Roberto Blake is a creative entrepreneur and best-selling author of “Create Something Awesome Today: How Creators Are Profiting from Their Passion In the Creator Economy.” Blake has created over 1000 educational videos on his YouTube channel and grown to over 500,000 subscribers by helping creators turn their passion into profit in a realistic way. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia, while traveling across the country to speak at events like VidSummit and Social Media Marketing World.
Goldie Chan: What has your career path been?
Roberto Blake: My early background is actually in advertising and graphic design. Eventually I became a full-time freelancer, doing various creative work including design, photography and video editing. Freelancing gave me the time freedom to pursue content creation. My freelancing career (specifically as a freelance writer) opened up opportunities in combination with making YouTube content, that lead to public speaking events for publications in the creative services industry, and eventually the social media marketing arena. The networking opportunities I gained from events lead me to consulting with brands, and eventually coaching individual content creators and building Awesome Creator Academy. In less than 10 years I went from earning $30K a year to currently $300K a year. I’ve had a very interesting career path, considering I’m only 38 years old. Now I’m currently pursing a personal dream of establishing myself as a published author.
Chan: What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
Blake: Honestly my favorite project was writing my book “Create Something Awesome: How Creators Are Profiting From Their Passion in the Creator Econmy. Writing a something that I’ve always wanted to do since childhood, and it’s really come full circle, since one of my first jobs was working at a book store. So becoming a published author is a bit surreal for me 20 years later. Writing a book was one of the biggest creative challenges of my life. As much as I enjoy video, live streaming and podcasting, there is something unique about writing that I always come back to. Writing requires a commitment and a level of intentionality that very few people can appreciate.
Chan: What is the creator economy?
Blake: The creator economy, from my perspective can be best described as the intersection of creative work, technology platforms and entrepreneurship. That is why I describe myself as a Creative Entrepreneur. The creator economy allows us the opportunity as creators to monetize and to grow an audience with little to no upfront capital. That’s never been accessible at scale before now. The technology is what really makes it possible to end the era of starving artists. The huge transition is the diversity of ways that you can now monetize creative work, and retain control, al without asking for permission.
Chan: What are a couple of common mistakes that new creators run into?
Blake: The key mistakes that come to mind regarding new creators is a lack of confidence, consistency, and clarity. These 3 probably undermine new creators the most because when you’re first starting your instincts aren’t refined, so there is no clear direction. And when you have very little experience producing and publishing content, there isn’t anything to draw confidence from, since everything is an uphill learning curve. When results don’t show up immediately to validate you, it’s hard not to get discouraged, which tends to lead to inconsistency. The most reasonable thing I can encourage a new creator to do, is to commit to making “100 crappy videos” with the goal of improving 1% with every upload, instead of having the goal of being validated by views or subscribers/followers.The experience will provide clarity overtime because a creator will see what their audience responds to while they are finding their voice and getting comfortable. The body of work itself and seeing that portfolio grow and become more polished will help with building confidence. Making the commitment holds you accountable to consistency instead of relying on motivation.After 100 videos you can look back on your early work as “crappy” and know that was the journey to making quality content and finding your voice.
Chan: How can a new creator pick the right platform to create on?
Blake: Choosing the right platform can be difficult when there is an abundance of options. In my experience you should start with the platform you understand the best. If you’re constantly consuming TikTok you probably understand that platform better than if you casually use YouTube. If you listen to podcast and enjoy long form content, then you probably should take that on as your foundation. Where you consume, is where you are probably best postiioned to create, because you understand thet context, culture and quirks of a platform.
Chan: How do you connect with your audience or community?
Blake: One of the main ways I stay connected to my audience is through Twitter. It’s my second largest platform (68K followers) with YouTube being the largest with over 500,000 subscribers. On Twitter I constantly answer questions and chime in on conversations regarding the creator economy, and I host Twitter Spaces Q&A sessions and Panels among creators large and small. Using my YouTube channel, I do live streams on my main channel and also for my Podcast channel to stay connected to my audience and I stream almost every week. This lets me know exactly what my community cares about and also gives them more access to me and a voice in directing the overall content within my brand.
Chan: What are you currently working on?
Blake: Aside from getting back into the rhythm of publishing consistent YouTube content and doing more podcast episodes, I’ve committed to writing a second follow up book to Create Something Awesome. This next book will focus heavily on The Creator Economy, but specifically a complete answer to what it looks like to be a full-time content creator. It will be focused on monetization, what running a creator business is like, and addressing some common myths about taking this on as a career. I’m really excited for everyone to be able to read it!
Chan: Any last branding or career advice?
Blake: For those of you pursuing a career as a creator, who don’t desire to be an entertainer, and would be more of an educator, or someone sharing their lived experiences, it’s extremely important to not be distracted by trends and by low hanging fruit.
Entertainment has it’s place and that place is dominant in these platforms. Many education-based creators fall into the trap of comparing themselves to entertainers or envying their growth.The most important thing you can do as an education-based creator, is to put the audience first, and to try to solve a problem for them to the best of your ability. You will accomplish this by creating high value, high quality content, and your opportunities will scale in proportion to the volume of that content. The creators who understand the needs of their audience, and put them first, will do better than creators who chase validation through views.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.