So, you’re going to become a YouTuber! You’ve heard about these vloggers and content-creators with millions of followers, filming themselves playing video games and in return receiving endorsements with massive companies, getting sent free iPads for ‘giveaways’ like they’re moisturiser samples, or how about the make-up gurus who film their first impressions of eye-shadow palettes in their bedrooms and end up being flown worldwide and invited to guest-write for top magazines.
The magic and the allure of YouTube is that you can do anything; whatever it is that you do, someone will be interested, and if people are interested enough, you can turn your something into your career.
Or at least use that something to open doors for you that you could never have dreamed possible. Whether you want book deals, brand deals, exposure for your own brand or company, fame, or just a basic monthly income, YouTube has quickly become the easiest and most accessible way to get there.
And you want in, right?
That’s my first tip.
Because you can. So, why not? You know what YouTube has done for some, see if it can do the same for you.
But here’s some stuff that you might want to know before you take the leap.
You will care a lot more than you think you will
Whatever content you create is never going to be perfect. And that might bother you. Making, editing and uploading videos takes time and sometimes the vision you had in your head for the finished result doesn’t translate so well on screen. Especially for your first few videos when you’re still testing the water, trying (and oftentimes failing) to figure out what works for you, you’re gonna get a bit frustrated.
On top of that, people can be mean. You know what the internet is like. People get brave when they can attack and criticise in comfortable keyboard-anonymity. And you can have the thickest skin ever, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t pick at it. As your following grows, so does your exposure and so will your exposure to ignorant people. Most comments shouldn’t faze you but every once in a while there will be one that sticks. You’ll find you’re uncharacteristically doubting yourself, thinking about it all day.
But here’s the thing, people can be lovely too. And there will be a lot more of the nice stuff than the horrible stuff. You’ll be surprised how much your content can impact someones life. As long as you’re genuine and helpful, there will be viewers out there that feel like they connect with you, perhaps in a way they cant connect with anyone else.
One heartfelt comment can mean the absolute world. They may just be words on a screen but trust me, you’ll feel it.
Earning your first penny takes a while! Seeing it reach your bank account takes even longer!
Alright enough of that mushy feelings stuff, lets talk about the money! Once you’ve set up your adsense account, I’m sure you know the money won’t just start rolling in. But you know…. over time, you manage to tally up a few thousand views on your videos, that pretty impressive, and that’s got to count for something right?
An easy way that I work out how to convert views to an average amount of money earned is to take the last 3 numbers off the view count and multiply the remaining number by one and a half. So 1000 views = $1.50. (It’s even less when converted to pounds.)
The income will be consistent but slow-going. And you must reach a threshold of $100 or £60 in order to receive any payment at all.
That means, if you earn $99 in January, you’re not going to get paid until the end of February (assuming you made it past the $100 threshold by then). And don’t expect it to show up in your bank account at midnight on the last day of the month. According to google, it takes up to 2 weeks for them to process and verify a payment. That means you could be waiting until mid-march!
The video making process takes a lot longer than it looks
This might be pretty obvious. But it’s hard work!
I’m going to talk about my personal experience.
A typical video of mine will last about 3 minutes or less. You can check one out here. Aside from any necessary planning I do days- sometimes weeks– before, I start setting up almost first thing in the morning (I have to eat first or I literally cannot function) and start filming as soon as possible after that. I’m usually done filming by lunchtime. I eat again (I need sustenance!) and then the editing begins. If I edit solidly until and after dinnertime- and you can tell by now, my entire life revolves around food- I can maybe hope to upload just before midnight. Don’t forget the time it takes to write a good description for that all-important SEO-optimisation, put together a decent thumbnail, tag your video, add annotations and notes and write closed captions….
That’s about a 14-hour workday.
Considering most people starting out on YouTube will already have other commitments during the week, like a ‘real job‘ or school, that’s a huge chunk of time to commit to a 3-minute video! And real, demanding projects will of course take even longer!
If you think YouTube is an easy alternative to your 9-5, think again!
You’ll end up buying things you didn’t think you needed. A little bit later, you might realise you didn’t need them afterall.
We’re back to the issue of wanting things to be perfect. You want a professional-looking video so you reckon you’re gonna need professional-looking gear; a chunky DSLR camera perhaps, a state of the art, 900,000 mega-super-giga-watt lighting system- the type they use on film sets- and of course a microphone setup so advanced that comes with it’s own sound technician. Of course, video quality is important and in a way, quality filming gear is important too, but the most important thing is your content. Start out using what you’ve got and make it work. If your video is worth watching, people will watch it. If the sounds a bit awkward, they’ll turn the volume up. In this starting out period, you’ll learn through trial and error and from the valuable feedback of your viewers (did I mention how much people love sharing their opinions over the internet whether it’s good or bad?) So, The last thing you want to do is invest in a load of nifty gadgets only to find that people just aren’t interested.
Your channel growth will blow you away! Eventually.
Social media is a pretty amazing thing. Think about it, you can be an absolute nobody and people will still follow you. If you thought about it in the setting of real life, it would be inconceivable; people being so interested in someone that they didn’t know that they’d follow their every move (I mean, unless you’re an actual celebrity), but over the internet, it doesn’t take much for strangers to start taking notice.
The growth of my following on YouTube quickly overtook that of my follower count on Instagram and tumblr (both of which I’d been on for considerably longer).
And the growth is exponential. So the more subscribers you get, the more people end up discovering you.
It might take you a little while to breach that first 100 but just wait; after that, it wont be long before you’re at 200, quicker still you’ll get to 1000 and even faster than you could have imagined, you’ve suddenly got 5000 people all subscribed to you.
If you want to get started on YouTube, it’s going to take work and it wont always be the fun, effortless thrill that it looks like, but if you’re committed, it can turn out to be the most rewarding thing you ever do.
Take it from me. I now truly consider myself to be ‘a YouTuber’ and I’ll never look back.