July 4, 2022

Creators 101: Surviving the Long Haul

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Join Morning Brew’s Business Casual host Nora Ali for a deep dive as she finds out how creators can best prepare themselves to survive the long haul. She speaks with experts in monetization, marketing, strategy, and a successful longtime creator. This episode features conversations with Wes Kao, the founder of Maven; Tisha Alyn, a creator who specializes as a golf media personality; and Patreon co-ounder Sam Yam. For more info on our presenting sponsor, check out realvision.com/businesscasual. 

 

Host: Nora Ali

Producer: Bella Hutchins 

Video Editors: McKenzie Marshall and Christie Muldoon

Production, Mixing & Sound Design: Daniel Markus

Music: Daniel Markus & Breakmaster Cylinder

Fact Checker: Kate Brandt 

Senior Producer: Katherine Milsop

VP, Head of Multimedia: Sarah Singer 

 

Full transcripts for all Business Casual episodes available at https://businesscasual.fm

Transcript

Nora Ali: For Morning Brew, this is Business Casual, bringing you convos with people you know, and some you may not know yet, to make business less intimidating. Because money talks, but it does not have to be dull. I'm your host, Nora Ali. Now, let's get down to business.

I'm really excited to bring you this episode of Business Casual, because I am a very avid consumer of creators, as I'm sure most of you are, whether it's on TikTok, on YouTube, or even on Morning Brew. More and more of my friends and colleagues are becoming creators and pursuing content creation as a full-time career. And we talk about creators a lot on our show. It's clear that they love what they do, but a recurring theme is that it's hard to navigate the money side of it. How do you get paid for creating content? How much should you get paid? And most importantly, can you make a career out of it? I'm often left wondering, is it actually possible to sustain a living—meaning earn a regular income, save for retirement, and plan for the future—as a creator?

Today, we're going to find out exactly how creators can best prepare themselves to survive the long haul. We'll hear from experts in monetization, marketing, and strategy, and even from a successful longtime creator, who all offer tips on making money from your brand and planning for your future. We're excited to bring you “Creators 101: Surviving the Long Haul,” right after this quick break.

So first, can you just state your name and your job title?

Sam Yam: Sure, yeah. I'm Sam Yam. I'm the CTO cofounder at Patreon.

Nora Ali: If you want to trace the history of the creator economy from its beginnings until now, you'll inevitably end up talking a lot about platforms. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram—they're all important. One that's perhaps lesser known is Patreon, but it deserves to be mentioned right up at the top of the list of platforms that made the creator economy what it is today. You can see Patreon's influence everywhere, but especially in how creators today are monetizing a very direct connection with their fans. Something that Sam and cofounder Jack Conte thought was missing from the internet landscape at the time.

Sam Yam: The key thesis we had was that creators were just undervalued, like creators and artists. Jack, my cofounder, was producing a lot of content on YouTube. You had folks who were generating hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views, like football stadium-size audience crowds, but then you would get an advertising paycheck, whether it was from YouTube or elsewhere, for a few hundred bucks. And at that time, our belief was that both the work and the people valued these creators a lot more than that. And so, how could we build a sustainable way for artists and creators to get funded directly from their fans?

Nora Ali: If you're just starting out as a creator today, using that direct connection with fans to monetize can be a great approach. And Patreon was revolutionary in being, arguably, the first platform to provide that option. But if you're going to use Patreon, or really any platform, as part of your monetization strategy, you also need a content strategy. That's where our next guest comes in.

Wes Kao: I'm Wes Kao and I'm the cofounder of Maven. We're a platform that makes it really easy for experts and creators to monetize their expertise by teaching online.

Nora Ali: Wes, you developed a creator monetization matrix. Can you tell us about that?

Wes Kao: I have a two-by-two matrix that I call the creator monetization matrix. And so on the X axis, you have scale. So, low scale to high scale. And on the Y axis, you have price point that you can charge as a creator. So at the bottom it's low price points, at the top it's high price points. And so, most creators tend to be overindexed in a certain quadrant. So you might be doing a ton of free content, so you're tweeting, you're doing your free newsletter, you're making podcasts, and you realize that you don't have a great way to monetize all of this great content that you're creating.

On the other hand, there're a lot of creators who are in the opposite bucket, where they might be doing a lot of consulting, hands-on implementation, strategy work, working with clients. And so they're charging a high price point per hour, or per project for their engagements, but they eventually max out on the number of hours that they have in a certain week. And they realize that all of their great work is locked behind NDAs and closed doors, so they can't really show their work in more public ways. If you're a content creator, you want to make sure that you're not overly focused on only monetizing your content, but you also want to make sure that you're not only creating free stuff and not thinking about monetization at all. You really have to think about both.

Nora Ali: But even if you do get the content mix right, audience has to come first. Here's Sam Yam, cofounder of Patreon, again.

Sam Yam: I think what we're trying to emphasize is that there still is a need to build up an audience, and so Patreon doesn't act as a substitution right now for a lot of these platforms where you're originally building up your fans, your community. But what we do focus on is helping create an environment, a space, where people can truly engage and love you as a creator in many ways. And so when you ask this question around what makes a creator ready, I think it's at that point where they want to build a deeper relationship with their community, and then start looking at how they actually want to convert this into a paid, ongoing, sustainable business.

Nora Ali: So Sam, when you think about building that audience, do you think it's important to have a specific skill, or knowledge base, or even expertise, as opposed to, say, relying on virality, if you want to survive for the long haul? This is something we've heard from other experts, but I'd be curious to hear your take on it from what you've seen at Patreon.

Sam Yam: I think there's different dynamics on this. I think if you're very widespread—like you have MrBeast, who just appeals to a large, younger demographic—you still have, within that, segments of super passionate individuals. And then I think if you're focused on a particular niche, then you'll have people that realize there isn't a lot of content out there for them, and when they find that creator that gets them, and that content deeply resonates with them, then they form a very, very strong connection, which is perfect for a membership and building out a community around that, too. So I wouldn't say you have to necessarily pick a lane, but I think it makes sense, as a creator, to decide what resonates for you, and what you're going to be passionate about.

I think that's maybe the key part to this, because there's a lot of hard work in being a creator. And maybe a lot of the perspective is the glam side of things. But if you just listen and you talk to these creators, they tell you how much of a grind it really can be at times, and if you don't truly love the type of creation and work you're doing, it's going to be a tough road, and unlikely to succeed too.

Nora Ali: That grind that Sam's talking about, it's a big thing for creators like our next guest, who does lots of different things within her industry. She has about 1.1 million followers on TikTok, and high profile partnerships with companies like AT&T, Fitbit, and Cisco.

Tisha Alyn: My name is Tisha Alyn and my job title is a golf media personality, although it definitely goes much broader than that, but we'll leave it at golf media personality.

Nora Ali: So what does that mean exactly, golf media personality?

Tisha Alyn: Golf media personality...for me, it entails so many things. I work in golf TV, I work in golf commercial, whether it's a photo shoot or whatever and they need someone, they have me. I was a former professional golfer. I am a social media content creator within the golf space and sport space—a fitness instructor as well, not just golf instructor. So golf media personality, to me, encompasses all those different things. Anything golf? I'm there.

Nora Ali: Oh my gosh. So you really are doing the most out there. How did you end up arriving at that portfolio?

Tisha Alyn: I've been a competitive golfer since I was seven. I began golf at three. That was the very beginning of my journey. And then in 2015, I hopped onto Instagram. My first post ever was literally of a dog wearing a tutu; I didn't know what I was doing at all. I was like, "OK, this is cool. What do you do? Document whatever's in front of you?" And then I started documenting my journey, and then that's how it all happened. I went viral at a very early stage in Instagram and I was like, "Whoa, that's crazy." And then I started to do trick shots, and then that went viral. And then I did a dance trend before TikTok was a thing, because I used to be a competitive dancer. And I remember thinking, "How unprofessional is this of me to be a golfer and doing a hip-hop dance?" I was doing the Juju on That Beat challenge! And it went off! And I remember just throwing my phone away thinking, "I can't believe I did that. Any potential sponsor I have is not going to want me as a professional golfer." It was just a very raw platform, and I went off, and I just started growing and growing and growing. And that's where I was like, "Okay, I guess this is a new thing. Is social media here to stay? I don't know, but it's going to help supplement my career."

Nora Ali: Tisha began monetizing her account through brand deals, but by 2018, her professional golf career started to get in the way.

Tisha Alyn: In 2018, I hit this kind of fork in the road where I was like, "I am now getting offered deals and social media gigs, but all those checks are going to my entry fees for professional golf, and my travel fees, my caddy fees." And it's not easy as a female golfer to break even. I was constantly breaking even because social media was supplementing my professional golf career. And then I was losing all that money. And I was like, "Well, what if I put one down?"

I remember coming to Puma. I'd been with Puma for the last five years, and I was like, "Hey, you guys, I don't think I want to play professionally anymore. If you want to drop me, I understand. Thank you so much for supporting me." And they were like, "Okay, anyway, so can you still post, and can you still model, and can you still show up to our events? Can you still create?" And I was like, "Yeah." And the excitement I had was like, "Oh my gosh, I don't need to play and kill myself to play? This is amazing." And that's when I knew. I was like, "Wait, I love this."

Nora Ali: Now we know from our last deep dive into the creator economy that there are lots of ways to monetize virality in the immediate short term, like branded sponsorships, advertising, selling merch, and even products and experiences. But what is actually sustainable in the long term? For Tisha, the most important first step in becoming a full-time creator is to surround yourself with the team that you trust.

Tisha Alyn: When deals started really becoming a thing, I signed into a new agency that focused more on the media outlet of things versus the professional athlete part of things. And that really changed my perception. And when I signed with my agency—Jess, my agent, we have an amazing bond, and she is also an amazing friend, which I think is very important for anyone who's a creator, to have a great relationship with your team. If you feel like you're a little fish in a big pond, find someone else. That's my biggest advice first of all, because you and your team, you guys are working together to do the same thing, and that's to supplement yourself. And so make sure you're on a team that you feel like you can very much trust one another, because if you don't, then that partnership is not going to last, you'll have legality problems, you don't want any of that. So that's step one.

Nora Ali: You've said that branded sponsorships are important, but those deals can be somewhat unpredictable. So Tisha, how have you had to adjust your approach to financial planning?

Tisha Alyn: In terms of financial planning, gosh, it's just been a whole lot of, "Am I doing this right? Can I talk to an older adult to help me?" I'm messaging other creators, I'm like, "What did you do for taxes?" You're totally learning. But for me, I started to create financial goals in 2018 of like, "Okay, is this going to be sustainable? Can I make X amount of money this year to supply my lifestyle without having to have another form of income, without having to have another job?" Because for me, when it was professional golf, it was social media, but I was also working as a cart girl. At what point can I drop the real, real job? Right, I mean, being a creator's a real job, but you're living gig to gig, and I would hit it every year.

And so that became that, for me, it just became a whole lot of budgeting. And when you're a creator, you are working off check by check, gig by gig. So for me, it was like, in 2018 especially, it was like, "Wow, I am negative this month. I have no gig at all. But next month I know I have a gig that's going to give me $5,000. So what am I going to do with that? How am I going to budget that?" And there was a lot of that until I got bigger deals where I'm like, "Okay, now I can maybe hire on an assistant. Maybe I can get a manager now. Maybe I can have this." But everyone is so different, right? It's about, truly, what is your lifestyle? And yes, I have a retirement plan, I had to learn how to do a solo 401(k), an individual IRA—there's all these things that people don't teach you, but for anyone who is listening, please start investing, and please start getting a savings as young as possible, especially while you're a young creator and you're popping off right now. This is your time to put in money before you can't.

Sam Yam: I follow a YouTuber, Graham Stephan. And he talks a lot about finance, and he's very open about his earnings. And so in a recent video he was talking about how his overall CPM rate—so the amount of money you get paid per a thousand views, has dropped maybe about 25%, which doesn't sound terrible. But that, in conjunction with overall online behavior plateauing and dropping a bit, he's seen his earnings drop almost in half now on YouTube. And I think when you're dependent a lot on this advertising, that can certainly fluctuate a lot based on other companies and corporations' actions. And so, Graham in particular was describing how you're even seeing companies like McDonald's drop their marketing spend by 50%. And if you're involved in the crypto space, Coinbase dropped 98% on its marketing budget. In those cases, oftentimes creators don't have a lot of recourse, they don't have access to email addresses of their audience members, they can't reach out directly to people. Even when you have a bunch of followers on Instagram or YouTube, you're not guaranteed to reach them all when you make a new post. We are trying to build out a platform that actually gives ownership and control, so that you are able to...It may be the case that there are still market conditions where people are behaving differently, but you can try to do new business ideas, you can look for new modernization opportunities, and you own and have access to the audience that you've built up over time.

Nora Ali: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll talk about planning for the long haul as a creator, both in terms of content and finances.

Before the break, we talked about the importance of having a devoted community, but just how big does that community have to be? In 2008, Wired editor Kevin Kelly wrote an essay in which he argued that creators only needed to earn 1,000 true fans, at $100 per fan, per year, to make a living.

Kevin Kelly: The premise is simply that if you have that kind of ability to connect with your audience directly, and you don't have all these other people involved, with publishers, and music studios, and everybody, if you're actually creating and dealing directly within, that the numbers that you need to actually get a living are very small. I call those people that are going to be most valuable to you true fans, because the true fans are fans that will purchase anything that you produce, on all the varieties, all the different editions, all the different venues, whatever it is.

Nora Ali: And for a long time, this idea that you need a thousand true fans has been a near universal refrain when talking about the creator economy. But Wes and others believe there's a shift happening right now in the creator economy, and that you don't even need 1,000 true fans anymore, because a smaller, more devoted group of fans will pay even more for premium content. That idea was popularized by Li Jin, a passion economy expert, and the cofounder of Variant Fund. She wrote a viral blog post on her website that offered an update to Kevin Kelly's idea. To make a living as a creator, she argued that you only need 100 true fans, not 1,000. Here's Li discussing it in her own words, from an April 2021 episode of Business Casual.

Li Jin: How do we make the passion economy more accessible to more people? It's not interesting to me if there's only thousands, or tens of thousands, or even one million creators in the world. Where it gets really interesting for me as a human, as a person in this society, and as an investor, is if this is really a large-scale transformation in how a lot of people work. And one of those paths for the passion economy being an accessible path for more people is that you can be a small-scale creator, and not have that many fans and followers, and not have a huge audience, but still be able to monetize.

So the concept of a hundred true fans really came out of that. How can someone even with just a hundred fans be able to make a living? You can basically charge more if you're delivering more value to a small number of people. Rather than charging a thousand fans $10 a month, if you are creating content that literally changes or improves someone's life, you can charge a lot more than that, and still make a decent living off of just a hundred true fans.

Nora Ali: You could say that Maven's cohort-based course model puts the 100 true fans idea into practice.

Wes Kao: With a cohort-based course, you can charge anywhere between $500 per student to $5,000 per student. And the average prices that we see creators charge are $750 to about $1,500. So, if you're charging premium prices, you're able to really create an amazing experience for this group of diehard fans that is willing to pay a premium to learn directly from you. It's not like you need $5 or $10 per month for a Substack newsletter, even. It's a lot of work to need to create a weekly high-quality newsletter, and you need a lot of subscribers at $10 a month. Whereas if you're teaching a cohort-based course, you might teach two to four times per year, once a quarter, for a couple weeks. And so, in terms of an ROI on your time, and the amount of revenue that you can make for teaching for a couple weeks, we see creators making anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000 per couple weeks of teaching if they don't have much of an audience or no audience, to—if you have a big audience, like Lenny Rachitsky, Pomp, Sahil Bloom, you can make between a $100,000 to $200,000 in just a couple of weeks.

Nora Ali: Does Patreon embody that model, where it's maybe focused on a smaller, more engaged audience, versus just trying to have the biggest audience possible?

Sam Yam: Well, certainly I think the community that you're building on Patreon is different than the sort of mass eyeballs, and that treadmill of having to produce more content in order to pull in more eyeballs from an algorithmic feed. I will say, over time what we've noticed is that the willingness—and this could be for a multitude of factors, including people being more comfortable to pay creators directly, and also creators understanding what communities value—we've seen the amount paid by patrons increase over time. Originally it was something on the order of $10 a month, and we've seen it slowly creep up to around $13 a month. And of course it varies too from creator to creator.

We're also noticing that again, as this idea of subscribing directly to creators is becoming more ubiquitous, that there are patrons just subscribing to multiple creators. It wasn't the case originally that the majority of our revenue, or the amount of money being sent to creators—and now that exceeds over a billion dollars per year just on Patreon—but it wasn't the case that that came primarily from people supporting multiple creators at a time. But now, over half of the revenue that does come through is from patrons subscribing to multiple creators at once. So I think just overall, this concept of subscribing and becoming members to creators that you care deeply about is becoming more and more common.

Nora Ali: Do you have any insight as to the sorts of creators that maybe perform the best on Patreon? Is there any sort of voice, or type of audience, choice of platform that seems to lend itself to sustained success?

Sam Yam: Well, first of all, I think there's a lot of aspects around community building, and understanding what resonates with other like-minded people, that is really important. The largest proxy that we've seen is just the love of your community towards you and your work. So it's not tied to a particular sector or even dimension of category. Oftentimes we've seen huge successes in things that run the variety of true crime podcasts, one of my favorite ones is this Humans of New York, where you have Brandon posting these stories of everyday peers around you, and it's so fascinating just hearing the narratives of their lives.

But I will say, we have seen in past years, whether you want to call it resurgence, or...a lot of success in the podcasting space in particular, so it's interesting that we're in podcast. I think part of that has to do with both the level of depth of the relationship that people feel when you're talking into their ear on a continuous basis—you really seem to understand the inside mind of that host or that creator. And I think there's also an aspect to it, unfortunately, of frequency, where you just have more touchpoints over time, and that also builds a closer relationship.

Nora Ali: Wes has also thought a lot about growing and sustaining her audience long term. On Twitter, she has amassed 141,000 followers by posting threads that her audience loves to interact with. And I wanted to know how she thinks about engaging with that audience.

Wes Kao: I think the old way of thinking about content was thinking about what do I want to write about as a creator? And then doing that. I think the new way is thinking about what would my readers want to read about, that I am also excited about. I really look at it as a Venn diagram overlap of areas that I'm excited about, that I have expertise in, plus also that my audience would find juicy and interesting.

So another framework that I have is that as an online creator nowadays, you have to be 50% instructor, 50% entertainer. And if you are just all one or the other, if you're all instructor and you're sharing great tweet threads, teaching things, but it's boring and it's dry and it's slow, there's no rhythm, there's no pacing, people are not going to want to read it. They're not even going to stop scrolling, they're just going to scroll right past you. But if you are 100% entertainer, you're kind of the living incarnation of a BuzzFeed listicle. You hook people in, but there's not a lot of meat or substance that makes someone want to follow you and read more content from you.

So by balancing 50% instructor, 50% entertainer, you really think about how do I make this important concept that I think my audience should learn about, that I'm excited to teach—how do I make it juicy? How do I hook them in? And if you think about all your favorite creators, they have a way of making topics more interesting than 90% of other people who also talk about that same topic, right? Whether that's communication, or music history, or crypto, or management principles. There's a lot of people out there talking about these topics, and have been for decades. But for some reason, they are able to share what I call a spiky point of view. It's a bit contrarian, not contrarian for the sake of stirring the pot and riling people up, but they have a unique point of view that helps their audience think in a different way, and stops them in their tracks long enough to actually share the rest of the story.

Nora Ali: Tisha, who is most active on TikTok and Instagram, has mastered the strategy for making her juicy and spiky posts that go viral live on for as long as possible. I do want to reference one of your most-viewed TikToks, which I've watched several times. It has nearly 11 million views. You use this super popular sound and as you dance to it's the "and when you bamba," and whatever...["You Want to Bamba" song]. And then you're dancing to that clip, and the caption, or the text on top, says, "When a straight friend tells me they think they're bi-curious." So this has nothing to do with golf, but it is a very highly viewed TikTok. Everyone's simping in the comments—there was one comment that said, "I'm a gay man, but you have me questioning myself." So you have a viral video like that; you didn't think it was going to go viral...

Tisha Alyn: No!

Nora Ali: Do you feel this pressure to capitalize on it?

Tisha Alyn: Yeah!

Nora Ali: Like follow up with something, or does it...yeah. So what do you do with that? You have a video with 11 million views, what's the next step?

Tisha Alyn: So for anyone who has a video that pops off for whatever their ratio of followers are, go off of it. Respond to a comment within that and then do it again, or do the same trend over and over again. So I don't know if you saw it, but for that specific trend, I did that same trend, responding to a comment another three more times, which allowed that video to live longer, and for the next two videos to go viral. The first one was "You Want To Bamba" if a straight friend says they're bi-curious, and I'm gay, and so I was like, "Okay, that went off." And the next one said something like, "I'd love to marry you" or something, and so I did one wearing white, and I was like, "Okay! You want to bamba? You want to marry me?" And then someone said, "I'd love to take a golf lesson from you." So I'm in a golf outfit, I'm like, "Okay, you want to bamba? You want to do this?" And it just went off, and you want to create longevity whenever you have a spike of views. And it just gets you poppin'.

Nora Ali: We're going to take another quick break. When we come back, we'll talk about burnout.

Tisha Alyn: It is, not gonna lie, very hard to balance everything. So it's really just a juggle of what time I have and my energy, but I do my best to not force myself.

Wes Kao: Too many people set an insanely high bar for themselves of wanting to create so much content everywhere all the time, and then it just feels like you're on this neverending rat race of creating content.

Nora Ali: That's next.

As a creator, you're always on, and if you're looking to build longevity in your career, there's more pressure to post consistently and keep the momentum going. Journalist Taylor Lorenz reported on this issue in a June 2021 article for The New York Times titled "Young Creators Are Burning Out and Breaking Down." She traced the creator burnout phenomenon across all platforms, beginning with Instagram and YouTube influencers, and continuing on TikTok and Twitch.

Taylor Lorenz: There was one kid that I spoke to that talked about feeling like he could become irrelevant any day, just by some big tech company changing an algorithm, you know? These tech companies want to sell this version of creators as entrepreneurs, right? They try to say, "Hey, you're starting your own business, right?" But you're building it all on the back of these tech platforms that ultimately hold the cards. And so, it can just be a really precarious profession...

Nora Ali: Lorenz spoke with several TikTok creators who had reached their breaking points after finding some success on the platform at the height of the pandemic. Lauren Stasyna, a then 22-year-old TikTok creator in Toronto, told Lorenz, "It almost feels like I'm getting a taste of celebrity, but it's never consistent and as soon as you get it, it's gone and you're constantly trying to get it back. It feels like I'm trying to capture this prize, but I don't know what that prize even is."

Wes Kao: I think the best way to do this is stepping back a little bit from the tactics of your content calendar, or all the platforms you want to create content on, and really thinking about, what is the goal of your content? What is your content for? And also what is your personality and orientation as a creator? So if you are a creator operator or a creator founder, you might be using content to share more about your category, right? And if that's the case, you might not need to be on five different platforms all at once, because you are still operating a company, you know? And I think too many people set an insanely high bar for themselves of wanting to create so much content everywhere all the time, and then it just feels like you're on this neverending rat race of creating content. Whereas if you narrow in on, "Okay, maybe our target customer's mainly on Twitter. That's where we're going to start. And we're going to start with a thread a week."

That's basically what I did. For years beforehand, I had tried creating content on multiple platforms all at once, and it was just really overwhelming, and I would always do it for a couple weeks and then give up. But this time I focused just on Twitter, because that's where our target customers were, and started with something really simple, one thread a week. And I was able to maintain that over several months and I'm still going with that cadence. And I think that made a really big difference for concentrating our efforts in one area enough to really hit critical mass.

Nora Ali: Tisha takes the same approach when it comes to juggling her TikTok and Instagram content.

Tisha Alyn: I think all of us creators experience burnout, because not everything can be repurposed. I think the best thing about TikTok is that, because there is Instagram Reels, you can mostly, for the most part, bounce it back and forth and it's going to receive well. If you go on Instagram Reels, you're basically watching a lot of recycled TikToks, to be honest, just without the watermark.

Nora Ali: Yeah.

Tisha Alyn: But for myself, I'm actually going through a slight burnout lull right now, but it's because I'm traveling and working, and I'm having a hard time balancing trying to figure out the trends on TikTok and whatnot. But I think for anyone who is experiencing and trying to live on all these platforms, it's okay if you can't focus all at once. If you feel like, "Ah, you know what? My Instagram is a little low, I don't have enough content there, but I'm just really relating to TikTok. These are quick trends that I can do, and I don't have to be all crazy and edit all that much. I can just do a quick trend and I relate." Okay, focus on that. Focus on one thing at a time. Or you feel like, "You know what? I don't want to put my makeup on at all, I'm just going to share my opinions on Twitter and that's where I'm going to live right now." Okay, do that. Because that's still allowing you to grow in some way. Versus, "I'm overwhelmed. I'm going to step back completely." If you still feel a little bit of passion towards one platform versus another, put your eggs in that basket for now.

And for myself, I have a lot of different pillars that I focus on, whether it's golf instruction, golf trick shots, dancing, other sports, speaking, TV, so when I get burnt out, I find what's exciting me right now, and I switch my focus to whatever that pillar is. And that could be within a different platform in itself. So don't pressure yourself to live on everything. I think we all go through that as a creator who's trying so hard to grow, but you just gotta count the little wins.

Nora Ali: Does Patreon maybe help to lengthen content shelf life for creators, where maybe they don't feel like they have to be on the hamster wheel of content creation?

Sam Yam: Yeah. The way we like to maybe describe this is that instead of having this...I liked your description of a hamster wheel, but this constant need to feed the feed on these other platforms, is that we're very much focused on much more intimate and meaningful connections among your audience. And so, versus just churning out content, it really is much more oftentimes a participatory creation, where you have fans who care deeply about your work engaging, whether it's through commentary or just engaging within themselves in the community. Oftentimes we have creators who are connected to their Discord and they see community members really rally together around their work, such that you're not always onto the next piece of content, but rather you can engage more deeply with your audience in those moments, and plus, you know that they care deeply, and they're supporting you too.

Nora Ali: Another important part of this work: Know yourself.

Wes Kao: So one of my favorite stories is of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. So, two great musicians, legends, and they had very different styles. So, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen were sitting in a cafe in Paris one day; their paths often intertwined. And they're chatting over a cup of coffee and Bob Dylan says to Leonard Cohen, "You know, Leonard, I loved "Hallelujah." How long did it take you to write?" And Leonard Cohen says "Two years." And says, "You know, Bob, I really loved one of your songs, how long did it take you?" And Bob Dylan says, "Uh, about 15 minutes." And Leonard Cohen is just absolutely floored. And he says, "Okay, I lied. It actually took me five years to write 'Hallelujah.'" So I think it's just such a wild story of two super successful musicians, totally different styles, both can work. There are people who are maybe a little bit more self-conscious or kind of overthinkers. So I am in this bucket of overthinkers, so this is a very...

Nora Ali: Me too, Wes.

Wes Kao: ...known problem to me.

Nora Ali: Yes.

Wes Kao: You know? And we've seen many of our peers and friends just publish stuff that...I have drafts sitting for seven months. I have articles that took me five months to write, you know? And if I'm honest, it actually took two years. And so for me, I don't sign up for super intense content creation schedules, because that's not who I am. I wouldn't be able to create high-quality content in the way that I want to. So I set up a cadence that works for me. So I think really not copying blankly what everyone else is doing, and instead figuring out how can I create content that works with my natural orientation, you're going to be able to do it for a lot longer. And content is a long game. So you want to be able to not burn yourself out.

Nora Ali: All right, Tisha, we have a bonus segment we're calling Shoot Your Shot, which I guess can mean a lot of things as a golfer. But this question is around your moonshot idea. What is your biggest ambition and your wildest dream? This is your chance to shoot your shot and put it out in the world. So go for it, Tisha.

Tisha Alyn: I think one that's kind of obtainable, but it's still shooting my shot: I've always dreamt of being on Dancing with the Stars. That's been, as a golfer, to be on Dancing with the Stars, to grow golf that way? That would be amazing, so that's one. The next one would be, if there was a Bachelorette, like the show, like The Bachelor, Bachelorette, but for the LGBTQ+ community? But I don't know how to logistically make that work, because if it was an all-girl thing, all the girls would just date one another, and I'd need to be like, "Hey, listen, I'm the Bachelorette. Can we refocus that energy? Only choose me?" I don't know. But I feel like if that could be very normalized, that would be really awesome, I think, for...it can be still a respectable, clean show, but just love in different ways, you know? But...yeah.

Nora Ali: It doesn't have to be a clean show, Tisha, everyone...

Tisha Alyn: Okay, we can do it...

Nora Ali: ...can hook up with each other, and that creates drama. That's what sells to the networks. I think we're on to something. Okay, MTV, let's...

Tisha Alyn: Let's design this up.

Nora Ali: ...develop this show together.

Tisha Alyn: OK.

Nora Ali: All right. We will leave things there. I'm so happy, this was such a fun conversation. Tisha, thank you for joining us on Business Casual.

Tisha Alyn: Thank you.

Nora Ali: This is Business Casual, and I am Nora Ali. You can follow me on Twitter @NoraKAli, and I would love to hear from you. If you have ideas for episodes, comments, thoughts on episodes you loved, fun segment ideas—shoot me a DM and I'll do my best to respond. You can also reach the BC team by emailing at businesscasual@morningbrew.com, or call us! That number is 862-295-1135. And if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to Business Casual on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. And if you like the show, please leave a rating and a review. It really, really helps us. Business Casual is produced by Katherine Milsop and Bella Hutchins. Additional production, sound design, and mixing by Daniel Markus. Kate Brandt is our fact checker, Sarah Singer is our VP of multimedia. Music in this episode from Daniel Markus and The Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. Thank you so much for listening. I'm Nora Ali. Keep it business, and keep it casual.