There are many paths to monetizing creativity, and countless steps and strategic decisions that mark the way. For Alex Elle, an author and wellness consultant with a devoted community of followers, she believes her success has grown out of staying true to herself in every circumstance — from her decision to pivot her career in pursuit of her passion for writing, to the content she shares with her print and digital audiences.
She recently shared insights with Squarespace about building a community based on authenticity, how she maintains audience engagement over time, and how turning a creative passion into a career can pay off in more ways than one.
SQUARESPACE: You’ve built a substantial platform and a devoted following as an author. What initially inspired you to write?
Alex Elle: Writing came into my life by way of therapy. It’s been a tool for me and my healing for as long I can remember.
SQSP: When did you start thinking about monetizing your creativity?
AE: I have been self-employed for about 8 years now. I started thinking about monetizing my creativity when I realized I wanted something different out of life. I wanted a career rooted in meaning and community and writing paved the way for that.
I was tired of settling and I wanted to live a life that was fulfilled. There was no "aha" moment—but instead, an intentional choice to take ownership of my life and legacy. The first step was deciding to do the work and show up fully in my power.
SQSP: What obstacles did you encounter early on, and how did you overcome them?
AE: Self-doubt and self-sabotage were pretty regular visitors early on. I have to decide that I was worthy of being in this work and that I was good at it. Talking myself out of my purpose and heart’s longing hadn’t worked—and it wasn’t emotionally healthy! So instead of running from myself, I decided to lean in.
Other than the emotional obstacle I faced, I haven't had any. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
SQSP: You use your social media platforms to share inspirational and thought-provoking statements with your readers that are centered around wellness and self-care. How do you determine what will resonate most with your audience?
AE: I share what’s on my heart and what I need. If it resonates with others, that’s simply a plus.
SQSP: Many people monetizing their passion use social media platforms to start building a following, but changes in algorithms and UX can alter or limit their reach. What tactics have you used outside of social media to grow your brand awareness?
AE: I keep in mind that social media isn’t my business. It’s a tool to build community. My goal as a business owner is to make timeless work that will outlive me offline.
I have a newsletter that sends out bi-weekly journal questions. I call people who are in my courses to connect, talk, and check-in. Before COVID I was hosting in-person workshops and retreats that allowed folks to connect, share stories, and learn from one another. I also have a podcast called hey, girl. that is centered around sisterhood, self-care, authentic storytelling, and entrepreneurship.
SQSP: How has community building influenced your career success?
AE: It reminds me that we all need one another and that our work and art and passions are necessary.
SQSP: You offer a mix of free and paid tools and experiences through social media, your books, and your website. What considerations go into creating a profitable content strategy?
AE: For me, it’s honesty, trust, transparency, and authenticity. It’s that simple! Be your authentic self without shame or guilt. People relate to shared experiences, struggles, and triumphs. Share your story—build community.
SQSP: What tools or resources should entrepreneurs use to strategize what they offer and when — whether it’s content, workshops, consultations, or services?
AE: Everyone is so unique, so that’s hard to give a definitive answer to. However, for me, I lean on my small community and I ask questions to folks who support and trust my mission.
SQSP: How do you approach balancing your financial goals with your creative ones, especially when they diverge?
AE: Balance takes practice. Prioritizing my time and energy is essential, so for me, this works in tandem.
SQSP: What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you first started out?
AE: To expect failure. Everything won’t be great or work out, and that’s okay. There’s a lesson somewhere in there!
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