HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL CREATIVE?
We live in a world where we want information immediately.
We’re impatient. We won’t jump into something unless we know we’re definitely sure about it. And with the wealth of information and technology that’s out there, it’s often possible for us to do so.
All you need to do is search “how to do X” on Google or Pinterest, or type in “exercises to get rid of X” and hey presto - the information you want is fired back to you within seconds.
What people don’t realise is that it’s not what the information is that’s important. It’s what you do once you’ve got that information.
You won’t be surprised that two of the most searched for questions on Google are:
- How long does it take to be a successful blogger?
- How long does it take to be a successful business owner?
I won’t lie. I’m pretty sure if you looked at my search history around the time when I started blogging and started offering services, it would show loads of articles that tried to answer these same questions. And really, how long does it take?
I get lots of readers and followers asking me how I became so successful with my blog. I even wrote a post on some of the things that helped.
But there’s a catch.
Success isn’t the same for everyone. Not all our journeys will be the same. Not all of us will have the same focus for our blog or business. We all look at success in different ways.
It’s a weird one, because success doesn’t really have a definition, does it? For one person, it could mean hitting 10k followers across the board. For someone else, it could mean having the freedom to create their own schedule so they can spend more time doing what they love.
Success is individual to each and every one of us, and it shouldn’t be compared. If you’re a newbie reading this, I can’t give you a timeframe for becoming a great blogger or business owner (I like to class us all under the same umbrella now as “creatives”).
What I do know is this:
If you want to become a successful creative, you have to keep pushing through and stay on your own path.
How long does it take to become a successful creative?
I’m not going to tell you that you can become a successful creative in X amount of time or when you’re earning X amount of money.
Instead, I’m going to run through some questions that will help you determine how long it’ll take you - depending on what success means to you.
Do you realise you’re providing an experience/service?
A lot of people think that when they start blogging or come up with a business idea, they’re going to make money immediately. And sure - these things do require lots of creativity and an innovative mind. But it’s not just a reason for you to publish content or sell products and expect the followers and cash to come rolling it.
The important thing to remember is that as a blogger, you’re providing an experience. As a business owner, you’re providing a service. There’s always a reader or customer in mind - no matter what you write about or sell.
And you know that if you want to grow a large community or make money, you need to give your audience what they are looking for. It’s so important to be creative, that’s true. But you’re not creating for yourself. You’re creating for them.
Once you start to realise that what you offer is an experience or service, it’s much easier to start providing something that not only people want, but that they need and value.
Do you understand the value of what you’re offering?
Ok, so that’s that one out of the way. (I know it can be tough, but it’s really important to understand that in order to be successful, you’ve got to put your audience first). Next up is understanding the value of what you do.
This isn’t just a case of standing up tall saying “hey look at me!” and ignoring anyone who doesn’t think you’re absolutely amazing.
There’s a saying that a coach told me recently and I think it’s perfect here: “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.”
Value isn’t about what you say to people. It’s about showing your audience what value you can offer them.
No, you’re not just offering them workout videos. You’re offering them a chance to change their perception about themselves. No, you’re not just offering them a logo. You’re offering a brand presence that will help people recognise who they are.
You’re so much more than what you are right now. You’re not just a blogger/web designer/[insert other title here]. You’re the one person who can solve your audience’s problems, turn their lives around and make them live the fulfilling life they deserve.
Once you understand this mindset, this will put you on the road to success. Every decision you make will reflect this.
Do you have a network of people you can interact with?
Here’s a spoiler - my last two client inquiries have been referrals from people in the industry who have recommended my services. At first this blew my mind. Now, I know that most other creatives get the majority of their work this way too.
Before I started offering services, I spent more than three years creating content and building a community of people on social media. But when I did start to offer services, I realised I needed to target a whole other set of people and market myself in ways I’d never done before.
My first two clients that I’ve ever worked with were entrepreneurs I built up a relationship with on social media and through blogging. It’s all about who you know. They’re the ones who are going to help you grow your success.
What do you want to be known for? Think about it. You’re going to have loyal members of your audience who totally know what you’re about. They’re the people you want to depend on. They’re the people who are going to recommend your amazing blog or business to others.
Do you set yourself monthly goals? (If not, why not?)
It’s still a shame that a lot of people in our industry decide their success based on their follower count or bank statement. They think they need at least 10k followers or six figures in the bank a month if they want to be successful.
This can be a really big factor for people, especially when it comes to evaluating how you’re doing in terms of success. Me? I don’t think it’s the best way to go about it.
I get it - when you see the Instagram likes rolling in, or all your invoices get paid at once, it can feel pretty good.
But there’s got to be an end goal. You can’t have “increase my Instagram followers” as your goal every single month of the year. You’ve got to have a benchmark in mind each time you set a goal. Otherwise, how will you know if you’ve made it? How will you know you’ve achieved your goals?
This is why I always set myself three-monthly and monthly goals, so I can break them up into manageable steps. You can’t aim for 10k Instagram followers in year without have a plan or the knowledge in place to help you get there. Believe me - the only thing you’ll feel is disappointed in yourself.
I think it’s more satisfying to see the climb. It’s like when you’re saving money for the deposit of a house. When you see your monthly figure go up and up you start to feel more proud each time and when you finally reach your target - it’s an incredible feeling.
Hitting those smaller targets is going to be a much better feeling for you.
Do you understand your personal brand?
It’s daunting to think that there are thousands of other bloggers and business owners writing and selling the same things as you. And each time you come across someone who does offer the same things as you (and who are more successful than you) it can change your mood completely.
But as I always like to do, you’ve got to give people the benefit of the doubt. We don’t always know what’s going on behind the computer screen.
You can only be sure of three things:
- What you’re doing
- Where you’re going
- How you’re going to get there
Those three things are up to you. And in order to know the answers to these questions, you’ve got to be sure of your personal brand. What makes you stand out? Why should readers or clients come to you instead of someone else?
This comes from knowing your skills and experiences, and combining that with your personal story.
That, my friends, is a personal brand.
It’s nothing new that trust is one of the most important elements when it comes to being successful. One of the best ways to do this is to create a personal brand that is strong and that people can relate to. Becoming successful starts with having the foundations in place for people to initiate trust. The frauds will get found out sooner or later.
Do you know how long you’re in this for?
It still makes my stomach turn when I see people posting Facebook groups asking how they can get loads of followers or make loads of money when they’re just starting out.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Building a trustworthy, successful brand with a great community behind you is a tough gig. It’s when you realise that you’re in this for the big picture that it starts to become worth it.
And when all your effort and hard work starts to become worth it, you can start focusing more on the work that you’re going to gain more benefits from as you become more and more successful. Don’t strive for instant gratification that lasts for ten minutes - strive for the results that are going to last a lifetime. That’s what’s going to make you successful.
It can be really tough to do this, especially when we want information at the click of the button. But once you realise you’re going to have to work really hard to make your goals a reality, you can start being really strategic with your goals.
So many people give up. I’ve been close to it. Usually because they’re stuck in the moment and can’t see past a certain point. When you’ve got an end goal in sight, that’s when you can finally say, “I did it - and it all paid off.”
Finally, do you know what success means to you?
That’s what this post is all about, right?
In order to be truly successful, you have to know what success means to you. This can mean different things to different people. But you’ve got to know what it means for you, and only you.
Because then and only then, can you measure it.
Let’s chat in the comments! What does success as a creative look like for you? What other tips would you have for a creative who wants to be more successful.