This is awkward.
Just 25 days ago, I started on my New Year’s Resolutions — goals that were going to put me in the right direction to become location-independent and a solopreneur.
I believe that any good resolution should be measurable. But (per my goal philosophy), I see those measurements much more as directional indicators than actual numbers I’m striving for. They should be out of reach but still feel possible.
I messed up.
On day 25 of the New Year, I’m $140 beyond achieving my New Year's Resolution.
Reaching My Goal 340 Days Early
I want to be a creator. That’s one of a couple of identities that I’d love to take on. I dedicate a lot of my time towards striving towards this possibility.
I’m very fortunate. Currently in college (and not having to worry about debt), I have a lot of time to build on the side. Coupled with the possibility of living a cheap life as a digital nomad, I don’t need to make that much money to set myself up for a solid life.
My goal for this year was to make $500 in a month from my creative work. That seemed reasonable — for the first few months I began to monetize my work, I made $3 in October, $22 in November, and $97 in December.
It’s January 25 when I write this, and I’ve made about $640. I broke $500 five days ago.
How I Got Here
Hard work of course!
If only the picture was so clear. Truth be told, I got lucky — really lucky. Here’s the crux: 90%+ of my income this month came from one post. One post that (probably) got curated and didn’t lose steam. It’s my piece on When to Quit. At the time of writing, it has 33k views.
When to Quit was a solid piece — don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of fun writing it, and it represents quite a lot of progress in my writing since my first post. But is it 90%+ of my income good? Not even close.
I’d love to be in a position to say that I could consistently make this amount of money each month. I’m not, though. I’ll probably make 5-10% of what I made this month next month.
I don’t want to throw out the hard work, here, though. I did work hard. I write every day, and I publish every other day. In a sense, it’s not totally unlikely that one of my pieces blow up. Yes, I got lucky in that people kept seeing my post pop up in their feed. But it was also quality of enough to be selected for curation and be read from start to finish by over 10k people.
What I Learned about the Creator Economy
When you write for a platform with curation and algorithm, you’re going to get lucky sometimes. In the Art and Business of Online Writing, Nicolas Cole likens these algorithms as a roulette wheel:
First, think of a social media algorithm as a roulette wheel. The more times you spin the wheel, the more chances you have of winning. Every time you create a new piece of content, you are pushing that content into the social platform’s algorithm and “spinning the wheel.”
My job as a creator is to consistently publish great content. It’s not to build an audience, get a certain number of views or claps. At the end of the day, I can’t determine whether my writing goes viral or not.
You have to keep spinning the roulette wheel with good content.
Where I Go From Here
I’m not sure how I will reframe this resolution to better encapsulate the direction I want to go, but I will make it unreachable. I’m just going to keep writing and see where I end up.
I love writing. And even if I don’t pull these big numbers again, I’m going to keep doing it — for me, the process is far more important than the outcome.