Does creating content for a living sound like a dream? We think so too! Even so, if you want to learn how to make money as a full time content creator, you have to be prepared to accept that all the good doesn’t come without some hard truths to hear. Being a full time creator won’t be fun and creativity all the time, but if you prepare yourself for the journey, it will be worth it in the end!
Here at Sidewalker Daily, we work with content creators and Influencers to help them build their businesses and we also work with brands on their Influencer and Creator campaigns. So needless to say, we’ve seen it all when it comes to the Creator journey at all stages.
We always keep it real with our community of Creators because we love seeing our clients succeed, so we’re sharing 10 harsh truths about being a full time content creator so you can know what to expect. These are some things that Creators look back on and wish they knew before they started, but no matter where you are in your Creator Journey, it’s never too late to learn them!
Full Time Content Creator Harsh Truths
Whether you’re just starting out as a content creator now or you’re already working with brands, these tips are going to help you get and stay in a really good head space as a Creator so you can reach your goals and find the success you want and deserve!
1) Content Creation Is Just One Piece of The Puzzle
The first harsh truth is that content creation is just one part of being a full time content Creator. We know that you want to do this because you’re extremely creative and you love making content. But whether your goal is to be full time or keep this as a side hustle, you must know that like any business, it’s going to be a really big undertaking.
From researching the content that you want to create to producing and editing it…there’s a lot to do. Depending on your platforms of choice you’ll have various administrative tasks that go alongside posting your content too. Time and effort will have to be given to researching keywords, learning new tools, and handling the business side of things.
If you are able to understand and accept this from the beginning, you’ll have a much easier time building your business as a content creator or Influencer.
2) You Will Improve As You Go
When you get into this business, it is so important to remember that things won’t always be perfect— especially in the beginning. You won’t jump right in and know and understand absolutely everything. And that’s okay! You’re not meant to.
Becoming a full time content creator is going to be a process of trial and error, and like any successful entreprenuer, you will probably always be learning!
As a content creator for social media, you’ll be in a space in which you can expect to have tremendous growth and see continuous improvements over time. But, you have to go into it with this mindset to help yourself not get overwhelmed by the process. If you’ve already started posting as a Creator or Influencer, look back at some of your earlier work. You probably will already see major improvements!
Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from putting yourself out there and getting started. You have to start somewhere, and if you wait too long because you’re worried about not being good enough, someone else is going to get ahead of you. Rememeber…all full time content creators started somewhere.
3) No One Really Cares
Our third harsh truth is that no one really cares…and we mean that in a good way! It’s important for you to realize as a content Creator that no one is sitting there analyzing your every move with a microscope. We know that it can feel like this sometimes, but we promise that it’s not happening!
Don’t let insecurities of what other people may think hold you back from jumping in and hitting post. This is one of our best tips to give when we’re asked how to become an Influencer. Getting used to putting yourself out there is an essential part of the process. There’s a lot of content out there now so take comfort in knowing that your posts can just be another part of the conversation.
Negative self talk that prevents you from posting will only hurt you in the end. Try to push past your perfectionism and make moves!
4) You Have To Keep Detailed Track Of Your Finances
If you’re a content creator already landing paid brand partnerships, that’s great! But are you thinking about what happens to that money beyond the exchange in the collaboration? Do you have a “rainy day fund” in place so if you have a bad month as a creator and don’t make all the money you need to cover your bills and expenses you’ll be covered?
We’ve noticed that a lot of times influencers, creators, bloggers, and other people in this space tend to not think ahead when it comes to finances. The great thing is now there are companies who can help! For example, Lili is a checking account and finance managing system for freelancers which can help Creators and Influencers organize their finances.
We learned through Lili that over 70% of freelancers are overpaying on their taxes, which is shocking! Doing this is a major mistake; you want to get it right so that you can make smart financial decisions. There’s little point in learning how to make money as a content creator if you aren’t sure how to correctly manage that money.
For example, things like a drone or a new camera may be able to be expensed as a Creator. If you have a system in place that helps you keep your work and life expenses separate, you’ll have a much easier time saving and planning for taxes at the end of the year. We love that Lili has a tool to help you keep these expenses separate within one account. Setting up and managing two accounts for your business and personal life can get confusing, and the last thing you want is to spend a ton of hours trying to figure it out or even get taxed on things you shouldn’t be.
If you’re a content creator who wants to grow and scale your business then you’re going to have to manage your finances carefully as any business does.
5) Your Friends and Familiy Might Not Get It
This one might be a little bit harder to swallow, but we don’t want you to have to learn it the hard way. Not everyone in your life is going to understand what you do, and that’s okay. Your passions aren’t supposed to be understood by everyone around you!
We’re not saying that all friends and family will bring you down or are never supportive, but there are definitely going to be people who won’t see your vision in the same way you do. And this often stops creatives from posting at all.
Remember that you’re not creating content for the people in your life; you’re creating content to reach a specific niche audience of people online and to grow your business. If your friends and family follow you, you can’t grow if you make every one of your posting decisions around them and their opinions.
We understand the posting and perfectionism paralysis that comes from this, so we want to give you some options to overcome it. One thing you can do is create an Influencer account that your friends and family don’t follow. You can tailor this account specifically for growing your business and not have to worry about what people in your life think. And secondly, surround yourself with other creatives, influencers and Creators who understand what you do and want to see you succeed —like our community at Sidewalker Daily— so you have people to inspire you and keep you motivated.
6) Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
We hope you’re ready for this one: success does not happen overnight. We’re living in a faster paced world than ever before, and it’s definitely altering the way we view things. However, nothing will change the fact that most businesses things take time to build, and success as an Influencer or Creator is one of them. You have to work your way up and then understand when you’re ready to earn money on Instagram.
Think about Google and writing blog posts. It takes around 90 days for Google to even rank a blog post. This is out of your control as a Creator, and just something that you have to accept. Set realistic expectations of time for yourself and your business so that you can keep a clear mind focused on your goals.
If anyone is telling you that success can happen overnight, we’d recommend tuning them out. If you want to become a full time content creator, you have to be ready to put your head down, focus on your goals and work hard for your success.
7) There Will Be Highs And Lows
Life as a full time content creator is not always consistent and it’s really important that you grasp this early on. Whether it’s something you do on the side or your full time gig, you should expect to have high months and low months. Some months you’ll feel like you’re absolutely crushing it— negotiating paid partnerships, posting content that performs really well, etc. But other months you’ll realize that you’re not doing so well and start questioning what’s going on.
These low months can cause Influencers to panic, and we totally understand the feelings of alarm. But this is exactly why it’s important to have that “rainy day fund” we mentioned earlier. Set this up in advance- even if it’s a small amount per day going into your savings- so that you have something to fall back on if you need it. Plus, just knowing that you have it will help you stay more calm and focused on continuing your content when progress slows up.
8) People Will Unfollow You
If there’s one thing to learn as an Influencer or Content Creator, it’s that you’re not going to please everyone all the time. People are going to unfollow you and you should never obsess over it. (We think you should look at it as little as possible!)
Check your insights often to see how you’re doing, but never obsess over your unfollow count or take it too personally. People unfollow for different reasons and at the end of the day, you really only want people following you that are going to engage with your content and truly care about what you post.
9) You Will Compare Yourself To Others
It would be really easy for us to sit here and tell you never to compare yourself to others. But we’ve worked with a lot of Influencers and content Creators, so we know it’s not that simple. Comparison is normal, but what you need to remind yourself is to not let it get the best of you.
If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other Influencers and Creators and it is starting to affect you, we recommend that you unfollow them. Nothing should keep you up at night or make you think negatively about yourself. It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for your business.
Remember that social media is designed to show the best part of life and be a “highlight reel.” We occasionally get a more behind-the-scenes look at influencers and creators on social, but at the end of the day they’re only showing us what they want us to see. Everyone struggles behind the camera and you should never hold yourself to a standard that you see in a highlight reel on someone’s feed.
10) Impostor Syndrome Is Real
Impostor syndrome is something that most people deal with at some point in their lives. And when the time comes that you’re finally making money and being the successful Creator that you’re meant to be, there’s a good chance it’ll creep up on you, too.
With impostor syndrome, Creators start to think that they don’t deserve their success or ask themselves if people are going to figure them out and see that you’re not all you seem to be.
Embrace that this is going to come so that you can be prepared to silence the thoughts. You put in the work, and you got the results. If you set the realistic expectation that it takes time to grow, you know that success didn’t happen without hard work and that you deserve all the goodness that is coming to you.
Full Time Creator Advice
Being a full time content creator can be so rewarding but it also can be a lot of work. Let’s recap the harsh truths about being a full time content creator:
1. There’s more to your content Creation business than just creating content. Remember that it’s just one piece of a large puzzle.
2. You won’t get everything right from the start and you will improve as you go.
3. No one really cares what you’re doing— in a good way. There’s no microscope on you so don’t feel pressured to be “perfect” all the time.
4. Keeping track of your finances is more than landing deals and forgetting about it. You have to stay on top of work expenses versus life expenses to make smart financial decisions.
5. Not all of your friends and family will understand what you’re doing, and you have to find ways to come to terms with this if you want to be successful as a content Creator.
6. Success doesn’t happen overnight so you need to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
7. There will be high months and there will be low months. Embrace yourself for both of them.
8. People will unfollow you and you shouldn’t take it personally.
9. Comparing yourself to others is normal but you have to learn how to manage it.
10. Impostor syndrome is real and there will most likely be a time that you will feel it.
Also, remember that if you need advice on your content creator business you can speak to one of our professional creator coaches who can answer any questions you can and help you come up with a personalized gameplan for success. You can book a coaching session here.
As always, if you found this post helpful we would love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment below!