What I Learnt from Starting a YouTube Channel

In the summer, I started a YouTube Channel. I had been thinking about it for a while, wanting to bring to life the content that I was sharing in here and eager to learn about a different digital platform. So when March hit, lockdown struck and we were all confined to our homes for the foreseeable I thought ‘it’s now or never’.

I never start anything with a clear vision. This may come as a surprise to those of you who know me. I am a strategist at heart, but I also know that nothing is ever quite as ready as I’d like it to be. So I took my phone, propped it up against some books and recorded my first video (here – in case you need to cringe at someone else’s project today, you’re welcome!). What I wanted to do with YouTube was understand it from the point of view of creators, and although I cannot claim to have done that with the barely 10 videos I created, I want to still share what this experience has taught me about work & career. That’s my thing after all!

Creativity is hard

Being creative, whether in the form content creation, editing or marketing, it’s not something you can do 24/7. Creativity needs a lot more fuel than working on a spreadsheet all day. You need to feel inspired and inspiration is hard to come by when you’re stuck inside. It’s also not something that you can summon like perhaps you can do with discipline or productivity. Being creative takes time and it’s not always a linear journey (which let me tell you, doesn’t help with being consistent on YouTube – one of the key metrics measured by the platform).

10min video = days of work

We mindlessly consume content in different formats everyday. We skip through videos that don’t capture our attention in a few seconds (brutal, if you ask me today) and we more often than not forget to like the ones we enjoyed. But what we don’t realise is that even a short 10 minute video would have taken a creator hours/days (depending on the content and their experience) to produce.

It’s always personal.

Many creators bring us into their houses and share snippets of their lives. They share their ideas, lesson learnt and their individuality. Content is always personal and sharing this openly is not unlikely writing a book. As a creator, no matter how much of an expert you are, you expose yourself to critiques, comments and judgement. Some more kind that other. And I simply can’t imagine this getting pleasant.

Nothing is ever as it seems.

An example of thumbnail for my YouTube channel.

The biggest lesson and reminder though, was this. You know that dream life you think YouTubers, influencers and digital entrepreneurs lead? That ‘waking up at 9am every morning, drinking matcha latte and choosing how to spend the day’ kind of vibe? It’s not quite as real as you think. Creating content is hard work and it takes many different skills. From thinking about a concept, scripting a video, finding the best set up, create the right atmosphere. To shooting, editing for hours (or days, if you’re just starting out) and planning the release (which includes picking a title, creating a description, finding the right keywords – SEO is a bitch on YouTube too). Then advertise it, share it everywhere till you feel sick of it (because your family, friends and followers will miss it otherwise in the myriad of content that gets shared across social media). And once it’s out, answer comments and engage with those kind enough to stop by to support your work. It’s a long process and it’s stressful.

Like any other job.

There will hardly be a point in your life where you’ll never think of someone else’s job as the real dream job. Even when you’ve just landed what was until moments before the job you were dreaming of for you. It’s normal to be striving for more. And although I don’t think that’s inherently bad, it’s important to be able to learn how to appreciate what we have and remember that the grass is not always as green as it seems (Instagram filters everywhere, let me tell you!). If you’re struggling with this and need a little help to focus on the small things, I shared some thoughts on positive mindset here.

We also need to recognise the work and craft that digital creators contribute. That a job isn’t just deemed as such only because there’s a clear job title for it. That people who work for a company or in more traditional roles, aren’t the only ones who work hard and who deserve benefits, security and money for their time. That without people who bring their personal work and their individuality into our daily life with creativity and passion, we’d live a dry and dull existent.

So here’s to more creative roles, new jobs and career paths. You never know, the next new creative position may the perfect one for you!

P.S. I’ve created a virtual book shop where you can find all my favourite books. You can have a look here.

Disclosure: If you buy books linked to this site, I may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops.

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