Update of the week

At the start of the week, I set 3 goals for myself, which included to finish the content production manual, the photography manual, and to publish both on the documentation website.

I ended up finishing all the goals, and publishing one extra article this week.

The process of creating manuals was not as complicated as I thought.

Creating Content Production Manual

I started by having a purpose in mind for each manual I’m creating. For the content production manual, I wanted it to serve as a guideline that writers will take seriously when they’re going to work on their articles. I tried to communicate their goal with the least rules possible. All of the rules is there to assist them in achieving one goal: increase readability.

I tried to use the rule of 3 whenever I can so hopefully the information in the content manual can be absorbed easily. I didn’t specifically describe the tone and voice they should be using in their writing. Instead, I only asked them to write in simple terms and short paragraphs.

I made this decision firstly because I don’t think many Taiwanese writers have this notion of tone and voice. Another reason is that so far, the brand’s tone and voice have just been exactly what I described: simple and to the point. That’s how I’ve been writing and the mindset I had to create the content templates last week.

I’ve been doing all this in the way that I believe is the best for the overall reading experience and for the readers to consume the information and learn from it.

Maybe… just maybe… that’s the tone and voice of this brand. Who knows?

All in all, I covered topics like switching perspectives, the standard way to using punctuations and formatting, and how they can deal with foreign languages since they’ll definitely come across some.

The last section in the content manual, I deliberately talk about what kind of articles get published fast. I think this could be important to them because the faster their articles get published, the faster they get the payment. So I listed out 3 points — 3 qualities of articles that will get approved and published fast.

My thinking here is that this will not only makes them understand how to make money faster, but also strive for better quality at the first try and consequently reduce the time for us to communicate back and forth.

Creating Photography Manual

The photography manual was the easier of the two. The purpose of having this photography manual is only to make sure the photos writers take are good enough to be used in articles.

I set the bar low because whenever I do some sort of market research by going through other blogs, I see a huge gap in the qualities of photos between those who understand just a little bit of photography and those who don’t really pay attention to these key principles.

What I did in the manual was to point out which basic rules are there for an eye-pleasing photo. I do this by giving them examples of photos I took myself, good and bad examples, so that they can compare the see the difference.

That’s basically all I did for these two manuals.

In the end, I spent less time and effort, I think, in creating these 2 manuals. I guess, just like the last week, it should be counted as a miscalculation of time required? In a good way?

Goals next week

For the next week, I only have one goal to achieve — an ambitious goal.

I’m going to complete the whole writer onboarding flow.

There is a lot of thinking to be done. I need to think about all the steps someone goes through from the first touch point when someone sees the recruitment information, all the way to this person gets enough points to cash out, and keeps being a writer after the first payment.

At this point, all the steps I can think of for a potential writer goes through include seeing the recruitment information, landing on the recruitment form, going through the questions, being introduced to how the point system works, consenting to some kind of agreement, receiving an automation (but personalized) onboarding email after finishing the form, writing the articles and adding photos, submitting that article to the team, checking the status of the article, checking how many points they’ve got so far, knowing when the next payment date would be, and wanting to go through the process of accumulating points again.

This is a very rough roadmap of the whole system. The challenge for me is to build the whole system by myself. Thank god I know what the tools are available to accomplish certain tasks.

The key here, I think, is to put myself in their shoes. To go through the flow from their perspectives. To see if there’s emotional bond that I can create in the whole journey so there’a a stronger sense of purpose.

Although it looks like it’s just one goal, but it actually contains many smaller goals. Honestly, I don’t really feel confident about completing this one goal within the next week. I can tell there are a lot to be done.


I’m starting to have a feeling that this sense of uncertainty might be something anyone who’s starting their own thing is feeling.

Maybe it’s not only uncertainty. It’s a mixed feeling. There’s this uncertainty. There’s also a sense of urgency. There’s a lot of insecurities when thinking about ROI, the way the market is going to respond, the direction the trend is heading towards.

I think content business is unique in a way that there’s no physical goods. We might do physical products in the future, but physical product as a whole is not a necessary element in a content business. That creates more uncertainty because you don’t even know the volume of traffic you’ll get in the next year, and how much percentage of that traffic is going to purchase something through the affiliate links.

Right now I’m having this dilemma of if I should spend more money on an online store for the digital brochures at the very beginning, or not until we get some tractions we do that. It’s like one more opportunity for selling, but there’s no a guaranteed buyer.

I don’t know man. I haven’t figured it all out.

Sometimes I really want to rush things. I want results. But a part of me also knows I’ll burn out soon by doing that. Not to mention this ExitTaiwan project is not the only thing I need to care about in my current life. I hope it won’t become the only thing I care about because that would mean my whole life is only abound grinding, which I really hate.

To combat all these unresolved thoughts, I need to remind myself of how limited is the resource I have available, and that going steady at this stage is more important than having an exponential growth when the foundation is not ready.

Content business is a long-term game. It’s a long-term game I’m in. I have to keep saying this to myself.