Finding success as a creator isn't all great. In fact, popularity can actually move you away from the special sauce that made your content stand out in the first place. Why is that?
You see, the moment you have something to lose, you begin to overthink every decision. It becomes harder and harder to take a chance on spur-of-the-moment content. Fear then starts to short-circuit the creative exploration that is part of the fun of building an online brand.
My friend Matt Wolfe is dealing with this right now. He's doing fantastic work on YouTube, where his AI news channel pulls massive numbers. In this episode, I share the advice I gave him to help keep the creative spark alive.
Here's the thing — in entrepreneurship, we can't just adapt to where the market and our audience are going. We also have to adapt to ourselves and find new pursuits that bring us joy and keep us motivated!
Listen in on today's session to learn more about how to find the fun in your work and avoid one of the major pitfalls of success!
SPI 724: The Bigger You Get... The Harder You Question
Announcer: You're listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he thinks Tuesday is the best day because tacos, Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: We had a really great conversation with Shawn Stevenson on Wednesday's episode. If you haven't heard that, you should.
But, even before that, I want you to pay attention to this tweet, or this, is it still called a tweet even though it's an X? I guess it's a post on X? That just doesn't sound as good. Anyway, I'm still gonna call it a tweet. This comes from my good friend Matt Wolf. Now, you may have heard that name before around the WordPress space because he had a brand called the WordPress Classroom way back around the time that I started blogging myself.
And since then, he's sort of made a transition. Similar to how I have made an addition of Pokemon into my career and sort of where I'm going with the YouTube channel. Matt recently, I think after selling his business, started a YouTube channel about AI, and it's blown up pretty big. I mean, it got to, gosh, I think 200,000 subs in like four months, and it's growing quite quickly right now.
But he posted something on X. A tweet that I want to read for you and then discuss because this is something that when I read this it kind of I was like, yep, me too. And this could be you the listener as well. So let me read this from Matt Wolf his Twitter handle. Gosh, I just can't ever get used to that.
His Twitter handle is at @mreflow. So, Matt Wolf, here he is. He said, Having a YouTube channel get popular is a head trip. The more subscribers I have, the more I stress over every individual video, and the more I overthink and second guess every aspect. On the other hand, making spur of the moment videos whenever I came across something cool is what grew my channel in the first place. So the bigger it gets, the further I move away from what grew it. If I wasn't thinking about the numbers or what people will say in the comments, I'd probably produce a lot more videos whenever I come across cool stuff. Trying to get my head in a good space to resolve this now.
Now, this is an amazing insight and to have the ability to sort of catch yourself while in the middle of this conundrum is very smart and also just a testament to Matt and you know, he's gone through this process before but not on YouTube and YouTube is a different kind of beast. He's growing very quickly his videos I know that he's coming out with I think a video a day at this point and I know that there is a sort of energy that comes along with starting a channel and seeing them to growth numbers and seeing things happen. But then it kind of catches up to you and you start to feel like now you're losing your legs under you, right?
You have to sort of Keep that momentum going and you might not have the same energy yet you still have to produce something and then you have a lot bigger sounding board for negative Nancy's no offense to anybody named Nancy to negative comments, negative people, negative, just the percentage of people you're reaching is bigger.
Therefore, there are going to be more negative comments. Therefore, more louder people who, if you are like any other entrepreneur, you're likely going to see those or at least have them affect you more than any positive comment, right? A positive comment just keeps you going. A negative comment can stop you in your tracks immediately.
And I know Matt has seen some stuff as well. Of course, now there's competition. A lot of other people are creating videos about AI as well. So I wanted to create this episode for you, if you haven't yet gotten to that point of growth, but then sort of feeling like, wow, okay, now this post really matters because we've got a lot more people.
This podcast episode, there's millions of people. Tens of thousands of people listening, so I got to make sure it's great. And now there's all this pressure. And so I'm not going to publish something that might be halfway there. Right? When, as Matt said in the beginning, you might just publish something because you've enjoyed it.
And my advice to Matt, I sent him a direct message and I also posted on Twitter. I'm just going to keep calling it Twitter for now, even though it's X. It's just really weird. Just continue to find the spark and continue to find fun. I've said that in email newsletters before, like on the unstuck newsletter, if I shared a story about something similar, but I've gone through this process myself on the Smart Passive Income blog around the 2013, 2014 moment.
I mean, there were moments even before that where I wanted to stop, but it was because of haters, but it wasn't necessarily because I thought every post had to be better and had to be at the standard. You know, it's almost like if I think of Mr. Beast, for example, if he just created a whatever video I don't know if he could do that.
He might feel disappointed. He might feel like a majority of his audience, which is 50 times 100 times larger than it was a year ago or whatever might not enjoy it as much, so there's this pressure, you gotta keep outdoing yourself, you gotta keep upholding the standard, and I know for MrBeast's sake, he's dedicated his entire life to his videos, I mean, he lives in his studio, and works out in his studio, like, video studio, and that's where he films and stuff.
For us regular people, this is still something that... affects us. We create, we gain an audience, that audience has an expectation. We, as the creator, feel a little bit more pressure and that pressure continues to stack. So what should we continue to do? The way that I got out of this in 2014, 2015 was to just feel like I was creating like I was in the beginning.
Meaning, find something fun again, find something new, find something exciting. So for a while it was the security guard training hq experiment right. This was the website that I built from scratch and that was really fun. That was really exciting and then in 2013, 2014 that then became the food trucker website right the food truck experiment Which was a website to help people start food trucks and that went well and we wrote an e book for that and we started to get ranked in Google and started a Podcast for that as well and that that was really exciting and then in 2015, guess what got my attention, got me going, got me creating again?
Having fun writing a book. And that lent itself to a lot of interviews, a lot of conversations that were then held on the podcast, which made it really exciting. So I found the fun in the business I was in again. I think it's true though, if you expect to continue to do the same thing that you're doing now, a year from now, two years from now, it's either you're going to burn out, you're going to be bored as heck of it, or it's just not going to work anymore. The nature of the entrepreneurial beast is you have to keep adapting and not just adapting to where the audience is going and what the industry or the market's doing, you have to adapt to your own self. And where your mind is at with the business that you have, you have to adapt and try to find the fun. Again, I cannot stress that enough. And the more that you find the fun, guess what? The more your audience is going to find fun in what you're doing. And I know there's always going to be risk.
The bigger the audience, the bigger the stakes, it seems, right? The bigger the stakes, more opportunity to make the thing that's fun for you, fun for more people too. Right? And yes, you gotta also realize, Matt, myself, everybody, because you have a bigger audience, you're gonna have a louder audience who a bigger percent, not even a bigger percentage of people will be unhappy or not like the changes you're making or not like the testing or the experiments that you're doing, it's just the same percentage of people, it's just a larger number of them. And so it feels heavier, but remember this side of it, there's also a larger number of people who love what you're doing and who are excited about what's coming next and will be there even if it's not the best thing. We'll still watch it and we'll support you and care for you.
And so that's what's gotten me through this. Finding the fun and playing that mental game with myself like, Okay, sure, it might upset more people, but that's because my audience is bigger. Not because what I'm doing is less interesting or less valuable. Now at the same time, obviously, you have to pay attention to the audience and what they're saying.
And, you know, you have to adjust depending on how they take the new and curious things that you're doing. Right, but like I said, I think the most important part of this is you have to realize that you're going to have to adapt and change. And I think the best way to do that is just to find the fun, right?
If it's fun for you, it's fun for your audience. If what you're creating daily, weekly, whatever it might be, starts to be a drag for you because you're just doing the same thing over and over again. You found the systems, yes, which I know we're supposed to look for. We're supposed to automate, we're supposed to automize.
Automize? Yeah, automize. Automate. Optimize. Automize is, sounds cool though. Automate. Optimize. Automize, optimate?
We're supposed to do all that stuff to try to make it as brainless as possible, right? Just like, so it's a cycle, it's a machine, it's working. But when you start to get bored of it, when you start to remove yourself from it. A bunch because you're just worried about the systems. Well, guess who also is going to feel like you're removed from the process?
Guess who also is going to get disconnected a little bit? Guess who's also going to feel like it's a little bit of a drag? So find the freaking fun there and know that it's okay if it doesn't hit because as long as you're having fun, the audience will want to go along with you for the ride. And you might make mistakes, you might trip over yourself and your audience is going to go, well, you know what? That's human. That's, you know, I think we try to compare ourselves with these Mr. Beast types out there who seem to just hit it out of the park with every video. We are not them. We are us, and we are on our own path. And I think while we're on this path, we should have fun.
I hope you're having fun. I hope this was a little bit of inspiration for you on a Friday or whatever day you're listening to this. And if you enjoy the conversations here, I do highly recommend that you hit subscribe because we have a lot more stuff coming your way and I cannot wait to share more about my story with you.
In fact, we have some great interviews coming. Let me go to the calendar just so you can get excited about who's coming up. But we have, oh my gosh, Eric Partaker, who was able to experience a massive exit from Skype. And he's going to talk about scaling businesses next week. I've already recorded this episode.
It was one of my favorite conversations that I've had in a very long time. And if you are interested in scaling your business and the mental around that, how to do that leadership team and self growth, then yeah, make sure you hit subscribe and just look out for it. Until then, I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in that episode and more.
Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!