The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

Most aspiring creators spend months procrastinating the work so they can think about the “strategy.”

What should my plan be?

I’m going to save you some time and just give you the playbook. Think of this like a choose your own adventure game with a few different options.

I’ll walkthrough all of paths, the trade-offs for each, and how I’m thinking about playing the game for myself.

Ideal Path

The ideal path is pretty straightforward:

  1. Start by making content

  2. Use that content to grow an audience

  3. Find a cash flow source to pay to automate some/all of the content creation process

  4. Use that newly unlocked time to create and sell an owned product/service

If you want to win big as a creator (and make a ton of money), this is the formula to do it.

Step 1: Making the content yourself

Start by making content yourself.

I’d pick whichever medium comes most naturally to you and gives you the best chance of not quitting. They all have pros and cons, which I detail in depth on this pod with my friend Bilal (20:57)

No matter which channel you pick, this is the hardest step because you’ll be posting into the void for a while.

I personally think it’s important for you to do everything yourself for a period at the beginning (e.g., writing, recording, editing, posting, etc.).

This gets you closest to the format, lets you intimately understand how things work, and most importantly, helps you cultivate your taste for what good vs great looks like.

Some people try to play the content game with automation from day 1 (e.g., they creative direct and have others edit).

I find this approach results in stale, unoriginal content.

Would you buy a piece of art from an artist that told others where to put the paint?

Ehh, probably not. So step 1, start yourself. Expect this to take a year.

I chose to start with short-form video and quickly added on writing this newsletter.

Short-form video gave me the quickest path to feedback and the biggest algorithmic tailwinds. The newsletter gave me a longer-form medium to invent my own format. It also allowed me to have a mix of rented (short-form) vs owned (newsletter) audiences. I’m going to be adding a video podcast next.

Step 2: Build an audience

You will inevitably begin building an audience on whichever platform best supports the medium you choose.

Don’t worry about which platforms these are. Instead, make sure to pick the content medium you’re most likely to stick with for the long-term.

I can’t stress this enough…all you have to do is not quit.

For me, I ended up cross-posting my videos on Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube. I’ve been fortunate to have grown across all three with the exact same videos.

For the newsletter, I use beehiiv as my publishing platform of choice.

Step 3: Automating your content creation process

This is where things get fun, but to reiterate, you really shouldn’t spend any time thinking about this until you have built a sizable audience.

What’s sizable? Let’s roughly say 50K followers on a single platform.

After making content yourself for a while, you’ll realize it’s too much work to continue owning the whole process forever.

Also, there are parts in the process that you are naturally good at/like doing vs other parts that you don’t.

For example, with making videos, I really love finding video ideas and breaking them down into consumable storylines (e.g., script). I’m neutral on the actual recording process and I really don’t enjoy the editing.

No matter how good you are at any or all phases of the creation process, you will not be able to create leverage on your time unless you eventually automate the things you don’t like doing.

Now that you’ve come to the realization that you need to automate, you’ll quickly also realize you need to hire someone (in my case, video editors).

Hiring costs money, so you’re going to need a cash flow source.

There are 6 paths you can go down, each with pros and cons:

  1. Cash Savings

    1. Pros: No additional work is required because you already have the money

    2. Cons: This will run out and doesn’t scale

  2. Services Agency (Unrelated) - e.g., SEO agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content. Also, unrelated agencies don’t give you any relevant learning for your content

  3. Services Agency (Related) - e.g., Video editing agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly. Also, you are building owned automation capacity in your space

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content

  4. Digital Products - e.g., Courses, PDFs, etc.

    1. Pros: Build once, sell twice. Super high margin

    2. Cons: Revenue will be inconsistent and tough to rely on. Also hard to sell substantial digital products without having authority in a space

  5. Content CPMs - e.g., YouTube Adsense, Tiktok Creator Fund

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You’re already posting, now money comes in

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on and sole revenue source. Depends on content performance

  6. Brand Deals/Ads/Affiliates - e.g., Making content for brands, including paid ads in content for brands, buyers trying products with your link

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You get paid to compound your own channels

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on. Long sales cycle to secure. Rework/edits often required. Managing client expectations is stressful

When you get to this point, I recommend picking a single path and doing everything you can for 6 months to try and make it work.

For me, I really didn’t want to run an agency without partnering with another operator. It’s a full-time job and would take away from the content production process.

I chose a combination of Brand Deals and Content CPMs.

My logic was that I would make all of the content myself until my audience was big enough to start getting paid for brand deals.

Once brand deals start coming in, I would take them only to be able to pay for the content production automation.

After a full year in this game, I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m going to begin automating everywhere.

Step 4: Sell an owned product/service to your audience

The big money comes when you own a product/service and sell it to your audience with no/low CAC.

Think things like Feastables, Prime, Divvy, Chamberlain Coffee, etc.

It’s really not worth thinking about this until you have a large enough audience to fund it or have automated enough to free up your time to work on it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

If you enjoyed this post and want more like it, you should subscribe to me weekly creator journal, Blueprint. Each week, I share metrics, ideas, frameworks, and experiments designed to supercharge your thinking about content & brand building in the modern age.

The Creator Business Decision Tree

Most aspiring creators spend months procrastinating the work so they can think about the “strategy.”

What should my plan be?

I’m going to save you some time and just give you the playbook. Think of this like a choose your own adventure game with a few different options.

I’ll walkthrough all of paths, the trade-offs for each, and how I’m thinking about playing the game for myself.

Ideal Path

The ideal path is pretty straightforward:

  1. Start by making content

  2. Use that content to grow an audience

  3. Find a cash flow source to pay to automate some/all of the content creation process

  4. Use that newly unlocked time to create and sell an owned product/service

If you want to win big as a creator (and make a ton of money), this is the formula to do it.

Step 1: Making the content yourself

Start by making content yourself.

I’d pick whichever medium comes most naturally to you and gives you the best chance of not quitting. They all have pros and cons, which I detail in depth on this pod with my friend Bilal (20:57)

No matter which channel you pick, this is the hardest step because you’ll be posting into the void for a while.

I personally think it’s important for you to do everything yourself for a period at the beginning (e.g., writing, recording, editing, posting, etc.).

This gets you closest to the format, lets you intimately understand how things work, and most importantly, helps you cultivate your taste for what good vs great looks like.

Some people try to play the content game with automation from day 1 (e.g., they creative direct and have others edit).

I find this approach results in stale, unoriginal content.

Would you buy a piece of art from an artist that told others where to put the paint?

Ehh, probably not. So step 1, start yourself. Expect this to take a year.

I chose to start with short-form video and quickly added on writing this newsletter.

Short-form video gave me the quickest path to feedback and the biggest algorithmic tailwinds. The newsletter gave me a longer-form medium to invent my own format. It also allowed me to have a mix of rented (short-form) vs owned (newsletter) audiences. I’m going to be adding a video podcast next.

Step 2: Build an audience

You will inevitably begin building an audience on whichever platform best supports the medium you choose.

Don’t worry about which platforms these are. Instead, make sure to pick the content medium you’re most likely to stick with for the long-term.

I can’t stress this enough…all you have to do is not quit.

For me, I ended up cross-posting my videos on Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube. I’ve been fortunate to have grown across all three with the exact same videos.

For the newsletter, I use beehiiv as my publishing platform of choice.

Step 3: Automating your content creation process

This is where things get fun, but to reiterate, you really shouldn’t spend any time thinking about this until you have built a sizable audience.

What’s sizable? Let’s roughly say 50K followers on a single platform.

After making content yourself for a while, you’ll realize it’s too much work to continue owning the whole process forever.

Also, there are parts in the process that you are naturally good at/like doing vs other parts that you don’t.

For example, with making videos, I really love finding video ideas and breaking them down into consumable storylines (e.g., script). I’m neutral on the actual recording process and I really don’t enjoy the editing.

No matter how good you are at any or all phases of the creation process, you will not be able to create leverage on your time unless you eventually automate the things you don’t like doing.

Now that you’ve come to the realization that you need to automate, you’ll quickly also realize you need to hire someone (in my case, video editors).

Hiring costs money, so you’re going to need a cash flow source.

There are 6 paths you can go down, each with pros and cons:

  1. Cash Savings

    1. Pros: No additional work is required because you already have the money

    2. Cons: This will run out and doesn’t scale

  2. Services Agency (Unrelated) - e.g., SEO agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content. Also, unrelated agencies don’t give you any relevant learning for your content

  3. Services Agency (Related) - e.g., Video editing agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly. Also, you are building owned automation capacity in your space

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content

  4. Digital Products - e.g., Courses, PDFs, etc.

    1. Pros: Build once, sell twice. Super high margin

    2. Cons: Revenue will be inconsistent and tough to rely on. Also hard to sell substantial digital products without having authority in a space

  5. Content CPMs - e.g., YouTube Adsense, Tiktok Creator Fund

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You’re already posting, now money comes in

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on and sole revenue source. Depends on content performance

  6. Brand Deals/Ads/Affiliates - e.g., Making content for brands, including paid ads in content for brands, buyers trying products with your link

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You get paid to compound your own channels

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on. Long sales cycle to secure. Rework/edits often required. Managing client expectations is stressful

When you get to this point, I recommend picking a single path and doing everything you can for 6 months to try and make it work.

For me, I really didn’t want to run an agency without partnering with another operator. It’s a full-time job and would take away from the content production process.

I chose a combination of Brand Deals and Content CPMs.

My logic was that I would make all of the content myself until my audience was big enough to start getting paid for brand deals.

Once brand deals start coming in, I would take them only to be able to pay for the content production automation.

After a full year in this game, I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m going to begin automating everywhere.

Step 4: Sell an owned product/service to your audience

The big money comes when you own a product/service and sell it to your audience with no/low CAC.

Think things like Feastables, Prime, Divvy, Chamberlain Coffee, etc.

It’s really not worth thinking about this until you have a large enough audience to fund it or have automated enough to free up your time to work on it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

If you enjoyed this post and want more like it, you should subscribe to me weekly creator journal, Blueprint. Each week, I share metrics, ideas, frameworks, and experiments designed to supercharge your thinking about content & brand building in the modern age.

The Creator Business Decision Tree

Most aspiring creators spend months procrastinating the work so they can think about the “strategy.”

What should my plan be?

I’m going to save you some time and just give you the playbook. Think of this like a choose your own adventure game with a few different options.

I’ll walkthrough all of paths, the trade-offs for each, and how I’m thinking about playing the game for myself.

Ideal Path

The ideal path is pretty straightforward:

  1. Start by making content

  2. Use that content to grow an audience

  3. Find a cash flow source to pay to automate some/all of the content creation process

  4. Use that newly unlocked time to create and sell an owned product/service

If you want to win big as a creator (and make a ton of money), this is the formula to do it.

Step 1: Making the content yourself

Start by making content yourself.

I’d pick whichever medium comes most naturally to you and gives you the best chance of not quitting. They all have pros and cons, which I detail in depth on this pod with my friend Bilal (20:57)

No matter which channel you pick, this is the hardest step because you’ll be posting into the void for a while.

I personally think it’s important for you to do everything yourself for a period at the beginning (e.g., writing, recording, editing, posting, etc.).

This gets you closest to the format, lets you intimately understand how things work, and most importantly, helps you cultivate your taste for what good vs great looks like.

Some people try to play the content game with automation from day 1 (e.g., they creative direct and have others edit).

I find this approach results in stale, unoriginal content.

Would you buy a piece of art from an artist that told others where to put the paint?

Ehh, probably not. So step 1, start yourself. Expect this to take a year.

I chose to start with short-form video and quickly added on writing this newsletter.

Short-form video gave me the quickest path to feedback and the biggest algorithmic tailwinds. The newsletter gave me a longer-form medium to invent my own format. It also allowed me to have a mix of rented (short-form) vs owned (newsletter) audiences. I’m going to be adding a video podcast next.

Step 2: Build an audience

You will inevitably begin building an audience on whichever platform best supports the medium you choose.

Don’t worry about which platforms these are. Instead, make sure to pick the content medium you’re most likely to stick with for the long-term.

I can’t stress this enough…all you have to do is not quit.

For me, I ended up cross-posting my videos on Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube. I’ve been fortunate to have grown across all three with the exact same videos.

For the newsletter, I use beehiiv as my publishing platform of choice.

Step 3: Automating your content creation process

This is where things get fun, but to reiterate, you really shouldn’t spend any time thinking about this until you have built a sizable audience.

What’s sizable? Let’s roughly say 50K followers on a single platform.

After making content yourself for a while, you’ll realize it’s too much work to continue owning the whole process forever.

Also, there are parts in the process that you are naturally good at/like doing vs other parts that you don’t.

For example, with making videos, I really love finding video ideas and breaking them down into consumable storylines (e.g., script). I’m neutral on the actual recording process and I really don’t enjoy the editing.

No matter how good you are at any or all phases of the creation process, you will not be able to create leverage on your time unless you eventually automate the things you don’t like doing.

Now that you’ve come to the realization that you need to automate, you’ll quickly also realize you need to hire someone (in my case, video editors).

Hiring costs money, so you’re going to need a cash flow source.

There are 6 paths you can go down, each with pros and cons:

  1. Cash Savings

    1. Pros: No additional work is required because you already have the money

    2. Cons: This will run out and doesn’t scale

  2. Services Agency (Unrelated) - e.g., SEO agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content. Also, unrelated agencies don’t give you any relevant learning for your content

  3. Services Agency (Related) - e.g., Video editing agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly. Also, you are building owned automation capacity in your space

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content

  4. Digital Products - e.g., Courses, PDFs, etc.

    1. Pros: Build once, sell twice. Super high margin

    2. Cons: Revenue will be inconsistent and tough to rely on. Also hard to sell substantial digital products without having authority in a space

  5. Content CPMs - e.g., YouTube Adsense, Tiktok Creator Fund

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You’re already posting, now money comes in

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on and sole revenue source. Depends on content performance

  6. Brand Deals/Ads/Affiliates - e.g., Making content for brands, including paid ads in content for brands, buyers trying products with your link

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You get paid to compound your own channels

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on. Long sales cycle to secure. Rework/edits often required. Managing client expectations is stressful

When you get to this point, I recommend picking a single path and doing everything you can for 6 months to try and make it work.

For me, I really didn’t want to run an agency without partnering with another operator. It’s a full-time job and would take away from the content production process.

I chose a combination of Brand Deals and Content CPMs.

My logic was that I would make all of the content myself until my audience was big enough to start getting paid for brand deals.

Once brand deals start coming in, I would take them only to be able to pay for the content production automation.

After a full year in this game, I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m going to begin automating everywhere.

Step 4: Sell an owned product/service to your audience

The big money comes when you own a product/service and sell it to your audience with no/low CAC.

Think things like Feastables, Prime, Divvy, Chamberlain Coffee, etc.

It’s really not worth thinking about this until you have a large enough audience to fund it or have automated enough to free up your time to work on it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

If you enjoyed this post and want more like it, you should subscribe to me weekly creator journal, Blueprint. Each week, I share metrics, ideas, frameworks, and experiments designed to supercharge your thinking about content & brand building in the modern age.

The Creator Business Decision Tree

Most aspiring creators spend months procrastinating the work so they can think about the “strategy.”

What should my plan be?

I’m going to save you some time and just give you the playbook. Think of this like a choose your own adventure game with a few different options.

I’ll walkthrough all of paths, the trade-offs for each, and how I’m thinking about playing the game for myself.

Ideal Path

The ideal path is pretty straightforward:

  1. Start by making content

  2. Use that content to grow an audience

  3. Find a cash flow source to pay to automate some/all of the content creation process

  4. Use that newly unlocked time to create and sell an owned product/service

If you want to win big as a creator (and make a ton of money), this is the formula to do it.

Step 1: Making the content yourself

Start by making content yourself.

I’d pick whichever medium comes most naturally to you and gives you the best chance of not quitting. They all have pros and cons, which I detail in depth on this pod with my friend Bilal (20:57)

No matter which channel you pick, this is the hardest step because you’ll be posting into the void for a while.

I personally think it’s important for you to do everything yourself for a period at the beginning (e.g., writing, recording, editing, posting, etc.).

This gets you closest to the format, lets you intimately understand how things work, and most importantly, helps you cultivate your taste for what good vs great looks like.

Some people try to play the content game with automation from day 1 (e.g., they creative direct and have others edit).

I find this approach results in stale, unoriginal content.

Would you buy a piece of art from an artist that told others where to put the paint?

Ehh, probably not. So step 1, start yourself. Expect this to take a year.

I chose to start with short-form video and quickly added on writing this newsletter.

Short-form video gave me the quickest path to feedback and the biggest algorithmic tailwinds. The newsletter gave me a longer-form medium to invent my own format. It also allowed me to have a mix of rented (short-form) vs owned (newsletter) audiences. I’m going to be adding a video podcast next.

Step 2: Build an audience

You will inevitably begin building an audience on whichever platform best supports the medium you choose.

Don’t worry about which platforms these are. Instead, make sure to pick the content medium you’re most likely to stick with for the long-term.

I can’t stress this enough…all you have to do is not quit.

For me, I ended up cross-posting my videos on Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube. I’ve been fortunate to have grown across all three with the exact same videos.

For the newsletter, I use beehiiv as my publishing platform of choice.

Step 3: Automating your content creation process

This is where things get fun, but to reiterate, you really shouldn’t spend any time thinking about this until you have built a sizable audience.

What’s sizable? Let’s roughly say 50K followers on a single platform.

After making content yourself for a while, you’ll realize it’s too much work to continue owning the whole process forever.

Also, there are parts in the process that you are naturally good at/like doing vs other parts that you don’t.

For example, with making videos, I really love finding video ideas and breaking them down into consumable storylines (e.g., script). I’m neutral on the actual recording process and I really don’t enjoy the editing.

No matter how good you are at any or all phases of the creation process, you will not be able to create leverage on your time unless you eventually automate the things you don’t like doing.

Now that you’ve come to the realization that you need to automate, you’ll quickly also realize you need to hire someone (in my case, video editors).

Hiring costs money, so you’re going to need a cash flow source.

There are 6 paths you can go down, each with pros and cons:

  1. Cash Savings

    1. Pros: No additional work is required because you already have the money

    2. Cons: This will run out and doesn’t scale

  2. Services Agency (Unrelated) - e.g., SEO agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content. Also, unrelated agencies don’t give you any relevant learning for your content

  3. Services Agency (Related) - e.g., Video editing agency for a video creator

    1. Pros: Agencies as easy to get profitable quickly. Also, you are building owned automation capacity in your space

    2. Cons: If you don’t have an operator running the agency, it will be a huge distraction and time suck away from making content

  4. Digital Products - e.g., Courses, PDFs, etc.

    1. Pros: Build once, sell twice. Super high margin

    2. Cons: Revenue will be inconsistent and tough to rely on. Also hard to sell substantial digital products without having authority in a space

  5. Content CPMs - e.g., YouTube Adsense, Tiktok Creator Fund

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You’re already posting, now money comes in

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on and sole revenue source. Depends on content performance

  6. Brand Deals/Ads/Affiliates - e.g., Making content for brands, including paid ads in content for brands, buyers trying products with your link

    1. Pros: Fully aligned with existing content work. You get paid to compound your own channels

    2. Cons: Inconsistent and hard to rely on. Long sales cycle to secure. Rework/edits often required. Managing client expectations is stressful

When you get to this point, I recommend picking a single path and doing everything you can for 6 months to try and make it work.

For me, I really didn’t want to run an agency without partnering with another operator. It’s a full-time job and would take away from the content production process.

I chose a combination of Brand Deals and Content CPMs.

My logic was that I would make all of the content myself until my audience was big enough to start getting paid for brand deals.

Once brand deals start coming in, I would take them only to be able to pay for the content production automation.

After a full year in this game, I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m going to begin automating everywhere.

Step 4: Sell an owned product/service to your audience

The big money comes when you own a product/service and sell it to your audience with no/low CAC.

Think things like Feastables, Prime, Divvy, Chamberlain Coffee, etc.

It’s really not worth thinking about this until you have a large enough audience to fund it or have automated enough to free up your time to work on it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

If you enjoyed this post and want more like it, you should subscribe to me weekly creator journal, Blueprint. Each week, I share metrics, ideas, frameworks, and experiments designed to supercharge your thinking about content & brand building in the modern age.

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

The Creator Business Decision Tree

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