The idea of Christians building an “online platform” makes some people squirm. I get it, and you can read what I wrote about that here. But this post isn’t about that.
Perhaps you’re just setting out to build an online platform of some kind. Maybe you want to provide helpful advice for Christian parents via a blog. Maybe you are working on your Ph.D. and you want to use your online presence to share your research in real time with people who may benefit from it. Whatever the case, if you’re building an online platform, you’re going to run into some harsh realities. Here are three:
1. It’s going to take longer than you think it should.
As you build an online platform, you will hopefully have some goals in mind. Whatever your goals are, it is going to take you more time to accomplish those goals than you think it should. Building an online platform is a marathon, not a sprint. You are going to have to slog your way through months, and maybe even years, of creating content online with little attention paid to you before you start building authority with a broader audience.
If you are truly working to create an online platform to serve other people above yourself, you shouldn’t be concerned about building a platform quickly anyway.
2. It’s going to be more difficult than you want it to be.
As I have begun coaching more and more people toward building online platforms that serve others, I have come to realize how few people understand the hard work it takes. I mentioned this briefly in the point above, but I should reiterate it here:
In order to create content for thousands of people, you first have to create content for dozens of people.
The idea that you will buy a domain name, build a website, and start a blog with a thousand hungry readers clamoring for your content on a daily basis is a pipe dream. This is only the reality for people who already have a significant following offline and are building an online presence.
The difficult reality is this: you have to work just as hard to provide content for 12 people as you do 12,000 people. That’s a difficult reality for many because “success” is often defined by large audiences.
But, when we are building an online platform to serve other people instead of our own egos, we are as happy to serve 12 people as we are 12,000. We have to be, too, because that’s how it’s going to be for the first while.
You cannot build a significant audience without first creating a ton of content for a small audience.
3. It’s not going to be as fun as you hope it will be.
Because of harsh realities number one and two above, this third harsh reality is also true. Building an online platform is not as fun as you hope it’s going to be…for most of you, anyway. Most people are discouraged by the fact that they have to write for 12 people for months or years before hundreds or thousands come along.
I genuinely want building an online platform to be fun for you, but whether or not you have fun is going to be determined by what drives you to do what you do online.
If you want to be rich and famous a year after you start blogging, you are not going to have fun at all.
If you want to serve people and grow as a writer/creative, you are going to have a ton of fun (with some frustrating moments, to be sure).
Building a platform online is genuinely an act of service. We are sacrificing our time, money, and efforts to use the gifts God has given us to build others up.
My hope is that these harsh realities do not discourage you from building an online platform. Rather, I hope these harsh realities simply open your eyes to what lies ahead of you as you build an online platform for the Kingdom.
Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.