A while back, I advised a TikTok creator with over 100k followers to open an Etsy shop. Now, a few short weeks later, her shop has dozens of 5-star reviews, and she's making sales every week. One of her mugs is my go-to for morning coffee.
This monetization method works because she's creating content every day. Her people love her for creating that content because she makes them laugh and brightens their day.
The same goes for people who create content on every other platform—Instagram, Facebook, Medium, etc. If you create content that makes people's days just a little bit better without asking for anything in return, you build trust with them. They follow you for what you make, how you make it, and why you make it.
But, at the end of the day, if you want to meet people's demands, you need time. And time is our most expensive commodity. Everybody has 24 hours in a day, but you and me both know that it's likely you spend most of your time for an employer in exchange for money.
According to Maslow's pyramid of needs, no matter who you are, there are a few basic needs that any human needs: food, water, warmth, rest, security, and safety. Unless you were born to a wealthy family or won the lottery, you need to work to afford these basic needs in today's world.
The pyramid can't exist if the foundation is flawed. If you don't have enough money to afford your basic needs, you can't focus on making your dreams come true. Who cares about goals when you're trying to survive?
Unfortunately, that's the truth for many people around the globe. They feel as though the rat-race is never-ending. In a sense - it really is infinite. The only way to stop worrying about money is to make sure you have more than one income stream. If you rely on your salary - you're putting yourself at risk.
Now, that's not to say that working at a place like Amazon or Microsoft is more secure. The company itself might survive, but there's always a chance your position in the company could become insecure. Bottom line: It's not enough to have a salary - you need more security than that.
For the past three years, creating this security is what I've been trying to do for myself. And you know what I found? Building income streams work best when you are creating something that serves somebody else. You feel much better about yourself as a person when you start a community. You also make things that people want to buy because they are tailor-made for them and by their needs.
At the beginning of 2019, I started a community of Medium writers on Facebook, and we're now over 2300 members strong. They share their insights about the platform, articles, ways to make money from Medium, etc. It's a great community that I'm proud to be a part of.
I didn't monetize that community in any way, though. That's where I feel I went wrong in my journey. For a while, I invested all of my time in that community. I made posts, shared the group, and cultivated its growth—all of this while working a full-time job.
If I did monetize the group in some way that was beneficial to the group members and didn't feel like I was trying to take their money, then perhaps I would have been in a very different place today.
But I didn't, and the past is in the past.
For you, I would say this: Build a community from scratch. A place that is truly inspired by your personality. There's no place like that in the world right now because nobody else is exactly like you.
Create content for your community for free. Don't ask your members to pay for anything. Just create and then let your community members voice their needs. They will tell you what they want to buy from you.
Communities are the secret weapon of content creators. Not only will building a community enriches your relationships, but it will also change your life in other aspects, leading you towards the path of a life of creation.
Is this something you want? Do you want to escape the 9-5 and create a community around your blog, art, writing, or whatever it is that you make?
Then you should probably become a content creator.
I invite you to join me on this journey of content creation. I, too, am on the path to a life of community, creation, and freedom from the vicious wheel. Whatever you decide to do, I hope your content creation journey will take you to many fabulous places.
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