Most people have two lives.
Two dreams — one they share and one they hold close to their heart.
The one they share is the practical one. It’s the one that leaves someone saying “That’s great!” or “You have a bright future ahead!”
It may be becoming a doctor or an investment banker, but, whatever it is, the idea is simple: it’s perceived as financially viable.
The second is the one they hold close to the heart. The one they secretly dream of doing. They tend to not share it until you get close enough with them that they let their walls down.
Their dream is straightforward and human.
They want to discover and create.
Creating in Life
In discussing creating as a career, it’s impossible to ignore the dollar signs that keep people from grasping for their dream.
Creating full-time and making a living is hard. It’s not linear. It’s not predictable. The vast majority of success in the creator economy is channeled towards a few high-performers. Most creators don’t walk away with a big paycheck.
Even when I made nearly $1000 in a month on Medium, it didn’t stick. I kept writing, but the numbers didn’t keep up. It wasn’t sustainable as a career.
Social media companies take a massive cut of creator revenue. Platforms like Medium aren’t that complex. There are millions of people that could code a site just like it. But they have the audience, and they recognize that for a creator, the audience is everything.
It’s not a quality problem — plenty of creators are putting out amazing work. It’s a distribution problem. Creators need a way to monetize their work and expertise without losing the lion’s share to a content distributor.
This is the Problem I Want to Solve
I think the work that Patreon is doing to support creators is incredible. So too with Substack, Onlyfans, and others. These companies are offering new ways for creators to cultivate more sustainable careers. But it’s still not enough.
It’s the problem I am choosing to solve with Spark — my platform that connects creators with their audience through 1-1 chat. We’re fortunate. Because of outside funding, we can give creators the full cut — 100% of what they make — while also giving them access to our platform which makes connecting with their audience easier.
When you start a business, it’s easy to get bogged down by money. You start a company from a place of wanting to solve a problem and help people and end up optimizing for sales and revenue.
Dollars replace people.
I noticed that when the prospect of making money became more real, my day-to-day motivation for Spark went down the drain. I forgot the real reason I was building it — to help creators connect better with their audience and to give creators more freedom.
I was losing my intrinsic motivation in the face of an extrinsic reward. And I understood the problem of the double-dreamed folk of colleges across the world.
For them, they remember the intrinsic motivation of their youth. They created because they loved to create. They felt a draw to it.
Then one day, the world presented them with the reality that simply because you love doing something doesn’t mean it’s a viable career option. As they attained extrinsic rewards for following the default path, they let go of their intrinsic drive.
But they still remember it. It festers deep inside of them. The drive to be an artist.
I want to help align those dreams and reality. I want creating to be viable. I’m starting small, but I believe it's a mission worth fighting for.
For my dandelion.