“If you want to be a writer, you need a pen and a piece of paper. If you want to be a painter, you need paint and a canvas. Historically, making videos has been this untouchable thing because it’s so expensive . And now if you have a cell-phone in your pocket and an internet connection, you can film a movie and then distribute it to the world. Creators have never been more empowered to share their ideas and vision via video as they are right now. There are no more excuses.”
– Casey Neistat, YouTuber.
Back when YouTube started in 2005, nobody could have possibly imagined the way it would impact our lives. YouTube, today, is a part of our daily routines. It is something we turn to when we need help with even the most miniscule of tasks – be it assembling a toy or figuring out how to bake brownies. Today, 1/3rd of online activity is spent watching videos online. By 2019, video content will take up 80% of internet traffic. Yes, a whopping 80 percent.
Back when the platform began, people were just filming themselves living their lives, at best. People were either documenting their own lives or were filming themselves goofing off with their friends and family members. Videos of adorable pets, tributes to popular animated shows, music and film parodies and other simple videos ruled the website.
Things aren’t quite the same today. YouTube has grown into platform so large that it can be a viable career option. That is, if you play your cards right. Having a successful YouTube career isn’t as easy as one might imagine. One needs determination, consistency and dedication to churn out video after video and still keep their viewers interested and hungry for more.
Starting a YouTube channel is the easiest part. All you really need is a camera and a Google Account. You can figure out the rest as you go along. However, maintaining your YouTube channel, arguably, is the most difficult part. Remember, it is as demanding and as cut-throat as any other profession. You’ll need to establish yourself first before you even begin to find any form of monetary compensation for your hard work and time.
What makes a good video?
There are so many factors that create a successful video. It isn’t only about having good camera equipment, adequate editing skills and the like. There are so many other variables that go into creating a video that may go viral. Your content needs to mirror you. With the quality of videos only getting better with time, you’ll need to equip yourself with content that will attract viewers. That means you need to be well-versed in whatever it is you’re trying to do with your YouTube channel. Or if not knowing how to do things and being clueless is your shtick, capitalize on it.
Developing your own style
You may be inspired by a particular YouTuber’s sense of styling or the way he or she edits and puts a video together. You can definitely cherry-pick certain aspects and tailor them to suit your own style. Even if you don’t have a particular style or system in the beginning, you will most certainly develop it along your YouTube journey.
The Number Game
As upsetting as it may be, success on YouTube definitely is a game of numbers. You will be rewarded based on your popularity, your subscriber count and your views. The more these numbers go up, the higher the chances will be for you to earn money from ad revenue, get sponsorships and other opportunities. Ironically, the number game can also prove to be a double-edged sword. It is in this struggle to gain more numbers and views that certain YouTubers lose their initial resolution and their authenticity, which, in turn, alienates them from their audiences. The entire ordeal is to keep growing in numbers and views while still maintaining your authenticity and producing interesting content.
If you’re someone who’s looking to turn YouTube into a full-time career, you’ll need resources. You’ll also need a field of expertise (or a field that interests you). You can take that field of expertise, finance it with your resources and weave your videos around it. If you neither have financial stability nor connections, you may want to grow your channel first and have a safety net. It’s always easier to make YouTube a full-time career if or when you are in a position where you are able to take certain liberties.
Having thick skin
Another aspect you need to prepare yourself for mentally is the negativity. If you make content you are proud of, don’t let one negative comment deter you. Doing so may prove to be difficult at first since a lot of us tend to focus only on the negative so you’ll need to tell yourself time and time again to not let the negativity outweigh the outpour of love and affection you get. Since you will be putting yourself out for the entire world to see, it’s better if you know now that you need to develop thick skin. Things won’t always be peachy and you need to be prepared for that.
Building connections and friendships
YouTube is a great way for you to share your interests with like-minded people. If you do it well and are consistent, you will be able to establish a career out of it. If you’re starting out and want inspiration, look at some of the YouTube Greats and observe how they started out and how they managed to get to the point they are at now. YouTube sensations like Ryan Higa, Shane Dawson, Michelle Phan, Felix Kjellberg etc.have had their fair share of ups and downs. If you have a YouTuber you look up to, there’s no harm in researching and finding out what pushed them to start their YouTube channels. Another thing you can take note of is how they deal with criticism and outright hatred and how they still manage to create content for their audiences.
A little luck
Like it was mentioned before, YouTube has also helped certain people achieve superstardom because they have played their cards right. The platform has helped fuel the careers of so many talented musicians, actors, comedians and entertainers. It helped their talents reach out to a wider audience and with a little luck, gave them careers that make people green with envy. From Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande to Charlie Puth and Shawn Mendes – there are so many more YouTube success stories, if you think about it.
A second act
Even well-known celebrities are turning to YouTube to create content and connect with their fans. From Hollywood, you have people like Ashley Tisdale (of ‘High School Musical’ fame), Shay Mithcell (of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ fame) and popular Talk Show Hosts – like Ellen Degeneres, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon – who upload clips of their shows onto the site to reach more people and garner more views. Even Bollywood celebrities cannot deny the power of a YouTube video – if it’s good, it’ll gain those celebrities more fans and more publicity and if it’s bad, it’ll tarnish their reputation in an instant.
So, yes, YouTube absolutely can be seen as a career nowadays. If you feel passionate about something, you can develop your videos around that idea. Other ingredients that will pay off in the long run are regularity, dedication, quality and a little sprinkle of luck. So, if you have something you want to tell the Internet, turn your camera on and go for it.