When should a creator throw in the towel?
“How does a creator assess whether they’re on a trajectory for success, especially when early growth seems so slow?”
“In February 2022 I was feeling pretty pessimistic about the financial trajectory of this newsletter, but here we are just a few months later and I’ve roughly doubled my monthly revenue. I simply needed a little extra time to experiment and see what worked. I couldn’t have predicted that outcome in advance. Sometimes, we’re on the verge of success and don’t even realize it; it’s only in hindsight that we realize we were making progress all along.”
“Too many people compare being a creator to working a traditional job, and so that results in unrealistic expectations. Most traditional jobs start paying you a full-time salary right away, and that kind of rapid success is rarely possible in the creator world. That’s why the vast majority of YouTube channels, podcasts, and newsletters peter out after just a few months; their proprietors gave up after they didn’t experience immediate success.
Instead, a creator is basically a one-person startup or small business. I like to give the analogy of starting a restaurant. The aspiring restaurateur has lots of startup costs. They have to lease the building, pay for renovations, hire a staff, and buy supplies. This is why it can take years to achieve profitability, even if the restaurant starts generating steady business from day one.”