What I Had to Quit to Become A Successful Creator

You can’t have the cake and eat it too.

What I Had to Quit to Become A Successful Creator
Photo by Javier Sierra on Unsplash

You can’t have the cake and eat it too.

The creator economy is expected to reach $600 billion by the end of 2036.

Today, the top 3% of creators are making $500K+ per year (as per the recent report of Influencer Marketing Hub).

I started my content creation journey by writing on Quora in 2014. It was an outlet for my creativity, and I had zero expectations of making any money. What started as a hobby in college soon transformed into a passion.

Later in 2020, I started creating content as a side hustle and monetized my skills for the first time.

Within just 2 years of content creation, I hit my first $10K+ month. While not a top creator yet, I’m still doing better than struggling to make ends meet.

Over the years, I tried various strategies, changed content plans, and evolved as a creator.

More than anything, I also quit doing certain things that weren’t working for me, and I owe my success as a creator to these decisions.

The need to “follow my heart”

When I started as a creator, I wrote about whatever my heart desired. This included a wide range of topics like — 

  • Relationships
  • Feminism
  • Indian geopolitical scenario
  • Life as an Indian student.

Writing on these random topics was fine as a beginner. It helped me get started and build an online presence.

Later, I understood that to build a personal brand, I needed to have a niche and stick to it.

It took me a while, but I’ve narrowed down my niche to self-improvement. This means I can also write in sub-niches like

  • Fitness
  • Books
  • Productivity
  • Writing
  • Side hustles and building a business online.

I often get asked what helped me figure out this niche.

Now, here comes the best part about writing on the internet — you can rely on data as your guiding compass.

I constantly analyzed my stats and the audience’s feedback to understand what people really want to hear from me. Then, I doubled down on what articles got the most views and engagement.

Earlier, I used to publish content impulsively. Now, I follow a data-driven approach towards publishing. I aim to help my readers live a better life through my words. 

I don’t need to “follow my heart” or be impulsive to do that.

Publishing for the sake of it

Everyone on the internet preaches ‘write every day to win the online writing game’.

As a new creator, I was obsessed with consistency. I wanted to publish something every day. I dreaded losing my writing streak.

When I had no value to add, I’d whip up “quick posts.” These were mostly fluff pieces on random topics that took me barely 20 minutes to write.

It increased the number of articles I published but hardly met the quality I could have delivered if I were not in such a hurry.

Now I understand, fluff posts neither add any value to the reader nor do they enhance my portfolio.

I’ve stopped publishing content just for the sake of “showing up every day.”

Instead, I created a realistic publishing schedule consisting of valuable articles.

They might take more time, need research, and a dash of creativity, but they added value to my portfolio as well as to the lives of my readers. This also reflected in my stats as the views and engagement kept growing.

Consistency doesn’t mean publishing every day. It means establishing a schedule that lets you publish 10–15 posts per month, where each post delivers the maximum value.

Having a short-term vision fixated on money

As a new creator, I wanted to make as much money as possible each month. This mindset has many drawbacks-

  • I ran out of ideas and repeated similar posts.
  • I felt demotivated if each post didn’t perform well.
  • I refreshed my stats constantly and hoped for a miracle.

Creating content with money as my primary motivation never allowed me to expand my horizons and explore the true potential of my writing.

Now, I’ve understood that more than money, the real value lies in my personal brand. If I focus on publishing good quality content consistently, I know it will help me build up my portfolio. This has multiple advantages–

  • Sponsorship opportunities from aligned brands.
  • Freelance writing opportunities from CEOs of top companies.
  • Invitation to creator programs from multiple platforms.

My goal is to keep pushing for a certain number of value-adding posts each month. I’ve saved enough that I no longer care for money. All I focus on is what value I’ll build if I keep up this pace for the next 10, 20, or 30 years.

What I had to give up to become a $10k/month creator: Final words

In my content creation journey, I’ve understood one thing– not every hack you read online works for everyone. It’s best to try things on your own without expecting much and allowing yourself to make mistakes.

Since we’re the first generation trying to create a career out of our creativity, there’s no fixed roadmap to reach our unique goals.

It’s okay to have some trial-and-error tests before figuring it all out.

I’ve had my share of assumptions and mistakes in the beginning.

After being a full-time writer for 4 years, here are 3 things I don’t follow anymore to create content. Quitting them allowed me to taste success while staying sane in my personal life.

  1. I stopped publishing random stories by simply following my heart. Instead, I niched down to create content based on what my audience prefers to read.
  2. I don’t publish anymore only to show up every day because I understand consistency is writing regularly, not every day.
  3. I no longer chase the short-term results from writing online. Instead, I focus on creating a strong personal brand to attract premium deals while living my life fully.

If things you learn on the internet about creating content aren’t working for you, don’t be afraid to quit following them blindly.

Create a roadmap for yourself that can bring you results.

I’ve done the same and my life has been easier. Now I only follow data and reach conclusions faster about what’s working for me and what’s not.

I just launched Freelance Superheroes: A training program for writers who want to earn from writing online without leaving their job, attract gigs outside Upwork/Fiverr, and become irreplaceable. Get it today!

If you found this article valuable, here are a few more pieces you might enjoy — 

How Side Hustling Elevated My Life
It’s not just the money!
The Self-Employed Life Gave Me Better Gifts Than I Could Hope For
Being a full-time writer has benefits I didn’t quite expect
Writing On The Internet Taught Me Some Harsh Lessons
What you need to know if you want to make money writing online.