Struggling To Create Your *Own* Content?
Since my last email, I’ve been having more insightful convos with other service providers about WHY we find it so hard to create content for ourselves.
Despite knowing we have to do it (to market ourselves and sharpen our skills)…
And despite being excellent at creating content for others…
When we’re faced with the option to work on our own content, we get slammed back by the resistance boulder.
And after some reflection, here’s my theory why —
When you’re a service provider, it’s really easy to hide behind your clients and build their business instead of yours.
And the reason it feels “easy” isn’t just because we have an urgent deadline to meet.
But because we know we’ll get a boost of immediate validation once we’re done.
We love getting feedback emails that say, “Love it. No revisions necessary.”
We thrive off testimonials that tell us our work made them cry happy tears or made them more money.
We crave the dopamine boost when we’re doing something right and our work is good.
(Possibly fuelled by the fact most of us don’t have a degree or certification in our service. So we need all the validation we can get that we don’t suck and we’re not a fraud.)
And, if you stagger your payments, finishing client work also means you’ll get the wonderful Stripe notification that the rest of your invoice has been paid!
(By far, my fave email).
With all that glorious validation waiting on the other side, it’s no wonder we can find the strength and motivation to drag our butt to the chair and chip away at a 5,000 word sales page — even when we’re sick.
To spend hours wracking our brains for the perfect headline or noodling over the value prop.
We’ll write our hearts out and bust our 🍑 making sure client work always gets done.
But when we’re faced with the choice to create our own content, we’re more likely to let roadblocks knock us off course.
And that’s because there isn’t always an immediate payoff.
Most of the time, there is no validation.
An Instagram caption or email we spend hours pouring our heart and love into may not get the comments, views, or likes we want.
The podcast episode we scripted and researched may only get downloads from your mum and the 5 other relatives she coerced into listening.
The workshop you felt passionate about hosting may get 0 sign-ups, leaving you twiddling your thumbs alone in the Zoom room.
And that possibility — that risk that people don’t care or don’t think as highly of our *own* thoughts and stories as we do — is terrifying.
It’s enough to stop us from creating something of our own. Or give up halfway.
Especially when our minds start exploring what that lack of validation means about our work, our talent, our craft.
(Like, maybe we do suck after all).
So we continue choosing to hide behind our client’s thoughts and opinions.
BUT I’m learning if we never get into the habit of stretching our creative muscles —
Creating for ourselves will always feel ~off~.
And we’ll continue shoving our own creative ideas in a drawer in favour of prioritising client work, and always creating for others instead of ourselves.
Which is fine if serving and supporting your clients behind the scenes makes you happy…
But if you’ve read this far…I’m willing to bet you have a desire to create something more.
You want to write a book that lingers in the hearts and minds of your readers.
You want to be known for your own thoughts within AND outside of copywriting and marketing — and invited to share them on other people’s platforms.
You want to have the option, the space, to pivot and create another business if you wanted to. (And know you have an audience that cares enough to follow you wherever you go).
And something inside you withers and aches every time you turn your back against creating, and then see someone else boldly forging ahead.
(Not like I’m speaking from experience or anything…).
So here’s what I’m doing to continue the habit of creating for myself even when I don’t get ~immediate validation~.
1) Stop looking at vanity metrics
I can’t tell you how many email subscribers I have or who unsubscribed from my last email.
I don’t look at my Instagram followers or check how many likes my posts get.
I literally don’t know. And that’s because I cover the screen or change my settings so I don’t see it.
From experience, I know looking at the data (when I’m not in the right headspace) has left me second-guessing my craft and feeling deflated.
So I’m adopting the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
The growth marketers in the room are having mini-heart attacks.
But growing my numbers simply isn’t the goal for me right now.
My goal is to continue getting in the habit of creating for myself, and building my body of work — despite how many likes and subs I get.
And to not have my creativity limited by metrics and algorithms I have no control over.
2) Creating content that feels fun
I’m a huge advocate for creating strategic content — especially in the pre-launch stage.
I love connecting the dots and creating the big-picture strategy for my clients so they have a roadmap to follow for their launch.
But lately, I’ve been asking myself:
“What if creating could be fun?”
What if I didn’t put so much pressure on coming up with topics that’ll get me immediate sales, and leads, and eyeballs on my work.
What if I threw out the roadmap (for now) and give myself permission to take a detour.
To share the things that light me up and feel fun to create along the way — even if there’s no strategy behind it?
And let me tell you — since adopting that mentality ^ the ideas have come bursting out like a flood.
Right now, that looks like:
- Sending emails (like this one) on whatever topic drops into my heart and mind.
- Experimenting with making TikTok videos, like memes, mini vlogs, sharing tips with the camera, and not caring about the metrics (See point 1).
- Potentially creating a free sales page guide. Not because I’m aiming to make a bunch of sales at the end of it…
But because I LOVE writing sales pages and teaching. And I feel like this guide will be fun for me to create while also providing tremendous, free value.
If people end up booking sales page audits and my VIP Intensives at the end, yay!
But if they don’t, that’s fine too.
There will come a time when I’ll have to be more strategic with my content for my business.
But again, that’s not my biggest goal right now.
Having fun is.
And now, I feel so much more energised to sit behind my desk and write.
3) Remember the long game
If you’ve read this far down, something’s resonating.
You want to be in business, creating, for the long haul.
And that means you and I will have to get comfortable doing things that may not get immediate short-term results (cough validation cough)…
BUT will pay off tremendously in the future.
Like, putting out consistent work to develop your own voice — even if it doesn’t get you sales right now.
Lobbing a bunch of spaghetti marinara at the wall to see what sticks — AKA seeing what parts of your story outside of marketing and copywriting resonates.
Starting from 0 on a new platform or pivoting your business to what you really want to do.
Discovering what type of content/topics/services feels fun and effortless to create and deliver.
(Because what’s the point of having a business that burns you out and makes you want to quiet quit?)
None of those things may give you the immediate validation you crave.
But staying committed to the long-game can be the catalyst that triggers a newfound passion, and brand-spanking new opportunities in your future.
Great post, I greatly reasonate with all of it.