Many people who want to earn a living from creative work get stuck trying to figure out a business model. Meanwhile they’re not actually doing much creating. They’re waiting for clarity.
Waiting for clarity is a waste of time. So is trying to figure out the perfect transition plan in advance. It’s easier to find clarity when you’re in motion.
I suggest that you start simpler. Focus on getting into the rhythm of creating and sharing. Don’t worry about monetization. Don’t worry about the business model – not if that’s a cause of stuckness for you.
If you’re going to focus on anything, seek to find the people who will appreciate what you can create and share. Appreciation is a sign that value is being received and acknowledged. If there’s no appreciation, such as thank you’s and other forms of acknowledgement coming back to you, chances are that little value is being delivered. Don’t mistakenly assume that this implies you’re not creating value. It’s more likely that you’re not sharing with the right people.
If you create something and share it, and the people you share it with don’t appreciate it, stop sharing with them. Someone else will appreciate it, so share it somewhere else – anywhere else. Even if you bop around randomly trying to find the right people, it’s better than wasting your life sharing with misaligned people who will whine at you or ignore ou.
If you’re sharing on social media, I’d go so far as to drop the people who don’t like what you’re sharing or who go out of their way to criticize you. They’ll only slow you down. Clear them out, and make some room for aligned people to get through.
It’s fine if some people in your audience are neutral, but if they’re dead weight as far as appreciation goes, then don’t invest in trying to please them. Just let ’em go.
Trust that you’ll find your audience. You’ll find your real audience faster by quickly firing the wrong audience members.
Seek to create in tune with appreciation, at least if you want to make your creating and sharing sustainable. Money is a form of appreciation, and if the appreciation is there, it isn’t that hard to turn that into income. But it’s pretty damned hard to do that if there’s little or no appreciation.
You can still work on business models. You can still experiment with income generation along the way. But the fundamental piece to get working early on is creating and sharing. No one can stop you from doing that. You can start on that today.
Once you find people who appreciate your work, you can even co-create your business model with them. That’s how I got started. People who appreciated my work shared ideas and suggestions for how I could monetize it. Some gave me examples of how other people were monetizing work that I might adopt as well. All I had to do was follow that flow, and it was the regular creating and sharing that made it sustainable.
You’ll probably have some objections to doing this. That’s fine. My counter-objection is that creating and sharing, even without much of a plan, works a lot better than vacillating, delaying, second-guessing yourself, and perhaps the most popular lament of all: I don’t know how. So if your objections are keeping you stuck, maybe they don’t amount to a hill of beans. If you create and share regularly and you move towards people who appreciate what you share, you can eventually have lots of hills with lots of beans.
Remember how easy it was to create stuff when you were a kid. Just grab some colored paper, glue, scissors, and make a mess with it. Someone will appreciate it if you show it to enough people. I’ve seen displays in modern art museums that look no better than what a five-year old could create, and there are still people who appreciate it. So get your crusty, whiny, cowardly AF adult brain out of your way, and just create and share stuff. If you don’t know where to start, pretend that you’re five years old, and start anyway.