Today I wanted to talk a bit about success and failure. A topic that can be found all over the internet and is being pushed a lot as the “you have to fail over and over again to become a success”.
That’s all easy to say and hard to do, so I wanted to tell you my story on how I got to somewhat success through a lot of failures. But, how I didn’t necessarily see failure as a negative term but rather as a strength.
As said in a previous post, my road hasn’t exactly been straightforward and I don’t think many things in life will be. Some things come easier, that’s for sure but in the end, you have put in a lot of hard work and probably many hours into anything you do, whether that’s your videography or anything else.
I didn’t go into the creative space with a plan or with a delusional idea that everything would be easy. I was a little bit naive and thought some things would be easier but I think that’s important too, because if you think it’ll be too difficult from the start, you’re less likely to do it.
But knowing from the start that it wouldn’t be easy and that there would be a lot of bumps on the road along with a lot of things that would go wrong, I had the curiosity and the excitement to try anything I thought could be a good idea and viable thing and then approach it to “fail fast” rather than plan too much.
Here’s a summary of everything I went through:
- I built a website through Squarespace for myself and my business
- I launched a blog on the website and wrote a few posts
- I started a podcast, documenting what I was doing and going through
- I created a printshop and designed a few prints
- Started a YouTube channel to teach photography
- Created a Course on Skillshare
- Created presets to sell on my store
- Started learning Affiliate Marketing to earn money through discounts and links
- Started running ads on my products
- Changed the direction of my YouTube channel to Videography & Color Grading
- Created LUTs to sell on my store
- Created a Course on Filmmaking and Color Grading to sell on my store
- Created more advanced LUT Packs, guides and workshops
As you can see the list is pretty long and while doing this I did some projects here and there while posting a reel every single day for a year. - A note on that is I did this full-time, so I wouldn't expect anyone with a full- or part-time job on the side to do as much, this was simply my journey, living off of my savings in the beginning.
Most of the projects I started ended up dying after some time and I know some people would say something along the lines of “Wasn’t it a waste of time then?” and “Wouldn’t it have been better to focus on one thing and do that?”.
I can answer those two questions simply. 1) No and 2) Probably yes.
But the reason for those answers is that it wasn’t a waste of time at all and while yes, I could’ve progressed faster, I didn’t know what I wanted to do or how to make money as a creative. So for me, it was a choice to experiment and take the time to find my path instead of focusing hard on something that might not be what I loved or wanted to do in the long run.
The amazing thing that has come out of this, apart from not being afraid of testing out new things are, that it built the foundation for everything that I do today. Because with all the small projects I had, I know knew how to build a website, a store, sell products, make YouTube videos and how to do affiliate marketing. All pieces that are part of my business today.
So while for some it’s better to focus on one thing, for others it’s not. It depends on how far you are with knowing what you want to do and how to do it. I encourage experimenting and finding your path through trial and error even though that’s the longest path but that’s biased towards my personal preference and how I like to do things.
However, I will say this; when I had a small audience, I had the best time to test and try out - I wasn't afraid to post bad things. Those are the ones I learned the most from.
I think it’s a common mistake to think everything has to be amazing from the start but in reality, you can’t get to 'great' without making a lot of bad stuff first. So, while there’s no real pressure, post away! Experiment, try new things and go all over the place. It’s a lot harder to allow yourself to do so, when you have a larger audience as you might feel more obliged to continue down the road you’re known for (which also shouldn't be the case) but while barely anyone’s watching - do your thing and have fun with it.
The reason why I recommend posting it online though is first of all you get the practice of doing so but more importantly, you force yourself to finish projects. Whether that’s a photo edit, a reel or a long-form video. Set a deadline and publish it, even if it’s just half done.
Posting reels every day for a year is what’s progressed my video editing, -understanding and color grading to incredible heights. More on that another day.
I hope you enjoyed my little time capsule of what I went through to get where I am today and built the foundation for my own business.
I hope you had an amazing week and have another great one coming! Keep pushing, you can do this!
I'll catch you in the next post.