In June of 2017, my mom sent me a text saying I should look into this thing called "steemit."
I texted back and said - uh, what?
She said, "Just go look it up. A YouTube guy I was listening to said he makes an extra $50 off the site posting his content."
So I did--and little did I know it would be a defining experience of my whole year, setting a new tone for my life and its possibilities.
I remember the rush I got when I first saw money on my first post. I'm a go getter, so as soon as my account was approved, I instantly made my introduction post. It was just a few cents, and a few more cents--but I couldn't believe how hopeful it was that with no followers I could actually have monetary value, even if it was tiny, assigned to my work. It was exhilarating.
Blessedly, after excitedly posting all that first week and watching bits and pieces of voting support trickle in with their varying bits of monetary value, I watched my posts BALLOON due to hard fork 19 before my first payout; while I had slept, those posts had suddenly turned into real income. With SBD sitting around 1USD, I was just excited that as a Canadian it was even greater value for me due to the exchange rate. I often thought about the Eastern European users I had seen, and thought.. wow, this place is a game changer for so many--if the exchange is good for me, I can only imagine what it's doing for people from countries with low-value currencies; the proportion is definitely in their favour!
And this was before all of the November/December crazy that saw the crypto world explode.
I had been away from the platform for a few months for the most part, working on some artistic projects and trying to get my music business things off the ground, but had come back in November to try to work my way back into the little world here.
And... just in time for me to finally grasp the full potential of the cryptosphere as things exploded right after that with bitcoin and the soon-following altcoins, especially for an artist like myself. Prior to that, I was just grateful there was somewhere I could make some money--any money--online doing my artistic work. This was a whole new eye-opening stretch.
But now I have made thousands of unexpected dollars, and as of 6 weeks ago, had only just remembered that I had a small amount in my account from my work in June and some of the summer. As of December 29th, I finally watched a small portion of that transfer into fiat currency in my bank account. It's actually affecting my life.
Even more excitedly, I have been able to invest, and start re-investing what I've made on Steemit into some cryptocurrencies I'm excited about rolling the dice on--all the while continuing to build up a humble but growing investment in Steemit itself through my posts.
Needless to say, this platform has been a blessing out of left field, and certainly a paradigm-shifter.
There are hopes and dreams planted so deeply in my heart that I had no idea how I would accomplish; I have tried so many things, bled out, worked harder than you can imagine, all the while struggling with undiagnosed health conditions (finally on the upswing now, however, as well!). While there have been many beautiful gifts on this path, in the end, nothing had really worked out, and it wasn't for lack of effort.
While I've got a long way to go, what the last 6 months through Steemit, and especially the last 6 weeks have shown me, is that I'm not crazy for believing there would be ways--ways I may not have even remotely thought of yet, or ways that don't even exist yet!--for me to one day do what is in me to do. It has utterly expanded my sense of possibility.
For the most part, my posts don't really ever "explode," but I've got enough consistently supportive people that I can make this little place a bit of a home, and so I am just very grateful. That's come about through both the generosity of a lot of loyal users who appreciate my work and make a point to support it with upvotes and resteems (thank you!), as well as through a lot of hard work and focus on my part--especially from my more foundational work in June when I first joined, but also as of late.
So my advice to newcomers? Likely similar to most, but it's timeless and bears repeating:
Don't wander off like I did this summer--it's not worth it. Of course you miss out on a lot of payouts, but even more it's just really sad to lose a lot of the relationships you spend time building. Make a decision to be here through thick and thin. Be committed, and watch that commitment pay off in the long-term, for you personally and also for that platform (which benefits all of us).
And I don't mean in the annoying, cliche ways. I mean, really think about the specific thing you have to offer, the things that truly interest you, and be that as fully as you can. Have a real personality; become your real personality that you, in all likelihood, "turn off" in most of your life. See this as a place free of expectation, and really step into the freedom of yourself. It works, and it's what makes posts interesting.
Get to know people - and not for personal gain.
Just try to enjoy getting to know people. Support them. Laugh. Share. It's worth it. There are a lot of incredible, quirky, really-worth-getting-to-know-a-little people here.
Produce the best content you can.
Don't max yourself out, but really try to focus on producing content that others will enjoy reading/listening to/looking at.
See rewards as secondary.
I don't mean don't care about them or be motivated by them--of course that's not only a huge part of the draw to Steemit, but also part of the actual enjoyment of it! The stakes can be high, and that's fun; it's enjoyable to feel that your work is being seen and rewarded in a tangible way. But try to keep them as a secondary, pleasant surprise rather than the substance, or else it's very easy to end up disappointed. See every post as a long-term investment into the platform, other users, your work, your dreams. Do your best work and see what comes.
All the best in 2018, everyone. It's fun to be here with you.