Creator reflection, Q1 2024

Welcome to another edition of creator reflection. As always I answer three questions:

  1. How did I move forward?
  2. What requires improvement?
  3. What did I learn?

In this edition, I cover completing the big 3, burnout from complex editing, launching my newsletter, returning to social media (with a major twist), getting the podcast back and attachment to reputation.

Let’s begin.

How did I move forward?

Finished and posted the haircut video. While I put it on last quarter’s reflection with an asterisk, it’s done and it came out really, really well. As of writing it’s at 8K views and continues to climb over time. Thank god my efforts were finally rewarded lol. With the completion of this video and its companion vlog (which also got solid views!), I finally allowed myself to show my bald head online. It’s been extremely freeing to stop hiding behind a beanie, get back to normality and work on other things that matter more than main channel videos (looking at you, consulting!).

Newsletter launched! After 2+ years of writing these without functionality, I’m happy to say that my newsletter and email list is properly set up now, along with a freebie opt-in to get people in the door. The funnel is now in motion. Over the past month, I’ve been consistently sending out emails to people’s inboxes and I’ve absolutely loved it. It was a little nerve-wracking at first to send these out to real people’s inboxes, but now I’m having a lot of fun with it. To join the ever-growing email list, sign up here!

Reactivated my social media accounts, and unfollowed everyone. Was extremely nervous to do this, but I did it anyways because I am extremely uninterested in social media consumption and using it as a normal person — I’m not built for this shit. They’re now push platforms, because that was the only way in my mind I was going to return. Ended up losing around 10% of my followers and I expect to lose even more when I get consistent with social posts, but that’s the game. It’s purging season.

Podcast. Filmed my first podcast back in the final week of the quarter and I’m so excited to have this format back. I’ll continue to experiment, but I’m very excited to have a low-lift format to express my thoughts and opinions again. Of course, also updated the logo to represent my bald head and switched to #000 as a background color.

Upgraded content systems. Reworked systems on the backend within Notion for each platform, but especially for micro-content and repurposing. It’s beautiful, to say the least. Now need to work on actually using them (lol).

Burned myself out on complex edits and dedicated myself to simple videos. After that haircut video, I was so done. I touched on this last reflection too, but I can’t be asked to bother with these kinds of over-the-top edits for the foreseeable future, so everything since has been much simpler and focused on the value of the message, rather than the production value itself. A key change is that I don’t care about satisfying my creative ego like I used to. All that pain of acknowledging how long the big 3 took forced a serious detachment within me. Instead of making complicated, detail-obsessed, infrequent videos that take forever to put together, I’d rather make content that’s simpler, faster, and more consistent, which gives me way more opportunity for positive impact than hardcore, artistic edits can.

Website redesign and updates. I went even further into dark mode and switched to full #000 across all my branding (never thought I’d do this but here we are), adopted a card schema across the website, added more borders, updated my branding and positioning, fixed the table of contents issues, and improved all sorts of random stuff across the website.

Soft launched locals. I haven’t promoted this practically at all directly, but I’ve begun posting behind-the-scenes, archives and other exclusive content there. Some of it is paywalled, some of it is for free. You can check it out here.

Tackling bottlenecks. Over and over, I’ve continued to tackle bottlenecks (as mentioned in the last creator reflection) and put myself in a way better position to win. This time, with fewer things relying on each other and being more open to the order of how things are completed/shipped.

Consulting. Group consulting is now live, and I’m so excited. This is also the home of the consulting library, along with the calls and community too. It’s great stuff.

Returning to freelance marketing. At the end of the quarter, I realized it was time to return to freelance. Still going hard with consulting, but the leap of faith expired and I ran out of money. I let the big 3 take too long and I didn’t give myself enough time to build up everything I needed to with consulting infrastructure, and the materials for the library, sales and marketing. But still deeply committed to making this work over the long haul, just back to being more patient. It’s one big humble sandwich.

What requires improvement?

Main channel vs. podcast. Having some hang-ups on this recently, we’ll see how this all evolves. TLDR; there’s a little too much overlap in my mind and I’m having issues knowing what should go where lol. But I just need to work through this resistance, mental mastermind on it and then I’ll get more clarity on this.

Main channel. I haven’t posted there in 2-3 months. That being said, it’s because I’ve recently prioritized writing material for the consulting library, building consulting infrastructure, consistently writing newsletters and getting things together with social media.

The balance between consulting content & public content. This has been a little bit challenging for me recently because I want to deliver amazing content to the public, but I also want to make sure my paying clients have the best of the best from me. I thought I had this figured out, but I don’t at the moment. Going forward, I just need to continue to clear my resistance around it, as the more I clear around this, the more clear the path forward.

Micro-content. Overthinking this so much. I’ve been back to IG for over a month, yet I didn’t post anything besides the introductory post. Sure, I could rationalize some story about how I’m focused on other things, which is true, but I should be able to post here and there with short-form content. I have a general idea of what I want to do and I’m ready to move forward with it on IG, yet I haven’t been able to bring myself to pull the trigger. I have so much resistance at the moment, and I’m sabotaging myself so hard. I love writing long-form content, but in micro format, for whatever reason, it never feels like enough in short form. My mind tells me nonsense like the following: A sentence is too short; it needs an explanation. A paragraph is too long, it needs brevity. I shouldn’t post a quote, that’s lazy. I should post a thought for myself, but it’s not good enough. The chatter is endless, so I need to work at a deeper level, then ultimately just fucking post regardless of the resistance. That being said, I need to clear the resistance or I’ll eventually find myself right back at square one. That’s how it always works.

Repurposing. I have so much to share in clip form, but I resist it so heavily. Need to work through this, as mentioned in micro content.

Consistency, across all platforms. The only thing I’ve achieved consistency with so far is newsletters. I want to get consistency on the main channel, podcast, IG & X too. The systems are there, I just need to implement them, gamify it a little better and heal through resistance that’s leading me to struggle more than I should.

Lack of filming. For a minute there, I was filming all sorts of footage for vlogs and other videos. But in my hiatus, I filmed so minimally to make things easier on myself when I was caught up. While I’m thankful in many ways that I didn’t sabotage myself by making the hole that I was in even deeper, I’m now lacking up-to-date b-roll, footage and photos of me to cut to. Especially from 2023, that’s a huge hole. So, I want to get into the habit of filming more casually. It doesn’t need to be high-pressure, serious or even high quality, but I just want more footage to chop to for videos and marketing purposes. I also want to get back to vlogging here and there too because it’s fun lol. But this time, just treating it light because it doesn’t matter as much as the mind says it does.

System for holding b-roll. Continuing the above point, when I do have visuals I can cut to, I require a better system for how it’s stored. When I know a video needs visuals, I would love to be able to open a folder on my local SSD or external SSD and easily find my best b-roll, already clipped up and ready to go. Then, if I need the original for whatever reason, I can easily dig deeper into my storage systems and get the original file.

Speed of visual edits. Out of every creative thing I do right now, this is probably the slowest skill set I have at the moment. I make visuals out in my mind to be way more challenging than they actually are, and it makes everything so much slower than it needs to be. See: how long the big 3 took lol. Improve systems for implementing visuals, work through the underlying resistance/attachment, and overthink it less. Make it simpler and easier than I’m currently making it.

Attachment to reputation. Turns out, my care for my brand has hurt me more than I realized. It’s making me slower than I need to be and crippling me in key areas that stop me from living life the way I want to. That’s not to say I need to not give a single fuck about my brand and tarnish it with stupid decisions, but instead of being attached to the point where it’s crippling, I can work through the underlying energy so that I can instead prefer things to be a certain way and be free from the prison I’ve created for myself.

Camera. I mention this every so often, but I can’t wait to go full frame. I don’t need a top-of-the-line camera — the game is storytelling and how you use whatever camera you have. But I’d very much like a top-of-the-line camera, and it will be incredibly fun to upgrade the quality of my creative tools. Also, I cannot wait for the colours and crisp image.

What did I learn?

The less reps, the more overthinking. The more reps, the less it matters and the lighter you are. The less I’m doing something, the more I’m going to overthink things. The more I’m doing something, the less each individual rep matters. (See: my overthinking with micro-content.)

In addition to crippling imperfection, the real issues with why I struggled to make content previously were poor time and priority management. Upon recent further reflection, it wasn’t actually doing freelance that was the cause of my lack of progress on my main channel from 2021-2023. I had it in me to do infinitely more than I previously thought possible, but I needed to tap into it to see what was possible to understand how much more I was capable of.

Taking things very, very seriously, applying extreme pressure and creating unnecessary stress won’t speed things up or make it more effective.

If a niche is strong enough, you don’t need crazy performance to do well. My AVD and CTR on the haircut weren’t great, yet it was pushed enough because it was still pretty good and there’s a very strong demand for videos like this. And I’ll take it for 8K views so far, especially with how much effort I put into that video.

Playlist views are a real thing. Around 1/4 of my views (1600 of 8K at writing) on the haircut video so far came from playlists. It turns out, within certain niches, playlists are a huge thing. And people will binge-watch these playlists and keep coming back for new additions, as they did with my video. Almost all of my playlist views came from between two playlists: “Great Head Shave Videos” (450K views) and “Long to bald” (350K views). It’s fucked how much this can help if you’re a smaller creator lol. Shoutout to those 2 for adding me.

Over-attachment to brand and reputation slows everything down. That’s not to say be a complete fool and make clueless short term decisions, but if you’re extremely attached to how people are perceiving you and your brand (also, what people think of you), the process takes longer and it’s much more challenging to authentically communicate, express and create.

Thank you for your time and attention. If you got value from this content — whether it was an insight, strategy or even a laugh — please consider sharing it with a friend who might benefit from it too. By doing so, not only do you help them out, but you also help support my content creation efforts and expand the reach and impact of the content I’m sharing.