Whoop! In Part One of this essay, you read about facing your fears and publishing online and now you may have a part of yourself out there on the internet! Rejoice, my friend, because what you’re about to read next may dampen your joy a bit.
For as many people who don’t create, there’s a higher ratio of creators who do not build on the initial traction.
They quit before whatever they’ve started has a chance to gain leverage. It’s the “Too soon” theory. (I coined this one, don’t look it up)
What Makes Budding Creators Quit Early?
Whether it’s a consistency issue or lack of genuine desire and belief in what you’ve started, the crippling effect of stopping what could possibly have blossomed is dire. In the permissionless age, since the barrier to entry is nonexistent, quality control is also non-existent.
This is bad news for readers because they have to filter through mass content to find what’s best for them, but good news for creators, because quantity now becomes a pathway for quality. You don’t get to determine the reception your work will get when you publish, but you give yourself a fighting chance with every additional 1% of the content you create.
Block by block, content by content, you assemble your lever. Today’s output – Tomorrow’s Leverage.
By being consistent alone, you begin to carve a small space for yourself on the internet. People start taking notice and little by little, an audience for your work is formed. It doesn’t matter how many they are. If one person (not a family member or friend) on the other side of the world loves your work and looks forward to it, you’ve already won. Our interests are not unique so that one person represents a million. On the Internet, you can create your own multiplier effect.
Becoming a Consistent Creator
To be consistent, you need to create social accountability, make it a priority and find small wins to motivate you.
Nick Dewilde of Jungle gym uses his newsletter to publish regularly via social incentives. “Personally, I find few things more motivating than the embarrassment of publishing a boring issue of my newsletter or shipping amateur marketing collateral. The drive to avoid that embarrassment is the best motivator I’ve found to help me hone my craft.”
You absolutely need to make a promise to another person that you will ship work every day, week or month. And this promise when not followed through should come with consequences. Putting yourself under this condition will force you to produce.
As James Clear says:
“If you wish you would take something more seriously, do it publicly… Social pressure forces you to up your game.”
How I Became Consistent and Built Leverage
Two months after the initial traction of publishing every day, I knew there was potential and I had to take advantage of it. I COULD WRITE! But I was also lazy, a serial procrastinator and a multi-potentialite. Without immediate financial rewards, how could I force myself to learn more about writing and publish consistently?
By curating a newsletter to share writing tips with anyone who cared to subscribe. Who the hell do I think I am to do this?
Crap! Crap. Not only did I make a promise to share writing tips, but they also had to be good enough to help people advance their careers. It’s like I just read “How to make your life difficult for dummies”
But it was exactly the tonic I needed to improve my craft and publish consistently. I began to study voraciously and no matter how I felt that week, come Sunday at 4 pm WAT, I had to send out a 1000-word email. The reception? Mind-blowing.
Every newsletter was shared aggressively on Twitter, people were inspired to write and publish, growth was spurred quickly by word of mouth. I couldn’t believe it. Were they under a spell?
Leverage was built from other angles as well. A tech startup reached out to me to write an explainer piece for their new product. I collaborated on an essay about ‘internet communities’ with the brilliant writer, Jamie Russo from New York. One of my articles on Medium was found by a publication and top writers like Packy Mccormick of ‘Not boring’ featured on the newsletter.
Remember that rewards are subjective, so for some people, these may not be huge. Nevertheless, for every small win, motivation increases and my lever carries more weight.
One of my favourite writers and friends who I met on Twitter, Dokita Ayomide, labelled his newsletter “Friday Flow”. By doing that, he’s telling everyone and most importantly himself, that it’s Friday or nothing.
Do whatever you can to build social accountability.
You should Imagine every article you write moves one person closer to their dreams. Your work is that valuable and you have to believe it. We don’t just create, we enable. Prioritize publishing, not just for you but for the sake of everyone on the receiving end of it. Attention precedes Impact.
Reap Rewards From the Compounding Effect
“There are already (many) million-dollar 1-person companies. Now, we are seeing billion-dollar 10-person companies. Bitcoin may be a trillion-dollar asset with one creator. This is the age of leverage. Learn to see it, learn to use it.” – Eric Jorgenson
Small choices + consistency + time = significant results.
Darren Hardy defines the compound effect as the ‘strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions’. When you publish consistently on the internet, whether months or years, rewards will pour in like rain and will continue to accumulate in the clouds as the value of your content increases.
Time spent producing an online course will yield years of increasing income.
The one-time cost of equipment for a podcast or YouTube video will yield hours and hours of consumer attention.
The internet is not a fair pay employer. What you get out of it will be remarkably more than the hours you put in.
Five months down the line, writing online has enabled me to join one of the internet’s best writing communities, made my first dollar on the internet from a paid newsletter that ran for a month. Get featured by a top writing community in Africa and received coaching advances. What excites me the most is that many others are writing online as well because of the content I put out on my newsletter and Twitter profile.
It’s Important to note that the fear of publishing online may never cease. Even at the later stage. You may still struggle with impostor syndrome as success brings friction. But you’ll have done enough to earn yourself some credibility. And then credibility buys time and time continues to work for you to increase your rewards.
It took Packy Mccormick 13 months to get his first thousand subscribers for his newsletter and now, growth hits one thousand per week. At times, he still feels like a fraud, but he pushes past it by relying on the fact that every piece you publish is a new opportunity to leverage the compound effect.
“The consequences of publishing are not as dire as you think. In your head, it’s worse than it’s gonna actually end up being. ‘What if people don’t like this one?’ Okay, cool. They like the last five, so I’ll come back next week and retry.”
You don’t need confidence in your own ability, it’ll fail sooner or later. You need a body of work instead that proves you can take action, again and again, and again.
So get out there and put your ideas online if you haven’t started. And if you’re already a creator, build your lever daily by staying consistent even when you don’t feel like.
For never has there been an age where with as little as a fragile connection to three letters — www — we can now turn the sandcastles of our dreams into the online edifice of a one-man media empire. Your wildest dreams are possible on the internet. GET BUILDING.
Huge Gratitude to Lyndall Schreiner, Padmini Pyapali, Stew Fortier, Charlie Kubal and Gian Segato of Compound Writing for constructive edits on this essay. As well as Tobi Taiwo, my friend, for final feedback.