Hi! I'm Connor, I study the future of work in Seattle and give business therapy to makers. AMA! 👋
Hi makers! Connor here. I run a podcast/interview series called "The Orbit" in which I interview web-based creatives who run their own small businesses online. Through a combination of YouTube, Instagram, Patreon, and e-storefronts, they are able to turn their hobbies into their professions, bringing in thousands of dollars a month across various platforms. All of this sounded a bit "too good to be true", so I started asking questions and learned that these folks are, in truth, doing the work of at least five people. As budding entrepreneurs, they haven't figured out the process completely, and a lot of the time feel overwhelmed or lost with the "business side of things". Seeing this need, I repositioned "The Orbit" to provide consultation services that I call "business therapy", because sometimes you just need to talk about it with someone who understands. This led to the creation of my book "Sustainable Loops" (illustrated by my partner Cheyenne Barton) which serves as a pocket-guide for honing in sound productivity habits and business practices. It's currently available on Amazon if you want to check it out. As far as the interviews themselves, they are on YouTube and podcast, which you can find links to on my Twitter: @connorthemiller. Are you a web-based creative? Do you want to know more about the future of work? Are you interested in small, decentralized, and independent companies and communities online? Ask me anything!
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What have you seen as some of the most common pitfalls indie makers fall into when doing the jobs of 5 people? Are there obvious tasks that should be outsourced/automated or simply avoided all together? Thanks!
@abadesi Great question! The reason web-based creatives do the work of 5 people is because they want to maintain as much control over their brand and process as possible. To their credit, they are pretty good at putting on different hats for all the work that goes into running an online business. The problem is that it doesn't scale - if you have to fulfill 500 orders, it's going to take away from making your product and making it well. Same goes for learning how to do accounting properly - you can probably teach yourself how to do it, but this time is probably better spent making your product and making it well. Personally, I think that there is a need for small-scale fulfillment services, since this is the biggest time suck. Answering customer e-mails and inquiries are important, but should be managed in a smart way since it is easy to get lost in a rabbit hole. These are two I can think of off the top of my head, but I think what is most exciting is that the problems are different for each creative, which is where I come in. I help tailor best practices for each business structure and model to help my clients avoid burnout and overworking themselves.
Hi, Conner - I’m a cofounder of a startup in the Future of Work space. (We developed an AI Assistant that chats with employees, predicts what will make them stay & perform their best, and offers to initiate this actions for you.) Would you be interested in checking it out? Given what you do, I’m guessing you might be and I’d love to hear your feedback! 🙂
@humaxa @carolyn_peer Personally, I find that apps that attempt to fill the role of manager tend to be really annoying. Further, AI assistants provide some accountability, but it's a pretty weak one - if a computer program is telling you what to do, it's pretty easy to get rid of the notification or the application altogether. My job exists because my clients feel like virtual assistants don't really give them the clarity or direction they need.
@humaxa @connorthemiller - that’s an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. Our app certainly doesn’t replace the role of the manager - it’s intended to make the role of manager much much easier by offering to take actions for them and helping direct their attention to the most urgent places. We also partner closely with consultants who bring their expertise to the table to help our clients solve problems based on the data our tool provides. Do you use any data-gathering tools in your practice?
@humaxa @carolyn_peer We do! It's our interview series. You can check it out here:
Hi Connor, this is a topic that inspired my startup, Fabriq. I've worked with thousands of bloggers and influencers over the last 6 years, and have seen and felt their pains first hand as they struggle to scale their businesses on their own. More often than not their attempts to scale fail due to lack of bandwidth. Not to mention they are using many different tools and apps to run their business, and can rarely uncover the story their data across those apps is telling them. I'll check our "Sustainable Loops" - sounds interesting.
@josh_smith10 Glad to hear that you're interested in my book! Regarding your point about "finding the story" in data, I've recently told my clients to talk to their customers more. It's easy to get caught up in metrics, likes, sales, comments, and more. But there is a clear benefit in speaking to, say, 5 customers in depth to get their full user story. This is something I am sure larger tech companies do, but solo-run business creatives are being yanked in one hundred directions and can sometimes forget to deeply understand the people they're serving. This is part of what "Sustainable Loops" is about - trying to take tactics that bigger companies use in order to tailor and implement them with your solo-run online business.
What's the future of Content Creation vs Content Curation?
@qwertyxyz There's no curating without creating! Humans are really bad at predicting the future, but if I'm going to take a stab at it, I think their will continue to be a high demand for creation, and curation will be a business of its own. Just because we are flooded will images, products, and people on the internet, the need for credible experts and tastemakers will also increase.
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