In researching successful content creators, I came across quite a few young Youtuber who have six-8 figure subscriber counts, tons of money, and are absolutely miserable.

In looking at why someone would pressure something that was putting too much stress on their life it brought me back to passion (when emotions take over the decision-making) and Logic (which only does things that make sense). I came across some new research and insights I wanted to share.

Please note this episode is clean but does have some bleeped-out words.

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A Number of Successful Content Creators Are Burnt Out

PewDiePie, a controversial but incredibly popular star on YouTube with more than 100 million subscribers, said recently that he will be taking a break from the platform. “I’m tired,” he said in a video. “I’m feeling very tired.”

YouTube creator Alex Wassabi told his 11.5 million subscribers that he would take a week off. “Recently, I have not been happy. I’ve been sad, confused, flustered,” he said in a video. “But most of all, burnt out.” He now uploads two videos a week rather than three as he did before.

These creators face constant pressure to put out an endless stream of content to satisfy their fans and, some fear, YouTube’s algorithms. It’s an issue that extends well beyond YouTube to the entire nascent world of the influencer economy.
Christian Collins, who has more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube, said when he was a teen he would often wake up at 5 am and work until 1 am producing material for his many social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and others.

“All I was doing was creating content. You get burnt out,” Collins, now 23, told CNN Business. “I had more money than I could spend – and I was super depressed. I had to quit everything and take a break for two years.”

Drake McWhorter, a YouTube creator with more than 268,000 subscribers, took a month off from the platform in 2016 to “get in a better head space.” He said it took him a year to get back to the number of views he was getting before he took a break. So taking a breather again, doesn’t feel like an option for him.

“YouTube is a treadmill,” McWhorter said. “If you stop for a second, you’re dead.”
“I’m so sick of this career,” McWhorter said. “I would love to do literally anything else, but I’ve invested so much time and energy into this that it’s the only career path that I have any real skill in. I’d have to start all over again.”

Chasing that Big Podcast Payday

With the recent article about podcasters getting paid 50,000 to interview someone, people new to the space may put their physical health at risk. In the same way that Facebook accounts don't show an accurate depiction of someone's lives, stories of extreme income in podcasting make it appear that one can just start a podcast, talking to a microphone, and money from heaven will fall from the sky. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a segment of my show called, “Because of my podcast” to make you hopeful. To make you think, “if they can do it, so can I, but I hope you are also listening when I say creating a podcast is easy. Creating a good podcast takes effort.

Another reason I’m doing this is I ended up in a rabbit hole about YouTubers – successful Youtube with hundreds of thousands of followers – maybe even millions – and they are absolutely miserable.

The Balance of Passion and Logic

I am a very logical person. I can be very emotional, but when it comes to getting things done I need them to make sense.

Passion is that serotonin-induced state that makes you say things like, “I don’t care” because you care so much about anything you will do it.

Lessons from Someday is Today -22 Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life.

This is a great book by Matthew Dicks and I started testing something. I would set a timer for 15 minutes and then start doing things around my house. This might be cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom, or the laundry. I might be doing research for an episode. The bottom line was this. When the timer went off, I was amazed at how much I got done.

If I put a price on the number of things I could get done, but don’t because I’m wasting my time it would be priceless. The minute I realized this I instantly became more productive.

I’ve told this story before so I will keep the recap brief. I started a podcast about podcast trailers. Everyone seemed to make one, and I thought this would be a fun show. As I wasn’t creating the content, just assembling it. I thought these quick five-minute episodes would take start to finish 20 minutes, maybe 30 to assemble. The last episode took me over an hour.

The Benjamin Franklin Method

I’ve always been told that Ben Franklin made decisions by creating two columns. One was pro and the other was cons. It turns out that is not where it stops. You are supposed to, analyze the list and give weightage to each item. Then compare the items in pros and cons with the same weightage. Strike out the items with the same weightage. After that remove from the list all items where one pro would equal in weight two cons. That eliminated three items. Then repeat the same in reverse way by removing all items where two cons equal three pros. That eliminated five more items. This process reduces the size of the list to a manageable one and makes decision-making easier.

In the end, I could reduce the schedule.

I could make the show shorter, but that would make it boring.

Bottom line. I didn’t want to invest the time as it didn’t really align with my goal. My goal? Making the School of Podcasting the place to learn how to podcast. It Didn’t. This was a logical decision.

To learn more about Ben Franklin and making decisions check out this episode from School of Podcasting Student Craig Van Slyke’s Live Well and Flourish Podcast.

The Logical Weight Loss podcast was a show I started to hold myself accountable for my weight. While it started to work at first, look back 8 years from the day I started, in the end, it didn’t. I learned many things from that show – so it wasn’t a failure. In my life now, was it helping me make the School of Podcasting the place to learn how to podcast? No. The logical side won, and I told the audience I would be moving to a ‘When I feel like it” schedule and to enjoy my 400+ episodes in my back catalog.

With my extra time, I spend about three hours a week producing a show about my hometown. Why? This experience will help me gain insights into a podcast genre I don’t have. That fits my goal.

With the additional time I have, I am providing members of the School of Podcasting unlimited consulting on shows they host or co-host. You can text me, send me audio, video, screen share, etc. I’ve updated the Scool of Podcasting back end to offer a better experience and a stronger community.

A Classic Case of Passion Over Logic

I have permission to share this story, but I am going to keep this person’s name out of it.

Someone approached me who had been podcasting for years. They are looking to grow their audience. Like many podcasters they really just want to grow their audience. He explained how he was going to leave his media host so he could be listed in a directory in Brazil that I had never heard of. However, this app couldn’t handle the RSS feed of his current host and suggested her moved to Anchor. Now before you go, “oh no, someone poked the bear…” this won’t be another 90-minute Anchor rant. Just keep in mind Anchor and more importantly, Spotify has publicly stated they feel RSS is holding back podcasting (it’s not). This app has millions of Brazilians using it.

Because of his passion, this person was ready to move to Anchor. Then I asked some of the most important questions in podcasting. Why are you podcasting? What is the goal?
He wanted to monetize. Nothing wrong with that, but if he assembled a large Brazillion audience, how likely were they to buy his products and services? If he was going the advertising way, do agencies have a need for people with a Brazilian audience?

I also mentioned all the other directories where he had not listed his show.

So in this case, in my opinion, was that moving to a media host that seems to be building a closed media host to get into an app that hasn’t fully embraced podcasting (or at least RSS – the heart of podcasting) seemed like a move with too many cons and not enough pros. But it was shiny and new, and we have to be careful to put all of our eggs in one basket, or in this case, our hopes and dreams that is really a make or break act that may not be well thought out.

Some Times We Just Don't See It

My sister-in-law once asked me about my now ex-wife, “How are you ever going to make this woman happy?” and filled with passion and a general lack of logic I said, “It will be better after we get married.”

Moving to a Network

In the past two months, I have had two Libsyn customers who moved to a network – which included leaving Libsyn – only to return month or two later. I am still working on the details, but this again may be passion over logic. Remember networks don’t make shows big. They make big shows bigger.

Another lesson from Someday is Today -22 Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life.

While this episode may sound like we should all say NO to everything. If you look at where you are today, you are the accumulation of all your previous decisions. Not all of those decisions were great but helped make you who you are.

And Yet, Another Lesson from Someday is Today -22 Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life.

The author has organized nice things people have said about him. We have a tendency to remember just the bad stuff. But if you take a second, you can remember the positive stuff. I remember once I was attending a mega-church and applied to some small groups, and yet never got a callback. You had to fill out a questionnaire, and so I thought they might’ve lost it. I filled out more, and again got no response and started to take it personally. Then I found out that it was indeed personal. The one leader of the group thought I would take over the group. I had never met the person and had only spoken to two people at this church. My ex-wife looked me square in the eyes, put her hand on my heart, and said, “they don’t know you’re heart.” That one positive statement pulled me out of a situation that felt like a kick to the privates.

So I say that often we feel uncomfortable receiving compliments (especially if your parents were somewhat stingy with them). When you get them, find SOMETHING to put them in. I have a folder in Gmail, but I may copy and paste them into Evernote. It doesn’t matter as long as you can get to them on those days you feel burned out, frustrated, and out of passion. They may be exactly what you need. So don’t listen to this and think, “that is a good idea.” Take 15 minutes today and find and organize the nice things people have said about you or your podcast. If you don’t have any yet. Hang in there. If you’re delivering value, you will.


I need your answer by the end of August 2022

This month's question comes from Dave from Walking is Fitness which is a daily 10-minute podcast designed to help listeners find a little extra motivation to get out for a fitness walk every single day.

Most podcast hosts have a target listener. And I would imagine like most podcasts, there are certain themes and topics that I know that are of greater interest to my target listener.

How often do you return to these key topics?

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We remember negative things more than positive

Burnt Out at 19 Elle Mills Meltdown

YouTube's Burnout Generation

YouTube burnout is real. Creators are struggling to cope

Benjamin Franklin's Method of Self-Improvement (Live Well and Flourish)

Someday Is Today: 22 Simple, Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life (aff)

Storyworthy (by Mathew Dicks)

This episode was organized using Podcast Studio Pro

We Need Passion

Passion enables us to “throw caution to the wind” which can come in handy to take those scary leaps.

We Need Logic

When we put our thoughts into the reality of something happening, that logic can bring us back from making too many decisions from our hearts.


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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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