Welcome to Series 6 of the Plutus Awards Podcast hosted by Michelle Jackson. Our community is filled with hundreds of stories from creators and entrepreneurs just like you. And through this show we share these stories of challenges and successes from bloggers to podcasters, from writers, speakers, and more.
In this season we talk about a somewhat taboo topic — the deadly sins that personal finance (and other content creators) can make. We share lessons learned, how to avoid these mistakes, and the fact that we’re all human, putting our creative work out there into the world. This season’s conversation is about the inherent risks we’re taking in developing online brands, our own hubris, and the impact that how other people perceive us can make us or break our online brand.
Today’s guest is Amanda Page, former personal finance blogger, current documentarian, and non-profit founder. In this episode, we talk about how fear and perfectionism can keep creators from taking risks and developing projects that feel out of reach for them. In Amanda’s case, she ended up filming a documentary with no experience. She shares how taking this one bold risk has changed her outlook on putting herself and her creative work out into the world.
Amanda Page – The Sin of Perfectionism: How Bold Moves Pay Off When You Think You’re Not Ready
Notes and summary from this episode
Amanda-I’m Amanda Page, I’m a writer, blogger and filmmaker. I was a personal finance blogger and was a professor in the past. I’m doing a lot of grant writing and executive director of a non-profit.
Michelle-I wanted to talk about how you transitioned from pursuing creative work as a professor to creating your own thing.
Amanda-DoorDash when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking something in your fridge. Going from professor to creator of these projects that was the whole point. it’s really interesting when you’re attached to a university people think you have access to a lot of resources and you have to find a way to build your own resources. I incorporated a non-profit during the pandemic and it had nothing to do with my academic work. I had my full-time job money and was writing grants to fund that project.
Michelle-What did it look like transitioning from academia to being your own boss. I don’t think you were an adjunct professor.
Amanda-I have been an adjunct professor before and never will again because it’s so exploitative. During my years as a full-time professor, mindset, and what my expertise is worth-that’s been the hardest part of the transition. It has taken me a while to build my voice and my unique point of view.
Michelle-How did you pay for your documentary and what it’s like to have a grant heavy monetization focus?
Amanda-Grant heavy is not ideal in the case you don’t get a grant. Certain grants legitimized my projects and organization. I had never intended to be a filmmaker. Someone on Twitter mentioned the “Moundsville” documentary and I made friends with the guys who made it and thought we should make one about portsmouth. Sometimes when something isn’t working it might need to be done in a different form.
Michelle-I think sometimes people forget that we’re in a creative space.
Amanda-The film is about Portsmouth, Ohio through 3 of its city slogans. “We’re Southern Hospitality begins” The great thing about Moundsville-they made it for basically nothing. It was really a labor of love. I spent a lot of time Googling. I basically fumbled forward and learned a process.
Michelle-Why haven’t you started? The perfection is getting in the way of the result. I’m more fearful of overthinking and a year later trying to make a decision.
Amanda-Hey! We survived a pandemic. How long do we sit on a dream? Now’s the time.
Michelle-When we’re in our businesses we’re always in the process of failing forward. How do people stop having so much focus on the end result versus the journey to get to a result.
Amanda-My inbox is a chaotic mess of rejections and acceptances. This week I got money and was rejected for a film festival.
Michelle-I would like to go a little deeper on the amount you’re putting yourself out there. Especially folks in the freelance space. When the projects dry up it is because they aren’t out there enough. There’s no system to get you out there consistently. There’s no thought process on how to manage when you get “nos”
Amanda-Some of it is volume. A colleague mentioned that he gets into 10% so I was like, I’ll apply for a whole bunch. At first you don’t have to be strategic or have a system. Just put yourself out there. I love Twitter for that. There’s a lot of weirdness around asking people for coffee meetups, etc. Just don’t be gross about it. There’s also the old fashioned pitching. It can feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall. The system will emerge from the wall of spaghetti.
Michelle-For people who are worried about making mistakes what’s your advice?
Amanda-Please make mistakes because that will be your TedTalk for later. I just got a rejection that was heartbreaking.
Michelle-I feel like you’re planting so many seeds that you’re too busy to dwell on this.
Amanda-The right one (opportunity) will find you. It’s just a numbers game.
Michelle-What was it like designing a unique project for your brand.
Amanda-The part of the story that I loved was that I met people on Twitter and they said “yes” to working on this project. You have people in your network who can help you right now. You can use your cellphone. It’s more about having a unique story. Everything has been decades in the making.
Michelle-The sin you avoided was inaction while leaning into vision while trusting yourself. What’s the next project?
Amanda-A book and a film.