Over the last year, I’ve created over 100 YouTube videos. So by the end of this article, I’m going to share with you five key lessons I’ve learned in my journey of becoming a creator. In case you’ve been around for a while, you’ll recall that I did one of these reflection articles at the 50 video mark, but in the case where you’re new here, be sure to check that article out after you read this one.
Lesson 1: There’s no shortcut to camera confidence.
When it comes to making YouTube videos, you really have to just do it in order to develop the confidence that you have in front of the camera. Comparing my first YouTube video to where I am now, I feel so much more comfortable just speaking to a camera than I did the first day that I started recording.
The thing about making YouTube videos is that it’s a little bit different than public speaking in that you don’t really get real-time feedback from your audience until you truly upload your video. And so it was something that required a little bit of an adjustment period for me personally, as I started making these videos.
Something else I remember related to camera confidence is I remember when I was first starting out, I really wanted to be authentically myself. To me that meant not being overly peppy or just being somebody that I wasn’t. Something that I realized though, as I started making YouTube videos, is that you really have to elevate your energy level a little bit more than normal, just in order for it to be captured by the camera.
Over time, I’ve noticed that different creators find different ways to convey their personality on camera. And I feel like I’m still kind of developing that, but still working on it with every single video that I make.
In reflecting on the journey, I think that my first twenty-five videos were the first major learning block and then my next 25 videos were another learning block. And then from there it really became tweaking small things along the way. I understand that I still have a ton of things to work on. Like you guys are so kind to remind me that my hands can sometimes be distracting, but that being said, I feel so much more comfortable being in front of a camera today than I did on day one of this channel.
Lesson 2: Pacing is a tricky skill to master.
This is something I’ve noticed over the last 100 videos in which I have found that the videos that are under 15 minutes tend to perform better on YouTube. Anything over that tends to see a serious decay in the engagement of the audience just because people have short attention spans.
So something I’ve been working on in my videos is making sure that the pacing of my videos is something that moves along nicely. You don’t want to spend too much time in a particular section of your video, that drags down the rest of the video in terms of the content you want to go over.
You’ll notice this change in my channel if you were to check out my earliest how tos in which I tried to jampack all of my best tips and tricks into a particular video. But what I found was that most people didn’t stay for that entire video. So as a result, I started tweaking that, cutting it down to a few of the key tips and then breaking them into parts. By breaking things down into more distinctive videos, I gave my viewers more opportunities to watch the content and potentially have the opportunity to engage with the content as well.
After making about 50 YouTube videos, that’s the point in which I started realizing when I was potentially going too in-depth on a particular topic. And I started trying to trim back on those moments in my video.
Lesson 3: How-to channels are a different world.
As you probably know by now, a lot of my videos are how tos on somewhat technical topics related to sales, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. The entire goal of my channel is to teach you something that you didn’t learn in school that might help you in life or in business in some other way.
And as a result of this, a lot of the topics that I cover don’t have viral potential. It’s very unlikely for one of my videos to end up on the trending page of YouTube anytime soon. What I’m going after is the high intent keywords that people are thinking about or asking questions about when it comes to different business topics.
As a result, my strategy requires me to play a longer term game that is more steady and consistent than it is looking for a big viral hit video. Because of the steady growth pattern, I’m also better able to predict and manage expectations as to where my channel’s going to be in six months, for example.
At the time of this recording, I’m on pace to end the year around 5,700 subscribers. And so maybe I’ll set a goal for myself to make it to 7,500, by the end of the year. That way I can have a stretch goal to strive towards. Most of the time when it comes to finding my channel, people discover me from Google when they are searching for how to do that particular thing. In fact, I love to hear from you if you leave in the comments, how you heard about my channel the first time you watched me. I’d greatly appreciate hearing from you so that I can also validate this with the data that I have.
From my end though, I’m seeing in my YouTube analytics that 50% of my viewership comes from Google search. So if you are creating a how to channel for yourself, don’t get discouraged by the long tail game that you have to play when it comes to so-called making it on YouTube.
You just have to manage your expectations for what you want out of your channel and who you’re trying to help. For me, I’m not trying to make like a super big channel or anything. I’m just trying to help people out in learning some skills that they might find valuable in their lives when it comes to things related to business. So as a result that allows me to not get ahead of myself in terms of having big aspirations for my channel and allows me to just focus on delivering value in every single video.
Lesson 4: Good consistent content beats sporadic great content.
This is my personal opinion, and I know my digital marketing subscribers might debate me on this. But I believe the number one thing that you can really focus on when you’re trying to grow something is being consistent over long periods of time. In other words, one of my biggest goals this past year on YouTube was simply giving you guys two new videos every single week. And that commitment was something that was more important than anything else on my YouTube channel.
I didn’t care about how many views or subscribers I got. I just cared that I created some good quality videos that I could release on a consistent basis. I think for me, any commitment I’ve made towards forming a habit is the number one thing for me to accelerate my learnings because it forces me to ship something, whether or not I truly believe I’m ready to ship that week.
When I started planning my YouTube channel, I gave myself a time horizon of at least two years of making videos consistently to see whatever would happen. And this is something in which I’m only 50% to my goal at the time of this recording. So I know I still have a lot of work to do. That said, I created my YouTube channel at a time when a ton of different people were creating YouTube channels because everybody was at home.
Something I’ve noticed in the last six to 12 months, is that probably only 25% or so of those same creators that created channels around the time that I did are still around today. So this really just goes to show you that it’s all about playing the long game when it comes to building something. If you’re not willing to commit to a multi-year time horizon, I tell you to potentially reconsider. And the reason why is because by giving yourself a longer time horizon, you give yourself more time to figure things out and let luck catch up with your preparation.
My biggest piece of advice for new creators is that whatever it is you’re creating, be consistent for at least two years. It can be a newsletter, it can be a YouTube channel, it can be a TikTok channel, whatever it is, just be consistent over a long period of time.
This will give you enough time for you to have enough at bats for whether or not you’re even going to become good at this. And then also it will give you enough time for all of your work to actually pay off in terms of a flywheel effect.
Lesson 5: Stick to what works for you.
In my opinion, this is one of the most toxic startup culture traits that I have noticed through the years. The notion is essentially that because startups are more collegial and friendly environments that we can treat each other like we are family.
I think that this notion is flawed. And the reason why is because it allows people to start to treat other people in a different way than how they would actually treat others in a professional environment.
It starts to blur the lines of professionalism, which leads back to that con that I shared about unprofessionalism being more condoned at startups. Personally, I’m more in favor of a clear split between your work and your life. I think that work-life integration is really important, but I’ve seen malintent in terms of how this we’re like a family mentality has been used in startups in the past.
In fact, I’ve even seen malicious uses of this sort of, we’re like a family approach in which people have been guilted to staying at a company longer than they necessarily should for their career, just because they should do it for the betterment of the team. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that business is business. So just like in pro sports, how an organization has the right to trade away players at their discretion, players should feel free to do what’s best for them at all points in time for their particular career.
There are two things that I want you to remember when it comes to the the lessons I’ve learned creating YouTube videos:
- The first one is that creating things is hard, but it’s incredibly fulfilling.
- The second big takeaway I have for you is that mastery takes time. So be prepared to strap in and do the work.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from these lessons that I learned making over 100 videos on YouTube.