Can you survive the roller coaster that is online content creation? Here are three tips from YouTube creator Bethany Mota on reaching digital longevity.
Building a business on social media comes with plenty of doubts. One of the first is wondering if you can attract an audience. Then there’s the question of how you’ll react to the hurtful comments you may receive. And even when you reach 10,000 followers, you may wonder if you have what it takes to gain 1 million.
Bethany Mota has nearly 10 million subscribers on YouTube, but she still has fears. Launching her jewelry brand Atom&Matter was one of them, especially after being on YouTube for a decade. But eventually, she found the courage to turn her idea into a thriving business.
Rule No. 1: Don’t tie your self-worth to anyone’s opinion.
When Mota got her first hate comment, she was beyond excited. It meant people were slowly becoming invested in what she had to say. Getting those comments, however mean, was a cool badge of honor, she says.
There was just one problem: The hate never stopped. It was especially tough when, intentionally or not, viewers poked fun at her insecurities.
“Whenever hate comments reflect something that you already feel, it hurts way more because you already believe it,” she says. “So coming to terms with the fact that people I’ve never met suddenly have the ability to say things about me and make hurtful assumptions was really hard.”
Mota overcame the negativity by fine-tuning her emotional intelligence. Here’s what she recommends for aspiring content creators:
- Don’t take anyone’s opinion to heart. Whether you receive praise or criticism, guard your self-worth against the devastating lows and the euphoric highs. Exist in the middle.
- Choose happiness. Feeding into online negativity is a choice; you can always choose something better.
- Stay on your authentic path. There’s a lot of pressure to be the best teacher, entertainer or influencer on the internet. Alleviating that pressure is simple: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
Rule No. 2: Self-doubt is a universal feeling; embrace it.
Normalizing self-doubt sounds weird. It even feels strange in practice. Few people are used to embracing the people, places or feelings that bring them discomfort. Even if peace is on the other side of those fears, the risk feels too big.
“I’ve found that tuning in to when the fear pops up can usually be helpful in steering and figuring out where I’m supposed to go,” Mota says. “It’s not being afraid of the fear and avoiding the fear. But kind of figuring out why the fear is there and using that to help direct [my decisions].”
Let’s say you have a YouTube channel with 50,000 subscribers. If you fear letting them down—which could mean not posting three videos a week—that becomes a source of self-doubt. You doubt your ability to make fewer videos and maintain an audience, though many creators have done just that.
In these moments, ask yourself why you feel a certain way.
For the scenario above, you might feel like your workload and posting schedule don’t mesh. Or that viewers can’t possibly understand your predicament. The only way to find out is by facing those fears. Be honest with your community and let them know what’s going on. Whether the response is good or bad, a definitive answer quells the urge to ruminate.
No matter what anyone says, it’s OK to take a break as a content creator. The internet may never slow down, but ultimately, you will. That’s what Mota has discovered countless times as new priorities (like building a company) took precedence in her life.
“For the beginning half of building [Atom&Matter], I kind of took a step back from social media so I could just tune in with it,” she says. “Every day was just breathing the brand and wanting to feel so good about everything, even the [company’s] message.”
Many online creators would say it’s impossible to take a break. But Mota believes that’s not true. You can schedule pre-made content in your absence or take microbreaks viewers are less likely to notice. Either way, your well-being has to come first.