How to Turn Your Digital Creator Side Hustle into a Multi-Figure Business with Content Creator CEO, Vanessa Lau

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on October 12, 2022

How people become millionaires and billionaires has shifted dramatically in the past two decades. Before the internet, those who made it big in the private economy leveraged capital and labor. Today, the new forms of wealth creation are in permissionless leverages like code and media.

The transcendence of popular media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok has enabled creators to earn full-time incomes. At its peak, YouTube served more than 2 billion videos a day, which was nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major US television networks combined. Fundamentally, media is scalable. Once you put a video or a podcast out there, it has the potential to build up in viewership over time. On these platforms, every subscription and view creates value for the creator. Personal branding has also become paramount to sustaining the growth of creators, as demonstrated by the business success of TV personalities, musicians, athletes, and celebrities, like Kim Kardashian (owner of multiple companies like SKIMS) and Joe Rogan (Owner of the Joe Rogan Podcast, which attracts millions of views per episode).

Content creation is increasingly becoming a lucrative opportunity that many are curious about getting into. However, there’s a common problem that many ‘solopreneurs’ run into early on when their side hustle starts to grow. That is, they lack the skills of building infrastructure and systems which offer the creators the necessary support, in order to scale. 

“One thing that really helped me let go of the negative mindset patterns that were holding both me and my business back was this idea that I could do everything. Once I started to clearly define roles in my business, for example, Queen B, Director, Operations Manager, Distributor..etc, my business grew exponentially”, says Vanessa Lau, a content creator CEO, and founder of a content education platform for early-stage entrepreneurs.

Here is how to avoid the early traps of content creation, which will allow you to turn your creator side hustle into a full-time business.

Don’t Get Attached to Your Content

Photo by George Milton from Pexels.com

Many creators are passionate and gifted at what they do, and they are able to serve others because they possess an adept degree of skill when it comes to the subject. However, this also means that often they are tied to their art form, and like to resist any form of change. This is the first red flag.

When their pride as a creator is easily tarnished by suboptimal feedback, this tends to create a self-imposed ceiling for success and creates an increased fear of risk-taking.

A big mindset shift has to occur if you wish to move over from a creator to a boss.

Vanessa advises creators to view content creation from a strategic and experimental point of view, saying, “As a CEO, I see each content piece as a pawn to a bigger game I am playing. I create free content to test the market demand for future paid products. I observe what didn’t perform and analyse why. Then, I observe what did perform, and optimise for the next piece.”

When you don’t get attached to one way of doing things, it gives you the opportunity as a creator to take more risks and find what type of content will give you the most generous returns. Of course, what type of content performs well changes with time and varies between audiences, which is why learning to become adaptable is crucial for budding entrepreneurs.

Focus on Building Repeatable, Scalable Processes

One common fallacy that creators make is that they fail to look at how they can turn their creative endeavors into repeatable, scalable processes.

They are forever locked into the role of being the creator or the jack of all trades, with nowhere to run as demand for their work increases. This is why it’s advisable that you focus on building an ecosystem of platforms that operate like a content machine, as soon as you can.

Vanessa explains, “A content machine is a repeatable, scalable system that allows your content to be created consistently and also produce predictable results.”

This means multiple social media platforms that feed into each other to produce more leads, brand awareness, customers, and sales over time. Ideally, the creator is able to focus on creating long-form rich media content, which is then repurposed by a team into short-form content for social media and email.

It’s not uncommon for creators at the start of their careers to not have the bandwidth to produce content on more than two platforms without outsourcing. This brings us to the next point.

Know Your Queen Bee Role

Photo credit: Vanessa Lau, with permission

There are five main skills that are required to keep the content machine running. These skills or personas are Thought Leader, Director, Editor, Distributor, and Business Operator.

As important as all these operational roles are, the Queen/King Bee, which is your role, can never be replaced. “Inside the Beehive, if the Queen Bee dies the whole ecosystem will collapse”, Vanessa alludes. For most content creators, this role will be the Thought Leader, who is the face of the brand from which all ideas stem from.

Once you define your role as a thought leader, it’s time to outsource the rest of the roles, as your revenue permits.

One additional reminder that Vanessa gives is that “You don’t need to outsource all these roles at once as it can take years to get to this point financially. Focus on delegating one by one whenever you can afford to.”

Conclusion

Small and large companies value content creation skills more than ever. However, being in the shoes of a solo creator and operating a full-time content business are two different ball games, and require a massive mindset shift from the creator.

If you want to build a multi-figure business out of content creation, it’s going to take a lot of strategy, trial and error, looking at the data, going back to the drawing board, and pivoting when needed. There’s no room for fear, hoarding all the tasks, or clinging to one methodology when you’re operating at a higher level.

Although it’s not an overnight endeavor to turn your content business into a ‘content machine’, these tips will aid you in the first steps of achieving what has been done and repeated.

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Grit Daily News is the premier startup news hub. It is the top news source on Millennial and Gen Z startups — from fashion, tech, influencers, entrepreneurship, and funding. Based in New York, our team is global and brings with it over 400 years of combined reporting experience.

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