The importance of building a personal brand is on the rise.
With the dominance of social media, anyone can share their expertise, get in touch with virtually anyone, and build a network or community.
However, there are only 207 million content creators in the world today - a tiny amount when compared to the 8 billion human population in the world. That's less than 3%.
Are you surprised? I'm not.
Because I've dedicated myself to experiment with creating content for the entirety of 2022. Putting yourself out there is NOT easy.
It's not easy to hit record, start speaking to a camera, edit the clips, and upload it for the world to see. What about a podcast?
Speaking to myself for 30 to 60 minutes didn't feel natural. I sounded like a robot. What about images?
Setting up a camera stand to take “candid” pictures of yourself doing work isn't as easy as it looks. I'm also not a designer who has a mind full of ideas and a hand that translates them onto a screen. What about writing?
Ah, yes. Writing is probably the only thing that I truly enjoy.
The caveat is this: experimentation is necessary.
Without trying, how would you know which one is right for you?
So, go ahead and start creating content of various kinds for a long period of time.
Here are some ways to overcome the fear of judgement.
Ali Abdaal shared that the fear of getting started with something stems from two types of fear.
By understanding this concept, I am able to just get started and try a ton of things that I would otherwise not dare to attempt.
Ali shared that since 300000BC, our ancestors were cavemen. They learned that if they were ostracized from the group, the chances for survival are a lot slimmer. Humans have since then been psychologically wired to fear the lack of acceptance.
If you look at the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, you can also see how the involvement of other people in our daily lives is such a critical aspect of our needs.
It is no wonder that we want to feel a sense of belonging and be accepted by other people.
However, this also gives rise to the fear of judgement and caring too much about other people's opinions.
“What if they laugh at me?”
“What if they think that I'm trying to sell them something?”
“I'm too awkward. They're going to think that I'm a laughing stock.”
What has really helped me is this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.“
Seriously, who is out there keeping tabs on what you do?
This is overthinking at best.
Ali talked about self-perception as a way of comparing oneself to others. He said that it's like not wanting to learn how to drive because you compare yourself with someone like Lewis Hamilton.
For instance, you might look at Mr Beast's videos and tell yourself, “My videos suck. They're nothing like Mr Beasts. Why do I even bother?”
Have you watched Mr Beast's first 100 videos (from 11 years ago)? I have.
They're nothing like they are now. They weren't good. I couldn't make it through any of them.
But I know that without those “bad” videos, Mr Beast wouldn't have been able to create the amazing videos he creates today.
Are you comparing your own skills to that of somebody who has had years of experience?
Are you setting the bar too high for yourself?
Have you already talked yourself out of trying before even attempting it?
Here's a quote by Tim Hiller, “Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle, or your middle to someone else's end.”
For a beginner, start by:
Repeat for a year before deciding which content type and platform works best for you.
I promise you that for every one of you, there are at least 100 more that are feeling the same way.
It is also slightly harder for those without a Western accent, for entrepreneurial women, and the minority. Why do I make such a claim?
Because here are the top 10 creators on global social media platforms.
You can be the greatest at what you do, but I believe that certain stereotypical judgements and beliefs still exist against out favour.
20-year-old multi-millionaire and female entrepreneur, Inayah McMillan, can attest to this.
She shared in a YouTube video the following:
“Being an entrepreneur and being a female or being a minority, it's definitely different. People look at you different... They kind of brush me off... Or I walk into a business setting with Bryson and they immediately talk to Bryson because they don't think that I have anything to do with the business. They just think that I'm there. But what they don't know is I'm actually a female entrepreneur.”
I have a Singaporean accent. I am a female entrepreneur, and I am Asian.
But I am also clear that my objective is to make a positive impact on anyone who chances upon my content. Not to be the most subscribed or most followed.
With that, I hope you do not get discouraged in any way, too.
You may not know this, but I used to create YouTube videos to train my speaking skills. I also wanted to get used to speaking in front of a camera and learn by teaching.
I would then post snippets of my YouTube videos onto TikTok.
Unexpectedly, 2 of my TikTok videos got picked up by the algorithm and got 44.7k and 10.1k plays respectively. (as at 14 February 2023)
The comments weren't great.
I got called a “marketing guru” even though I was talking about things from a branding perspective.
They said my content was bullsh*t and that I didn't know what I was talking about, even though I was quoting a study.
Did the comments affect me? At first, they did.
My content on Instagram had been viewed thousands of times before. But this was the first time my content has been viewed tens of thousands of times.
I had also never gotten such disrespectful and harsh comments before.
During times like this, I turn to stoicism.
This quote from Marcus Aurelius got me through, “Anger and the sorrow it produces are far more harmful than the things which make us angry.”
Was I going to focus on the tens of hate comments, and ignore the thousands of likes and hundreds of saves?
They don't matter. Neither do their comments. So why do I let them affect me this way?
To not let this experience go to waste, I decided to analyze every hate comment to see what I could learn.
Just like how bad publicity is still publicity, hateful feedback is still feedback.
These were the lessons I learned:
Last but not least, I wanted my mind to fully comprehend this quote my Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
So, I proceeded to delete the nasty comments. And it felt good.
I had the power to delete them and there's nothing they can do about it.
If you are just getting started and putting yourself out there, know that whatever I just shared is already the worst case scenario.
A couple of trolls, insecure keyboard warriors, and smart alecks.
Don't let them stop you.