And what to do if you’re one of them
At the end of 2022, there were more than 200 million content creators globally.
And as the content creation market keeps booming in 2023, it attracts even more people who dream of high income made from the comfort of their homes.
But statistics show that only 10% of creators earn $100K or more per year and that a beginning creator needs an average of six and a half months to earn the first dollar.
Once you see these numbers, this job might not seem so appealing anymore.
However, people love to cherry-pick things and prove the power of confirmation bias. They hear of someone making $20,000 monthly from their blog or TikTok channel, get their hopes high, and try to copy these wins.
Yet somehow, they forget to consider possible struggles and the amount of work leading to these exceptional results. Later, after months of trying, they wonder why things didn’t work out for them.
I’ve been writing online for the past five years, and since the last year, I’m writing for my clients full-time. At this point, I’m proud to say I’m making three times the salary I used to earn at my old job.
But to get here, I had to go through many painful circumstances and failures — something most people aren’t willing to endure.
My persistence and refusal to give up helped me discover what people earning money online make differently and why most creators fail.
I summed up these lessons in the following points.
People often don’t think about sustainability and scaling when getting into the game
You don’t need a business degree to make money online, but it’s helpful to know a thing or two about business.
Comprehending business fundamentals helps you thrive, make the right decisions, and most importantly, it allows you to scale your online business correctly.
Many creators try challenges like writing 2 Medium posts a day for the whole month, creating 50 Twitter threads a week, or sending 20 pitches to potential clients every day, and they might get significant results due to this.
Consequently, it often makes them think this is the right way to go.
If you’re one of them, ask yourself:
Can you do this for the rest of your online career? Will you have enough time/energy/ideas to keep up with it?
Most people fail to answer these questions with yes, and that’s why they keep being stuck.
If you want to become successful, think of your career in the long term. You need to know what your business model is, thus
- how are you going to make a profit
- what valuable products or services will you offer
- who is your audience or clients
And how can you scale your business and make it more sustainable,
- how to automatize repetitive tasks
- how to create passive income sources (digital products, affiliate marketing, etc.)
- how to increase your sales
- how to keep people coming back to you consistently
If you have no idea how to execute the points above, it’s time to do a little research, read some books, or take online courses.
Most people don’t understand how money is made
I’ve noticed many newbies think putting out random content or service will make them rich or at least allow them to earn decent side income.
But they’re missing one important point: It doesn’t matter how hard you try or how much content you throw into the digital space — unless it’s useful, nobody will bother purchasing/reading it.
101 rule in sales: The more you help people, the more they’ll pay you, is often neglected by inpatient creators who think of online business as of get-rich-quick scheme.
That’s why they choose quantity over quality and then keep wondering why nobody wants to pay them.
Whether you create content for clients or on social platforms, make sure you have something valuable to share before asking people for their money (and before throwing your hands in the air, cursing how impossible it is to become a paid creator).
Only a few people have the willingness to fail
Take a moment and imagine what a successful online career would look like for you.
Did you imagine a lot of failures along the way? Or just a lot of money with little effort? Yes, I thought so.
Nobody wants to fail, and nobody wants to look like an idiot — and that’s the reason many people don’t start (or continue) doing things. They’re simply afraid it won’t work out, they’ll fail and become a laughingstock.
But failing is a crucial aspect of any successful career for many reasons:
- it allows you to find out which things don’t work and why
- it helps you to gather insights and data on how to improve your work (e.g., what content gets the most engagement, which pitches get the most responses, etc.)
- it gives you a chance to discover a wide range of activities, hustles, or people because once you’re willing to fail, you don’t mind trying diverse things
- it enhances your thinking and mental skills because you’re forced to think outside of the box or not take things personally
If you’re afraid to try and fail, you’ll hardly grow.
It’s crucial to understand that failure is a natural part of a healthy career (and life), and it isn’t a shame to occasionally fail — as long as you learn your lesson and get up.
How Your Willingness to Fail Determines Your Success in the Freelancing World (What I’ve learned after years of failing)
Everybody wants to be everywhere at once
A countless number of people googled how to make money online and found some appealing hustles they’d like to try.
They set up accounts on Medium to write, on Etsy to sell templates, on Amazon Kindle to publish e-books, on Teachable to share some knowledge via courses, and on Upwork to write for clients.
So many income sources — it seems like a lot of money will be coming their way shortly.
That’s far from the truth, though.
Dividing focus in five different directions means giving each task only 20% of your concentration and time.
I know trying to be everywhere at once is tempting as it feels like securing many opportunities, but you should avoid this when you’re building your online business. In this case, doing everything means doing nothing.
Successful online creators advise having multiple income streams, and they’re right — but nobody said you have to build them all at the same time.
Always begin with one thing and try to give it your best. Once you see it growing, split your attention in more directions.
It’s all about creating, not competing
Most people try to copy the success of others.
If someone runs a 5-figure/month YouTube channel about self-help and personal growth, they want to do it too. If someone makes six figures per year from crypto trading courses, they want to create such courses too.
While it’s logical to follow steps and strategies from the most successful people, competing with them makes less sense.
Why would someone follow a beginner who talks about the exactly same things as a well-established, credible creator with years of experience?
So the key question you should ask yourself is:
Do you compete with others, or do you create something unique?
Everyone’s voice and style are unique, and that’s what you should bet on if you want to make money online. It will allow you to stand out in the crowded online space and create your tiny empire.
Plus, unique content can attract a lot of high-paying clients.
Copying and plagiarising others’ work without adding your unique perspective is a short-term game without any future.
For this reason, the content of many creators gets lost in people’s newsfeeds, and their pitches never receive responses.
You’re smart and have a unique voice. Use it.
Making money online is not a rocket-science, and anybody with a laptop and internet access can do it.
However, there’s a vast difference between randomly making a hundred bucks and earning reliable income every month.
You can achieve the latter by being consistent, offering quality content, scaling up your business, analyzing data, and creating what people want, not just what you like — and by following the steps above.
And if you manage to have fun along the way, you have a great chance to create a rewarding, well-paid online career.