I posted the first video to my YouTube Channel on February 20th, 2020. This video, along with 10 other videos, were shot on my iPhone 7 before I was willing to look into purchasing a camera and video equipment. When I started to get more comfortable on camera and began enjoying the process of making videos more, I decided to invest in a real camera and a tripod.
I’ve been shocked by my ability to stick to a strict weekly schedule and never miss a week for the entire year, and to post a few extra videos here and there. By the time this video comes out, I’ll have published 60 videos in the span of 52 weeks.
I’m filming this in the beginning of February, so the numbers will likely shift by the time it publishes, but as of today, I have 371 subscribers, 15,000 views, and almost 1,200 watch hours. This growth is by no means impressive, and although I can’t find average growth data for YouTube channels, I suspect it’s even less than average for the first year of a channel that consistently posts at least once per week. Again, I truly have no idea how accurate that statement is, but based on what I’ve anecdotally seen other channels accomplish after starting out around the same time in my niche, I suspect it’s true.
But I can’t honestly say that I feel any sense of disappointment or failure from these numbers. When I realize that on average, more than one person each day in the past year has decided that my channel could add enough value to their life that they click the subscribe button, I’m floored. It’s funny how these metrics can seem so small compared to other YouTubers, when the idea of 371 people who resonate with my message is actually incredibly encouraging to me. I also am a fan of growing slowly in a lot of ways: I’d rather build up the habits I need to be successful over time in a sustainable way, rather than hustle to put out a video every other day, for example, and then burn out fast.
From a monetization standpoint, I need about 630 more subscribers and 2,800 more watch hours in the coming year in order to apply for monetization. And even at that point, the actual payouts could be pretty insignificant. But again, I’m in this for the long haul, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in the pieces of this that I can control, such as:
- Producing much higher quality videos
- I’m FAR more comfortable on camera
- My scripts have improved greatly
- My camera and lighting quality is far better
- My editing skills are highly improved
- Started branding my thumbnails more consistently
- Engaging more
- Responded to every comment that wasn’t spam or some guy calling me a “very pretty lady” or asking if I have a boyfriend
- Finding more small creators in my niche and getting engaged on their channels
- Staying consistent with filming and posting
- This year, the goal was to get ahead of schedule where I could. Obviously, I have to do budget updates and net worth updates close to when the videos come out, but a lot of content can be made in advance, and I’ve started doing this to ease the workload and pressure in the future
- Because I’ve been able to get ahead, I’ve been able to focus on new projects in addition to my channel, including something that I’m incredibly excited about and will be announcing soon 😉
- Enjoying the process
- Despite absolutely hating the process of getting on camera early on, and then still producing videos in which it seemed like I was being tortured (because that’s how uncomfortable I looked), I actually am a fan of the video creation process now.
- I’m comfortable on camera and really do feel like I’m speaking to my audience
- I don’t even mind video editing as much– I can do it pretty quickly and pretty well now!
All in all, I’ve got a lot of great videos planned for the channel AND a very exciting new project coming soon. I know my analytics aren’t amazing, but most of my personal goals for this platform have not been tied to outcomes that I can’t control, because I know that would cause me to get demotivated and give up. I do have some pretty audacious outcome goals for the probably-distant future, because ultimately I do truly believe in myself to make big things happen eventually, but I’m not tied to these outcomes of metrics of my success and growth– and I’m certainly not tied to a strict timeline, either.
All in all, I’m really proud that I’ve made it a year on YouTube and still feel excited about the growth ahead.
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