When you build momentum with your content creation efforts, you can’t do it all by yourself.
You need other people with you or you drown.
When you start to find scale, having everything on your shoulders is the worst place you can be.
If you are creating and things are finding momentum ie. one place is working for you in terms of audience growth, it isn’t sustainable if you move to the next stage on your own. You have to find the people where you can reap the reward together and everyone gets recognised for it.
This is about introducing new skill sets which you probably haven’t had before ie. from writing to broadcasting (audio, video) and recognising. Other people can make everything flow better, rather than you accepting relentless sole creation for multiple places.
This article is about acknowledging that as you build your message in new places, you are going to need help.
Looking Back A Year Ago
Last year I held my hand up and admitted I was facing burnout (read the burnout article here). In the article, I said, “By burnout, I don’t mean bereft of ideas to share and a point where I have hit the bottom of an empty barrel. It is about an acknowledgment that things feel different. For instance, my eyes are starting to feel more strained (from too much time in front of a screen) and just the realisation that a bit of a break would realign everything.
I acknowledged burnout as:
1) being hard on yourself where there are continual deadlines to meet ie. an email to send every Thursday before 7 am, to working on a magazine for the conference that will have to reach a printer by a certain date.
2) with the high expectations, small businesses do not necessarily have the broad scope of staff to reach out to when the wheels are in motion.
A year ago, I was on the floor in the build-up to the You Are The Media Conference. Let me explain. Looking back now it makes complete sense:
-Weekly writing for the Thursday You Are The Media email (Monday and Tuesday)
– Producing and putting together the weekly email (Wednesday)
– A weekly You Are The Media Podcast (Wednesday)
– Build up, promotion and preparation for the conference (which I had never done before)
Hours per week dedicated to the You Are The Media Project (which is completely separate from the main business) was approximately eight additional hours per week. So on top of Monday to Friday, I was putting an extra day into the week.
When it comes to creating content as a small business, no one really talks about the very real scenario of burn out. Whilst finding a continuum and momentum is the difference between remaining static and building your space where people come onboard, it can also affect your health.
When the conference finished, I had to take a break for the summer. When I came back at the end of July, I was revitalised. However, things had to change, when you finish a conference and hit a wall where you are asleep on the sofa the majority of the following day, something isn’t right. At some point, something was going to give either mentally or physically, or both.
What Is Different Now?
In twelve months, I realise that if people buy into what you do, you create a support network. When there is a common ground between what you do and the values you have, it becomes easier for people to come together.
It is possible to create something that people will go out of their way to participate in and share with others.
Here is what is different (and what hasn’t changed), in 12 months:
-Weekly writing for the You Are The Media email (Monday)
– Producing and putting together the weekly email (Wednesday)
– The monthly You Are The Media Podcast with Chris Huskins
– The You Are The Media Facebook Group, that becomes an additional pulse to draw people to the online/offline activity. Everyone plays their part.
– Kerrie Ann Reeves suggested the You Are The Media Social. A way to bring people together, get to know those from the You Are The Media. Community a bit better and have a drink at the end of a week
– Build up, promotion and preparation for the conference becomes more of a communal affair (not just me promoting)
Whilst there appears to be more activity, such as the Facebook Group, it has resulted in an additional four hours a week my side (not eight). So that is increased group productivity, for half the time. The main reason has been to focus my writing with brief ideas on a Sunday evening on LinkedIn and then build around these ideas on a Monday morning. The meandering into Tuesday has been cut back by being disciplined with time.
Having a partner with Chris Huskins, who now has the You Are The Media Podcast has continuity. He is far more experienced with working with the podcast medium and making it work. Having a podcast once a month, per show, the numbers are more or less the same (approx 400 to 450 listens per show).
The main point I am trying to make is when you set yourself and others with expectations, it is unsustainable if creation and distribution is wholly on your side as more people subscribe and commit.
When you get too close to something, sometimes it can be difficult to have a breather. You become obsessed without realising it and you are the one who pays the price.
Three Types Of People To Save You
If you are building and things are starting to scale, such as an increase in subscribers and audience growth, I am seeing three types of people step to the front:
The Support Network
The Rallying Cry
Let me explain:
The Support Network
These are the larger entities who have your back, whether that is financially or further reach, these are your allies who can support.
The relationships you build with these people are key. These are the people who make life slightly easier and seen as more than a transaction, it is 100% relational. These are people such as Richard Burn and his team from Dorset Growth Hub who have supported the You Are The Media tours and a lot of activity.
It is the PR side with Darren Slade business editor from The Bournemouth Echo. It is making the whole experience better such as Lee Taylor and his team from Steele Raymond who are buying everyone a drink at the You Are The Media Conference (and they did this at the You Are The Media 2019 kick-off event). It is helping fund and making everything not as daunting such as Ian Jones and Bournemouth University who have been immense in supporting You Are The Media.
These are the people who help you with your creation efforts. These are people who are on the same wavelength and prepared to step forward with you.
My creation efforts have been easier thanks to people such as Chris Huskins who presents the You Are The Media Podcast. Also on the show John Espirian has his LinkedIn Sofa as well as producing the video segments. Kerrie Lisa Reeves had the idea to set up the You Are The Media Facebook Group and the YATM Social events. Without these people, You Are The Media would not have progressed. Having many voices is better than one where people get too used to.
The Rallying Cry
These are the people who encourage others to participate. They don’t have to do it but are integral to the success and growth.
This is where there is a shared belief and choosing to stand together, rather than paying to be seen on someone’s timeline as a complete stranger. These are people such as Hayley O’Shea from Talbot Heath School, Justin Cohen from The Italian Villa, Cara Ashford from Conker Spirit and my very own right-hand man, who has been with this since the start, Gordon Fong from Datacenta Hosting. Every side project needs a Gordon.
What About You?
Experiencing burnout is a draining burden on your life, your family and your spirit. I went in too deep. Here is what I have learned.
These are things for you to take on board, so you don’t end up in a burnt out heap and a shadow of yourself:
–Find ways to limit friction between creation and delivery. Get other people to help you if you start increasing your creation efforts.
– Move away from people who have mud on their shoes (you don’t want them in your house). Keep focused on the job in hand. The increase in exposure will consist of more people who are ready to pass judgement. Recognise that they are not for you.
– Create something that people will go out of their way to participate and share with others. Finding those who are your rallying cry, means that other people become your marketing department without relying on the easy to go to places such as Facebook ads.
– Encourage people to become magnets and megaphones. If you are building your audience you need to encourage people to come closer and participate as well as reflect that to others to come on board.
– Encourage others to bring a value system to life. This is about doing what you say, not cutting and pasting what you have read.
– Belonging is about being intentional. Bringing people together is not about treating the world as a sales lead, but genuinely believing that people coming together can benefit everyone.
– You can rally others behind a cause/values. Having shared values that are relatable and don’t sound too B2B ie. ‘we believe that inbound marketing can assist your business’, makes it easier for people to become familiar.
Let’s Round Up
When people become involved and you move the onus away from yourself as things start to scale, everyone can benefit.
This is what You Are The Media Podcast host Chris Huskins says, “Becoming a part of You Are The Media has been incredible for me both personally and in business. Being a part of the podcast has associated my name with a brand that people love to be a part of and also alongside some huge names in marketing too. This has led to conversations, collaborations and directly to new business as well.”
“On the other side, my involvement in You Are The media has quickly made me part of the furniture at the in-person events. It has made networking for me something I find less stressful since being embraced by the YATM family. And whether you just get the newsletter, come to the events, or are a voice on the podcast… we’re all part of the family.”
When people are empowered to play a role, the world is a far better place where you are not exhausted from doing everything.
You become happier, it becomes a collective effort.
Encourage the energy of commitment.