.

You have to start changing the way you think about things, it’s rare that anything needs to be perfect before you begin putting it out for people. It could be blog posts, YouTube videos, a podcast or a bunch of other stuff.

The right time is now so don’t put off starting any longer.

The content and the audience

I recently read an article about how much various influencers get paid. The majority of the people were twenty something but the numbers of followers ranged from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand.

What I’ve found to be interesting is that when paying an influencer to create content you’re paying for 2 things: the content and the audience.

In my opinion, even if you don’t have a high following the money you get paid to create content should make sense. If you’re spending hours to come up with a concept, style the shoot, take the photos and edit them, what you earn should sufficiently compensate that plus more for your audience.

And with that in mind it makes it a little bit easier to figure out how much you should ask for and what to say no to.

The role of the creator

When it comes to this blog, I’m in charge of the writing process and you are in charge of the rest. That includes the views, likes, comments and how popular each post gets.

As the creator, as much as you might want to be, you can’t be in control of the numbers and of how well your work performs because that’s not your role.

Your role is to do the work and as long as you’re doing it well, you have to learn to be okay with everything that comes with it.

Obviously if you earn a living from creating, the stakes are much higher. You might need to report back to someone and of course what they want to hear is that the numbers have gone up and at worst that they’ve stayed the same.

However, in spite of the above, I think it’s good to look at the numbers occasionally (even if they don’t affect your income). It can be useful to see the kind of stuff that is performing well. For example, one of my most popular posts is about Instagram and I’m also aware that my posts about being a writer and the writing process tend to do fairly well. I enjoy writing about those topics so choosing to do more of that would be a win-win for me as the writer and you as the reader. I wouldn’t have that knowledge without looking at the numbers.

But most importantly, the key is to not become so attached to the point that you’re happy when the numbers are up and sad when they’re down. The only thing you need to do is create.

How creatives find their flow

It’s much easier than you might think.

The creative flow or state of being inspired is often held in high regard. It’s put on a pedestal as this magical thing.

People often like to ask creatives about their process in order to understand how they are able to do what they do.

But the thing is, finding your creative flow is just like finding anything else, you have to look for it. It might not be right in front of you and you might encounter a few flows that just aren’t quite right but that shouldn’t stop you from looking.

All of a sudden you’ll find it and your work will change. The good bits will get even better and you’ll have more of those moments where it comes to you with such ease that you’ll look back and wonder if you were in a trance.

And that is all there is to it. You can’t figure out what works without encountering the stuff that doesn’t work.

Putting it out there

Your job is to create and then put it out there.

It might not get the amount of views you want or it could be loved by millions, that is not something you have any control over.

It’s not your job to try and convince people that your work is good. In fact, you need to learn to be okay with the fact that some people won’t like it.

Focus on creating your work for the people that want it. That might only be a few to begin with but those people are important.

Creating for your audience

When it comes to being creative and putting stuff out there, often we end up focusing on the wrong thing.

We ignore the audience we already have and put our efforts into reaching new people with the hope of growing and growing.

However, what often ends up happening is we lose our current audience in the process because they no longer feel like we’re creating for them.

Instead, you’re much better off putting your efforts into creating for the people that are already here. Those people are already interested and given time will care enough to spread the word, if what you’re putting out is good enough.

Restoring the balance

YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogs.

We have the opportunity to take in a lot of information every single day to the point where we can become overloaded.

But more importantly a lot of this information is other people’s thoughts, opinions or just things we don’t need to know or don’t benefit us.

I think online content is great in moderation but if you find yourself at a point where it feels like too much, the best thing to do is reduce your consumption.

That could mean unfollowing, unsubscribing, logging out, taking a break or setting a time limit.

You need to do those things for long enough so that you can restore the balance between online and offline or creation and consumption.

The balance should always be in your favour so create more than you consume or be offline more than you’re online.