10 Hard Truths for Aspiring Content Creators

by kaya@comfygirlwithcurls.com

Many aspiring content creators get drawn in by seeing somebody’s highlight reel, whether that’s the income, the idea of working for yourself, travel, or free products… But most haven’t heard the hard truths needed to actually set them up for success. 

This post isn’t meant to hurt feelings, but equip creators with knowledge. If any of this resonates, share it with a friend to empower them along their own journey.

*Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on them and make a purchase, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.*

Hard Truths for Aspiring Content Creators

I’m going to ease you in first with five gentler truths, then we’re going to get more blunt. 

And if you want the video version of this post, I’ve linked it below. ⬇️

1. You are unlikely to blow up overnight. 

In fact, doing so can hurt you long term. 

VERY few creators are overnight successes. Most have actually been grinding in the background for a very long time. 

In fact, it took me over 6 years to make to take this thing full time.

Of course, there are those who actually do blow up on their very first video. But this is such a disservice to their journey. They often have no idea what to do with all the new-found attention. 

They haven’t had time to build up a loyal audience that cares about them yet–they haven’t had the chance to build a community that wants more from them than for them to try to measure up to their last big video.

They also haven’t had the chance to hone the skills of running a creative business, negotiating brand deals, and navigating other forms of monetization–so they are unlikely to make a sustainable career out of it.

2. You probably won’t make money for a long time. 

I know a lot of people want to be content creators or influencers, because they’ve seen dollar signs and think it’s a great way to make quick money. 

But most continue on for years without profit–I myself didn’t really make much until year THREE.

There are many strategies you can put in place to start making money earlier on in your journey, and I’m dedicated here on Creating With Kaya to helping you do so, but it’s still going to require a lot of time, effort, and energy, until you start to see that payoff. 

Related Post: How Much I made as a Small Influencer (2021 Edition)

3. Work needs to be done and sacrifices need to be made. 

There is nothing easy about getting a new business off the ground, if it were easy, everybody would do it.

If you are approaching content creating casually, and it’s lower on your priority list, you are going to succeed accordingly. 

I’m not saying you should hole up at home and live, breathe, eat, sleep content creating.

But you do need to show up for it. Set time aside for it. 

And maybe look at spending less time scrolling TikTok, watching Netflix, or anything else that could be seen as a time-waster… I told you these were hard truths. 🫣

4. You will feel comparison, envy, and imposter syndrome. 

It’s incredibly normal, and in my personal experience, it just gets worse the more success you find. 

I think it’s because your peer group is constantly changing.

When I was starting out, I didn’t compare myself to other creators in a way that was self-deprecating. It served purely as motivation. 

But the more time I spent on my business, the more I would look at other creators who had been at it the same length of time and I would ask myself, “why am I not there yet?’ 

Then, as I got more followers, I would look at people with the same following count and say, “why am I not getting those opportunities?” 

And then, as I talked a lot about shortly after quitting my day job, once I went full time I started comparing myself to other full-time creators. 

So far, the only solution I have found for that is logging out and putting my phone down. The less I see, the less I compare.  But I am actively working on other coping mechanisms… and I will update you all accordingly.

Black Beauty Influencer filming a YouTube video

5. You’ll need to spend money to make money.

If you are in the early stages of being a content creator, I am not saying go out and buy the fanciest equipment. 

But if this is something you want to take seriously, you will eventually reach a point where not putting money into your business will hinder its growth. 

Some of those expenses might be purely operational, like paying for your website hosting, a domain name, an accountant or a bookkeeping software.

 But there are also expenses that will help increase your quality. 

That might not be a camera, because phone quality is insane these days, but it might look like investing in a mic to up your audio, or in lighting, so that your videos look better and you’re not at the mercy of natural daylight. 

And it is important to remember that these expenses are business expenses and can help you when it comes to tax time. 

Okay, we’re gonna dial up the harshness level, are you ready? 

6. You don’t deserve engagement just because you showed up. 

People forget that social media, at its core, is social. You need to give to get.

You can’t just create an Instagram profile and expect to have fan behaviour. 

You need to be approaching it from a community building perspective. And that means that you need to be actively engaging with your community. 

I hear time and time again from creators that they’re frustrated nobody is engaging with their content, and yet when prompted… they can’t think of the last time they left a thoughtful comment on somebody’s post. 

7. Your friends and family probably won’t engage with your content. 

…and they don’t have to.

This is a hard truth that a lot of people get hung up on. And I’ll admit in my early days it bugged me too. 

We’re all excited about our new thing, our new business venture…and then those closest to us haven’t read our latest posts, watched our videos, and aren’t even double tapping on our Instagram posts. 

But it’s critical to remember that our friends and family are unlikely to be our target audience. 

My highest-engaged followers are my internet friends–The people that I have found by posting consistently for a specific audience and have bonded with over shared interests. 

8. It is not gatekeeping if it can be found on Google. 

…And it’s also not automatically gatekeeping if somebody is charging you for their energy and labour. 

Yes, there is a lot of gatekeeping in this industry–the scarcity mindset is real. 

But a lot of aspiring content creators are quick to label anybody’s resistance to answering a question as gatekeeping. 

Is it gatekeeping, or, do you just feel entitled to a complete stranger’s time? Just because somebody has lived something doesn’t mean they owe you the road map to their experience. 

You can find everything you could possibly want to know about getting started as a content creator, blogger, influencer FOR FREE ONLINE.

To succeed in this field you need to learn how to do your own research instead of expecting everybody to feed it to you. 

Hard truth for aspiring content creators: you need to do your own research

9. Your content isn’t good. 

As creators, we need to be honest and ask ourselves if our content is up to snuff.

That could be in the quality of the visuals, in the storytelling, or in the value we’re adding. 

I cannot count how many times I have had people message me saying, “I’m not getting brand deals. Nobody’s reaching out to me. I’m not growing”. 

But when you go to their page and it looks like their content was shot in the dark on a potato, or, it’s just full of selfies with a snapchat filter on it…

Not that your face isn’t beautiful, but why would a stranger want to hit follow on that? Why would a brand want to pay you to create that?

If you are struggling to see if your content is good enough or not, a great exercise is to look at your favourite brands and look at the content that’s on their page. Look at the pages of the influencers that they work with, look at their feed. Could you see your content living alongside that? 

If not, it’s time to practice improving. 

10. Nobody cares. 

This brings us back to the idea that you don’t deserve engagement just because you started posting online.

People don’t hit follow just because you have an online presence; they don’t automatically want to keep tabs on you just because you exist. 

People hit follow because they care.

They want to be entertained, inspired, motivated. Maybe they want to learn something or relate to you.

Look at your own social media habits. Who do you hit follow on? Who are you excited to see content from? What prompts you to engage with something? 

Ask yourself if your content is doing any of those things for somebody else. 

Final Thoughts for Aspiring Content Creators

I hope that those truths weren’t too harsh, I promise they came from a place of love.

In my own journey, I’ve had to learn most of these the hard way to get to where I am now. I’m just hoping to make your journey a little smoother.

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