Ten weeks ago, Daren Smith of Craftsman Creative sat behind a microphone with The Tilt founder Joe Pulizzi for the first episode of The 10K Creator podcast. The setup was simple. Daren would talk about his content business with Joe or another expert every week. He would use what he learned in his business and report back.

As the first season concludes, Daren talks about the lessons he’s learned. And on Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. US EST, Daren and Joe will get back together to take your questions in a live bonus episode. Here are five things Daren learned or relearned during the season that you should do, too.

#ContentEntrepreneur @DarenTSmith worked with @JoePulizzi for season 1 of The 10K Creator Podcast to get expert advice for his #CraftsmanCreative business and talk about the results. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

1. Commit to the long term: When you make the decision to go full force in your business, realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You likely are going to have two to three years until you get to that “I-did-it” moment. And then years four, five, and six can be amazing. (And if that timeline or commitment doesn’t work in your life, it’s OK to do something else.)

2. Don’t go it alone: While you may be a solo entrepreneur, that doesn’t mean you have to operate in a bubble. The expert guests on the 10K Creator Podcast reassured Daren that he is on the right course. That encouragement to keep going reassured Daren. 

They also reinforced the importance of having a methodology and process, so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. While you may not interview experts in this industry like Daren did, you can connect with successful creators in online communities and in-person events. Heck, you can even just reach out directly to a creator you admire and see if they’d be willing to answer a question or two.

Even solopreneurs need to get outside their bubble, and find partners and people who will encourage them and affirm (or not) what they're doing right. #CreatorEconomy #10KCreator #Podcast Click To Tweet

3. Make a plan from renting land to owning the audience: Daren uses Twitter as his primary content marketing channel. He optimized his profile and calls to action to direct people to his website and ultimately convert to email subscribers. In the last month, Twitter is the No. 1 referral channel for his site traffic.

4. Invest and market the business: Craftsman Creative went from 832 email subscribers to 1,851 in two months. How? Daren used Sparkloop’s referral program to gain over 300 of those new subscribers. He paid $3 for every subscriber referred by another newsletter creator in the Sparkloop system. (The value of his average subscriber is $17 so that acquisition cost was worth it to him.)

He also reached out to people who had purchased a course from him and invited them to sign up for the newsletter. Nearly half of that list of 1.1K did so. Now, he incorporates the newsletter invitation into his course registration welcome emails.

5. Think big: Through the 10K Creator Podcast conversations, Daren realized the importance of going after the big-ticket deals. His income increased from an average $1.75K a month to $6.75K a month for October and November.

In his business, that revenue is coming in the form of sponsorships and consulting (and a little bit from affiliate marketing). For example, he says, instead of selling 1K content products at $100 a pop, sell a sponsor for that content product at $10K.

Though Daren resisted selling consulting services at first, he realized from the expert advice it was a smart choice. He could sell a higher-priced consulting package and better identify from those paid gigs what type of content his audience needed.

The 10k Creator podcast would have never happened without the support of Streamyard, Lulu, and ConvertKit

Join Daren and Joe for the special live bonus episode at 1 p.m. US EST Tuesday, Dec. 13. Sign up here.

Listen to all 10 episodes of The 10K Creator podcast to give your creator business the boost it deserves:

The Content Entrepreneur’s Mindset (episode 1)

Zero to 500: Focusing on Email and Revenue (episode 2)

500 to 1,000: Driving Early Revenue (episode 3)

1,000 to 1,500: Boost Growth With Projects (episode 4)

1,500 to 2,500: Running the Content Business (episode 5)

Guest Expert Jay Clouse: The Content Creator Path to Six Figures (episode 6)

Guest Expert Daphne Gomez: Grow Community and Revenue (episode 7)

Guest Expert Lexi Grant: Content, Monetization, and Distribution (episode 8)

Guest Expert Brian Clark: Creating a Seven-Figure Business (episode 9)

The Season One Big Finale (episode 10)

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.