If I had to pick one book that got me fully engaged in content creation again, it would be Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. If you have any interest in starting a blog, a YouTube channel or anything else whereby you are creating content on the Internet, you must read this book. I hesitate to use terms like "life changing" but, if I did, this book would be one that qualified for its use.
Show Your Work is a very quick read. It's only 214 pages and is only 6x6. I was able to read the entire book on my recent flight from Washington DC to Orlando (total flight time about 1 hour and 20 minutes). However, the information contained in that brief read blew my mind and helped me break through the barriers I always had when it came to creating content.
Basically, the book can be summarized in three key principles.
Share Your Work For Free
So many people (present company included) see the Internet as a way to make money. People think that they need to try to monetize every piece of content they create. The problem with this belief is that, surprise, surprise, people don't easily part with their money.
People do business with people they know, like and trust. As a new content creator, you don't have people who know you, like you, or trust you. So why the hell would they give you their money?
When people focus on monetizing their content right out of the chute, frustration often sets in because they spend all this time creating content and have no money to show for it.
If you're creating content with the intent of making money off it, unless people know, like and trust you, that's not going to happen. Share your content freely for the pure joy of sharing it.
I have to tell you, sitting down to this computer to write about whatever interests me and sharing my thoughts freely is very liberating. I acknowledge that people aren't going to read any of this for a long time and even those that do won't buy anything from me. So why do I do it? Let's take a look at the second point.
Attract an Audience
If you read my last blog post about how money always finds me, you'll know I'm a big believer in the law of attraction. The universe brings things together at the right time and place. When you share your work, you will (over time) attract people who are like you and they will start to read, and connect with, your content.
As much as we like to believe we are unique in the universe, there are many people with similar qualities to us out there. We just need a way to shout into the void "HERE I AM" and people will naturally be attracted to us.
I remember so many times I would sit in class and ask a question. After the class, I would have people come up to me "Man, I was thinking that exact same thing." If you have a thought, chances are there are others out there who have the same thought. By sharing your work, you're opening your world up to others that would be interested in the same thing.
Don't Wait To Be An Expert
If I have one regret about starting this journey (again) it would be that I have waited until I became an "expert" before starting. I've never been a big fan of "Fake It Until You Make It" syndrome. One of the things they teach in network marketing (something I know a little about) is to fake it until you make it – use someone else's success story until you get your own.
I was never a fan of that strategy because it felt disingenuous. Now, in reflection, I get it. If you are starting on an entrepreneurial journey, a fitness journey, whatever excites you, chances are there are other people at that exact same spot in their journey.
People like to see "behind the curtain" and know that every expert had a humble beginning. People want to follow along during your journey and the sooner you get them started on the journey with you, the sooner they will know, like and trust you.
Once you have established a following, then you can start to consider getting compensated financially but there are plenty of other ways to get financial compensation without taking money directly from your audience. Sometimes you just have to think differently.
Show Your Work is a very inexpensive $10 investment. Austin has 2 other books which I will be reviewing in the future and the entire collection could be had for about $30.
Overall, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Share your work, start early, don't wait, and don't care if people aren't reading it now. Every superstar on the Internet started exactly the same way I am, and the same way you are.