It's 6:20 AM on Wednesday. I'm writing this post early in the morning as I like to start my days creatively. I find that my most creative hours are before lunch. Yes, I can be creative in the afternoons and in the evenings too but it's pushing it.
So today I'd like to think about success on Steem. This topic came to me some time yesterday in the evening after I've written a post "Less dependent on Whales". I didn't want to forget this idea but I wasn't going to fire up the computer either. So I just opened Busy on the phone and wrote a sentence about it as a draft. Now I knew that in the morning I will find my next idea waiting for me to expand into a post right away without the need to stare at the computer screen for too long and not knowing what to write.
So back to success. Everybody wants to be successful on Steem. There is no question about it. When I first started here 362 days ago, the price of Steem fluctuated between $4.10 and $5.20. That's almost 20x more than what it is today. And Steem was in the 31st position on CoinMarketCap. Now we are at 51.
So the expectations for the rewards were much higher and overall sentiment was we can earn full time income on Steem. I looked at trending page and what did I see? Posts earning over $500, sometimes up to $1000. Only much later I looked much closer and saw these trending posts were all being promoted by bid bots. Then I began to see that rewards can be bought, not organically earned. I didn't know if these promoted posts earned some money or not, considering expenses but I felt the system could be gamed and cheated.
Going through this strategy wasn't appealing to me. Yes, I tried out bid bots a few times just to see how they work but soon realized I'm losing my own money as a result of these promotions. It was better for me to do the work the way I always did - through perseverance, grit and creating valuable content (however I understood what valuable content was at the time).
When you started on Steem your story might have been similar or different from mine. But surely, you wanted to get more upvotes, like I did.
We get what we focus on, right? I delegated some SP to @curator and they give me daily upvotes. I've been posting my Pinky and Spiky comics and this obviously attracted some people who like my silliness and humor.
Only recently my perspective changed. I began to want more comments and engagement, and not upvotes. My comics would get a couple of regular comments from my closest fans, like @lildebbiecakes and @deemarshall and I was always looking forward to see how my comics resonated with them. But apart from their comments, the place looked kind of empty and I started to wonder why.
As it turned out, I wasn't actively commenting on other people's work. I was only replying to the comments of others. In a sense I was being lazy. Maybe not lazy but going the most obvious route - create and engage with your followers. But I wasn't proactively looking for new engagement.
I understand, we are all busy, all doing what it takes to keeps us afloat. And sometimes actively engaging with the community isn't our biggest priority.
But it should be. Because without it people won't stick around for more from us. We might get a few nice random comments but nothing regular. And everyone knows that the best customer is repeat customer. So on Steem, from my experience the best comments also come from the people who do it regularly.
Once in a while I would participate in commenting contest that @curie organizes. I even won a few Steem this way or would read @qurator's daily curation compilation posts. But what I understood right away, I was learning so many new things this way because every post that I read was so different.
Reading, upvoting and commenting on random posts is one strategy which works for people who constantly want something fresh and new but it might not work for a deeper level of engagement because most of those authors would reply to your comments, of course. Some even comment on one or two of your own posts but since you are constantly commenting on new posts, most of them won't stick around for your future posts.
Now I have a few authors, like @tarazkp, @taskmaster4450, @spectrumecons, @pennsif and others whose work I look forward to reading and commenting whenever I can. I'm not checking if they upvote me or not. I'm doing it because I'm genuinely interested in what they have to say. Their work feeds my brain and with the help of their ideas, I generate my own ideas.
So think about it. In order to be successful on Steem maybe we should focus on being in the idea business (comments) and not in the money business (upvotes).
This frees our mind to create and engage and not worry about low prices and bear market. Because worry is the result of fear and we can't really create anything worthwhile when we are controlled by fear. It's better to be motivated by passion to learn something new or to create something interesting or observe the world or whatever passion means to you. Because we all look forward to passion and shy away from fear. This all ties back to passionately engaging with the community through your own posts and comments.
If we focus on comments, upvotes will take care of themselves.
I haven't planned this post to be 969 words long. Now with all the edits it's 7:59 AM. I'm quite hungry and actually feel like I earned my breakfast. But first I will feed the wild birds in our snowy garden outside because they need to eat too and do 11 pull-ups.
What success on Steem means to you? I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments.