A quick look into the last few years of growing a YouTube channel and the mental mind states of pursuing YouTube.
May 25th, 2020 | Today I finally hit my first milestone of 1,000 subscribers! I remember it was around November 2018 that I had about 100ish pre-established subscribers on on my channel from a few sporadic review videos uploaded a couple years prior. I remember that date and number because it’s when I made it a point to upload more regularly and to take YouTube a bit more seriously. My best friend’s son was making $700/month for uploading toilet-flushing videos. Not my particular interest or niche but the income was appealing. I want to point out, yes the potential income and lifestyle of many successful YouTubers is what enticed me at first, however, creating with that intent made it difficult to create content (more on this later).
I was at a bit of a cross roads career-wise at the time. I was struggling some in the freelance world of media production. Parts of the year were great. Other parts, not so much. Nonetheless I am thankful for the experiences and trying times because I’ve gained the super-human ability to become ultra-frugal and embrace a somewhat minimalism lifestyle. Outdoor rec and tech are my primary luxury areas. I focus my “excess” time and money into hobbies (and side/freelance gigs) that are involved in these areas that I enjoy. That last sentence was pivotal for my aspirations in pursuing “success” on YouTube.
The last 2 years I struggled creating content on YouTube because I was focusing on what other people might care about and how other people were telling me to grow a channel. It wasn’t until I literally had a “f**k it” moment and just started creating the things I wanted to see, and the things that were ultimately “fun” for me to create. I had to stop caring about other’s interests, opinions, and judgments, and focus on my Self. Relearn what I like, what I enjoy, and what I’m interested in. In many ways, content creation has been a path of self-discovery for me. Like I stated, my interests are outdoor rec and tech, the prior leading me toward my fascination with plants and fungi (mixed with my background in photography and capturing the beautiful and bizarre wonders of the world). I have a love-hate relationship with tech. It is probably the most beautifully horrendous endevour mankind has ever pursued. (I may follow up with an article or video about my philosophy on technology if there’s an interest for it.)
I had realized that eventually, people with similar interests would stumble upon my channel (mixed with a bit of social media marketing and advertising) and those are the people that I want sticking around. If people want to stick around, subscribe, and support me for the content and interests I genuinely have already, then I am less likely to “burn out” by trying to create things I’ve stopped enjoying for the sake of making others happy. Also I notice when I enjoy the project, the finished result is almost always better. When you care about something, when you love doing it, you mindlessly put in that extra effort, that extra spice that makes the whole thing come together in a satisfying way. I’ve tried becoming more mindful of this “zone” I find myself in, and I attempt to apply it to all situations in life. Why pursue anything that ultimately brings disappointment or dissatisfaction?
Or, how Alan Watts might say, “You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”
I think it’s most important to first find the “why” in doing anything. It’s within the “why” that you find purpose. With the correct purpose, you can find the right intent. When you’re happy and satisfied with the intent behind your actions, depression fades away. (At least it’s how it has worked for me). Point is, find your happy place. Create it. Share it. Be creative enough to morph it into your lifestyle. And then, embrace it.
Dealing with Negativity
One last thing to touch on about the journey to 1,000 subscribers, or any path you want to pursue; Cut out negative people. Period. Friends, family, followers, whatever. Yeah it may sound a bit harsh to some of you, but until you remove yourself from the environment(s) that want to see you fail, you will never fully expand your wings. Surround yourself with supportive people as much as possible. Your head space and mental health are EVERYTHING when it comes to pursuing ANYTHING. It’s hard to believe in yourself when it seems everyone else around you is laughing, watching only to see you crash and burn. There are people out there like that. Ignore them. Remove yourself from that environment.
There are days when I receive negative comments, and it’s hard to not take them personally sometimes. I have to understand that most of those hateful remarks are coming from a place of hurt, anger, envy, or resentment. I find it best to typically ignore those comments, most of them stand no ground and reacting to it only gives them what they want. On special occasions if I sense the hate was really “out of left field” so to say, I will thank them for their opinion and wish them peace, healing, and to consider a path of love vs. hate. Even if it’s hard to mean it as I type it to the people trying to cause me pain, I almost always feel better after doing so, and I usually do feel I mean it when I wish for their anger to vanquish and any internal suffering to be healed.
There very well may be statistically driven formulas to grow your YouTube channel, to which I say feel free to go down that rabbit hole. However, I found myself to be a happier YouTuber when I focused on the content I personally found “fun”, and I think the quality of the content shows that. I’ll end this article with a cheesy suggestion. Don’t seek out fame and success, let fame and success seek you. Have faith in yourself that when you are focusing on that thing that you love and are vigorously pursuing with intention, mastery will be recognized so it should never be the goal.
And one last motto from someone who is way beyond wiser than myself:
“Don’t take life too seriously, no one gets out alive anyways.”
Stay fun everyone!