This month, I bring you some tough love, but a lot of hope.
Your failures are your fault, but so are your successes.
There are more than 37 million YouTube Channels, over 2 million podcasts and over 7.5 million active streamers on Twitch alone. If you’ve chosen to be one of these content creators, you have entered a space that is more competitive than any other medium in the history of media. Being competitive is only part of it, though.
You’ve also entered an industry that adapts more quickly than any other. Trends can change like the tides. This is in part due to a more demanding and, let’s face it, fickle clientele. With so much choice, good content creators are a dime a dozen. Being “good” is not enough in most cases.
But none of what I have said is any excuse. You can’t say that your content is worthy of success and would have it if it wasn’t for the audience or the competition. When you started making content, you started a business, plain and simple. With any business, winning people over and making yourself stand out amongst the competition is your job. If these obstacles seem too difficult to overcome, then maybe this isn’t a business you should have started.
Too many people have too many excuses for why they haven’t become the next big thing:
“I’d get more viewers on stream if I could show off some cleavage.”
“If you didn’t start streaming at the very beginning, you can’t become a major player.” “Nobody will find my podcast with all these celebrities starting shows of their own.”
“It’s impossible to get my YouTube videos into the algorithm.”
“With so much choice, good content creators are a dime a dozen. Being “good” is not enough in most cases.”
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but technology, celebrities and the well-endowed women of Twitch have nothing to do with you not being the next internet star. There will always be things in your way that may make you feel like you are on a tougher path to success, but none of them should be considered a roadblock. They should be looked at as opportunities to grow and if you take that opportunity, then what looked like a roadblock now becomes a mere hurdle that you can step over.
This is your chance to really find out what you are made of. Take the time to learn about yourself and your content. The keys here are a brutal amount of self-awareness and honesty. You need to see your own flaws or, better yet, your opportunities to improve yourself and your content. Recognize what can be done to your product to make it the best it can be, because if you won’t see the flaws in your own work, everybody else will.
This isn’t limited to new content creators. You could be the biggest creator doing what you do, and it can all go away in a flash if you allow yourself to get too comfortable and stop trying to make your next video better than your last. People who are stars on TikTok today can be nobody in a week because trends change faster than they do. People who once had a successful YouTube Channel may find it to be a ghost town if their topic gets over saturated, and they haven’t done anything on their end to evolve.
When you have handled the content, you have to start asking “what am I not doing?”. Uploading a good YouTube video or podcast is only the beginning. Putting together a good-looking stream is only the start. Are you doing everything you can to properly market your product (and I don’t mean tweeting your link to a Twitch Retweet account)? You need to do the research and find out the best way and the best place to get your name and content out to the public. This can vary depending on the content or topic. Throwing up a link and expecting virality is unrealistic.
If you feel like you have done all that you can do, but the success still isn’t there, then you have more work to do. If you can’t see any issues with your content, find people who you are comfortable being brutally honest with you to give you a helping hand, and while you’re doing that, look at your competition. What are they doing that makes them stand out from you? It’s sometimes subtle, but there is always more to it than “well people already knew them, so it’s easier for them.”
But this goes both ways. While you can’t blame anyone else when you aren’t seeing success, nobody can take anything away from you when you are successful and, believe me, someone will try to. There will always be someone out there looking to tear down a person’s achievements. I don’t really know why. Maybe they are the next person in line looking for an excuse for their failures. Maybe they’re just trolls and the anonymity of the internet affords them every opportunity to bring out the worst in themselves.
Be mindful to take in every success you have, no matter how small it may seem. Did your latest video get more views than any other? Did you see a jump in subscribers? Did you get a comment or review that made you feel good? Savour those wins. Don’t allow yourself to demean anything you’ve accomplished. In fact, take those small wins and use that wonderful self-awareness of yours to recognize where and why they happen, so you can continue to grow and turn the small wins into bigger wins.
Once you have the mindset of owning everything about your content, including its successes and failures, you start to realize that the only thing standing in the way of your goals is you. Once you see that, it’s a whole lot easier to stay out of your own way.