When we hear “creator” or “the creator economy” what comes to mind for everyone is slightly different — albeit with some overlap. Yet, it’s worth asking, what is the actual definition of a creator as it relates to the internet and the virtually non-existent barriers to entry (at least in developed countries)?
Here are the elements that I think help you define yourself as an online creator.
It’s hard to call yourself a creator — especially to yourself — when you aren’t being purposeful about establishing some cadence of consistency that works for both you and the audience you’re trying to build.
Being consistent is a determining factor in a lot of what creates a life worth living, not just in the arena of being a creator. Yet, I’m willing to bet consistency is in most creator’s top three obstacles when they ask themselves what’s standing in their way.
It’s key to remember that being consistent also staves off feelings of imposter syndrome. The more consistent you are, the more you’re able to validate yourself as a creator and take up space. In short, mastering consistency is the gift that keeps on giving in a multitude of ways.
As a creator, well, you create. But the underlying intention is what helps propel your work to fruition. Without intentional creation, you don’t have a body of work, you have a lost and found box of odds and ends.
Marry intention and creation and you’ll have an easier time showing up as a creator and building traction. Being intentional about what you create takes looking inwards and knowing yourself.
Without getting too “spiritual” about it all, turning inwards is often more helpful than turning outwards to ask others what you should create. Why? Because it’s crucial to finding out what you should work on that lies at the intersection of what you’re naturally good at, what you can come back to day after day without growing resentful, and what you want to learn.
Your character tends to be the byproduct of the incentive structures you live in. It’s the same with your interests, or as I like to call them, your derivative wants. What’s incentivized is what emerges — often amorally so.
As you find “your thing” it’s worth taking this into consideration. There are market demands to consider — yet on the other side of the balance there are your own desires and values to weigh against them. Talking about value —
As you create online, you realize that the market decides what the value of what you create is. While an Only Fans membership might seem like a waste to one person, it holds enough value to the other 300 people that pay for it. Even if the value exchange is as simple as satiating a curiosity.
Bring these three elements together, and you’ve set the fundamental parameters you need to build something you’re proud of.
Creators rules to build by
These are some bite-sized nuggets of wisdom that are worth internalizing as you define yourself as a creative and ship your work that have helped my own journey.
- Watch your health to stay engaged and responsive online.
- Create a state of openness. Don’t be shy about sharing your “good enough” work and connections that come with interesting opportunities will happen more often.
- Be extremely intentional about not “self judging” your work. Create and separate your own emotions about your work. You are not your audience in this way.
- In the beginning, ship a lot of different things to see what people respond to. Don’t be afraid about a refined personal brand. That ALWAYS comes with time.
- Don’t get caught up in thinking short-term. A shitty piece of work is better than a non-existent piece of work. Over time, your better work will bury your sub par work. Keep that in mind as you build your online presence.
- At the same time, the internet is your resume. As you publish work — whatever it is — let incremental improvement and quality be the driver of what you create.
- Find a deeper reason for creating that goes beyond “building an audience” or “getting attention” or even “money.” Wanting those things is completely fine, but only wanting those things paradoxically acts as an obstacle that gets in your way.
- Find a cadence of consistency that works for you. Productivity content is fun to read, but only you know what you’re capable of and willing to sacrifice. Figure that out and stick to that. Evolve when it’s time to level up. The more you work, the more you’ll be attuned to when it’s time for your next evolution. Trust.
- You’re unique in that the combination of all the little parts and nuances that form you can’t be replicated. Yet you’re the same as everyone else in that others posses similar parts and nuances to yours. Thus, when you create work, create for yourself and you’ll be creating for others too.
- Take the time to go as deep as you can to figure out why you aren’t comfortable showing up online as yourself. It’ll be worth it. Promise. If it’s within reach, go to therapy.
- Scare yourself often by shipping work often. Then ask yourself if you died. Then do it again.