Week 2 - Give it Purpose
Start: Aim for Authenticity
Just for a moment picture in your mind a person you have met only once or twice, but vividly remember. Can you think of someone? Maybe its from a time you met a celebrity, or your idol, a family member you just learned about, a friend in a class from your childhood that moved away, a speaker of an event you attended, or an artist of a band you really love. Chances are there is someone along your lifetime that despite the short encounter between you and this person, for some reason their meeting just stuck with you. Chances are too the reason this memory of this meeting has stuck with you is because that person was authentic. They had a personality trait and demeanor that related to you and created such a positive experience in your mind that subconsciously you just held onto. Crazy to think one person can have that impact huh? What is even more crazy is that there are millions of people out there that have this sort of impact on others; and YOU can too. It is all in the way you interact with others and how genuinely authentic you are.
Authenticity isn’t necessarily a trait that you can fake. If you try to fake authenticity people will see right through you. The key to figuring out how to be authentic is just to figure out who are you. It sounds simple but that’s because it is. You don’t have to fake being authentic when you are whole heartedly just being yourself. When you are completely comfortable in your skin and love yourself fully enough to be yourself at all times, authenticity just flows naturally. Other people want to know how they get to that level and create positive interactions that make people remember you long after, if even just that one time. If you are lucky you will get the chance to meet the followers of your content in person. But more times than not it’s all in a digital format. In this lesson we are going to talk about how to portray your complete authentic self in your content so that others will remember you long after finding you.
Well, instead of being upset or angry, disappointed, or otherwise just have a back up plan! In the back of your mind think you know if things fall through with my friend I can always do ‘plan B’ instead. I have meaning to clean my room, or start reading that new book I bought, see my in laws, take up my other mate’s offer to hang tonight, whatever it may be. Sometimes unexpected events come up last minute so it isn’t inconsiderate of you to have a back up plan just in case the original plan doesn’t work out. Likewise with your document, if you are publishing content online you should ALWAYS start with a document in Microsoft Word, Docs, Google Sheets, pen and paper, wherever you choose to write your content and safely back it up to a hard drive or USB port. In this section we are going to talk about the importance of having a draft period and brainstorming ideas before you even begin drafting. It’s all a process and keeping that habit in the back of your mind to back your content up somewhere is how you will stay organized and stress-free in case plans change!
Path to Success: Just Be You
Authenticity comes naturally and will flow through all of your content readily. To do this all you need to do is be yourself. The more genuine you can be through your content, the more connected your audience will be to you. Keep that in mind most of all through each of these steps. As you work through the steps for each week, it is helpful to have a pen and paper or a Microsoft Word doc ready to take notes and write down your thoughts. This will serve as a helpful resource to you as you dive deeper into each goal week. Ready for that next level authenticity? Let’s go.
Step One: Defining Your Reason
“People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.”
― Anna Wintour
In your day to day routine, are there certain habits you do every single day? Or what about weekly like perhaps every Sunday you go grocery shopping. Every task that you do should have a reason for doing it or else why are you doing it? A lot of the tedious every day tasks that we take on might come as second nature and subconsciously you do not actively have a reason for why you’re doing it. That is how we end up getting into a trap of our schedules being dictated by all these tasks that we do not have real reason for doing and suddenly we get to busy to do anything else. If you have true intentions on why you are creating the content and direction of where you want your content to be going, that is a wonderful but you have to have a reason behind it first.
Right here right now, grab something to write down the answer to this question in your own way. What is your reason for wanting to create content? “I dunno”, “Just for fun”, “Because my friends do so I thought it would be cool” those reasons just aren’t good enough. In the long term these reasons will leave you losing interest and bowing out of the race and perhaps creating content as an influencer of some sorts just isn’t for you. Be very serious about your intentions here and what you write down! For example, writing something more specific like, “My reason for wanting to create content as an influencer is to show others that it is possible to travel as a solo female traveling photographer.” Specific. It covers a niche in an interest that means something to me and it covers a few topics that I can brand myself with and center my content around. Does that make more sense? Once you write down your reason for creating, we’re going to look at how to decide what type of content suits you the best.
Step Two: What Draws Your Attention
“Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.”
When you have a clear reason for wanting to create content, it can be very clear straight away what type of content suits you best. Sometimes you just know straight away which form of art draws your attention because its a go to outlet for you to express yourself. Perhaps you have an eye for creativity but you just haven’t had the chance to discover if you have the skill for it. Had I for example never picked up a camera perhaps I wouldn’t have known that I am a great photographer. But, I had a reason to want to take photos therefore the camera and producing content centered around my photos is what suited me best. For someone more drawn to the action, the transition of events, or the live action happenings in their environment their attention may be captured more via video.
You have to have a reason in mind for why you want to create content. When that’s sorted out, now its a matter of deciding which style captures your attention most. Focusing on just one style over others. Not saying that you can’t do both video, photos, and writing but favor one style at a time until you get a really good grasp of just one before tackling the others. Your goal is to be the best at what you do so don’t over extend yourself before you learn all the skills to handle the responsibilities associated. The further we dive into the process of content creation, the more you will see it is a much more detailed process than you think; if you do it to a higher level of professionalism.
Our job is to make this process seamless and easy but it is just as important to keep your attention focused. Try your hand at a few different styles to see what you think would fit best and if down the road it’s not the right fit its okay to switch. Just don’t plan to tackle every mode and style of content creation right way. We are going to talk more in detail on the type of tools you will need to have to capture your content based on the mode you are aiming for. If you still aren’t sure what would work best for you, read the next step to help you decide!
Step Three: What is Required
“The level up is about improving not impressing. Show yourself that you can get better. It’s you vs you at the end of the day.”
Getting started as a content creator or formally known as an influencer can lead to more start up costs than you might think. You are not necessarily required to get anything up front but over time to really develop your skills and create more professional content you will need to upgrade your tools. A huge expense for a lot of influencers is having a platform to create their portfolio and build a following. Luckily if you are reading this, you are already a part of the Travel Circle. That alone saves you at least $25-$50/month on website hosting and advertising costs. Getting accounts on other social media platforms is free to use so you’ll want to keep an account or two active on these platforms. Finally, most everyone owns a cell phone but if you don’t have a phone with a nice camera this may be something to consider. That is all you really need to start! Now, let’s talk about what you will need to upgrade later.
If you intend to create content using primarily photos or videos, you will need a few pieces of equipment. A professional camera, tripod, stabilizer, and potentially a microphone if you are doing vlogs will be necessary. On the low end getting this equipment can cost around $650-$1,000 if you buy used. It really depends on the brand of camera and video equipment you buy. If you are buying brand new the price can easily double. Pay attention to Black Friday and end of the year sales! For example, we managed to score a Canon 70D with a 7-300mm lens, camera bag, strap, flash, and camera strap for approximately $800! This camera has video capability with a reverse panel recording screen and has excellent quality picture so that was enough to upgrade our equipment. Not too bad at all.
As you are getting started do not worry about upgrading to fancy equipment. You can save up your commissions and bonuses to help beat that cost! Focus first on creating high quality content with the resources you have. You can do a lot with a phone, social media outlets, and the Travel Circle to back you up! Keep that expense in the back of your mind and as you continue referring people and sharing beautiful content from the Travel Circle out to outside social media platforms, your commissions on top of monthly bonuses will help you curb this cost in no time. We are going to cover another expense you will need to consider to create content next, but this is not a financial expense. We are going to talk about time.
Step Four: If You Invest Your Time, You Know It Matters
“Money is ultimately not enough compensation for investing your time and energy; there has to be a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.”
― Dan Miller
Creating content with purpose is more than simply throwing words on a page, or snapping a photo and moving on. Being willing to trade your time in order to really create high quality content is what you will need to do. Take it from us, we have learned what it really takes and for quite a while you will be trading your time for quality. When you are doing something purposeful however, it won’t feel like your time is going to waste. At first you won’t be paid for your time and that can be discouraging. Keep in mind the reason you began this journey in the first place. Enjoying the process is what will help you push through the trying times of getting started in the beginning. What you are trading time for in the beginning will pay off big in the future. Think of time as your most valuable asset as you are getting started. Spending your time on your content creation is the most purposeful act you can do for your mission.
You are probably familiar with the phrase, “You gotta spend money to make money.” That may be true, but how much time are you spending to make money? Are you measuring a dollar value of how much your time is worth? Say for example you are working 40 hours a week at a job you don’t enjoy, that doesn’t give you purpose you are technically getting paid a dollar amount for those 40 hours you work. At the end of the week though you put in all of those working hours towards an activity that does not give you purpose. Your time really has no value then because it is dictated by someone else’s purpose.
When you flip the tables then say you are making no money but you gain 40 hours a week in time back, now you are dictating how those hours are spent and where your time is worth being spent. That is huge! Using your time with a purpose is more valuable when you trade it for something that gives something meaningful back. That is when you know it matters. In the final step of this week’s lesson, we are going to cover never settling when it comes to achieving a purposeful goal.
Step Five: Set Your Standards High
“Nothing is a hobby- each discipline is its own world with its own high standards. Of course, every artist has ‘minor works’ that they do, but I don’t think I have any ‘minor disciplines’.”
While in the pursuit of something you are passionate about, your purpose in pursuing that one thing is laced into everything that you do. Purposeful intentions drive you to get better and lead you in directions that enhance your abilities. Setting higher standards will create a little friendly competition with yourself to get better at what you do. Truly becoming great at content creation means you are willing to trade your time for opportunities that make you better at your craft. Eventually you won’t be trading time for nothing, figuratively. Being able to share your story is a gift and reward of its own. You are more likely expecting to get a monetary value for your efforts though. We think you should too. We elevated the standards of the type of content we produce on the Alt Perspective Travel Circle and we decided you should be rewarded for doing the same.
The biggest benefit you get in setting a higher standard for yourself is having pride in producing great content. Being able to see your work out in to the world and tell your story in a way that no one else can. Every time you publish a piece of content in the Travel Circle you will earn Alt-Travel points! These points can be accrued to book travel with us so you can save on your next adventure. You also look forward to the opportunity of your content inspiring someone to partner with us. Remember, you earn a monetary commission back for doing so! Content that has purpose and a genuine story behind it really stands out. Taking that extra bit of time to add a title, a description of where you obtained the content, and having your partner affiliate code on it are all simple steps you can do to make your content that much better. You are telling your story, not anyone else’s so make it the best you can!
Optional: Do Week Three Content Creation
When you have completed each step for this week’s lesson, you should be prepared to give every piece of content you create purpose and take the necessary steps to elevate your skills. If you feel you have completed each step thoroughly and are ready to move on, take a glimpse at the goal for week three!