Updated: Apr 14, 2021
1. You Grow when you stop obsessing over aesthetics
For the first one year, I did not put any thumbnails on my videos. I thought they would ruin the aesthetics. I did not experiment with new formats because I thought they would not fit in with the current aesthetics of the channel. I thought like that for a very long time. But then I met Tanmay Bhat back in 2018 and then I realised how snobbish I was about my work. Because he made me realise that even if your work is good, nobody is going to click on it, as you are not even taking care of the basic Youtube hygiene in the name of aesthetics.
You know how they said that you just need to do good work and your audience will come and find you? Yeah, it's a lie.
2. Create first, Entrepreneur Second
This was a tweet recently made by Sahil Lavingia. I think there is nothing more beautiful in this world than the process of creation and on the days we create, we are just more alive. Creation is not just limited to making films, music or poetry. It can be anything. You can create a dish, a brand, a table, a blog. Anything. Creation makes the hustle worth it. The days when I create more, I am a better entrepreneur.
3. Build institutes which are bigger than you
This is for the days when you run out of motivation. When you don't feel like showing up for the work. This is especially important if you are a freelancer and don't want to live the freelancer life anymore.
It was the same reason why I scaled the channel from a movie recommendation platform to a recommendation platform last year. Now since it's a property far bigger than me, I show up on the days even when I don't feel like it. And I never regret it later.
"80% success is just showing up."
4. Don't rely too heavily on a single social media platform
I lost 315k followers on Tik Tok in a day. Everyone was making memes that day but I had my whole fan base wiped out in 24 hours. I have experienced it firsthand, hence I have always had empathy for people who were just big on Tik Tok and had no social media presence on any other platforms. It's a dangerous thing - seeing all your following disappear in front of your eyes. So one should focus on growing some engagement on your other platforms also. Eventual goal should be to find ways where you can directly interact with your top fans/patrons without Youtube/Instagram and bring them to your own platforms.
5. Heed no attention to the people who make you conscious to experiment
This is an important one. And I struggle with this one the most. Because you can handle the mockery or the sly remarks when they come from outside. But sometimes, they come from your closest friends, or your family members. And that is when it gets tricky. As we are growing, almost every person is trying to tell us what we should do and what we should not do. You cannot let anyone get to you. You cannot get conscious.
“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is the greatest art of all.”
- Ray Bradbury
6. Notice the fireworks
Ideas come to us in different ways. For me, they come like fireworks -- 5 seconds of illumination in what would otherwise be a dull day. When I do get those fireworks, when the muse knocks on the door, I act upon it. There can be no delay then. Because the fireworks would stop at anytime. But if acted upon quickly, the idea stays with you and it can lead to something beautiful.
7. Companies fail when they fall in love with their own product
Learnt this from my brother. Be unemotional about your product so that you can bury it and move on to the next thing if the need arises. How Darren Aronofsky says, to make a great film, you will have you kill your babies - the things you love the most.
8. When feeling anxious, change the scenery
When it gets too overwhelming, change your surroundings. Go for a walk or a drive. If you can't step out, you can just change the lighting in your room or the color of your bedsheet. Works likes wonders.
9. When they can't label you, you can do anything
Earlier, I used to be protective of the fact that I am identified as a filmmaker. But when Chalchitra Talks started growing, some identified me as a Youtuber, some thought I was a movie reviewer, some also said I have become a sell-out wannabe businessman.
It is actually is quite relaxing when you know people can't compartmentalise you. It's keeps the beginners enthusiasm alive and for your next venture, you can basically do anything. Anything.
Earlier not having a singular identity made me insecure. Now I use it as my armour. Specialisation is for insects.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” ― Robert A. Heinlein