When you start creating content, whether that’s writing a book, blog, podcast, or something else, you may not think about your reasons beforehand. But you should. Most importantly, you need to think about whether you are creating content for love or for money. Let’s explore why that matters!
I don’t have one single reason why I do the things I do. My reasons why are many and sometimes my reasons switch in the middle. That’s probably true for you as well.
But it’s hugely important to stop and think about whether you are creating content for love or for money. If not BEFORE you start, definitely DURING the process. It’s also a question that you should return to over time, as your reasons may shift.
Why does this matter so much? Knowing whether you are creating content for love or for money will help you make a ton of decisions along the way and likely keep you from suffering from decision fatigue and overwhelm.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 161 – CREATING CONTENT FOR LOVE OR FOR MONEY
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CREATING CONTENT FOR LOVE FOR FOR MONEY
Creating Content for Love
When you are creating content for love, that means you have an idea or passion that fuels your creative drive. You want to do something, so you are doing it. Your decisions are based on what you like and don’t like and what you feel like doing.
This is not a bad thing. (Please know that I am placing no judgment on whether it’s best to do something for love or for money!) But, when you are following your dreams and creating your passion, you should realize that you may not find success.
We hear a lot of the stories about people pursuing passions and becoming wealthy doing so or growing a huge Instagram following or email list or blog by accident. I sometimes see people who have done this trying to teach this to people or selling courses on this and I want to tell you to ignore that.
If you find success following your passion, it is likely a happy accident.
You might happen to tap into something that there is a need for and no one filling that need. You might accidentally have started something just as it became trendy. But when your primary reason is creating content for love, you are not TRYING to build a giant audience or make millions. Your passion was your reason. Any success you find is a happy by-product.
Creating Content for Money
Creating content for money gets a bad rap among creatives. It shouldn’t. Being able to pay your bills from book sales or ads on your blog is just as valid as getting a paycheck as a teacher or doctor or mechanic. You work and you get paid. That work just happens to be creative.
Sure, some people do sell out. But only the content creator can know for sure if they have done that. I can FEEL it when considering decisions that I don’t want, but would pay well. We all have to decide where we stand on that and no one can say that for you.
When your primary goal is to make money, passion takes a backseat. You aren’t making decisions any longer based on what you WANT or what you LIKE, but on what your AUDIENCE likes and what other people will PAY for. You will need to do more research and look for trends and what’s working now and find where you can fill a gap in customer need, whether that “customer” is a blog reader or a podcast listener or an avid fiction reader.
Creating content for money means being more intentional. Sometimes it may mean choosing something practical over something you like. It could mean choosing a book cover that might sell better than the book cover you happened to personally LOVE.
If you find success while creating content for money, it is an intentional result of your research and hard work.
You may not find success, which is important to know. I’ve tried a lot of things and not had the success I wanted or needed, even with all my research and intention. Just doing it for the money doesn’t ensure success.
THE SWEET SPOT OF CREATING CONTENT FOR BOTH LOVE AND MONEY
For creatives, the sweet spot is to find something that you can do that you love and also makes money. It won’t happen for all of us and it may not always be sustainable. But if you can identify a passion and a way to monetize that, then you are in a place many would envy.
Even still, there will always need to be one or the other–love or money–driving the boat. When you have to make a decision about something like blog design or a book cover, you may need to pick one or the other. It’s important to think about which of those two things is your driving or primary factor at any given time.
I’ve seen some authors write multiple series at a time–one series for love and one for money. You may not always find both in the same time. If you are creating content just for money, sometimes that can lead to burnout or selling out or just unhappiness. If you are creating content just for love, you may have to get a day job or you may not be able to bring in a sustainable income.
While you may find that you’re doing a little of both, it’s incredibly important that you consider which one is the primary–love or money. As you have to make decisions about the various aspects of how you promote and create, your timeline, your marketing, and all of those things, this will be vitally important to know. It can make the difference between finding success or not.
And always be aware of whether advice and teaching you’re listening to comes from someone who accidentally found a profitable niche or someone who researched and intentionally set out to find it. Don’t let someone who stumbled upon success try to teach you how to accidentally make money through your passion. If the goal is to make money and be intentional, then take the time to research and learn from those who have done the same.
Give yourself the freedom to change up what you’re doing. I would create SOMETHING for the love just because. I will always do that in my life. But how much time and money I invest totally depends on whether or not I’m doing it for the money or just for fun.
Consider your big goals as you are making your creative decisions! You’ll find that making decisions comes easier when you know WHY you’re doing what you do.
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Lizzie Comrie says
This is a big dilemma for me. Making content for love does not get a lot of attention or money (I like to write about topics that are not common and not interesting to the masses). Making content for money means getting over my principles and writing about things I don’t like. I can’t find a balance, and of course, I get very frustrated that what I write for love doesn’t resonate with readers.