11 Actionable Steps To Switch From Consumer to Creator
So your apartment is full of gadgets and books, eh? 99% of the emails you receive are about becoming better and achieving the ultimate success? Your local book store recently awarded you with the customer of the month award? You’ve read every book on the market about starting a business? However, despite all of that commitment, for some strange reason, you continue to feel emptiness deep inside. No matter how many videos and guides you consume, you still feel rather incomplete. Like something is missing. That’s why you continue to absorb information like a cocaine addict and never start something yourself.
Consuming content online and watching videos is surely fun. But not only that, it’s also inspirational, educational and when put into action, this content can help you achieve some really awesome shit. Like building the next million dollar app.
If you’re obsessed with self-improvement, like me, you’ve probably watched a room full of videos, read a shit load of books about starting a business and improving yourself. And while reading and watching educational films is admirable. Only reading and watching stuff won’t move the needle closer to the desired results. Actually, it will probably convince you that you’re still not ready and shoot you on the bench where you will be waiting for the “perfect moment to act.”
Myself, I’ve waited too much to start creating something. I thought that I should first, consume everything on the subject, acquire all the answers, and finally, write about stuff. Yet, things are totally different and much simpler. I just had to start.
So, if you’re willing to trim down your visits to the book store and you’re ready to finally implement the tactics you’ve watched in all the YouTube videos, then read on.
Why Be A Creator?
I personally believe that we’re created to build stuff. Otherwise, what’s the point of living? It surely isn’t getting the new iPhone, year after year. Here are 3 reasons to start creating today:
You’ll be more fulfilled when you’re working towards something you love;
You can share with the world your point of view and actually help the surrounding unfortunates get better;
You distance yourself from the cursed consumer stage when you work on a project you adore.
And even though it’s easier than ever to build something that can help other people, unfortunately, it’s even easier to fall into the “always wanting more” mindset nowadays. Where everything you consume is never enough.
Getting stalled in the consumer phase is common. You read books, you listen to podcasts, you watch videos and you think that you’re improving. That your life is somehow transitioning from a shit hole to the bloody Disneyland. But in reality, nothing is changing.
For years I was obsessed with passively getting better. The reason I mention passively it’s because I was merely absorbing. I was devouring book after book. Podcast after podcast. Email after email. I’ve read thousands upon thousands of pieces of content but actually tried a few of the things mentioned in all of these books and resources. I thought that in order to get better and start creating myself, I should get a degree, visit a couple of conferences, write a book, become a professor and who knows what more.
Fortunately, there is a way. Here are 11 actionable steps to switch from consumer to creator:
11 Steps To Switch From Consumer to Creator
1. Start Creating Every Single Day
Since you’re watching videos online daily. You’re accessing your Facebook profile as often as you go to the bathroom, if not more. You can surely find some time to create something, daily.
In the beginning, it will be hard and you won’t have a clear idea of what you’ll be doing. Nevertheless, start with something. No matter how small. No matter how stupid. Create something. Type a few words on your notebook. Prepare a dessert. Take a few pictures. Sketch an idea about a new bike or a new way to sort your files. Write a few sentences.
Set a “create something” alarm and during this hour, or two, try different things. Build something you think it’s cool.
The important thing here is to do it regularly. Even if it’s not for one full hour, it might be just for five minutes. Make creating part of your life.
2. Set Up Headquarters
What do you feel like doing when you sit in front of the TV? You want to watch a show, right?
Of course you do. That’s because the place was designed for watching TV series and the latest Netflix updates.
Apply the same strategy and design a creator’s HQ. This will be a place where you’ll create stuff. The only thing you’ll do inside this place will be to make. You can even put a sign: “No consuming allowed.”
The location will depend on what you will be doing. If you’re going to make wooden figures, set up your basement as HQ. If you’re going to write articles, your desk will be your creator’s headquarters. The important thing is to adjust everything in this specific place to inspire you towards action.
3. Draw A Line
We tend to mix business with pleasure all the time. While we’re working on a specific project, we always find time to check our social media feed or involve ourselves in another activity that’s not directly related to the job we do. This becomes a habit which is later hard to quit.
When you’re in creating mode, do everything possible to restrain yourself from doing something else – like checking your phone.
Draw a line between work and pleasure. This involves leaving your phone in the other room when you’re creating in your own headquarters. Consider your HQ as your sanctuary. Not talking is allowed. Only deep focused work.
4. Use What You Have
Initially, you’ll be clueless about what to create. That’s normal. Don’t panic. Actually, a lot of people never transition from consumers to creators because they don’t know what to create. They feel like they don’t have any talent, thus remain situated in front of the TV.
If you feel the same, don’t worry. You can still squeeze something and show it to the world.
Start creating things from the stuff you have laying around. Try different things. Take your time to experiment.
Keep in mind though that you don’t necessarily need a set of professional paintbrushes, a large canvas and acrylic paint set before you start painting. You can use what you currently have in your house. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and start sketching.
People get so obsessed with acquiring everything before they start. They want to obtain the perfect tools, first, and then make something. Unfortunately, this is usually the reason they never start.
If you refrain from taking pictures because you don’t yet own the perfect camera, you’ll most likely never become a photographer. Use your old camera or the camera on your phone. It doesn’t matter. Starting is what matters.
5. Don’t Get Distracted With Wanting More
You don’t need a lot of things to build a great product. Virtually everyone can manufacture a great gadget if she/he has a budget of 10,000 dollars. A true inventor will build the same product for around $1,000.
The consumer mindset will tell you that you should get more stuff in order to build the product. Don’t listen to it. That’s just a distraction.
It’s easy to think about hiring a big team and about buying a lot of equipment. Again, you don’t need all of that. You need to focus on the essential things. On trying to build something with fewer resources. Also, a lot of times being a team of one is better.
6. Scratch Your Own Itch
This is actually something I learned from the book Rework.
Basically, if you’re still wondering what to create, the easiest way to design a great product is to make something you want to use. Something you think society is missing. To invent, and document, a solution to your own problem.
Every day we’re facing difficult situations and we’re bound to make decisions. You’re probably handling certain situations better than everyone else. If that’s the case, share your knowledge with the world. Create guidelines, videos, or product that is solving your problem. In 99% of the cases, other people are experiencing the same things and are looking for solutions.
7. Focus On Doing One Thing
You won’t save the world. So, don’t try to build an extravagant portfolio or products and services that will upgrade the human race and save us from ourselves and our illogical behavior.
Focus your efforts towards solving one thing. One problem. One type of audience.
You can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try. There will be always people who’ll hate what you do. That’s just how things work.
Instead of trying to invent a magic pill that will cure all diseases, focus on creating such that will remedy us from one specific illness.
Whenever I receive a thought about something, I write it down. No matter how stupid or unpractical this idea is.
Over time, even the dumbest ideas flourish into something useful. Something worthy to write about. That’s how I always have content to write about.
Sometimes two dull concepts turn into something beautiful over time, but if you don’t write them down, you’ll never know.
9. Don’t Try To Make It Perfect
The thing you’ll do initially will probably suck. That’s OK.
I’m sure that Picasso’s first paintings were not so beautiful also. What makes you think that you’ll create a masterpiece from the first try?
Creating, in general, is a marathon, not a spring. As you no doubtfully heard already. It will take you some time to build something. Initially, the product will have flaws, but that’s just part of the process. You’ll first create and later you’ll refine.
10. Decide Earlier What You’ll Do
While we initially mentioned that you should sit down and create regardless of whether or not you have a plan. Later in the process, you should have a clear idea about what you’ll be doing before sitting on your desk.
If you don’t know what you’ll be doing, you’ll most probably do nothing. You’ll search sites for inspiration or get lost inside the social media waterfall. Or in other words, you’ll waste your time.
A simple thing every self-respecting creator does before he starts is to have at least a general understanding of what he/she will be doing.
So, my advice?
Decide the night before what you’ll be creating the next day. When you know what’s your goal your more organized.
11. Set Clear Goals
As it’s easy to lose yourself in constant consumption, it’s also easy to sink into a phase of constantly refining the product. Or, even worse. To create without a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Define what you want in the beginning and set a clear deadline. Otherwise, you’ll never complete anything.
Even if version 1.0 of the product you’re creating is not flawless until your deadline, it’s best to have something to show and share with the world. Take note of the mistakes you’ve made during the process and improve everything later.
As mentioned, it’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint.
Some Closing Thoughts
These days you can easily get addicted to Youtube. And who can blame you, there are some really awesome channels out there. But making art and staring at art are two different things. The latter is a passive thing. Meaning, you don’t actually get better while you watch YouTube videos. Even if you do learn something from the video, you still need to act in order to improve.
But why only consume? Why not create?
Nowadays is easier than ever to make something. We all have easy access to various online tools which allows us to unleash our imagination from the comforts of our homes. The only problem remains the following: Are you willing to put into practice what you consume on daily basis and make the switch from consumer to creator?
Are you? Share what’s you plan in the comments below: