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Small YouTubers: Avoid Burning Out!

YouTube is a great place to share your thoughts with the world and it’s possible to make a lot of money doing it. But what happens when you feel like quitting?

You may have heard of a YouTuber by the name of Sean McLoughlin. Or maybe by his screen name Jacksepticeye. Sean made news recently when he announced that he was taking a break for a couple days. It may not seem newsworthy, but he hasn’t really taken time off in the past 5 years.

I have been making videos on YouTube for 18 months which really isn’t a whole lot but in that short amount of time I have experienced burnout once or twice. It’s either a build up of personal issues or seeing a lot of work be put into a video and then seeing it flop.

So even though I’m not a seasoned veteran of YouTube I have experienced the very burnout that Jacksepticeye is talking about. I haven’t been happy with my content sometimes and there have been a couple instances where I just stressed myself out unnecessarily to pump out a video that didn’t get a ton of views in the first place. But I have been able to get back on track and would like to share my tips on avoiding burnout if you’re a small creator.

Take a break.

This is possibly the best thing that I have done to keep my channel going. Consistent content is key however my time is valuable and for the past 18 months, YouTube has cost ME money. I just recently got approved to put ads on my videos, but it will take some time to see returns.

There have been creators like Boogie who have stated if you want to make it on YouTube, you need to post every day until you make it. Personally I think that’s a load of shit. If you’re a new creator, yes you need to establish some sort of consistency. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, posting 5 garbage videos a week isn’t going to grow your channel. It's perfectly acceptable to take a hiatus if you aren't 100% happy with your video. I have taken as much as a month off and it helped me focus my content

Figure out why you want to do YouTube

I started my YouTube channel because I wanted an excuse to buy video games and learn a new skill. I knew full well that this probably wouldn’t make any real money to make a living doing this full time. I don’t make money on YouTube. Even now that I have adsense revenue coming in, I’ll be lucky to see my first $100 by the end of the year.

Considering the time and effort that it takes to make one video, it’s not worth my time to worry about how much money I’m making. When you start YouTube you need to know why you wanted to do it in the first place. Currently it takes 1k subs and 4k hours of watch time and then you need to worry about demonetization and other pitfalls that can hurt your revenue. The biggest being watch time.

If you want to be the next Casey Neistat be prepared to put in the effort.

Find out what content works and what doesn’t

If you’re looking to be actually successful on YouTube you need to determine what works on the channel then tune your content to that degree. Constantly posting content that has poor watch time and audience retention will not only hurt your channel’s chances of success but it will also hurt your confidence in the long run. It gets pretty defeating to see a video with a 300+ view count but less than 30% retention rate. Sure, make the content YOU want to see but remember that one of the reason you made a channel in the first place is to share with the rest of the world.

Keep a running tab on ideas

I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have struggled to come up with an idea for a video and make it with the same quality has something that I have planned for months. Now I have a google keep notepad on my phone and I just jot down any idea that I have when the moment strikes me. It’s been great so far but I still need to actually make my videos in the short amount of time that I have.

Know how long it takes to make a video and adjust where you need to.

I live in a small apartment that has zero space to set up a permanent studio. All of my equipment is packed away when it’s not in use. When I actually do set up my studio it takes about an 20 minutes to set everything up then another 40 minutes to make sure the lighting is acceptable and then about an hour to film my video.

Then I need to edit everything together, make a thumbnail, write a description and research keywords. And that doesn’t even factor in the time it took to research my topic and write a script.

In total I spend about 20 hours making 1 YouTube video that ends up being 7 minutes long.

I know that I can do better because it used to take me 40 hours to make one video. The biggest issue I had was actually editing everything together to make content that I was happy with sharing. Eventually I hope to cut it down further but right now I’m happy with the time since it allows me to take breaks when I need to.

I’m sure there are plenty of other tips out there but those are ones that I recommend sticking to when you’re first starting out. The YouTube channel has changed dramatically in the past couple years and just making a video to throw out on the internet just isn’t good enough. A lot of people that make videos seem to burn out and straight up quit before their first year.

I strongly recommend Your Player 2 for tips on how to manage a YouTube channel. I have taken a lot of his advice and have improved tremendously.

The biggest takeaway on YouTube is to manage your expectations. You might hit it big right out of the gate but the majority of big channels started out small just like you and built their channel over several years before hitting it big.

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1 Comment

Smash JT
Smash JT
Aug 02, 2018

This is so perfect. I had been feeling this way over the past couple weeks especially, and I've been able to pinpoint exactly what typically affects me. When I have a video perform particularly well, especially one that was basic, and then see all my other videos fall flat in comparison, it takes a lot out of me mentally because I'm always trying to put maximum effort into everything I release. The ebb and flow/ups and down extremes that the algorithm puts channels through (especially small channels) is hard to stay steady with. I took a couple days off and played a lot of Octopath Traveler, just for the fun of it and to unwind. VEry refreshing and now I'm…

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