The best creator advice we heard in 2022
What did you learn on your creator journey this year? Here are the top 6 things we learned from creators, for creators in 2022.
As 2022 draws to a close, it’s time to celebrate the wins and reflect on the lessons we learned this year.
Over the course of this year, we talked with many experienced Podia creators about their creator stories , heard from our Podia Creator Community , and collected advice from over 2,000 applicants across three Podia Fellowships.
Every creator journey is different, but we saw six main ideas emerge from the application responses and creator conversations we had this year.
Here are the top six pieces of advice we heard from creators, for creators:
Don’t wait for everything to be perfect to get started
Believe in the value of your voice
Find your target audience
Consistency is key (including consistent self-care)
You don’t have to go it alone
Start building your audience today
1. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect to get started
This was by far the most common piece of advice creators shared with us this year.
So often, we wait to put something out into the world — an idea, a piece of content, a product — until it feels ‘ready’.
The problem is, most things never feel truly ready.
That’s okay! There will be room to grow and improve along the way, but you won’t find those opportunities unless you put yourself and your work out there. Getting started is the hardest part.
If you have something you want to share with the world, Tamkara Adun recommends taking the leap and learning as you go. Tamkara is an author, researcher, and founder of Odunife African Language and History School — and the winner of our second Podia Creator Fellowship.
Everything Tamkara knows about being a creator, she learned on the job. “Don’t wait for things to be perfect because they’ll never be perfect,” she says.
The journey of learning is in the doing. If you have an idea, go for it. You never know what will come out of it. Your original idea will change, and you’ll have iterations along the way. But if you wait to be perfect, you’ll probably never start.
— Tamkara Odun, Odunife African Language and History School
You also don’t have to master every channel or piece of technology to get started. There will be plenty of time to grow into a fancier setup or more advanced tools later on. Start with what you’ve got.
2. Believe in the value of your voice
Countless creators told us that they struggled with self-doubt early in their journeys. There is so much content out there — do you really have something new and unique to share?
Your audience isn’t here for perfection, they’re here for you: your personality, ideas, and unique perspective. Being yourself helps the right audience find and appreciate your work.
As Podia’s video marketing pro Ben Toalson puts it, “Someone out there is waiting for the life-changing moment when they hear your voice and your story for the first time.”
Early in her creator journey, mindset coach and longtime Podia creator Becky Mollenkamp struggled to see herself as a CEO and recognize the value in her work. “The biggest challenge was all of the noise in the online space about how a business should look,” she says.
There is a lot of advice out there about how to start and grow a creator business. When you’re faced with so many ‘shoulds’, it’s easy to second-guess yourself. But if something doesn’t feel true to you, you don’t have to do it. Find your own path.
In the beginning, really trying to trust yourself is important to having any kind of success.
— Becky Mollenkamp, BeckyMollenkamp.com
Now, that CEO mindset is a central theme of Becky’s work with clients. “You can be a freelancer, you can be a solo entrepreneur, you can be a small business owner with just a few consultants. But you are still the head, you are the CEO, you are the visionary. It’s about the confidence of showing up and saying, ‘I know my stuff. I can do this.’”
Veronica Green , founder of Cultivating Confidence, used her personal experience as an early childhood consultant and mom to a child with autism to create content for fellow educators. Authenticity is a central value of Veronica’s brand.
One of Veronica’s first products was an online course about sensory needs. In it, she shares research-based information and her personal experiences working with her son. By showing her journey’s real ups and downs, Veronica helps other families and educators feel supported and encouraged — and that authenticity makes the course stand out.
A lot of it was sharing our journey. I’m very willing to share the good, the bad, and the not-so-great moments because that’s where we learned from.
– Veronica Green, Cultivating Confidence
You have something truly valuable to share — and only you can share it your way based on your lived experiences.
3. Find your target audience
Defining your niche and target audience is vital for building a creator business.
Your target audience is the specific group of people who will be most interested in your content, products, or services. It might be tempting to cast a wide net to reach as many people as possible, but when you create content with a specific niche in mind, the right audience can more easily find and connect with your work.
You can’t be everything to everyone. Remember, your unique positioning and authentic perspective make you stand out.
To define your target audience, ask yourself: “who can benefit the most from my content, products, or services?” If your content is based on your own experiences and the challenges you’ve overcome, your target audience might have a lot in common with you (or your former self).
“I think about what Adrian of ten years ago would have needed, and I create courses around that,” explains Adrian Dalsus , musician, marketer, teacher, and founder of Despegue Musical.
When picking a niche, Adrian recommends finding something you’ll be passionate about long term.
First, discover yourself. What do you love to do? What things motivate you to get up every day? For me, it was music. Most of the time, it’s something that’s been in your life for a long time.
— Adrian Dalsus, Despegue Musical
You might be worried about being too specific with your niche — but a small, engaged audience who wants to get involved with everything you’re creating is better than a large, lukewarm following who rarely interacts with your work.
When she launched her creator business, VegiVale, wellness coach Valeria Hernández decided to focus on serving women of color. These clients often face the same issues Valeria has experienced firsthand. “I understand what they’re going through. I can speak to specific things they would be struggling with that maybe other people wouldn’t.”
“It’s tempting to want to make something for everybody and help as many people as possible,” Valeria says, but serving a specific niche makes her brand stand out and helps her create products her clients love.
When you try to help everybody and speak to everybody, you’re really speaking to no one. It’s a lot more powerful when you can focus on a smaller group of people that you have built community with… because they know that you are talking specifically to them.
— Valeria Hernández, VegiVale
4. Consistency is key (including consistent self-care)
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is a cliche for a reason.
Entrepreneurs across niches and experience levels told us that consistently creating content is critical for building their businesses. In other words, consistency unlocks growth . Success doesn’t happen overnight — but regularly showing up for yourself and your audience adds up over time.
For Podia Creator Community ambassador and Creative Bodega founder Em Connors, talking to her audience on Instagram every day paved the way for future course sales: “Every day, I show up. I show my face all the time so my followers know who I am. They hear me speaking and get a glimpse of what it would be like to take one of my courses.”
Adrian Dalsus agrees: “You have to have a lot of discipline. Some days you won’t want to record a video. Some days you won’t want to finish making your courses. Being a solopreneur, you need to be focused on your goals. Discipline is key.”
How do you achieve that consistency without burnout ? Set realistic expectations and build sustainable processes, especially when it comes to content creation.
Self-advocacy coach Jessica Wilson explains how she keeps content creation consistent without burning out: “If you’re trying to build a following, they have to see you very often. So to get around that, I started trying to find ways to batch content. Instead of being so long-winded, let’s break [a post] up into three posts. Then I have three out of five posts for the week.”
Regular self-care is another important piece of the consistency puzzle. You don’t have to go all out every day.
Becky Mollenkamp focuses on finding ways to grow her audience and business without sacrificing the life she’s built. “I have a family, and I want to have a life. I don’t want my life to be creating content all the time,” she shares.
How do I make the best choices that allow me to live my life, but also still grow my audience? I want to think about how I use my time the most efficiently, not because I want to get more done, but because I actually want to have a life.
— Becky Mollenkamp, BeckyMollenkamp.com
Productivity and growth can be incredible for your business, but not at the expense of your mental or physical health.
5. You don’t have to go it alone
Being a creator can feel like a lonely journey — but it doesn’t have to be. Learning from and collaborating with other creators is invaluable. (That’s why we launched the Podia Creator Community , an online space for creators to connect, learn, and share, early this year .)
Where do creators find these connections?
Niche online forums and communities
Local and online meetups
Tamkara Adun grew her Instagram account from 50 followers to over 24,000 in two years by connecting with others interested in African history from a decolonized, African-centered perspective. The more information Tamkara posted, the more people engaged with and shared her content.
Followers also started volunteering their own knowledge and experiences. “I post something, and people in the comments will expand on the idea,” she explains. “It’s a community of learning where we’re building our understanding of history and things that happened in the past.”
“Opportunities come from people, sharing, knowledge, and collaboration, and the internet is where that can happen,” agrees Nick Huber , founder of The Sweaty Startup. Sharing his experiences in small business and real estate on Twitter helped Nick build an audience of over 260K followers.
I found the more I shared, the more my network exploded, and I found amazing people to invest with me, work with me, teach me, and just become friends with me.
— Nick Huber, The Sweaty Startup
If you have the budget, it can also be helpful to hire outside help .
In the applications for the first Podia Creator Fellowship, 43% of creators said they would use the $2,022 prize to bring in outside help, including hiring freelancers , virtual assistants (VAs) , business coaches, and team members.
Winning the fellowship meant that Valeria Hernández could hire a VA for VegiVale. Valeria still works her nine-to-five job in addition to coaching, so her VA helps with behind-the-scenes tasks — and the launch of her first course. “With the help of my virtual assistant, we’re currently developing a course… I wouldn’t be able to work on it if it weren’t for her help,” Valeria told us.
6. Start building your audience today
“If you build it, they will come” — but only if they know about it! Creating content and products is only half of the work. You have to get it in front of the right people.
According to our first fellowship survey , nearly one-third of creators struggle to find and connect with their target audience. Later on, when we asked creators about the lessons they wish they’d learned earlier, many told us that they underestimated the importance (and effort!) of audience building.
With so many marketing trends to navigate, audience building can get overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like you have to be on every channel.
Choose channels that your target audience uses and that you enjoy. If you hate making videos, you don’t need to be on TikTok. “Pick one platform and go all in on it. Don’t spread yourself too thin, and get to know it inside and out,” advises Em Connors .
Like most parts of the creator journey, finding the right marketing mix requires some trial and error.
“We spent years learning how to take photographs, film and edit videos, write blog articles, and organize information to make it digestible,” describes Jonathan Longnecker of Tiny Shiny Home.
There was a lot of trying stuff and a lot of failing… but we kept learning things and applying them to the next phase until we got where we wanted to be.
— Jonathan Longnecker, Tiny Shiny Home
Not sure where to start? Growing your email list is a great first step. Email marketing lets you own your audience without spending a ton of money. (Owning your audience means that you communicate with them through a platform or channel that you control, like your email list, online community, or website.)
If you’re ready to start building that audience, check out these resources for growing your email list and starting an email newsletter:
Bring these lessons into your creator journey in 2023
Thank you to all of the creators across niches and experience levels who shared their insights with us and each other this year.
All of this advice and wisdom can be summed up in two key takeaways:
Believing in your value and not expecting things to be perfect will help you overcome so many boundaries to get started and put yourself out there. You got this!
There are more resources available to you than you know. So many creators have been in your shoes and are happy to share their knowledge and advice.
We can’t wait to see what next year (and beyond!) holds for our creators. Here’s to learning, sharing, and growing together in 2023!
Sign up now
Get your free Podia account
Join the 150,000+ creators who use Podia to create websites, sell digital products, and build online communities.