Not a Full-Time Creator

By Nat Eliason in Life

Published or Updated on Dec 22, 2020

As I was preparing for stepping out of Growth Machine, the big question in my mind was "what will I work on next?"

For a while, I thought it would be to focus on this site, my YouTube, and other media, so I could be a "full time creator."

Now I'm realizing I don't want to do that.

The most interesting writers and "thought leaders" to me are the ones who are out doing something, and then use what they're working on to influence their writing and other media.

The problem with being a full-time creator is you have to start caring about the business of what you create. When you primarily make money from your following, you are no longer as free to say whatever you want or create whatever you want to create.

Paul Graham is an incredible writer partially because he's entirely free to say whatever he wants. He has more fuck-you-money than he could possibly know what to do with, so if he pisses off a million people on Twitter it doesn't really matter.

When I started working on my YouTube, I had set a goal of hitting 20,000 subscribers by the end of this year and 100,000 by the end of 2021. I don't care about that anymore. The subscriber goal was pushing me to do broader-appealing topics I'm not that interested in, and to edit the videos or thumbnail them in a way that would make them more clickbaity. I'd rather make videos I'm happy with and grow the following slowly. I don't particularly care if it ever hits 100,000 or a million subscribers, just like I never check the stats for this site except to use a screenshot of them for something.

I've wrote about this before, but this site is fairly underoptimized from a financial and audience building perspective, but it still does pretty well. I'd prefer it to be that way. Once your art becomes a business, it stops being as artful. I don't want to turn into another Twitter account just rehashing the same platitudes.

So, I don't intend to be a full-time creator. This isn't meant to disparage or discourage anyone who is, I think it's a great career if it works for you, it's just not for me.

We'll see what is.

hero image credit to lithub.


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