My 2022 Creator Revenue Story: How I Almost Didn’t 2x My Revenue This Year

Ev Chapman
December 31, 2022
6 min read

I almost wasn’t able to write such a glowing review of 2022. It was October and I was nowhere near reaching the (very reasonable) goals I had set for myself.

And then quite unexpectedly, in just 5 days my whole trajectory changed.

This is going to be a two-part post. The first is a story — the unbelievable story of how I hit my revenue goal this year (if you’re interested in me, you will probably enjoy this story). The second part is my wrap-up and lessons learned from 2022 (I won’t be offended if you just want to skip the story & go straight to the lessons).

Part 1: The Unbelievable Story of How I Almost Didn’t Hit My Revenue Goal This Year

I came into 2022 pretty hopeful.

2021 was the year I started as a scrappy creator. I wrote a lot, built a lot of products and made decent revenue. So I had no reason to think 2022 would be any different. I was hoping for more of the same but with more growth.

After all, everyone on the internet tells you these things compound right?

So, I set myself a pretty reasonable goal of getting to $20k in revenue. In 2021 I had made $12, so this seemed very realistic.

But by October I was ever so slowly inching towards $14k with absolutely no sign that I was going to reach that goal of $20k if I continued on my current trajectory. I had resigned myself to the fact that maybe my growth was just going to be slower moving than most.

But a part of me was a little disappointed.

And you have to understand something about me — I hate goals for this very reason. Because instead of celebrating an extra $14k in my bank account (WHAT THE HECK) and over 5000 people downloading my products (UNREAL) — I thought it wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough growth. It wasn’t fast enough growth. Other people were growing faster than me. I wasn’t where I should be (wherever that is).

And all of that is just a bullsh*t comparison game.

And so that is why I hold goals loosely.

[END OF GOAL RANT]

But I thought I had been so reasonable thinking that my trajectory during 2021 would surely mean I could hit this new goal in 2022.

Then everything changed in a matter of just 5 days (this is not clickbait, this is the honest real story).

On a quiet Monday morning after a conversation with a very wise mentor, I made the crazy decision to launch a new course… The Tana Fast Track Course.

Everything about it was crazy. Tana as an app was still in VERY early access (not even a month old), invites were dripping out slowly and I set myself the goal to launch in less than 5 days.

But sometimes the craziest ideas pay off the most. Because what happened next completely blew my mind.

I thought if I can get 5–10 people to buy the course I’d be more than happy. Over the next 5 days, 40+ people signed up for the pre-launch.

To say this was my best launch yet would be an understatement. And if you had told me at the same time the week before I’d be madly filming modules & launching a course I probably wouldn’t believe you.

But as I shipped the completed course at midnight that Friday my Gumroad revenue ticked over to $20k. I had just had my best month EVER as a creator AND hit my yearly revenue goal

And I sat on the floor of my loungeroom and cried.

Since October I’ve had another record month in November and over 130+ people have signed up for Tana Fast Track & are absolutely loving it.

So was it just sheer luck? Taking enough shots on goal? Being in the right place at the right time? The culmination of the hard work over the last 2 years?

It was probably all of that & more. But the experience prompted me to look back at my year and reflect on some lessons… So here begins the lessons learned part of this post.

Wrap-Up & Lessons Learned This Year

Let’s do a quick wrap-up of the year before we get into lessons.

Some Fun Numbers From This Year:

  • 6000 Social Media Posts
  • 120+ Essays, Articles & Videos
  • 352k Eyes on my content
  • 13,200 New Human In My Tribe
  • $38k In Creator Revenue
  • 3,800 Customers

Firstly, I am just incredibly grateful that this is my life and that so many people have resonated with my message and entrusted me with their attention this year.

Now.. onto the lessons.

Lesson 1: Courses Were The Key (for me)

When I looked back at all of my highest revenue months I realised something — they have all been when I sold courses.

Tana Fast Track is the third course I’ve launched in the last 2 years. Each time I’ve launched a course it’s been my highest revenue month. The problem with the first two is I sold them only for a limited period of time.

It seems like a no-brainer when I look back on it now — but having a higher-priced product like a course brings in more high-revenue months.

Before October, April was my biggest revenue month when I launched The Effortless Creator Course

Traditionally I’m a digital product creator. My price aren’t bargain basement, but compared to courses they are at the lower end of my price spectrum. Digital products are great as something that ticks over, but they’ve ended up being a much smaller part of my revenue this year.

Lesson 2: Diversity of Products is key

But that doesn’t mean I’m throwing out everything except for course sales.

When I started to look at all the types of products I have, each brings in its own percentage of revenue share. And now it’s even more obvious to me that you need a suite of products & services that people can choose from.

Each product type is a different price point and has a different outcome attached, so it attracts different kinds of people. From Guides at the smaller end, courses in the middle & services at the very top end.

The 2022 Breakdown Of All My Revenue Types

As much as you can try to create a little diversity in your product suite coming into 2023 — it could make all the difference.

Lesson 2A: Charge More

This is a lesson every creator must face. But what I discovered is it’s just as easy to sell a $147 course as it is to sell a $9 ebook. Plus you have to sell MANY more $9 ebooks to reach your goals.

So when I went from selling $27-$47 products to $147 courses the numbers grew MUCH faster. Again, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to sell lower priced products, but if that is the only product you have on offer it’s going to take a lot more effort to reach your goals.

Lesson 3: CBC Courses are not for me

It’s no secret that CBC (Cohort Based Courses) are the ‘in thing’ at the moment.

After running a successful self-paced course in 2021 I thought the next logical step for me was a CBC. After all everyone was launching & filling CBC courses… so why not me?

But all I found was it bought me was a noose around my neck.

For 6 weeks I had to be on zoom at a set time every week to deliver a workshop that I couldn’t help but think could have been pre-recorded. It felt so constraining for me.

And it had nothing to do with any of my students or the course contents — I actually loved every session with them. But the thought of getting on those zoom sessions stressed me out every week. I even had to miss a night out in the city with my sisters because I had to run my course.

This isn’t the life I signed up for as a creator.

What I discovered in the process, is that one of my values is freedom — and I hate being boxed in to set times. And while I don’t doubt the effectiveness of CBC courses, they are just not for me.

So I’m sticking with my self-paced style of course & instead experimenting with building communities & memberships around them where we can connect in a more ad-hoc way on zoom calls, one-off workshops & office hours.

Lesson 4: Your existing customers are your best customers

I don’t know why I got into this mindset, but I felt guilty for asking my existing customers to buy new products. Forgetting that they are the ones who already LOVE my existing products and why wouldn’t they want to buy more things from me?

When I put out my Tana version of The Endless Tweet Generator (which is free) in November guess who put their money down and actually paid for it on Gumroad — almost every one of my Tana Fast Track students.

They’d already paid for my course, why wouldn’t they just access this for free? Because they knew the value they were going to get and they were more than happy to pay for it.

This was a big lesson for me to learn. Your best customers are your existing customers. So stop feeling guilty for asking them for more money.

Lesson 5: Stay In Your Lane & Do What Feels Right. Call Your Own Shots

From the very start of this journey, I knew I could probably make more money if I did coaching or one on one sessions and I have been asked over and over again this year if I do it.

But I knew I didn’t want to.

One of my goals and values is not to create another job where I am trading time for money 1:1. I was happy to do one-off ‘office hours’ sessions where people could pick my brain, but a long-term coaching relationship is not a road I wanted to go down.

Sticking to the boundaries you set for yourself and filtering your decision through those values will help you keep loving what do you. And sometimes that is hard — especially when you’re not at your goal revenue.

But I guarantee you, as soon as you cross your personal boundary you’ll feel like you’ve sold your soul.

By sticking to my boundaries I’m able to devote the majority of my time to my course. And I can be creative about how I do coaching. We hold public office hours where I can coach people in the community and have it be beneficial to the whole community, not just one person.

That’s the kind of 1:1 coaching I can get behind.

Things I’m still failing at…

It might seem like all wins, but it’s been a challenging year for me as well. Here are some of the things I’ve struggled with.

YouTube

I’ve failed at any kind of consistent uploading schedule (and yet people keep subscribing for some reason). Youtube has always been my hardest platform because I’m naturally a writer, not a talker. But I’ve got a plan for 2023 and people to help me to get there. So stay tuned for big YouTube Plans in 2023.

My Newsletter

I have been so inconsistent with sending a weekly newsletter it’s not even funny anymore. And while I was working on inconsistency with one, I decided to start a second one which I’m also inconsistent at.

I cannot make any promises about being more consistent with the newsletter in 2023. What I do know is that I want to make it as dead easy as possible to get a weekly newsletter out this year… so I’m working on a system to make that happen. More on that in the new year.

Writing in General

Writing is where I started as a creator and I just haven’t done as much as I would have liked to this year. It’s still my biggest joy & I want to make more time for it in the new year.

What’s on the horizon for 2023?

More Content.

I’m a creator after all 🤣. This year I’ll be focusing all my content through one BIG lens: Elevating your life & work with tools for thought. This brings together three things I LOVE to talk about:

  • Intentional Life Design (aka self-improvement)
  • Spark Note-Taking & Personal Knowledge Management
  • Systems, Rhythms & Ways of Working & Living our best life

My focus is to create more long-game content. In particular Articles, Essays & Youtube Videos.

Every day I log onto my Website, Medium & Youtube to find new people have discovered my content. This is long-game content. The kind of content that sticks around for a long time that people can discover.

It doesn’t require the constant attention or stoking of social media (even though social media plays a part in it’s discovery). So I’m doubling down on this kind of content in 2023.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up short-game content (aka social media). I’m continuing to focus on Twitter, Instagram & TikTok into the new year.

The Tana Academy

I’ve so enjoyed bringing people into my world and way of working through The Tana Fast Track course and I want to continue to do that in 2023. So I’ll be launching a membership called Tana Academy.

Each month I’ll host workshops, and introduce new workflows & tools to help you elevate your life & work using Tana as the tool.

This is a way for me to bring together all my products, courses, mindsets & unique ways of working into one place for my tribe. More on this in the new year.

And of course, I’ll still be launching individual products, workshops, ebooks and eventually… this book that I’ve been working on for more than a year now 🤣

Revenue?

And do I have a goal revenue for 2023 that I will hold ever so loosely? It’s a scary number… but here goes $100k 😬 (Just writing that down took like 20 minutes).

I think I’ve learned enough lessons in 2022 to make it happen.

Wish me luck.

This article ended up being WAY longer than I expected. Hello if you reached the end 👋. I hope it was helpful in understanding the ups & downs of being a creator & inspired you to get started yourself(or continue if you’re already doing it).

Above all, know this: it’s not too late to jump into the gold rush that is the creator economy. You never know — it could completely change your life (it has changed mine).

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