One year and 42 videos later, I have some lessons to share with you from my first year on YouTube!
First of all, half of me is shocked that I’m here, one year later, still making weekly videos. I started this thing with a “Well, let’s see how this goes” attitude, and I didn’t know how the response would be.
The other half of me is like “Duh.” I also started my YouTube channel with a commitment to sticking with it, knowing that success doesn’t happen overnight or in five videos or in 30 videos.
I’m so glad I did, because it’s been really fun, challenging, and rewarding.
And today, I want to share with you 5 lessons I learned in this first (and hopefully not last) year. If you’ve thought about producing regular video content, I hope this helps!
Lesson 1: You Don’t Have a Video Series When You Only Have One Video
This lesson comes to us from the always wise Topher DeRosia.
I was sitting next to Topher at WordCamp Jackson last year when I started telling someone near us that I had just started a video series.
I vividly remember Topher turning to me and saying:
“You don’t have a video series if you’ve only made one video.”
I’m so glad he said this to me, because it really lit my fire. I too see a lot of people get excited about an idea, stick with it for a month or two, realize it’s a lot of work, and kind of give up.
Topher said this to me so early that I instantly wanted to prove that I really did have a video series.
His comment is one of the big reasons I stuck with it even when time was tight and motivation was low, because I didn’t want to be seen as someone who tried something and quit.
Lesson 2: The Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story
This is a lesson I have to keep reminding myself, because I LOVE measuring outcomes by analyzing numbers.
When I start thinking about views, subscribers, or followers, or hear someone talk about “growing their following,” I have to remind myself: the numbers don’t matter. The people matter.
What’s really powerful about starting this super-specific video series is that real people, real business owners actually relate to it. And over the last year, I’ve gotten to hear about their struggles, their confusion, and their appreciation for hearing my story.
When I watch back now to my very first video, the major thing I hear is myself saying “I feel so alone. I don’t know if anyone else feels the way I do.”
It’s been incredibly gratifying to have received personal messages saying “I feel the same way! Thank you for sharing.”
Those are the people that matter, not a subscriber count in the thousands. And they are why I am still going, even if my followers aren’t exactly on pace with GaryVee.
Lesson 3: You Really Can Get Away With Some Production Issues
Seriously—If you aren’t making videos preaching about video quality, people don’t expect you to be perfect.
I’ve been super committed to the idea that production/lighting/editing aren’t going to be the the most important thing to me about creating these videos.
Instead, I really want to spend my time speaking from the heart and sharing information that I think is valuable about the lessons I’ve learned in specializing my business. That’s what you’re here for, right?
A friend recently said to me “I’ve been considering starting something on YouTube, but I feel like I need to buy a lot of equipment and figure out my lighting and do a lot of practicing.”
Pump the brakes.
I want to encourage you—If your heart is in the right place and you’re sharing something you really, really care about, viewers will forgive you if your videos aren’t movie quality.
If you have something that you want to share on a consistent basis, and you think it would add value to your audience’s lives, don’t let production hold you back.
Lesson 4: Watching Yourself Talk is Really Weird
Ok, this one is kind of random. But important to be prepared for if you want to start making videos where you’re on camera.
Watching yourself talk is really awkward. Editing yourself talking is pretty much the worst, especially at the beginning.
We don’t really spend a lot of time watching ourselves talk. So when I imported my first recording into iMovie, I was like
“OMG IS THIS REALLY WHAT I LOOK LIKE? WHY IS MY FACE DOING THAT? DO I REALLY TALK OUT OF THE CORNER OF MY MOUTH?”
The answer is yes. And I had to shut up and get over it. Also, don’t even get me started on how hard it is to find a good freeze frame to use for my video thumbnail. Ugh.
But, that leads me to Lesson #5…
Lesson 5: Doing Video Gets More Comfortable The More You Do It
Pretty much every content creator will tell you this. And they’re right.
The more you record and produce videos, the more comfortable it gets.
You get used to talking to camera. You get used to your own weird facial expressions. You start to relax more and see the camera as an old friend. You start to edit faster.
Sitting down now and recording feels so much more natural to me now than a year ago. It’s taken 42 videos and probably at least 6 total hours of recording, but it’s so much easier.
So of course, the lesson here is, it’s critical to just rip off the band-aid, get started, and make that first awful video that you’ll be embarrassed about a year from now.
If you don’t start, you’ll never get over the hump and start feeling like it’s second nature.
So there you have it! My top 5 lessons learned in my first year on YouTube. Now your turn—If you’ve learned anything from these videos in the last year, I’d love to hear it. Please leave me a comment. 👇