If you are about to start a Youtube channel, then you have come to the right place. I am about to save you a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and maybe even some money).
Since beginning my Youtube journey, there have been a lot of things that I have learned along the way that I honestly wish that more people talked about.
My one goal with this entire online platform is to help people.
So I want to help any new Youtuber know exactly what they are getting into and how to avoid the biggest youtube headaches.
In order to do that, I have to spill the tea and clear up some common misconceptions about the platform.
Things like knowing what your audience cares about, how long editing really takes, and even how to monetize your channel without being a Youtube Partner.
These are all things that I WISH someone had told me when I first started out.
Luckily for me, I got some extra help and was able to get some input from other YouTubers as well.
So if you want to learn what you need to be able to make your youtube growth as smooth as possible, then keep reading.
First things first,You Need to Find Your Tribe
I am going to jump right into it with probable one of the most important tips of all:
FIND YOUR TRIBE!
You NEED to find other creators and be a part of a community. They don’t have to be in the same country or the same niche. They just need to be online content creators like you.
My first month and a half on youtuber were the loneliest because I did nothing to find a community. This was by far my biggest mistake and regret so far.
The community that I have found online is the best thing that could have happened for my own personal growth and for my channel.
Asking questions, getting feedback, and sharing your youtube frustrations is going to help you be better. No one else can understand what you are going through better than another creator.
So if you take only one thing from this entire article let it be this.
Please go out there and find a community. Even if you haven’t started your channel yet.
I found my tribe online and I have never been more grateful.
Matter of fact, some of these fantastic people have some great advice for you as well.
10 Youtubers Share What They Wish They Knew
Thankfully, I talk to a lot of YouTubers every day and they all have so much experience that they could share. I am super excited that I get to feature some of that knowledge in this article for you.
These YouTubers range from Newbies to Veterans.
So I asked them:
What is one thing you wish you knew before you started a youtube channel?
Here is what they had to say:
Niche: Analysis of story and mechanics
Answer: EVERYTHING LOL
Brodie’s Gaming Hub
Niche: Gameplay w/Live commentary
Answer: The importance of Keywords and tagging
Niche: Film Photography & Vintage Cameras
Answer: To remember to enjoy the process. It’s very easy to get caught up in subscriptions, views, likes, what hours, etc. But the bottom line is…”If it’s stressing you out, it will affect your quality and if that happens it will affect your viewers”. Have fun and they will come.
Niche: Copyright-free music
Answer: The most important thing I wish I knew is that not everything had to be perfect, it’s more important to just get started and learn from your flaws and successes.
Answer: 100% have to say SEO. It’s definitely one of the most important aspects of getting your content in front of the right people’s faces. […] I just genuinely didn’t even know what SEO even was back then, or how important it was.
Answer: How important building a community would be.
Niche: Programming in Video Games (modding, scripts, etc.)
Answer: I wish I knew how important a niche was, and how to target specific viewer groups with tags, keywords, descriptions, titles, etc. Starting as a general “video game Youtuber” makes it incredibly hard to gain a following, as you are just one of millions. The next thing I need to figure out is how to pivot from a niche to a more general audience. What is the best way to ensure that your existing subscribers stay around as you branch out into new types of videos (e.g. new games, etc.)
Answer: I wish I knew just how important SEO was, with regards to how well my video would perform.
Roger the Shrubber
Niche: Landscaping in Minecraft
Answer: I wish I knew about the culture of self-promotion and how it’s usually not well-received by most people
Down Under AJ
Niche: I like horror mainly but more or less anything goes
Answer: How much fun I could have both talking to people who are watching and myself at the same time.
The Scotty Squire
Niche: Gaming (Fortnite and Minecraft)
Answer: Before starting YouTube, I wish I knew that in order to gain a following at the beginning I should have been looking to promote my content rather than just hoping viewers find it.
Answer: I wish I knew how special it was to actually have subscribers and to be able to talk to them through my videos! It really is an honor to have people that watch your videos and actually enjoy them!
I hope you took notes because these guys have dropped some gems.
I highly recommend that you check out their channels because they have some great content and you’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two.
7 Things that I Wish I knew Before I Started a Youtube Channel
What, did you think that was it?
There is so much more that you need to know.
1. Editing Takes Time
I used to edit films and short movies.
You know like artsy stuff.
I actually have one of my short films on youtube ( but I am not going to tell you where that is to save myself some embarrassment).
So I know basic, slow-moving, artsy editing.
Youtube, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game! People will literally click off your video if it doesn’t captivate them the SECOND they are on your video.
Do you think making a 10-minute video with a screen recording and voice-over sounds simple?
I don’t know what I was thinking but I, for some reason, thought that editing youtube videos would be easier for me.
Editing youtube videos is just as much work as any other project (at least if you want to make the video good). Trust me, if you look back at my older videos, you can tell that I hadn’t learned this lesson quite yet.
Youtube viewers expect a good quality of editing and will be quick to point out if you have made mistakes.
However, it is also important to know that, unless you are a professional editor already, your editing style is going to change and get better with time.
The more you try in the beginning, the better you will be in the end.
2. Finding Your Niche Can Be Hard
You would think that with my years of blogging …well failed blogging… I would have learned my lesson about finding niches.
It’s not as easy as you think.
If you have a cooking channel, are you going to be a general channel or do you seem to prefer doing desserts?
If you have a gaming channel, is it just any game or are you specifically into Minecraft or Fortnite?
These are questions that we often forget to ask ourselves because we just want to start our youtube journey as quickly as possible.
AND THAT IS OKAY!
The best way to start a youtube channel is to start!
Matter of fact, let me make another point for you:
2a. You most likely will change your niche at some point
You may not change it fully, but you are either going to niche down or up at some point.
Once you actually start making videos, you will start to realize what you enjoy doing and what your audience resonates with.
When that happens, you may choose to switch gears completely.
It’s a part of the journey and is almost essential for your growth so let it happen.
3. No One Cares About You
I know it sounds harsh, but just hear me out.
When you are starting your youtube channel, unless you have your friends and family watching, most people do not care about who you are.
They care about what you can bring to them. Are you going to teach them something? Are you going to entertain them in some way?
No one cares about what you eat in a day, your morning shower routine, or the name of your dog (however cute they may be).
None of this matters in the beginning.
You have to give people what they need and want first.
If you are starting a youtube channel, instead of a “morning skincare routine” how about “skincare products that make your skin glow without being oily.”
Or instead of “Why I like Resident Evil”, how about “Playing Resident Evil at 2:AM with the lights off”.
Shift the focus from you to the viewer and make them feel like the video was made for them.
You get people to watch you for a while and build some curiosity and eventually, people will start to want to get to know you more.
At that point, you will be able to start sharing more about yourself and build a relationship with your audience.
4. Dealing With Imposter Syndrome
If you don’t know what Imposter Syndrom is, it’s basically feeling like you are an imposter. Like you are not as good as people think you are, or that you are in some way undeserving of success.
Basically, you doubt yourself…a lot.
As far as I know, it is a medical phenomenon and not a mental illness. But I never experienced it until I started youtube.
My theory is that, as a small youtuber, you see your sub count and think “why would anyone want to watch my tiny channel?”
It’s a normal feeling to have but if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, it hits a little harder.
You will have thoughts like:
What gives me the right to share my opinion?
I am not even the best gamer so why should they listen to me?
I don’t have enough subscribers so I am not legit.
Who do I think I am?
Any of these sound familiar?
Believe it or not, it is completely normal for thoughts like these to come up. We are only human. But do not let these thoughts stop you from growing.
You are literally creating something for people to enjoy.
How cool is that?
Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves: We are doing a great job!
5. Youtube SEO Is A Thing
Yes, Youtube SEO exists and it has been getting more and more important ever since Google bought the platform.
If you do not know what SEO is, you can read my full beginners guide here.
When it comes to Youtube SEO, it is basically the process of optimizing your video so that it will rank higher in Youtube search results.
Getting organic growth on Youtube is the best way to get your channel momentum going and get pushed out on the home page.
So optimizing your content to show up in search results should be among your top priorities every time you think of a video idea.
Showing up in search requires no promotional effort on your part. This is what people mean when they say “getting views in their sleep.”
If you do not believe me then take my channel as an example.
Yes, it is small but I haven’t posted a video in at least two weeks and I haven’t promoted my video anywhere either.
Yet I am still getting a consistent 20-50 views every single day from youtube search and the browse feed.
This was only able to happen because I optimized my content for the search results.
If you watch my content, then you know that I do have a personal preference for Tubebuddy’s Keyword Research tool and is one of the main ones that I use.
These tools are completely free to download and have really helped me start to show up in search faster.
6. It’s Okay to Be Yourself
You do not need to “put on a show” if you are not really like that off-screen.
Viewers on youtube nowadays are really good at spotting people that are fake and they will come for you.
Let people see who you are and like you for it.
I was SUPER nervous about doing voiceovers in the beginning because I don’t like listening to myself speak (but like…who does?).
So I worried that people wouldn’t like my voice and therefore wouldn’t watch my videos. But they were surprisingly very well received.
Had I tried to be something I am not or speak differently than I do, people wouldn’t have gotten to hear the real me and enjoy MY content, MY way.
We are all individuals who have things that make us special.
So don’t try to force yourself to be something you’re not, or to sound like some other youtuber. Be your own youtuber.
7. You Can Make Money Without Being Monetized
No, I am not lying.
You can absolutely, positively, make money on youtube without having 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours.
The easiest way to do this is through something called affiliate marketing.
If you do not know what affiliate marketing is, then I suggest you read my full beginners guide which will walk you through some of the basics.
Basically, if you sign up for a company’s referral or affiliate program, and get someone to buy a product or sign up with them, you can get a commission. These commissions vary from 2%-100% depending on the company.
There are affiliate programs for everything!
Where can you find good affiliate programs?
Nowadays, the majority of companies have some form of referral or affiliate program. Here is a list of some big names:
And that is not even the top of the tip of the iceberg.
Just go on google and search affiliate programs and you will find them.
How can you do affiliate marketing on youtube?
Building trust is essential when it comes to any online business and youtube is no different.
You want to make sure your audience trusts you and trust your opinion.
So PLEASE do not promote things that you do not use, are not interested in, or do not like.
I have a lot of other products that I could add to that list, but I want to use them and get comfortable with them first before promoting them.
If you are going to do a review, give value first and make sure people get the information they need.
Trust me, the viewer will know if you are just trying to make a quick buck.
How can you promote your affiliate product?
The quickest example I can give is Amazon Associates. Amazon has its very own affiliate program for almost the entire amazon catalog.
Now let’s say you are a gamer or a streamer.
Sign up for Amazon Associates and find the equipment that you use on Amazon. Then share the link to that product in your youtube description box.
If someone makes a purchase, you get paid!
Amazon’s commissions are usually from 2-5% (10% if someone signs up for a program like Amazon Prime). Meaning if you share a link to a $100 mic, you can get anywhere from $2-$5 per person who buys with your link.
If 10 people buy it, that can be anywhere from $20-$50 which is pretty good for a channel making $0.
Now obviously, you might not get 100 clicks in a day.
I want to be very clear this is not a make-money-quick scheme.
You have to be prepared for it to take time. Just like it takes time to grow on YouTube, it takes time to make sales from an affiliate link.
Why should you try affiliate marketing on Youtube?
Let me put it this way:
Let’s say you have an unmonetized channel, and you wake up one day and your video gets 1000 views. Guess how much you going to get paid for those 1000 views… $0.
Whereas if you had had affiliate links in that description box of that channel, you could have actually made some money!
If you want to hear more about this process from a YouTubers perspective, then I personally recommend a video from Annie Dube where she explains how she makes money with affiliate marketing as a YouTuber.
Final Thoughts About Youtube
Starting a youtube channel is such an incredible journey and you really won’t know what it is like unless you get into it.
But as you can see, there are a lot of things that you may want to think about before you start.
This is not to scare you away.
This is to make sure you are better prepared than we were.
Building a community on youtube is all about sharing experiences with each other and helping one another grow.
I have been on a lot of social media platforms but I have yet to find a community that is as helpful as the youtube community is.
So find your community and ask as many questions as you can. Share your experiences and help others if you are able to.
Make good content that you know your audience can come back to and believe in yourself.
Remember: Everyone starts with 0 subscribers.