When I started my very first blog 3 years ago, (Always Rise Blog), alongside my dormant YouTube channel at the time (Khalipha Ntloko), I did this because, at that particular moment in time, I felt like there weren’t enough black, female and Cape Town-based YouTubers and bloggers for me to look up to as I started discovering various aspects of myself in varsity. Of course, location isn’t really the biggest problem when it comes to finding a source of inspiration (I mean, I look up to Beyonce and she’s living her best life continents away), but there’s something about a more localised role model that helps me better connect with them, and look to them for guidance on how to navigate my way because they’ve already been there.
So I took the age old saying “Be the change you want to see in the world” and figured I would try fill this gap and become the very role model I was looking for in Cape Town. Fast forward to a couple of years later, and a decently established personal brand under my belt, I still find that my journey as a content creator is continually growing. But with that comes all these doubts about my work – more so, wondering if I am actually seen as the creative individual I consider myself to be.
I remember reading a tweet from someone, saying how ‘slept on’ and not-so-recognised my creative work is – particularly the beauty portraits I’ve fallen in love with capturing. I couldn’t help but agree with them because it left me thinking “Why doesn’t my high quality photos ever reach the 500 Like mark?”, or “Why am I not seen for all the hours I put into a single photo or video?” and “How come my content is not nearly as viewed as the next creator?”
Comparison really is the thief of joy, because I fell into this slump of thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t actually be creating content when I am so small and unrecognised compared to other creators with a higher following or views on their video content. Then again, how on earth can I expect to be seen and recognised if I have a limiting and comparative mindset like this?
While I was watching a Peter McKinnon YouTube vlog, I came across a fellow YouTuber named Cody Wanner, who shared his philosophy of #NoSmallCreator. In a nutshell, he doesn’t believe that the words ‘small’ and ‘creation’ can be in the same sentence because creation is so big, vast, and unlimited that adding the word ‘small’ to it is an oxymoron; a kind of impossible concept.
A light bulb switched on in my head then, and my ‘Why’ for being a content creator resurfaced beneath all the doubt that had clouded me.
You see, much like my old blog and YouTube channel, I aim to inspire people with the content that I create – from photos and videos to blog posts like this one, and much like creation, inspiration is not limited to a set amount of people. No matter how small I may feel, or how my following may be even smaller compared to other fantastic creators, the numbers will never take away from the fact that my creations are worthy to be seen – whether by 10 people or 10 000.
I’m all about being real, transparent and authentic in all that I do, and if I have 1 person who picks up on that very vibe that I try to emanate, then I’m doing something right. I finally gathered myself, remembered how far I have already come as a content creator and set myself on a new journey of expanding my content because there’s a genuine and deep-rooted passion for it; something I hope is at the core of what you do too (no matter what that is).
Being seen goes beyond wondering whether or not other people can see me and my creations. It’s also about the steps I’m taking to make sure that my light is shining. Am I actively reaching out to brands? Have I found ways to collaborate with other creatives to help increase the success of both our work? What have I done today that betters the quality of content I’ll deliver tomorrow?
It was a big step for me, to rebrand my blog and get it to look and feel the way it does now, and the same lingering thought of whether or not I would rebrand my YouTube channel gnawed at me for weeks this year. That creative itch just never went away, and I found myself taking another big step in my creative career and returned to YouTube with a video you can click here to watch.
Like always, I hope you’re left feeling inspired to keep creating. I don’t know when I’ll get recognised for my own work, but seeking validation from outside myself won’t be a very satisfying experience. The numbers will come and praises will be sung, but until then, don’t ever feel like you’re too small to be a content creator. Your work is valuable, often in the eyes of people you had no idea where looking. So keep on creating, because no matter how ‘small’ of a creator you may feel, I promise that your work will be seen!
Love & Light,
3 thoughts on “Do You See Me, Creatively?”
This post really just made my day. I read it at a time when, I too, was beginning to doubt myself as a content creator. The numbers game can really get you down when you’re giving it your all, but I love how you’ve also outlined being honest with ourselves as to whether we’re doing enough.
Thanks for this, Khalipha! Completely inspired!
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Messages like this really mean the world to me! Thank you so much Refiloe for reading it! It can be easy to quickly not take accountants for what we’re doing to make sure others are seeing our work – I’ve had to be critical of this for myself. But as long as you’re inspired, I am nothing but utterly joyful!