5 key messages from You Are The Media Creator Day 2024

How do you feel about stepping into the unknown, doing something you haven’t done before, where you have no certainty about what the outcome will be?

I’m going to guess you at least feel a little nervous. You probably don’t like the idea. Yet so much of running a business involves doing things you don’t know how to do when you start.

Everyone who took to the stage at You Are The Media Creator Day 2024, hosted by Mark Masters, has stood on that diving board. Here are 5 key messages from the experiences they shared that stood out for me.

1. Choose yourself and build your personal brand

Rebecca Leppard. Photo by Zelda de Hollander

When Rebecca Leppard moved to the UK, she had to reinvent herself, starting her professional life from scratch. After going for several jobs, she decided to choose herself and set up her own business.

Believing in yourself was also a message that came out of Failed Nights, run by Dorset Entrepreneurs Club, the evening before Creator Day.

Rebecca knew what she was capable of, and had strong convictions. She didn’t want to have to sacrifice her principles. She picked herself – and others did too.

She said: “Be as shameless as possible in choosing yourself.”

Another speaker, Dodge Woodall, said: “If you put yourself out there, you can be bigger than your business.”

When Dodge stopped hiding behind a brand name, incredible things started happening, including co-hosting The Harry Redknapp Show.

Shelley Rӧstlund. Photo by Zelda de Hollander

Shelley Rӧstlund spoke about being ‘more you, more of the time’. She shared the concept of ‘micro-branding moments’ which give people an insight into who you are, and talking about what makes us unique.

Sharing your values and standing up for your beliefs was a recurring theme during the day. This is a key part of who you are. Personal branding might sound selfish but it shows others who believe in the same thing that you are one of them. They are not alone.

Individuality is one of my core values and I am here for this! What do you want people to know about you? How do you do things differently? What do you care about? Share what you’re about and you will attract people who feel the same way.

2. Keep experimenting

A group of people in front of a camera taking a selfie

Rosie Sherry, who writes Continuous Community on Substack, spoke about bringing people together. You Are The Media is a community and Creator Day is a community event, whether you have been part of it for years or are turning up for the first time on the day. That means belonging to something is a theme throughout the day.

YATM is a wonderful group of people to spend time with. I don’t know what the magic is that makes YATM work so well, apart from the irrepressible Mark Masters. One of the things that stands out is the willingness to give something a go, to have fun, to have someone say ‘what about…’ and then someone else says ‘we could…’, and then they agree to do it.

Communities don’t stand still, they evolve. We’re all changing all the time. What’s happening to us and around us shifts and so our relationships shift too. One of the key parts of Rosie’s Continuous Community Framework is ‘experiments’.

This ties in with one of Dodge’s key learnings from his career – you have to be willing to take risks and act. Don’t worry that you don’t know how to do something, commit to it, have a go. Dodge said don’t worry about what other people think, they probably aren’t paying attention, and listening to the speakers at Failed Nights, you can’t help but notice that your ‘failings’ aren’t failings, they move you forward, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Fab Giovanetti. Photo by Zelda de Hollander

Another speaker, Fab Giovanetti of Alt Marketing School, talked about creating shared experiences and feedback loops. She gathers feedback at the end of every session.

Being willing to learn as you go and being uncomfortable doing something you don’t know everything about gives you an opportunity to create something new for people and that’s part of the joy of being an entrepreneur for me.

3. Be curious and communicate

Dodge said his superpower was curiosity and this links in with experimenting and asking for feedback. When you’re curious you find out how others do things, you learn about different people’s experiences, you see alternatives.

Ben McKinney and Dave Harland spoke about how they had built their own businesses as individuals but when they started talking, they realised they had a lot in common and that developed into running an agency together.

Ben McKinney and Dave Harland. Photo by Zelda de Hollander

Use your conversations, experiments and research to communicate what you have learned, what you are doing, and how that helps with the people you want to reach.

Rosie showed us that there are many ways to gather. You might want to communicate with a community, a network, an ecosystem, audience, fandom, or membership.

There comes a point when conversations get confusing. Rosie said too much conversation weighs us down, we’ve got to take action, look for opportunities, and solve problems. She has a rule of 20% conversation and 80% communication.

4. You need to be aggressively patient

Dodge hosts the Eventful Lives podcast and told us the remarkable story of his entrepreneurial life, starting from selling tickets to the nightclub next door in his parents’ pub to running the Bournemouth 7s Festival, and now having a Top 10 podcast.

He distilled everything he had learned into 4 key areas – CARS. You’ve read about two elements of this: curiosity and risk. Another was to be aggressively patient.

Dodge Woodall. Photo by Zelda de Hollander

We all want things to be instant. That dream of being an overnight success, of getting that one idea that catapults us forward, the lottery win. Despite the impression people give on social media, unicorns are incredibly rare. It takes time to build relationships, to develop a brand, or to create content.

Take action, have conversations, ask questions, keep showing up – you need to be willing to invest time and energy if you want to create something that has an impact.

(If you’re wondering, the 4th element of CARS is simplify your business.)

5. You can’t always see links but they are there

There are many things that bind us together. Some are more obvious than others. Mark spoke about the Wood Wide Web, the mycorrhizal fungi network that runs between trees, hidden below ground. Trees don’t look like they are linked but although we can’t see this ecosystem, these interactions are vital.

It’s the same for us. One of the things I like about You Are The Media is that there isn’t really an agenda. It’s about helping people in whatever form that takes. It could be supporting someone who is having a rough time or encouraging someone to launch a project, or bringing people together. And they have fun along the way, from world record attempts to singalongs, to going sea swimming.

Living on a prayer – YATM sings! Photo by Zelda de Hollander

People are drawn to you for all kinds of reasons. For example, I have written about how music brings us together and why I love Schitt’s Creek. Neither are obvious topics for a content marketing coach, although both are about storytelling.

We’re connecting in different places, in different ways, and many of these are hidden. We can’t see conversations others are having on places like WhatsApp, Circle, or Discord unless we go looking for them and ask to join in. You might feel excluded if you are not in those spaces, but a little curiosity, searching for what you are looking for will lead you to others who share your interests.

And if you’re looking for an open door, come and join You Are The Media.

Tickets for Creator Day 2025 are on sale now. See you there!

I'm already in for YATM Creator Day '25 ... and heading to that YATM campfire.
Thursday 15th May 2025, Lighthouse, Poole

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