In 2015 I became an Online Content Creator, which just means I’m in the business of creating content (videos, pictures, text) and sharing it online (social media, youtube, websites). Other titles frequently used are blogger or YouTuber.
My company, Mother Daughter Projects, all began with a belief that there was value in visually sharing the projects my mom and I were doing around the house. I thought others would find encouragement in seeing us, a mother and daughter, working together to accomplish these tasks.
This simple concept is where my online world began. I had social media accounts before this, and posted occasionally, but had no idea what I was in for when my side passion project turned into a full time business.
Six months after starting Mother Daughter Projects, I decided to leave my job and see if I could make MDP my full time job. I had some back-up plans for income as the business got off the ground, and had savings and no debt to worry about.
Now four years in, I have learned some important lessons about being an online content creator in which I sell myself (my projects, skill level, takeaways, personality, etc.)
1. Passion doesn't pay the bills, but it does lay the ground work.
Mom and I love to create. It’s in our bones, and creative ideas are the easiest part of the job for us. Early on, we realized we needed to focus our creativity into four areas (home improvement, maintenance, decor and tech) so our audience knew what to expect from our content. Along with passion for projects, we have passion for brands. As we worked on projects, we tagged the tools and brands we were using. The brands took notice, and many of them are our sponsors today.
2. Run it like a business (because it is!)
I make a schedule for each day which starts at 6:30 am. At any given time, we are planing a project, working on a project, editing the video for a project and/or posting a project (pre-production, production, post-production). We have checklists for each step to ensure nothing is overlooked. Along with projects, we have daily email communication with sponsors we are currently working with or are developing a relationship with. I don’t wake up each day wondering what I’ll do—I go to bed knowing I have my list ready and waiting for me when I wake up.
3. Develop Tough Skin
People can be mean—especially with the anonymity of a keyboard in front of them! I read all comments, and if they are just mean, and don’t add any value to the project or conversation, they get deleted. 90% of the comments are positive or helpful. I don’t let those 10% have a negative impact on me and my desire to share DIY.
4. I Don't Have to Share Everything
Once my passion become my job, I felt like every time I made a project, I needed to record it. Big or small, I would spend so much time setting up the camera and getting the right angle, that I didn’t enjoy the project. So now I allow myself to do some projects, just for the fun or need of it, and don’t share it all. I also don’t feel the need to share everything I do on social media anymore. If I don’t post for a few days, I’m ok with that. Some things are just for me and my family.
5. Personal Mental Health is Most Important
At the end of the day, I need to be mentally well to be in this business. I have weekly meetings with my Celebrate Recovery sponsor, monthly appointments with my psychologist, and make time for self-reflection.
Because of the lessons I’ve learn, this gave me the confidence to write my memoir and publicly share it. I’m still nervous about how people might react online, but I have dealt with haters these past few years and survived. I have gained more confidence in myself, and do not let random strangers online dictate my feelings.
If you are considering an online career, I encourage you to just take that first step. Be open to learning at each step, and step back and do personal reflection when necessary.