Table of Contents
Welcome back to another edition of creator reflection, where I reflect on my journey to becoming a successful creator. From inside the arena, I share insights and nuances as I evolve my craft and businesses around content creation, filmmaking, photography, storytelling, marketing and beyond.
In this edition, we’ll be covering successfully raising my rate to $50/h, letting go of the past to optimize for the present and future, shifting towards making ads, my struggles with storytelling and how simplicity in my mind/energy is changing my creativity, time management and work.
Let’s get into it.
Goals I’m focused on
Sony A7IV (or whatever full-frame camera is most essential for me) along with the essential full-frame lenses
Partnership on the main channel (4K hours of watch time in the last year and 1K subscribers)
Minimum of $50/h as a freelance creative rate
Becoming the best storyteller, filmmaker, editor, photographer and overall creator that I can possibly be
Live on my own (aka an apartment that’s a studio for content creation
Locked in $50/h rate for freelance
Posted first video since June
Hit 500 subscribers on second channel
iPhone 14 Pro Max
How did I move forward?
Achieving $50/h in freelance. This was a big one for me, as I outlined in the previous reflection. First, I set a clear goal for the new rate that I wanted to achieve. Then, I put in the work over the course of a few months to evolve my skill and speed, recognized what I should actually be charging given the investments, expenses and risks I have as an independent freelancer. Then, unsure of how I was going to pull it off, the universe threw some unexpected circumstances my way and I leveraged it to raise my rates with my main client (all in time for Q4, as I had hoped for!). It feels great and allows me to work less, make more, feel much better about how much I’m being paid. The situation has also helped me ppend more time on building up the other aspects of my businesses like other freelance clients, content creation & energy work. But I’ve got to say — now that I’m here, I’m not even interested in doing hourly work (with rare exception). Because I’m getting far better at managing my time and predicting timelines, I’d rather instead go on a flat rate per project so I can make even more by continuing to increase my speeds and beginning to outsource part of the work, too. I’m seeing this much more from an entrepreneurial perspective now. I do have more to heal on my resistance to locking this in with other clients, but overall, very pleased that I raised my rates to where they should be and excited to start the process soon of bringing in others to help me. Thanks to everyone who helped me get here — you know who you are!
Letting go of old footage. Firstly, I organized older footage that I haven’t edited or completed yet under yearly folders (ie. “2020”, “2021”) and then it somehow weirdly released the pressure of me having to work on it. Secondly, my external hard drive may have corrupted (it’s in limbo right now) and for the time being, I lost a ton of footage, including some really meaningful moments from the past few years. It sucked at first, but I’m convinced it’s the universe telling me to let go of the past content, stop documenting my journey so meticulously, and instead focus on the present and future. It freed up the necessary mental space not only for content, but also for business endeavours too. A lot has changed since this drive failure, and you’ll see what I mean by my results in the next quarter.
Time abundance. How I perceive time and how it works within my world is just different now after I healed a host of things energetically. It’s allowed me to be more present, work faster, be less stressed and get a lot more done. It’s meta, but it affects everything I’m working on so much. Additionally, I’m also taking on less and as a result, getting that much more done.
The calm and simplification of my mind and how it impacts my creativity. Things are just unlocking at the moment due to calm instead of chaos. I’m getting out of my own way, my speeds are improving, and my turnaround is becoming shorter (ie. Creator reflection Q4 2021 was created 59 days after Q4, Q1 2022 was 51 days after, Q2 38 days after, and for this? Only 8 days). I’m spending more time on the essential work, I’m letting go of the past easier, and my writing is simplifying (compare this to Q2 and you’ll see what I mean). This isn’t chance, either. Simplicity comes from the mind and energy field first and everything else above follows.
Joining the Sneako’s Creativity Kit. Having direct access to Sneako and Musa (Sneako’s producer) and their successful special guests has been insane. On the 3 group calls, I’ve been able to ask veterans nuanced questions that confirm things that I’ve known to be true and also teach me lots of nuanced insights and strategies I hadn’t realized yet. Additionally, getting the opportunity to surround myself with young entrepreneurs and creators who are ambitious, intelligent and based as fuck has been incredible. It’s allowed me to make new friends and expand my network significantly. For only $50/month USD, it’s been incredibly worth it so far.
Established a storage and organization schema for handling all the media in my life. From photography to videography and videos to camera roll — everything is tackled. I’ve also set up systems for storing and archiving assets, templates, music, SFX — you name it. This has been massive for me because, without clear guidelines, I flounder.
Storytelling practice with Hero. To increase our retention, we’ve switched from airing raw clips of the guys to unnecessary storytelling. So far, so good. It’s also rejuvenated me and gives me hope for what I can do. That being said, we’re pulling back on content a lot to focus on…
Ads. I made 4 Facebook ads for Hero in the last quarter. The 1st was a learning experience, the 2nd and 3rd did well and gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to make successful sales creative and distribute it to the right people, and the last is actively going as we speak. Great practice for me and great results for the company. As a side benefit, it’s also given me the confidence to be able to say, “I can do this for my own businesses now.” and apply it to whatever I’m working on.
Editing photos quickly after taking them. With rare exception, I’ve had a much better turnaround. It gives me life doing it this fast. Overall, creative speeds are increasing.
Cutting caffeine. Though the caffeine high in the morning was incredible, the crash that followed was not. I became too reliant on this drug and I was masking my exhaustion. It was a grind letting go of it due to how tired I was without it, but I persevered anyways. Now, I’m able to work longer hours with more grounded, stabilized energy and it was very worthwhile. Thanks to Musa for the inspiration.
Improved ability to cut footage that isn’t useful. The less I’m attached to the nonsense, the better things get.
iPhone 14 Pro Max. After 4 years of being on an iPhone X with a camera that is bad by today’s standards (imagine my pain as I now care about camera quality), I finally upgraded my iPhone. I’ve been thoroughly impressed at the quality that this device shoots at — especially in low light, which used to be grain city! My quality of life has improved knowing that when I take photos from my phone on the fly, they’re going to look good. And the RAW? Tasty.
Willingness to strategically work for free. Doing some work for free right now just to get the extra experience, build the network and the case study. I won’t work for free for everyone, but I’m willing to do it in the right circumstances. Long game.
Joining Gettr, Rumble and other free speech platforms. I’d like to build up an audience here of truth seekers, though my strategy is non-existent so far.
Trying to be unification based in my content and my responses that are related to politics. It’s challenging and I’m far from perfect, but I’m actively trying to get better.
What needs improvement?
Only posting ONCE at it wasn’t even on my main channel. I have the ideas and outlines ready, but for a whole bunch of reasons (excuses), I haven’t pulled the trigger on any videos since January. Hell, even my second channel has passed my main channel in subscribers now, lol. I want to get back into things and actively creating in real time, with a beautiful turnover rate. I can feel that once I tackle this one specific video in my way, the floodgates will open.
Using “getting caught up on the backlog of past content” as a bullshit excuse for not working on what’s most essential. Past vlogs and videos that are unlikely to perform well have been discouraging and taken up too much of my time and energy, which would otherwise be used to distract me from doing the top priority. Losing the drive has really helped me with this, but there’s still more to work on here.
How much I’m overthinking quality on my main channel. It’s actually terrible and has been crippling. It’s just YouTube, this isn’t Hollywood 1thank god. I want high quality so badly, that it feels like no video I make is ever enough. I’ve gotten better recently though, after watching my friend Kyle Pritchard (from Creativity Kit) kickass on daily uploads and additionally working on releasing the pattern and expectations — I just want to make again.
Reluctance to send video concepts as I’m working on them. Instead of sharing videos and getting feedback on how I can improve them when I’m stuck, my process is slowed down because I do it all myself. And if I can’t figure it out? The video stays at a standstill. It’s the worst rationalization, too. I literally subconsciously do it because I want them to watch the full video when it comes out, as if that one view’s watch time matters so much. I’ve recently begun to correct this by getting friends to roast my videos — shoutout to Kyle again.
Consulting and energy work business. I’ve gotta get this rolling. It’s technically outside of the scope of my creator journey, but it’s all connected in my eyes because this is likely to be the main reason why I’ll be able to create content full-time some day.
The remaining backlog. Whatever wasn’t deleted still needs to be tackled or archived. This includes video concepts like getting my MacBook, getting high for the first time, eating chipotle, etc. Oh, and this one fucking “moving video” that has stopped me from posting for almost a year lol.
Resistance to letting go of past points and past footage. When I resumed the moving video’s script, I felt incredible resistance to deleting parts of the story from the former script and not using parts of the past footage. I still feel resistance to this, but I’m getting better. What’s that phrase about your darlings, again?
Attachment to vlog footage. It’s easy to let go of footage in videos that are clear, less so with moments from a vlog. Continue to heal this and anything related to attachment to keeping footage (because it slows me down and reduces the quality of my videos).
Process for exporting selects and re-usable footage. ProRes? H265? Something else? What is the best way to name these files? Decisions, decisions.
Shorts on my main channel. After practicing with clients, it’s relatively clear to me now what I can do with this and how I can bring extra videos to my channel, but now I just need to do it on my own.
The “interesting” level within my content. I want a random person to be able to see it and still be intrigued. However, I do wonder if maybe this is taking away from my ability to serve my niche. I also have this inner dilemma of wanting to show my inner thoughts and feelings on video while also not wanting it to be boring. I’ll find the magic zone in time.
Not having a community tab. Sitting at under 25 subscribers from it, we’re so close. I want it so badly. I cannot wait to growth hack with it.
My thumbnails. It’s clear to me that thumbnails are the first frame of the first act of your story. It’s the initial sales pitch. And I want to spend much more time on them. I’m also seeing a trend occur and I want to incorporate some text and graphics, especially on talking head content that’s usually super bland. The first experiment worked well with a whopping 25K views and a 10% CTR on the Pierre Poilievre vs. Justin Trudeau first debate back reaction video.
The chaos in my mind around editing, which ironically comes from attachment to order and a linear process. Need to continue to simplify and apply what I learned from Sneako around this. And as always more reps, more healing.
Speed of editing when going through raw footage. I’ve experienced resistance to moving fast, collecting the selects quickly and imperfectly. I need to ask my editing friends for help on this. I’d like to sit down and just watch my friends go through A-roll and see how they best do it.
My background for filming. The community area in this apartment is good, but this works best when Taylor is sleeping and her boyfriend isn’t here. I have anywhere from 1-4 months more with these hooligans before I venture out on my own (W), but I’ve got to work around it in the meantime. I think I need to improve my go to filming area in my room and then everything else gets easier. I also need to be clear around filming when they’re both here because I am reluctant to that. And if I can’t figure that out, just film the handful of days they’re not both here.
Podcast. It’s time to resume it, I miss it. I just need to be able to set boundaries with who I’ll have on vs. who I won’t. I’d also like to clarify what the values/mission is, although maybe that will come as I resume the podcast, not before.
Script writing vs. bullet points. I’d like to get back to bullet points more often, rather than fully following a script.
Full frame camera. I’m not saving up enough to make this happen soon. I need to either work on more freelance projects or launch my energy work/consulting business. Also, raising my raise has definitely helped put me in the right direction on this.
Newsletter consistency. I’d like to do this realistically 2x a month. I wrote a couple of newsletters in the last quarter, but the consistency wasn’t there. I should also probably turn this into a functional newsletter too instead of just an archive lol.
Storytelling skill. I find myself struggling in my mind to be able to tell a great story on the fly. It’s so much more work than it should be for me to build a story from scratch. Of course, crafting a story takes work. But lifting weights takes work too… and yet, my mind knows exactly what to do when I’m in the gym. With storytelling, it’s been like guesswork where I don’t know what’s working and what isn’t — especially with long form. This could be fixed by healing resistance to successful storytelling and by spending time studying/breaking down the storytelling structure in other creators’ content — especially MrBeast, Airrack, Ryan Trahan and now Casey Neistat since he’s creating again! (so fucking amped about this lmao)
How I’m handling my magic time. For much of this quarter, I found myself waking up too late (8, 9, 10) and by that point, it’s time to go to the gym and I haven’t utilized my magic time for my own content and business. Worse, I find myself talking to people at the gym sometimes so I’m reducing the amount of energy I’ll have after the gym. This has been a big reason why I haven’t been able to execute on my own personal content the way I wanted to.
Resistance around half-finished projects. I struggle internally from starting the process of creating something but not completing it or publishing it. It’s such a pain in my ass because it’s sunk cost fallacy and I’m throwing good time, energy and resources after bad. Heal this pattern and work towards consciously axing the inessential.
Various freelance-related topics: willingness to hustle, resistance to closing others on $50/h.
What key lessons did I learn?
Creativity needn’t be orderly or all at once. You don’t need to do all the writing in one go, then all the filming in one session, then tackle all the editing afterwards. It’s okay to switch between writing, filming and editing on a project and work on it in sections — you don’t need to do everything at all at once. Don’t force your work to the point where you hate it. Give your art the time and space it needs to be art. Otherwise, the audience is going to feel it in the final product. [Sneako]
When you invest money every month, you have an incentive to care and to take action. Watching my behaviour inside the creativity kit vs. outside once again confirmed an age-old truth: when you pay, you pay attention.
At a minimum, follow the model of backup of a backup for your drives. Even better, follow the 1-2-3 method. If a drive is wiped, you risk losing a lot of useful data and valuable memories inside of it that can be easily fixed if you’re proactive and strategic.
Thumbnails are critical. They’re the first visual act of your story. Use them to elicit a question in the audience that makes them want to click on the video and watch it fully to get the answer to their question.
Making a great video doesn’t need to be so linear. You can jump back and forth between the stages of writing, filming and editing in a natural way. For example, you don’t need to wait until your script is perfect. You can film something, edit it, then use that as a small section of the video. Then, do some writing about how you might want the video to progress.
Work for free at first, bring insane amounts of value, prove your worth and then you can charge whatever you want. [Ninety Eight]
Thanks so much for reading! I hope my progress, insights and perspectives brought value to your own creative journey. Catch you guys next quarter.