1 Million YouTube views and how I got there

1 million views special. Please feel free to watch the video, click the link below, and read my story covering my first 2 years on YouTube and how I got my first 1 Million views.

It’s taken 2 years and over 120 videos. However only 1% of these views are from subscribers, so this year I’m going to work on getting that problem sorted.

Learn from my mistakes if you are going to start a YouTube channel, DO NOT go out and buy expensive cameras, if you have a smartphone under 3 years old it will do the job to get you started, if it also records in 4K then even better.

Some myths to clear up, you DO NOT need to use a Mac to create videos, that’s another mistake I made as I was a windows user and assumed that Final Cut Pro was the tool for making great videos, and as it only runs on Macs I went out and bought a Mac desktop and laptop. Sure, they look great, the laptop battery lasts longer than my older windows laptop and if you have an iPhone you can use iMessenger & facetime to communicate. However, after a year of really struggling to gain subscribers and trying to be all fancy with video edits, trying to cut out empty space in my video audio, trying to cut out all the “erms” and editing effects into each video I came to the conclusion those things are not bringing me closer to my goal and I have spent all this money on the hardware.

At the end of year 1 YouTube paid me £125 from ad revenue, honestly, I was chuffed to bits with this. I enjoyed making the content, I was learning new skills, I was engaging with new people and watching far more YouTube content than ever, at first to see how others did it, then you get to know them and follow them, you then watch more of their videos than you have the time for and struggle to get your own videos produced each week, true story – watch out for the YouTube vortex!!  Watching my videos back is a little cringeworthy, try it, go and watch some of my videos from 2016, but at the time I enjoyed making them and thought I was achieving my goals.

So, I sold the expensive camera, I sold the Mac desktop & MacBook pro and I got a used Dell desktop, a used Dell laptop, all i7 with great specs, I then upgraded the ram and changed the HDD to SSD (because when you DON’T use Macs you can easily upgrade your system for little money), and I bought a used Sony a6300 with lenses off a mate. So this was reset time, I focussed 🙂 on getting my camera skills right for my videos, to get the more pleasing camera angles and shots, bringing interest into each shot by use of props or movement, I experimented with HD or 4K as 4K videos tend to take triple the time to edit and upload (the video stats on my channel show a far greater number watch my content on mobile devices than desktops or TVs), however, I then decided to go with 4K as it does produce a crisper image even when viewed on a smartphone, and you can easily upscale HD-slo-mo footage to 4K too in editing.

This brings us up to the end of year 2. By then end of year 2 I had been paid £1651 from YouTube ad revenue. Which probably paid for 1/4 of the equipment I had now bought to help me create content for the channel. Yes, I had a nice camera to take on holiday, along with a great computer and laptop to work on, and all the friends and family now wanted me to shoot their weddings or parties.  The biggest part of this for me was that my hard work was paying off and the money came in without me chasing it, for those who are not self-employed like me you will know you spend 10% of your time working, 40% of your time trying to get work and 50% of your time trying to get paid for the work you have already done! So, to be able to create videos when it suits me and get paid without chasing it was brilliant, yes I know if you work out it takes me roughly 17 hours to produce each video, then I produce 2 to 3 videos per week, and that I might only get paid on average of £180 a month – well that’s roughly £1 an hour wages. But this is where it’s different to a job, creating videos is something I like, I get to pass on my knowledge to others and I get to learn a new skill or two each week. For example, this week I learnt how to setup my camera to produce more realistic colours, colour correction is a HUGE thing and movie companies spend big bucks on getting their films colour corrected. So, I’m being paid £1 an hour to do something I like, learn on the job and help others learn new skills too.

If we then work out that year 1 was £125 and year 2 was £1651 you see a growth, such a growth can’t truly be calculated with just 2 data points, however, it’s roughly 13 times higher in year 2. The mean average growth is roughly 6.5 which might see year 3 income being £10K which would make the hourly rate £4.50 – now you can see where it starts to get more towards being a sustainable income. By year 4 I should be able to go full time on YouTube or at least have it being a large portion of my income.

Now the biggest thing I want to sort out this year is getting more subscribers, but you might be asking why bother if 99% of your income has come from people who are not subscribed then who needs subscribers? You are right to think that, until you then realise that people don’t take you seriously with low subscriber numbers. A few examples of this, the tech I review costs money and I either buy used and then sell it again on ebay or I buy stuff for me or get friends stuff and review it, I have tried countless times contacting manufacturers to get samples for review, this is where they loan it to you for a month and then you send it back, but the top question is how many subscribers have you got and then I never hear from them again. I have also contacted other YouTubers to collaborate on videos, I choose channels roughly the same size/viewing figures, but every single time I get fobbed off, even though my views might be higher than theirs I am still seen as a small channel with my subs being under 10k.

I can tell you what videos work best on YouTube, I’ve got over 2 years of testing formats and content, but you might argue this is not going to work for everyone. Firstly it seems controversial reviews of products gain more interest that a positive review, the title of your video must be intriguing, review products the big channels have missed but are still mainstream products, make each video flow like a story with a start middle and end, if it’s a tutorial then ensure you highlight the take-away skill at the end of the video, take your time in videos and be clearly spoken and keep your speaking to a moderate pace, use high quality thumbnails and be consistent with your thumbnail style and fonts, don’t be tempted to clickbait your video titles, develop a brand image for your channel and stick closely to it, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine so title your videos like a search query, YouTube gives your videos better ranking if you have user engagement – so comments and shares are your goals AND above all be yourself as people will soon spot a fake – I tried in year 1 to be super upbeat in my videos and people saw right through it.

If you are a YouTube creator then you might want to get a couple of little tools installed that will improve your understanding of your channel and give you some extra tools for creating content. The first is Tube Buddy which gives you stats, tools and features that help you see what’s going on with your channel, edit your videos, produce thumbnails and even pick out competition winners should you run them on your channel. The 2nd is vidIQ which helps you understand how you compare against other content on youtube, get tags assistance and monitor your stats. They offer paid services but so far I have found the free accounts work just fine for me.

Well that’s my milestone update, I hope you found this useful and thanks for your time, please feel free to comment, share this on your social media and if you don’t already then please consider subscribing to my channel, I produce videos 2 or 3 times per week and cover tech, drones, how to’s and much more.


Take care and Until the next time, byeeeeeeeeee

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