I don’t know what we can really say about 2016 as it comes to a close. It’s been a hell of a year, hasn’t it? What started out painful and rough only seemed to grow worse as time went on. Funny how optimistic we all were as we said goodbye to 2015, only to get kicked in the ribs from January 1.
My Goals for 2016
I had my sights set high, but within what I considered relatively reasonable bounds at the time. Mainly, I wanted to hit 1,000 subscribers across all platforms. I also aimed to write 25 guest posts and make 50 collaborative videos with other YouTubers.
As we wrap up 2016, I can say I did… well, I did okay.
I met my follower goal on Twitter and Instagram, but nowhere else. About 33 collab videos got posted. I wrote one true guest post and instead posted to other platforms. In total, I posted 13 articles to Medium and two to Buzzfeed. That’s 16 in total.
In other words, I fell short. Very short. I didn’t get to where I hoped to be and I feel like I’m way behind schedule.
Most of my priorities shifted and my definition of success (and my idea of how to get there) changed significantly throughout the year. My perception of making content creation a career continues to shift as I learn more and become better.
Success isn’t about hitting 1,000 subscribers anymore – especially since I’m operating under the assumption that subscribers don’t actually make your blog successful. Rather, I’ve been focusing on actual sales.
(Keep in mind that I wasn’t actually selling anything until October. This is a new concept for me.)
I’m ending the year with 350 subscribers, but I’m still earning about $200 a month from making the stuff I want to make.
And my efforts aren’t just paying off here. I’m looking forward to announcing a new, long-term creative gig in the next month or so (as long as it pans out – details to come) that came from my writing.
(Also keep in mind that I haven’t been actively looking to become a contributor anywhere. I was scouted for this opportunity, which is pretty sweet.)
I’ve also seen a lot of success with reaching out to reporters and writers. I hope to do even more of this over the next year.
My Many, Many Projects (Slowly Getting Organized)
As I’ve started to figure out what exactly goes into making a living through content creation, my projects have shifted. (Or maybe it’s the other way around.) This could honestly be its own post, but I’ll try to keep it short. Use extreme caution as I extrovert my way through figuring out how to organize all my projects. Don’t get caught in my head.
As a side note, I dare you to follow and try to keep up with all these accounts. Godspeed.
Get Two Fit
First, I started a fitness blog, which I promptly abandoned due to an utter lack of both time an enthusiasm. But the process of getting it up and running reminded me (and taught me) about a few important things that go into successful websites. Oh, and Pinterest. And Instagram. In other words, it got me to take the time to revamp this blog.
Then I launched the Anthrapologist brand, which has been responsible for the bulk of my internet income each month. I learned a lot about tags and search engine optimization. Further, it got me to change my perspective on creating. There’s no way to subscribe to designers’ stores on Zazzle, so it wasn’t about gaining fans and followers anymore. Rather, I learned to see each product as its own, standalone property on the internet. That means marketing each item individually, building links to it, finding it homes on social media, and otherwise boosting it in search results.
This change in perspective has been responsible for my recent posts about promotion. If I wanted the eyeballs on my newest products, I had to take the time to build that attention. I’ve started to see my blog posts and my YouTube videos in the same way. I stopped trying to drive traffic to my homepages and instead started referring people to specifically relevant content. That’s provided a big boost in my numbers over the last couple months.
Anthrapologist now has its (his? Is he my alter-ego?) own Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, and Instagram feed. I’m looking into getting the brand its own website, soon, as well (although I’m not entirely sure how I want to structure it).
Single AF Podcast
The Single AF dating podcast has finally started to get enough attention to earn its own Twitter account and, as of mid-December, corresponding website. It’s not earning me any money just yet, but I do see the need to make it its own presence (and pull the dating-related posts off of my blog, which is otherwise about my journey through creating and earning money on the side). The Uber Driver Diaries series fits okay because it comes from how I pay the bills (and it’s also comedic), but dating articles are just… too far removed from the point of this blog unless they’re strictly hilarious.
As of today, the podcast still lives on my YouTube channel. I don’t feel weird about that, since it’s still strictly my perspective (and let’s face it: my channel needs all the watch time it can get). Further, most people who are fans of my YouTube videos so far also enjoy the podcast (and vice versa – my other content is still just as enjoyable for the podcast fans). It’s all under the umbrella of my comedy, so there’s that. I’m worried that this may be a bad thing in the long run, but I can always burn that bridge when I come to it (and I may change this very, very soon).
How to Get Over a Breakup (Without the Bullshit)
As you may know, I wrote and published my first book this month. I’ve been entirely slacking in my promotion of it so far, but I’m hoping to start finding some opportunities to push it a bit more soon.
The fact that my book is about dating and relationships (and that I keep the podcast on my YouTube channel) makes me question whether I should keep posting some dating-related content on this blog, too. That’s a mystery I hope to unravel over the next year.
My Identity as a Creator
And maybe all of this has led me to a good place where I’ve started to figure out who I am as a creator. I’ve stopped thinking of myself as a blogger, a YouTuber, or an entrepreneur. I fit all those descriptions, but they don’t identify an end so much as means.
Rather, I’ve started to think of myself as a comedian. I want to sell comedy, entertainment, and (on some level) inspiration and enthusiasm. Of course I want to inspire people. I’d love if the world were a more authentic and self-accepting place. That’s what I think my content has to offer, whether it’s me bitching about blogging problems, telling my bad dating stories, or talking about driving for Uber. It’s all about laughing at situations and trying to teach some kind of nice, fluffy value at the end of the day. I hope that even as my content changes and evolves, it still brings each of you joy. That’s the ultimate goal.
That said, I have some other goals, too.
My Goals for 2017
- Start performing stand-up again. I’d love to get some hours behind the microphone, because stand-up is one of my favorite things to do (and I’m surprisingly good at it).
- Get a few (hundred) more designs on Anthrapologist. Obviously, more is always better. I’d also love to get Anthrapologist’s social media presence up and running a bit better.
- Publish my second book. How to Get Over a Breakup (Without the Bullshit) was written in a day. I’ve been working on a dating story compilation for a couple months (passively) that I’d love to get published around Valentine’s Day if I can find the time. (I also wrote about 10,000 words on a novel that will probably never go anywhere, but let me know if you ever want a PDF version to read on a boring, rainy afternoon.)
- Present at a TED event. Because how freaking cool would that be? And out of the millions of ideas that flow through my brain every day, surely there’s at least one worth spreading.
- Help a journalist get a Pulitzer. One of my favorite parts of this job is getting to talk with reporters and do interviews. But I don’t just want to promote myself. I want to give a reporter a story and an idea so universe-shattering, unique, and powerful that he or she wins a damn prize and makes a career from it.
- Hit a million subscribers. Well, we can dream. More realistically, I’d like to average about 10,000 views per video (and blog post) at the end of 2017. I’d be pretty freaking ecstatic about that.
- Average 1,000 sales per month between Anthrapologist, book sales, and anything else I come up with. I figure if I’m making 1,000 sales, that’s averaging $1,500 per month, which is enough to pay all my expenses and keep me from having to drive for Uber, like, ever again. Then hopefully that full-time effort will get me to the point where I can afford to start hiring team members and teach them my ways.
- Figure out how, exactly, to organize all my projects. Should I buy more domain names? Just set up project pages on this main site? Start a vlog channel, a podcast channel, and an Uber Driver Diaries blog, and use my main channel and this blog only for creator-y posts? Hell if I know. But I hope that by the end of 2017, I know exactly how to answer those questions (even if it means I have to take a couple months of setbacks to get everything ‘fixed’).
- Get published. I’ve got my sights set on Teen Vogue. Also, is there a movement in the gay community that’s along the same lines of women’s interest blogs a la 2008, as in Jezebel, xoJane, Bustle, etc.? You know – a handful of publications that acknowledge that gay men can enjoy racy gogo photos, celebrity gossip, and political pieces by social justice advocates? Because I want to write for one of those if any exist.
- Find my lunch table. Turns out I don’t really fit in with the millennial POC bloggers or the British fashion/beauty/lifestyle bloggers or the funny sex bloggers or the YouTube drama (er, I mean beauty) channel community. Despite loving so many creators from each of these groups, what I’d really love is to figure out where the hell I actually fit in online. Are extroverted misfit cheerleader bloggers a thing yet?
Mantra for 2017
Ignore the fact that mantra is probably the wrong word for this. I don’t care. Instead, this is a thing that I’ve written on a sticky note and stuck to my computer screen so that I keep it in the back of my mind in all I do. It’s a thought to inform and guide all my choices for the incoming year. And I’m building it up way too much, because it’s going to be underwhelming for everybody who isn’t me.
Publish every piece like it’s your last.
This is kind of bleak, but I’ve become aware that at some point I’m going to die. And I guess sometimes I feel like that could happen sooner rather than later. Like, every time I get in the car. I make a lot of my living by driving around at night in crowded areas in a city where drunk driving is the second favorite pastime (after drinking itself).
So I want my life to reflect a certain level of respect for life itself. When I’m planning topics, I want to cover the kind of important things that people should know about. I want to offer something intellectually that’s unique to me or will help a lot of people. When I’m posting on social media, I want those posts to reflect who I am as a person – good, bad, or ugly, I at least want it to be authentic. And mostly good. Because I like to think I’m good.
In other words, I want the life I live and the traces of myself that I’m plastering all over the internet to reflect my values. I want it to be positive and help someone. And I want it to show that I care about humanity because that’s how I choose to live my life.
So yeah. That’s my mantra.
(It’ll also help me get away from some of the content I’ve been making lately that I frankly don’t enjoy and don’t care about – it’s just been me venting certain stuff from my system, masquerading as an effort to appeal to the masses. Not that it’s been awful or negative or harmful. Just… unnecessary. And not what I want to be putting out there. I have emotionally weak moments, too, y’all.)
How about you?
Since this post was nothing but me rambling about myself and my goings-on for 1,500 words, I’d love to know what your goals are for 2017. What projects are you working on? Did you meet your goals for 2016? How do you feel this year went for you? Feel free to promote, name drop, and otherwise brag.
Please. It’ll make this page that much less douchey.