This week I am deviating slightly from our normal tech & audio format. As this will be my last blog of the year, I wanted to talk to you about my YouTube journey so far and discuss if it’s for you.
Is it for you?
Well that depends. I thought the timing of this blog was quite pertinent; as we near the end of the year, many of you will be setting goals, making resolutions, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next one. There is never going to be a ‘right’ time to launch a channel. You’ll always be able to find an excuse. For me, I hid behind never having been in front of a camera and more importantly, had never even opened Premiere Pro or edited a video.
I first thought about the possibilities of starting a channel about a year ago. I had just begun to get involved in the community and was watching many hours of tech-tubers and tutorials. I started to be intrigued by the business model behind it and spent months pondering over whether I could make a go of it.
In the build up to launching, I immersed myself in the world of YouTube and started to watch it from a very different perspective - looking at lighting, production, camera techniques - and that proved super useful as I neared the launch.
So if you are facing 2022 and thinking about starting a channel - here are my first impressions as a rookie. Someone with only 18 videos behind them and less than 100 subs. Here are my 8 tips to help you get on your way.
1. Just do it!
The single best way to get started, is, well, to get started. You need those hours under your belt. There will be loads of mistakes, but try to be cool with that. They say making a mistake is the best way to learn, and from a YouTube point of view, it could not be more true. Make your first videos a journey of exploration. I am a perfectionist and HATE mistakes. But, I have had to learn that is part of what goes on here. Sure, I have uploaded videos with parts I am not happy with, but rather than not uploading the video that week, I have learned to let it slide. I will and I am getting better - and that is what matters. As long as I can see improvement in my content, all be it just 1% each video, then I am happy. Remember this - done is better than perfect. The more you upload and hone your craft, the quicker and more proficient you’ll become.
2. Get Help
I did just that. I found someone I liked and felt I could associate with and paid for a few sessions to teach me the business of YouTube. It was the best money I ever spent. It saved me months of pain and I’d suggest you do the same.
3. Try not to obsess about the numbers
Again - I am guilty of not following this advice, but I am trying hard to be more pragmatic about it. Sure, I will open my YouTube studio app and look at the figures more times than is healthy to this day. Have I got more subs? What are the views on my latest video? Is it a 2 out of 10 or a 10 out of 10 (stats you’ll soon get used to - I promise you). But now, even though they still have way too much grip over me, I won’t let it deter me from making my next video with as much verve, vigour, passion and determination as I can muster.
4. Be yourself - but still take inspiration from others
It seems a contradiction, but it really isn’t. The best way to learn is to watch and even emulate creators that have been around for ages. They have built a following and a success on the platform for a reason. Take the best of what you see them do, and make it your own. Your personality will come through.
5. Be committed & consistent
Treat it as a job. Have a plan. Do your research, write your scripts and be sure to upload at least one good video per week at the same time. Treat it like getting up and going to work.
6. Tell a story
This is one I was guilty of not doing and am trying my hardest to learn how to do better. Very early I got caught in this idea of chasing the algorithm. That is a game you can never win. It changes quicker than the brain can compute. But one thing we all love is a story. So have a beginning, middle and an end and endeavour to take your viewers with you. Try hard to make your videos bring value and let you shine through. You want people to look forward to your next content.
7. Discover you and your niche
I had trouble with this to start with - and it was only by following my first bit of advice to you to ‘just do it’, that it started to click. Initially I thought I’d be an Apple tech review channel. I very soon realised, as much as I love watching those kind of creators, that is not what I actually ‘knew’! Look within - find what you are good at; tap in to your passion. Watch other creators in the same space and create your own YouTube space.
8. Live within your means
I make no bone about it, part of my reason for this career change, was to earn money. I recently wrote a blog about everything having value. I must already be putting in 20 hours a week to this channel, and that will only increase. But YouTube wants you to make money. But, on that journey, live within your means. I have clearly spent some money on the channel. Screenflow software, some basic lights, the Filmic Pro app and a few plants to dress the set. But look, I am a long, long way from my first pay-day. This is the reality. So as much as I may want that lovely camera so I can have the bokeh effect behind me…for now my iPhone 12 will do. I have run my own businesses for many years, and so for me to apply that same ethos to this new venture is easy. The monetisation will come, but I have plenty to learn between now and then. There is, and should not be a free handout from the cash fairy. As with any business, I have to supply what you want. The old rules of supply & demand still exist. If I can’t monetise, then it is my fault.
As we head in to the New Year, my goals here on this platform are simple - well kind of. I am going to make videos for you and forget about some AI machine. If I follow the points I have laid out here myself, then I stand a chance. I want to make this as full time as is possible, so, in these early days, I will need to have faith, that the hard, ground laying work that I am putting in now, will pay me back. I hope to start regularly uploading two videos per week - one tutorial, and one review is my goal.
I’d love to think that by this time next year, I’ll have hit 1000 subscribers, 4000 hours watch time and am monetising through AdSense and affiliate links. I am planning a podcast that relates to this brand, blogs and a new dedicated website too. So, I have plenty to be getting on with….
Hopefully you have found it of some interest. If you have a few spare moments, then why not see how it all started for me - bad lighting and camera angles n’all, hopefully this will serve as inspiration for you to get started.