Every week, I'm meeting and interviewing new creators. And as I dig into their stories, one of the most fascinating aspects I try to first understand is their timeline.
It varies widely from creator to creator. Some creators take years or even decades to break through. Others, like Codie Sanchez or Andrew Huberman seem to burst onto the scene and blow up seemingly overnight.
First of all, there are rarely true overnight successes. I think we all agree on that.
But some timelines do seem to be accelerated when compared to others.
So I've been asking myself...
Why is that?
And what can we do to speed up our own trajectory?
A lot of people say that you need to "live an interesting life." And "in order to be interesting online, you need to be interesting offline."
That answer never quite satisfied me. Being "interesting" is such a subjective term...but there's probably a baby in that bathwater we don't want to throw out.
But then the answer hit me last week like a ton of bricks.
The most successful creators I know are a wealth of specific knowledge. Specific knowledge that THEY uniquely have – because they earned it.
They earned that knowledge over years of hard work in a specific arena – something unique (and maybe even "interesting.")
I call this earned insight.
Unless you're competing in the realm of pure entertainment, your secret sauce is your earned insight.
For Codie Sanchez, her earned insight is buying and operating boring businesses like car washes or laundromats. Before TikTok, how many people cared about owning a laundromat?
Well, it turns out, when people learn about the financial opportunity of owning a laundromat...they start to care a lot more!
And where can they learn how to get started buying one? From someone who has already done it. Enter: Codie Sanchez.
Now let's look at Andrew Huberman – how did he come out of nowhere to suddenly dominate social media and podcasting? Well, he appeared on existing interview shows like the Rich Roll Podcast and people were blown away by the depth of understanding he had about neuroscience.
How many people have the depth of understanding of neuroscience that Andrew Huberman has?
How many of them have any public profile at all? Or make the topic seem so approachable and easy to understand for normies like us?
Your earned insight colors your perspective on the world. It's the fuel your business runs on. It's the information you package and trade to help other people succeed faster.
Remember: people want to make money, save money, or save time.
And when they can shortcut a process by leveraging YOUR earned insight as a new starting point, that saves them time! Saving time also saves them money. And it probably gets them closer to making money themselves or achieving some sort of transformation they're seeking.
Again, unless you're purely seeking to entertain, it all comes down to mining, packaging, and distributing your earned insight.
This is why it's so hard for people to become a creator-educator when they're young. It's why younger creators tend toward being silly, funny, and entertaining on social media – they don't have the earned insight to trade yet.
Experience still matters a lot in the creator world.
The good news is we all have earned insight in SOME form. So if you've resolved to become a professional creator, start with your earned insight.
What has YOUR unique life set you up to understand better than most? And Who would that earned insight be valuable to?
It may be as simple as someone who started a similar journey three years later than you did.
Now, I know a lot of aspiring creators are trying to transition OUT of the area where they've earned insight. You don't want to spend more time in the same industry or community of people, so leveraging your earned insight doesn't feel attractive.
There's still some good news...
You can resolve – TODAY – to begin earning insight into any area that you want. This is one of my favorite parts of Dan Runcie's story – Dan is an authority on the business of hip hop. But Dan didn't have a background in music...he just loved hip hop. And that passion pushed him to become a student of where hip hop intersects with the business world.
It didn't happen overnight, but after years of hard work studying and writing about the business of hip hop, Dan became the guy with some of the most valuable earned insight at that intersection.
You can be aspirational. You can CHOOSE where you earn insight.
It may take some time, but if you focus on that day-in and day-out for a period of years...who will know about that subject than you? Even if there are a few, there are far more people who will quickly be lightyears behind you and ready to trade their attention and cash to start from YOUR earned insight.