After finally taking the plunge and starting to release videos to my Youtube channel, I am looking back at my first 10 uploads and reflecting on some lessons learnt. Hopefully these will help guide my next 10 uploads and maybe yours as well.
Just Film It
Building a Youtube channel and growing an audience has always been something I’ve wanted to do. When I finally decided on an idea for a first video (making espresso on a surfboard) and a concept for a channel, I wanted to set myself some success criteria that would encourage me to keep going. My definition of success was to just film the first one. I told myself I will have won if I just film it and not even upload it. The filming was the real jump, the thing that would get me out of bed, in the water and doing something completely different.
Filming it was so much fun, pumped me full of adrenaline and I also had some great footage, so it was really obvious that I was going to go and edit it and upload it. But the fact that I had already succeeded in my pursuit made the fear of uploading dissipate, because I didn’t need to reach a certain amount of views or subscribers. I had set out to do what I had planned and I was really happy about it.
After 10 uploads, I can say that before every new shoot, I tell myself that it doesn’t matter if the footage is shit and I don’t end up uploading, what is most important is to just get out and film.
People Will Watch
Before filming or uploading, I often wonder if anyone will actually watch or find my videos interesting. With not a lot of subscribers and social networks comprised mainly of my friends, I do often think that maybe my videos will only reach my mum and my old high school friends and not the desired audience that fits my videos’ niches (I’ll touch on niches below). Yet after absolutely every upload, I am so surprised with the reach and the responses I am getting from absolute strangers.
I can’t be certain, but I have a rough guess that my personal network comprises less than 30% of my subscribers and that the majority of my views come from people outside my personal network. Complete strangers…thousands of complete strangers, looking at my face for a few minutes.
People are Allowed to Dislike it
My first real negative reaction was a difficult and weird experience, mainly because it was something I just wasn’t used to and didn’t know how to navigate.
I posted a video in a Facebook group and it received over a hundred likes and about 50 comments. Those 50 comments were split between the middle, with half saying the video was amazing and half saying it was bad and I was a terrible person for making it and posting it.
That hurts to hear at first. But what comes next is the question of what to do about it. Here were the options I was considering:
- removing the post
- responding constructively (“sorry you didn’t like it but…”)
- responding aggressively (“well I’d like to see you pull an espresso…”)
- doing nothing
In the end I made the right choice which was to do nothing. I realised that those comment are not going to derail my entire vision and invalidate the videos and everything I’m trying to do. They will not change the mind of people who liked my video and they will not really be seen or impact anyone other than the people who wrote them. And there are people out there who are allowed to not like things and it just sucks a little that they happened to watch and comment on my specific video. But it in no way means the whole world agrees with them, it just shows that you’re reaching a more diverse group of viewers.
That was a really important experience to have and has really allowed me to navigate the effect that feedback and comments have on me.
Find Your Niche
This is something I knew was important and something many people talk about when starting a Youtube channel. My obvious niche is coffee. However it can drill deeper into espresso or specialty coffee or the specific brand of espresso machine (Flair Espresso Maker) I use that has a very active community online. Those communities are the main ones I target when distributing my videos and they also make up the majority of my views. And also, they really seem to be the ones that really enjoy them the most.
However something I’ve tapped into a little when it comes to niching, is using the “extreme” aspect of my videos to target other secondary niches. For example in the surfing espresso video, I could also target surfers, stand up paddlers and people that love the beach. In the bike espresso video, I could target the e-bike communities and cyclist. In the beer espresso video, most of the engagement was from the beer community and not the coffee one.
So as you see, niching is great because it also allows for finding communities of people who will support your video. If your videos can also have some broad appeal, it can be good to target and gain subscribers from many secondary niches like I am.
Don’t Let Numbers Control You
This is much easier said than done, but if there’s something I often need to remind myself, it’s that I’m not in this for the number of subscribers and viewers. The reason I make these videos is because the pursuit of filming something interesting in an interesting place, takes me to interesting places where I do interesting things. The day that stops being a reason to make a video will be a sad day.
That being said, it is hard to disregard the fact that people do make money from running a Youtube channel. From Youtube ad revenue to brand deals and selling merchandise, Youtube can end up being a primary source of income. That is a reality that exists today and that is something that sounds pretty amazing if you can get it. It just so happens that getting that almost always involves needing to have so many subscribers and video views that your reach and influence merit that being your career.
This is not my goal. This is not why I’m doing Youtube. This is not what gets me to go and film. This is… a really cool possibility and an absolute bonus if I get it…but it is not what I’m striving for.
Yet the thought that a certain video may go viral and gain me a much larger audience does often creep in before an upload and there is always a small moment of despair when that doesn’t happen. It’s in those moments that I remember that I got out there, filmed it and that the amount of people that are subscribed and watching my videos is still a lot if you got them all in one room or building and thats pretty sweet.
After having that initial idea and getting out there and filming it, I am super proud of myself that I’m here after having continued to film, upload and enjoy the process of making Youtube videos. I will continue to upload another 10 and hopefully many more after that.
If you haven’t already, please head over and subscribe to my channel. Share my videos with your friends and make sure to stay tuned for more extreme espresso content