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In 2023 I put everything to lose.
I quit my job to become a full-time content creator.
I failed a thousand times, lost money on stupid decisions, and was about to quit it all forever.
But it‘s December 2023 and… I just closed my highest income month since the start.
So… I think I’m doing something right. And I’ll show you what.
I spent the last week reflecting on my journey. All the ups, downs, creative burnouts, panic attacks, and moments of joy after getting messages like this:
And I managed to organize all this experience into 7 actionable steps you must take to become a full time creator and get paid next year.
And the last one is the biggest reason behind my highest income month.
This will ensure you won’t end up like all those people who give up before they make any money.
Tip 1: Work for the money, not the passion
First, you need to work for money, not passion.
I hate to admit it, but money is an incredible motivator.
I just don’t believe in the “delayed gratification bullshit” some marketing gurus promote.
Turning your passion into a business is tough as f*ck as it is. Waiting to make more money is yet another hurdle on your path — one you absolutely do not need.
Because the truth is…
The sooner you make money, the more likely you are to keep pushing forward.
So, if you just started out — think of the easiest way you could get paid for something.
If you’re a designer — find a person who needs a social media revamp
If you’re a writer — sign up on Upwork or Fiverr and apply to write a blog post or two for someone.
The point is: Find 1 person with 1 problem you could solve incredibly well. So well, they will be happy to pay you for it.
When you start out, the first $1 you make feels absolutely insane. But with time, these dollars will grow, and your first earnings will be something you look back to with joy.
I still have my first $30 for a blog post saved in my bank account to make sure I always remember the humble beginnings.
Tip 2: Save up before you start
The next tip is my biggest regret about my creator journey. It’s the only thing on this list I didn’t do myself.
And it came to bite me because earlier this year, things went south for a while. No clients, no leads flowing in, and a student loan that screamed at me each time I opened my bank account.
So before you go all in to build your creative business, make sure to have at least 3 months of savings.
Your business is too precious to put it at such a stupid risk.
And you have to know:
Bad days will happen.
Sometimes, they’ll turn into bad weeks.
I could’ve told you to suck it up and keep going. But you know, I’m not that guy.
Instead, I’ll talk about the Kardashians:
Tip 3: Build in public
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone crazy in the middle of the post. It will all make sense.
So even if you’re not a fan of the Kardashians you can’t deny many people are.
And it’s not just because people crave futility or because they love watching celebrities onscreen but because the Kardashians use a very powerful marketing tool you can use in your business.
You see, for every product Kim K or Kylie launches, they share their opinions about it, their thoughts behind the process, and how it’s affecting their life.
They build their brands in public.
So, this is my next tip for you:
Share the lessons, wins, fails, and stories you experienced while building your business.
This might sound silly now, but let me tell you, there’s incredible power in building in public, even if you’re a small creator.
Your raw, authentic experiences work like a magnet for people who want to support their peers on their journey of entrepreneurship.
You won’t attract millions of fans like a celebrity. But you don’t need to. You only need to call the attention of those people who will want to work with you and support you.
Make sure not to use buildings in public as the only way to show up on social media.
Tip 4: Arrive early
No one tells you this, but building a social media presence is actually a race, and the sooner you start, the sooner you can cross the finish line.
Before starting my agency, I was sharing tips on Twitter (back when it was usable) about content creation and marketing.
I was basically sharing everything I learned while working as a content marketer for my last employer. I fell in love with the topic, read tons of books, participated in courses, and felt the urge to share all those insights with someone.
Unfortunately, my cats were strongly uninterested in it.
So, I grabbed my phone and started sharing the knowledge on Twitter. I spoke to business owners about how they can increase their revenue by using organic content marketing — and it just clicked.
People started following me and sending me DMs for advice. I even landed a few gigs from entrepreneurs in need of some quality content for their businesses.
All of this served as a validation for my agency and its current offer. I knew exactly who I wanted to serve and how I wanted to help them because I had been doing it on my Twitter every day for the past couple of months.
So build your social media presence early. If possible, build it even before you start building your business.
Looking back, I can 100% confirm that growing my online presence was a massive unfair advantage for me.
And probably the only one. I come from Eastern Europe and have no rich parents or any “network” from a fancy startup.
Every opportunity I had I created myself, and I must tell you — it’s a real confidence boost.
Tip 5: Connect & Collaborate
But just because social media is a race, it doesn’t mean it’s every man against himself.
See, building a business can make you feel lonely. At the end of the day, you’re the only person actually responsible for your success — which sounds exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
But luckily, you don’t have to be a lone wolf to build a successful business. You can find other people on a similar journey to yours and connect with them.
Sharing your experiences and supporting each other can be extremely helpful — especially when times get tough and you feel you have no one to talk to.
Plus, all the relationships you form with your peers are precious for your business! A couple of my clients worked with me after I was recommended to them by one of my online friends.
I cringe at the word “networking” but building relationships with other people is a true asset, both for your life and your business.
Tip 6: Take breaks (often)
Next comes a tough one.
Owning a business is a workaholic wet dream, and I know it cause I am one. Every day, you’ll need to push hard to land new leads, deliver top-quality work for your clients, and manage all the behind-the-scenes tasks included in running a creative business, like accounting.
And yes, you could work 24/7. But you shouldn’t. I can speak from experience here, burnout is a nasty bitch, and it’ll quickly turn your passion into your nightmare.
And no amount of growth/money/opportunity is worth losing your passion.
So, as you’ll be learning how to manage your own business, learn how to manage your time off the business too. Each week, find time to completely disconnect from your work, even for a little bit, and do something to take care of yourself and your head.
I know you want to make it, just like I do. But the only way to make it happen is by taking care of that spark inside you.
Now it’s finally time for the step that helped me build a thriving business instead of quitting like so many others.
Tip 7: It's just the beginning
In January 2024, I’ll be an entrepreneur for a year. 2023 was filled with ups, downs, and almost deadly crushes — but it was only one year.
And while I learned a ton during it, which I wanted to share with you in this video, I also know there’s a LONG path ahead of me.
And you know what? I couldn’t be more excited about it.
The most insane part about owning a business is that you never stop growing. Every day, you show up and build your dream reality.
So remember, this is just the beginning.
There’s no inherent goal here, no finish line, no win to pursue.
As long as you care about the thing you’re building, you’re winning.
what will be the dream you’ll be building next year? I’d love to hype you up and answer any extra questions you might have.
Because you might feel like you’re not doing much right now, but every successful business started that way.
Notion, for example, was once only the passion project of a guy who wanted to help his friends. And now it’s one of the most profitable companies of today.
And the craziest thing is that they make all this money without spending money on marketing.
How? I made a video that explains everything, and you can click here to watch it: