I made the leap into full-time content creation in February 2022.
Leading up to that monumental date, I had effectively undertaken a phased approach to turning off 50% of my income. Contract by contract, I sent emails, made calls, and explained to several very supportive people that it was time for me to move on and make Mark Ellis Reviews my full-time gig.
I had no idea whether it was a good idea or not. Despite my personal brand growing surprisingly quickly and generating a liveable income after just two years of operation, I was still nervous. We were expecting our first child, the economy remained shaky, and I still had that ever-present feeling of imposter syndrome.
As it turns out, it was the best decision I’ve ever made professionally.
If you’re in a similar position to the one I was in a year ago but you’re still wondering whether to not to commit, this guide is for you.
Equally, if you’re starting a creative venture which you want to turn into a full-time gig one day, these are the signs to look out for.
1. You’re experiencing consistent audience growth
You’ll know when this happens.
When you start creating content online – be it video, audio, or written stuff – it’ll feel like you’re simply chucking yourself out into the ether. You’ll get a few bites here and there, but there’s a good chance you probably know three of the audience members, and one of them is your mum.
This is why so many content creators fail. It’s why they give up and decide it’s either ‘not for them’ or ‘too hard to break through’.
All you need is persistence and consistency. They are both massive clichés, but they’re unavoidable. You’ll find your audience if you keep turning up each day and target a small, defined niche. When that audience starts to grow at a rate of knots (which it will), you’re onto something.
2. Your brand and style feel established
Finding your voice as a content creator is more challenging than you might think.
“Just be yourself,” people will say. I’ve suggested that myself in past guides.
But it isn’t as easy as that.
Chances are, you’ll have been inspired by one or several existing, successful content creators. You’ll have devoured their videos, munched through their playlists, and listened to every past episode of their podcast. There’s nothing wrong with this; admiring the likes of Peter McKinnon, Marques Brownlee, and Thomas Heaton is how I started my YouTube journey.
The challenge you’ll encounter is falling into the trap of trying to be the people you admire and whose work inspires you. In doing so, you’ll come across as nothing more than a cheap imitation – and the audience will realise that.
Instead, be as naturally yourself as one can be on camera or behind the words, and you’ll begin to establish a brand that feels like yours. More importantly, after a period of time, it’ll feel established; its own living, breathing entity that can take on the world.
When it feels like that, you’ve got something worth pursuing – big time.
3. You have financial stability (or a war chest)
I didn’t jump into full-time content creation last year without a penny in the bank. In fact, since starting my own business in 2015, I’ve built a sizeable financial war chest.
This was for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to have the ability to invest in the business. I’d need studio space, gear, review units, and external help, and all of that stuff costs money. I didn’t want to wait on the next affiliate cheque to be able to afford what the business needed.
Secondly, I wanted to be able to continue paying myself and feeding my family if everything went south. Being able to pay yourself for at least twelve months without any income generation is, in my opinion, a key target for anyone who wants to get into full-time content creation.
This is, again, why so many people don’t make the grade. It’s serious stuff.
4. You’ve established a content creation process
People often ask how I produce so much content in a week. The answer is simple: I have brilliant processes (even if I say so myself).
In order to become a successful, profitable content creator, you’ll need to establish your own bullet-proof, refined processes. They’ll take time to develop, and they’ll never be perfect – but that’s the point.
Once you find a piece of software that makes you more efficient – stick with it. When you find a shortcut that gets a piece of content out of the door quicker – take advantage of it every single time.
Build checklists for everything you create.
Don’t have your head turned by fancy new gear or software.
Stick with what works, create those processes, and you’ll know when you’ve built a machine that’s capable of delivering a consistently growing income.
5. You love the content creation process
This is the most important sign because, without love for your craft, you’ll never make it.
It’s super challenging, too – as anyone who has turned a hobby or something they love into a money-making endeavour will know, the fun often evaporates, quickly.
I deeply love what I do. I love writing, I adore making videos, and I’ve discovered a new passion for helping people achieve what I’ve achieved. But all of those things are bloody hard work when they’re your full-time gig. They’ll test your patience, you’ll occasionally wake up and feel uninspired, and you might sometimes wonder if it’s worth it.
However, if the answer you always fall on is “yes, this is what I’m here for”, then you’re on the path to becoming a full-time content creator.
I hope today’s ramblings have given you the inspiration you need to crack on. I’ve been in your exact position – I know how frustrating it can be to feel as though you’re trapped and unable to dive headfirst into what you’re truly passionate about.
You can, though. I did it! The signs above come as a package, but they can creep up on you much faster than you think.
Keep going. Look for the signs. And, when you’re ready, make the leap.
Before you go
My Medium Academy is now open for registration! I’m sharing ALL of my secrets for becoming a successful writer! Find out more here.