069: Dare to Create - Two Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Create New Content
Today, I just wanted to share some thoughts that have been lingering in my mind about online business. And I hope that what I am sharing with you today will help you in your own journey as a self-employed business owner or a freelancer.
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I have been running my business since 2016 and it has taken quite a number of twists and turns. I’ve even closed down my business in the middle of this duration because I was burnt out and overworked. I have made some changes over the years and one of the things I have learnt that is so important for growing my business and growing myself as an individual, as a business owner is to keep showing up - to keep PERSISTENTLY showing up. I say that with a lot of love and lot of understanding because I know it is not an easy journey, especially, if you are doing a 9-5 gig and working on your side hustle which is your online business. It is not easy. And on top of that if you have family and community commitments. We fill our lives with so many things to do, sometimes out of choice, sometimes out of the fear of missing out and sometimes that’s just the responsibilities and obligations that our lives contain. What I want to say with that is that I do understand that it is not easy to keep showing up. In fact, it is a road filled with challenges. If you can keep the goal, why you are doing the things you are doing in your business - may be you want to pay off your mortgage, or you want some extra cash to pay off your debt, may be you want to build your retirement savings. Perhaps you want to be free from a 9 to 5 commitment and travel the world. Or even stay wherever you are but not have to commute to work - just roll out of bed and start working or a combination of all of these. Whatever your goals are, identify them and keep them in mind. And then find a way to commit to showing up.
One of the areas where we need to show up is in content creation. This is quite a controversial topic because a lot of people out there including digital marketers will advise you to do ads and speed up the process of building your site/business. And I am not against that at all. But I do believe that you need to create content that shows your authority, your expertise, and your skills. You need to create content even if you believe that you are not yet a master of the topic you are teaching. No matter what you are teaching, if you know how to do it, there will always be somebody else who is still learning. You are always a few steps ahead of someone who is trying to learn something that you’ve already accomplished. So, just show up and lend a hand to the other person who is right behind you, even if you are just a few steps ahead you can reach back and lend your hand. Apply that in the topic of your expertise of what you want to share and teach.
One of the ways we fail to show up is because of fear. The fear can be of so many colors and so many variations. It could be the fear of showing up on camera because you are concerned about how you are going to look and how you are going to be perceived by your audience. You may not like how you like. You may not like how you sound. You may not be confident in your public speaking skills. You may be overly critical of yourself. That is all part of being human. You will learn just by doing that you start to love and appreciate yourself more.
My first video I made about eight years ago was pathetic! I look back and see that there was no creativity. It was my first attempt at making a video for YouTube. But I appreciate myself for doing that, for taking that first step, no matter how I novice I was at the time. It has helped me to grow. It has helped me to take my first step and start a long journey which I’ve now come far ahead now from where I started. Each time I made a new video, I appreciated myself more, I appreciated myself for making the effort and for daring to create, daring to speak, daring to show up and daring to present myself to the world. It’s not an easy process as you may understand, as you may recognize yourself. At some point, you may have felt that too. It’s challenging to pick up your pen and write something or to type something on the computer and put yourself out there. But it is absolutely important. And I’ll tell you why.
Why is creating content important?
The first reason is, as you create content whether it is an article or a video, you are going to learn what you already know. You are going to feel more confident in yourself. You will have a portfolio of content created over time. It builds up so quickly, one article at a time, one video at a time, one podcast at a time. You will see that you’ve created a body of work that you will look back and feel proud of, feel content with, feel a sense of fulfillment. No amount of money is going to give you that fulfillment that a sense of looking at your work and seeing how you have progressed, how you’ve become better, how you have helped other people, will give you. That gives me a great sense of fulfillment.
Another reason you need to build your content portfolio is for that potential client, that potential customer out there who is looking for your services, who is looking for a course you’ve created. But they’ve just run into you. They have just found you on the web - just scrolling. Google show your site and now they are on your site. They are very close to hiring you, or very close to purchasing from you or even subscribing to your newsletter. But they want to know who you are. They want to know do you know what you are talking about. Do you have the skills, the expertise, the knowledge? Are you the person that’s going to help them move from point A to point B. And for that your portfolio of content will be testament to your skills and expertise. They will read a few of your blogs, they will watch a few of your videos. They will get a gut instinct, a feeling in their stomach or in their heart, a sixth sense that says, “Yes, you are the right person and I am gonna go with you”.
This happens over time, of course. It will not happen with one or two blogs and videos.. You need to persistently show up and create that content. It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all to constantly come up with ideas. But if you can think from the point of view of the person you are creating this content for. Just think of one person - a friend or a colleague. It could be somebody you think could benefit from what you are creating. Just think, what is the problem that I can solve for them. What do I know that I can share that can help another. I have these two questions on my board, every single day. It always stays there. It says, “Who can I help today? and How can I help someone today?”.
If you can think about these two questions, ideas will start flowing. You will be inspired and you will start writing an article. You will start creating a video. Sometimes the content that you create will be a help to your own future self. For me, two weeks, two months or two years down the road, I will look back and I will be inspired by the words I say today. Because there will be moments when I am confused, when I am not sure of myself or doubt my work or wondering what should I talk about. I will look at this video and I will be reminded taht I only need to think about: Who can I help today and How can I help someone today? That’s it.
No need to worry about whether my subscriber is brand new to the topic or they are advanced and whether I am going to lose them because I talk about a topic that do not connect with. Don’t worry about it. I say that because I myself have faced these kind of thoughts. My list, the people on my email list are a variety of creatives, a variety of entrepreneurs, some of whome are brand new while some have made more progress and some are pretty advanced. Different content I create speaks to different people on my list. Sometimes I run into this question myself: If I create this video on this topic, am I going to alienate the beginners or am I going to push away the advanced people? And what happens is that I become paralyzed and I don’t create anythin at all for a while because I am figuring out how to please everyone and how to serve everyone. In fact, that’s just serving no one. When I am not creating content I am not helping the beginners, nor those in the middle nor those more advanced because there is no content to look at. This kind of thinking is just a form of doubt, a form of sabotage that comes on your journey as you build your online business. This is just one example. There are different kinds of questions and doubts that will appear and create a roadblock on your progress. So what is important is to recognize them and to move through them. Keep going, keep showing up and stay close to your purpose, your why, the reason why you have set up this whole online business in the first place.
Once you stay current with that, stay familiar with that why, that purpose, then ideas start flowing and you are filled with more energy and motivation to do the job you said you wanted to do. So I want to encourage you to continuously create content, to show up and help the people that are coming to your website or your blog. Help them with something that you know that can be of assistance to them, that can take them forward on their journey.
With that, I wish you all the best. Thank you so much for watching, come back to my blog again and subscribe to my newsletter to keep up-to-date, if you like. Over all, dare to create - that’s going to take you a long, long way.
My biggest lesson ⎯⎯ Keep Showing Up Consistently
In summary: Creating content is not easy but vital for many reasons. Keep showing up consistently and you will grow your business by serving your audience.
What do you think of the message in this blog article? What kind of mind set challenges have you faced or overcome. What kind of content do you create - blog, video, podcast or a combo. Chime in, in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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I am Sophia - the person behind this website. My intention is to provide useful content that helps solopreneurs, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to build trust with their audience, grow the number of beloved fans as well as happy clients. I'm a Squarespace Authorized Trainer and a Certified ConvertKit Expert.
I love helping people through producing my weekly video tutorials and blogs, live workshops and online courses. Also, I work directly with clients in all aspects of content and email marketing strategy + implementation as well as designing high-converting Squarespace websites. Let me know in the comments if you've got a question and I'd be happy to help.