TLDR: A heartfelt letter to my fellow creators, content-based and value-based small business owners – read this whenever you need a pick-me-up.
I don’t know you yet, but please know that I’m rooting for you! If you need a high-five from a fellow creator, drop me a line here or in the comment below.
Why I Wrote This
There are unspoken rules about making money on and off of YouTube. No, I’m not just talking about YTT (YouTube Partnership Program) where you make money through ads on YouTube. In fact, once you understand how YouTube amplifies everything you have to offer – your content, as well as your expertise, services and products, you will make a lot more money, a lot sooner.
The beginning of launching your YouTube channel without realistic expectations can be quite hard for most people. Understanding and adapting the right mindset is possibly the important and consistent element to your YouTube success. Mindset is what differentiates a long-term career YouTuber, or a thriving business channel from those who publishes a few videos and then quits in despair.
YouTube Is a Game Changer for Creators and Businesses
Here’s why: when you reach a point where you have a substantial audience who want to hear from you, buy your products and services, then you no longer need to hard sell yourself or your content. You need no middleman.
Instead, customers, brands and sponsors will come looking for you with a budget, ready to purchase.
Let me break it down even further: remember the elevator pitch we all need to learn to sell ourselves or our services in person, social media or everywhere else?
YouTube brings you closer to the money and the right connections, in an unparalleled and unprecedented way. YouTube, as a platform, becomes a liaison between you and the people who want to buy from you.
You’ve worked hard for your videos on YouTube. When potential customers and partners watch your videos, seeing you and hearing your voice, something neurological begins to happen the same way as people watch movies, music and photographs.
It’s your unique opportunity to leave an impression that’s impossible to resist, and that brings people closer to you and they begin to build trust in you. All of this happens without you there physically.
If some of these viewers are potential buyers of your expertise, services and products, you will likely experience a much shorter purchasing process.
You Don’t Need a Big Audience to Succeed on YouTube
If you are pushing for subscriber count at the moment, whether it’s 1,000 or 100,000, I need to demystify and decouple the relationship between needing a million subscribers in order to have success on YouTube.
In fact, creators don’t even need 100,000 subscribers to be full-time YouTuber, and many businesses with around 10,000 are seeing visible growth.
You haven’t met me in person, but picture me for a second – I’m in my late 30s (as I’m writing this); I’m a person of color; I haven’t vlogged much yet as my content is primarily focused on how-to and tech videos; I’m not a gamer; I don’t come from a TV or traditional media background (though I have been an indie podcaster since 2014).
In other words, I’m not your typical YouTube success persona or formula. I’m almost the opposite.
Yet YouTube has and continues to deliver quality leads to my business every single week.
Develop Good YouTube Habits (And Avoid Bad Ones)
It’s common to sense self doubt as a YouTuber, no matter the size of your channel.
As creators and small business owners, it’s part of our DNA to create and to critique. Good news is that there are a few ways to get around self-doubt, or to put it “in its place” just long enough to continue your creative journey. 🙂
As a female immigrant who speaks English as a second language, I had plenty of self-doubt. Even though I don’t have much of an accent, I was still worried that speaking in front of the camera would expose many of my imperfections and disqualify me from creating valuable content.
But here are some things I learned along the way that really helped Move forward
The way you talk to yourself really matters
If you aren’t being kind to yourself, STOP doing it. As Dr. BJ Miller said “it’s easier to control your actions, and thoughts than your emotions”. That’s the first step, stop that negative self-talk (active thoughts), and know it’s ok to feel nervous and anxious (your emotions).
A career on YouTube, creating an evergreen sales funnel can be exciting. Therefore feeling overwhelmed is likely a natural part of the process. You owe yourself the respect and a chance to create something on your own, without others’ permission and judgement.
You have to start, that’s 95% of the work.
Doing something for the first time can be nerve-wracking. When it comes to the case of your YouTube channel, you might feel naked and alone sometimes, right?
“Here, I made this.” as Seth Godin would say. You hope people will like it, and find it helpful. But what if they don’t respond at all, or worse, respond negatively?
These are common thoughts, but you should know that everyone truly starts somewhere. I promise you that it gets better and easier.
The most important lesson for me and for anyone is that you HAVE to start, and you have to keep pushing forward and do NOT let the YouTube algorithm or your audience decide what you are worth.
Start putting things out there even if nobody responds. Start shipping – that means hitting not only the “record” button but also “publish”, a world of wonders awaits you.
You don’t have to do it alone. Today, it’s more accessible than ever to find communities of people who are like you – on the same journey together, sharing the same passion, fear and doubts. These people are everywhere – Facebook, Slack channels, Chat rooms, private communities, even small email lists and text message groups.
Find the others, but make sure you reserve time and do the work, too.
Everyone’s first videos aren’t very good. Don’t believe me? Go look!
Mildy put, everyone’s first videos aren’t very good.
By the way, I say this not trying to put anyone down. Video production is a complicated matter that takes many disciplines, trials and errors to make right. Beyond budget and expertise, we’ve all seen tier-one production companies creating terrible films.
If you think your favorite YouTubers know it all along, think again. Visit 5-10 channels today, go to their YouTube homepage and click on the “Videos” tab, then sort their videos by Date Added (oldest).
I’m listing Feisworld Media’s YouTube channel as an example, and you’ll find much earlier videos, many of which still have single digit views. Since the start of my channel, I decided that I was NOT going to remove my older videos no matter how embarrassing they are. This way others, especially new YouTubers, can see the progress I’ve made, the confidence I gained over a long period of time.
For babies, learning to walk wasn’t a choice, it was a survival instinct. Our parents didn’t force us to walk, and we did it because it’s part of evolution.
What if we treat our creative endeavors and everything we do with a similar lens?
If you haven’t uploaded any videos to your channel, or you are stuck trying to publish your next video, don’t wait, and certainly don’t wait too long. Give yourself a timeline, find a community, commit and deliver new videos consistently. This is the single most important thing you have to remember and follow through.
Feeling good but things aren’t getting done?
Maybe you need to block out your calendars for your YouTube journey (15-mins at a time, or a few hours at a time) just like how you make sure to get everything else done. Don’t neglect or table your time for creativity, prioritize it!
Approaching burnout, don’t know what to do?
On the contrary of not committing enough, it’s easy to overwhelm and burn yourself out too. The idea of a “perfect balance” is an urban myth. You may experience it for a short period of time before noticing that further adjustments are needed.
Be sure to explore and know a way back to your balance, even if it’s temporary. Self-care is super important for creators. Without our physical and mental health, content creation won’t last. Whether it’s a walk in nature, hanging with friends, cooking your favorite meal, routine medication, YOU must know when to stop.
The creative work shouldn’t be open-ended. Set your clock (recommend 25 mins to start and work towards one hour if that’s doable), bring your creative juice and know when to stop. You can explore the Pomodoro method and the like to build healthy habits. Also in the toolkit, we’ll cover when and how to seek help from a virtual assistant, editor or social media manager.
Do you find any tips above helpful? Please share with a friend, a colleague and let them know.
Other articles you might like…
- How to Start a YouTube Channel for Your Business (In 15 Minutes or Less)
- YouTube Recording Setup for Your Small Business 2023 (Budget-Friendly!)
- Camera Presence for YouTube (2023)
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