Intensity, Consistency, and Being Patient
I recently posted this on LinkedIn and wanted to dig into it a little more - because there’s a ton to unpack.
A new creator reached out for advice.
He's got a full-time job but has been building something on the side for a bit.
He has a clearly defined niche in a great market. He's got a podcast, a newsletter, and a growing community. The numbers are not big, but you don't have to always have big numbers to build a meaningful business, especially when you're targeting a niche where there are passionate customers and a willingness to spend on content and information that will help them personally (in this case it's around growing your career).
He told me he wants to see if he can begin to generate revenue from this project and wants to begin offering sponsorships to brands in the space.
But he's been looking for sponsors for a few weeks now and feeling bummed out because there's been no interest yet.
And that's exactly the catch: it takes time.
Sometimes it can happen overnight, but in most cases it's going to take weeks, months and even years to start to click.
I wish I had better advice, but the reality is you have to buckle up and lock in for the long term.
My content business Exit Five (newsletter, podcast, community, webinars) has become great now -- but I've been plugging away at this since 2019, and in reality, much longer than that. I've been writing about B2B marketing since 2015 and am just now seeing the revenue come in across all channels.
We often want the shortcut. Sponsors in 2 weeks. Enough income to quit our jobs in 6 months.
Same way we want to do the 6 minute ab program.
There are no shortcuts, and if you're being pitched one it's usually a one-off wild success or not the whole truth.
The reality is this will take time.
We've put out the Exit Five podcast 88 weeks in a row now (on top of all those years writing about this topic) and we're just now starting to generate real revenue from the podcast and other channels.
Stay focused, keep shipping, keep showing up weekly and the rest will (eventually) take care of itself.
To be great you must be good consistently.
The same is true for content if you're a brand. It's not going to be one blog post, podcast episode, or epic eBook campaign that tips the scale to build an audience - it's going to be weeks, months, and sometimes years.
Good things take time and hard, consistent, good work. Tom Hanks' character in A League of Their Own says “If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great.” In this case it's not just about hard vs easy - it's about working hard and outlasting the inevitable building period. I guess you could call it stamina.
Time is so warped at startups. As marketers, this time warp can mean we’re not exactly set up for the type of success that takes years to build and accumulate. Success is measured in weeks, months and quarters.
Marketing leaders have an average tenure of 1.5-2.5 years (it’s hard to find good numbers on this… but I think it’s clear that it’s not great)... if that’s the average, then many of us aren’t really incentivized to work on long enough time scales to really build up long-term projects. The projects that build on each other and compound over time are the ones that require more patience than many marketers are given - after all, you need to prove your worth right away.