Combat Creator Burnout: 6 Tips to Build a Sustainable Workflow

December 14, 2021

Combat Creator Burnout: 6 Tips to Build a Sustainable Workflow

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Raise your hand if you’ve experienced creator burnout. 👋

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with two of Storyblocks’ creator partners, Shannon Beveridge, Creator and Director of @nowthisisliving, and Samir Chaudry, Creator and Founder of @colinandsamir, at the Creator Conf. We spoke on the topic of creator burnout and how to create a more sustainable workflow. If you weren’t able to join us, check out some of the key learnings and takeaways from our discussion below.

Why Creator Burnout is Building 

There’s been a boom in the creator economy over the past couple of years and that’s due to a few converging factors. First, digital media consumption has skyrocketed during the pandemic, increasing by 30%, with TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch being amongst the highest growth platforms. As screen time rises, so does the value of the creator economy.

With the creator job market bigger than ever, there is also a growing workforce coming of age where being a YouTuber or Creator is their top career aspiration. In a 2019 survey, the top choice from American Gen Zers for career path was “YouTuber.” In a study by Morning Consult, 54% would become an influencer if the opportunity was presented to them.

We’re in a moment where there is a massive opportunity and a group of talent ready to seize it, but building, managing, and monetizing a following comes with a lot of trial and error, late nights, uncertain income, platform changes – and not to mention the world hasn’t been the most relaxing place over the last couple of years. It’s no wonder that we are seeing creator burnout swell with the creator community growth.

Headlines about creator and influencer burnout

[A slew of articles have come out about creator burnout and increasing anxiety.]

According to a Vibely Report, 90% of creators have experienced burnout from a variety of contributing factors. 71% have considered quitting social media altogether. Here were the top factors for why creators were feeling burnout:

Diagram showing causes of creator burnout

[Source: Vibely Creator Burnout Report]

So how can you manage creator burnout in your day-to-day workflow? Check out our six takeaways from our conversations.

1. Find Your Purpose

Samir and Shannon both expressed how many of these factors can weigh heavier if you don’t have a clear goal, audience, and strategy. Samir said, “It’s incredibly important for any creator to have a clear cut understanding of who your audience is and what your value proposition is. The thing that gives me solace is I know who I want to make content for and I know why I want them to watch. So long as we hold on to that, I think we will find purpose in what we’re doing. If you start to lose that sense of purpose and you’re just chasing an algorithm, that can get so taxing.”

Clearly defining your mission and goals means that if a video gets lower viewership than the last one, or if an algorithm changes, or a trend is missed, it isn’t a reason to panic, because you know you are still on track with your mission.

A common theme both Samir and Shannon pointed out was the push and pull of the business side of being a creator entrepreneur, and the personal vulnerability and artistry that so many creators are pouring into their work.

In our conversation, Samir defined burnout as, “creative output without direction.” He said, “Being a creator is being an entrepreneur. It’s the same as someone building an e-commerce store or selling pillows, but it’s way more taxing because you are the product. This incredibly personal thing has to fit into this rational business model. If you lead with the creative and the artistry, that’s actually a different career than being a creator. Being a creator is also being a distributor, not just being an artist. That creative output, where you just want to put stuff out, that is within all of us creators, but if you don’t surround yourself with people that can anchor you in that north star, you can get lost really quickly.”

2. Bring In Reinforcements

Being a creator can involve wearing a lot of hats. You can be behind the camera, in front of the camera, running pre and post production, building income streams, negotiating contracts, engaging your audience, writing copy, ideating new ideas, and much, much more all in the same day. And, to Samir’s point, it makes it really easy to veer from your mission, or just be incredibly stressed out. 

While not possible for every creator, when achievable, bringing in support to help can reduce stress and strengthen your content. This could be full-time employees or freelancers you source from Fiverr, but having folks who specialize in different parts of the creator role can take the areas you find the most taxing or difficult off your shoulders.

A creator speaking at a conference with multiple job title cards


3. Take Care of Yourself

The “hustle and grind” mentality often associated with being a creator can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Taking care of yourself, eating well, working out, sleeping, all of these things are essential to keeping this career path sustainable and keeping creators making their best content.

Building a relationship with your audience can also be essential to ensuring you have the ability to take care of yourself as you grow your channel. Shannon said, “There can be so much pressure. It’s so important to give yourself leeway and credit and time to rest when you need it. If you build an audience that values you as a person, they will also understand that you need that time.”

4. Build Your Tool Belt

Our mission at Storyblocks is to help video creators keep up with the growing demand for video content and make more video better and faster than ever before. For us, we do this by offering flexible subscription plans that give you unlimited stock downloads, flexible licensing, and an easy-to-use video editor.

Finding tools, like ours, that make your process easier, more seamless, and enhance the quality of your content are well worth the investment.

Screenshot of Storyblocks homepage showcasing stock media

5. Build a Community You Trust

Being a creator can feel isolating if you are doing it all yourself, but entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you’re alone. There are more and more creators at various stages of their careers to network with, talk to, vent to, mentor, and more. In our conversation, Samir referenced at the start of their YouTube channel, Colin and him offering to be behind the camera for bigger YouTubers to get an inside look into their process, build their network, and learn from them. Shannon mentioned reaching out and offering herself as a sounding board and support for new queer influencers.

Samir said, “Over time, I’ve recognized that we are just human beings, we’re all creatives, and being a creative is a very emotional experience. Finding spaces that feel safe to talk is really important. No one understands creators like creators. Creators typically listen to other creators first, so seeking that out and finding people you can learn from…I really think that’s incredibly important.”

6. Do What You Love

We also acknowledged how things have changed for creators coming into the spotlight now, in comparison to when Samir and Shannon got their start. Most career creators working over the past decade, like Samir and Shannon, have grown their following over time. Now, with platforms like TikTok, creators can amass huge followings overnight and often around one type of content. For young influencers who then choose to pursue a creator career path, that can mean stepping into entrepreneurship solo, without the support or benefits that come with other careers, often being branded into one type of creative output that they may or may not actually enjoy making.

Samir talked about how they’ve personally worked through this, by finding a content market fit. He said, “Over the past year, we took a step back and halted all of our production and said, “What’s the thing we could do every single week? What’s the thing we could build a process around?” So instead of leading with creative, what if we lead with a sustainable process that we felt like we could do for the next five years. Once we had our process, then we layered creative in that process, and once we had creative, then we figured out how to monetize it. And all of that fits into this one big picture, that I think everyone has to recognize, which is content market fit. ”

Diagram: Is there an audience? Will someone pay? Do I want to keep making this content?

In Conclusion…

To recap, here are the tools and tips we discussed to create a sustainable workflow for creators:

Diagram: 6 tips to manage creator burnout


Lauren Zoltick

Lauren is a strategist and marketer with a decade of experience, leading social and digital marketing strategy for brands like Marriott Hotels, Volkswagen, Kroger, and Boston Beer before coming to Storyblocks. She is a pub trivia host, dog mom to Matzah Ball, and probably has a google map of restaurants and bars for whatever city you are traveling to next.