Award-winning content creator?

We've got advice from her!

How do some creators do so much — from writing short-form content and books to empowering creators? Nika Talbot is one such creator who truly makes us wonder. ✨

So, we decided to catch up with her and understand her journey as a content entrepreneur.

But, First: Who's Nika Talbot?

Let’s dive into the conversation. 👇

Thousand Faces Club: Can you tell us about yourself and what made you start The Shift?

Nika: I’m a freelance writer and author with 25 years of experience in journalism and radio/TV, and always had creative side hustles. I started The Shift during the lockdown as a sanity project and a way to explore the booming creator economy, which fascinates me — also to grow my skills as a creator, explore industry trends, build my network, and as a discovery vehicle/funnel to attract like-minded clients for my copywriting biz. There’s been a shift in trends since the pandemic – the future of work, the rise of remote work, the digital entrepreneur/solopreneur side hustles, a change in values (time and freedom over money and climbing the corporate ladder), and a shift in power from employer to employee. I wanted to create a space to explore this, collaborate, experiment, and share a woman’s perspective on solopreneurship.

Also, I have a teenage daughter who is navigating the online space.

Thousand Faces Club: In 5 words, how would you define The Shift?

Nika: A woman’s guide to solopreneurship.

Thousand Faces Club: Many creators struggle to go from 0-1. How did you get your first 1,000 followers?

Nika: Publishing consistently and using one platform — a weekly newsletter on Substack and sharing helpful, inspiring information. Treating it like a business. Reaching out to other writers and using my existing networks to promote and share work. Doing courses and experiments like Ship30for30 digital writing to learn in public. I try to focus as much on the distribution as creation — online business is mostly marketing, so LinkedIn is my primary platform, but I use Twitter too. Also, sharing other people’s work and ideas, collaborating, and cross-promotion when possible. I figured I'll achieve my goals if I help others get where they want to be.

Thousand Faces Club: As a creator, how do you approach distribution, and how do you distribute The Shift?

Nika: I repurpose content as much as I can, and keep it modular so I can share the newsletter across socials and break it into links and sections rather than a long essay. For e.g., a weekly post contains TS Hot 5 🔥 – links I share on social the following week and tag the people mentioned – the network effect usually generates some conversation. I use Substack network — Notes, Chat, blog and newsletter, and I also republish on my site and Linkedin Newsletter tools.

Thousand Faces Club: You write a newsletter, consult, and create on Twitter and LinkedIn — how do you manage your time?

Nika: Not easy! Try and batch time — do certain tasks on certain days, e.g., not writing and editing on the same day. Mornings are for deep work, no calls/meetings if possible, unless on client days and PM for social work, calls, meetings. Start my day with exercise/morning routine —writing, reviewing goals/intentions, then a ritual at the end of the workday. Big on rituals and creative visualisation. I use Pomodoro and when I need to focus and Airplane mode. I do as much offline as possible — walking calls/meetings/podcasts — gives me more energy than sitting at a desk all day. That defeats the point of self-employment. I have set days for client work (normally, Tuesday to Thursday). I try to keep Fridays free for my personal projects and life admin.

If I can get the difficult stuff out of the way at the start of the week, it frees up energy — writing my newsletter on Mondays and then using that content to create social posts. So, you have a plan for each day. Justin’s Welsh’s Content OS course is an excellent resource for this. It’s about creating a system that works for you.

Thousand Faces Club: What are some of the challenges you faced when you started creating content?

Thousand Faces Club: Right! And how did you overcome them?

Nika: I use systems for ideation, save useful links in Pocket for curation and use the Inoreader RSS tool to find good content. I subscribe to lots of great newsletters and have Google Alerts set up for keywords. Also, free vs. paid content has been a challenge: It's tricky to decide what goes where with a paid subs model. I decided to use free posts to cover industry trends, curation, top of the funnel (to attract new readers), and to save the personal posts, my progress, behind-the-scenes, deep dive how-tos, for paying subscribers. Paid is a different product (not more of the same content), so I offer a consultancy call and the opportunity to run classified ads, voice notes, access the archives, etc. It’s a work in progress! I will also bring in classified ads and more affiliate links.

Check out the services Nika offers. 👇

Thousand Faces Club: Your site says one-woman show! Since you handle operations, research, creation — pretty much everything alone, how do you ensure you get enough time for yourself? How do you avoid running into creative burnout?

Nika: Not easy! I love writing my newsletter and am always thinking about work, reading stuff, and listening to podcasts — my phone is an extension of my hand, which doesn’t make it easy to switch off. I set boundaries with offline/online time, being in nature and exercising as a priority. I focus on what’s important on the to-do list and things that will move the needle, usually content strategy, talks and meeting people. I set time aside to work on my business rather than in it — monitoring trends, network, attend conferences, events etc. This is a break as it’s a change of routine, and travel energises me. Social media is a distraction but also important, and I do it for clients, so I can’t avoid it entirely. So now focusing my time on ONE platform – LinkedIn, for a specific time period e.g., 45 mins a day to post and comment/share others’ work. Quality over quantity. Being more strategic – having a list of 10 people in my industry that I’d like to work with and learn from. Also letting go of the addiction to reactions — getting caught up in whether people like or comment on posts. Most folks don’t; they are lurkers! But it doesn’t mean they haven’t read and appreciated your post. I use scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to save time and avoid distraction.

Check out a post from Nika’s newsletter. 👇

Thousand Faces Club: Got any advice for beginner newsletter creators?

Nika: Don’t worry too much about your tech stack — just choose one and get started. It doesn’t matter which platform you use until you send around 100K emails daily. Learn how it works and network with the community — the network effect. Create a content system that works for you and think strategically about it, e.g. your content buckets – 3 topics you will stick to and keep it focused. What kind of content will attract new clients (if that’s your goal) vs attracting other writers? Try monetising as early as possible to stay motivated and think about products you can develop – ebooks, email courses, video skills sessions – based on your skills and training others would pay for. If you’re unsure, ask your target reader what would be helpful.

Enjoyed reading this conversation? Read our full conversation with Nika Talbot on our blog. 👇

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