3 Life Changing Lessons I Learned from Starting a YouTube Channel

Like me, many of you have YouTube channels that are sitting around collecting dust because we just didn’t know what to do with them. Afterall, being a content creator and YouTuber is hard work and it can amplify all this is good or bad in your life. My channel has been around since 2008 but I didn’t know anything about sharing a message because I didn’t think I had one. But once I started to go all-in on my channel, I started to learn a few hard, but necessary lessons about what it takes to grow into the kind of person who has a successful business and channel.

The process of content creation can reveal a lot about a person and how they view the world. So it’s no surprise that really starting a YouTube channel challenged me and my low self-esteem. After all, what was my message? Why would anyone care to watch me? 

Here are three of the lessons I learned from going all-in on my YouTube channel:

1. It’s not about me

This is one of the hardest lessons in life for people to learn. I’m one of those people. Perfectionism and other variations on anxiety would have us think the success of our content, in whatever form, is about us, the creator. It’s really not. While content may be the way we express our message, we are the messenger, not the message. By taking the message off of myself, I am better able to answer viewer questions and truly provide the kind of content people are searching for online.

“Content that serves is content that sells.” – Marie Forleo

2. No one cares who I am

This lesson hurt deeply, I’m not going to lie. We live in a very self-centered society where voyeurism and reality would have us believe that our everyday lives are interesting enough to build a successful business. The harsh reality is that no one knows who I am and I’m not famous enough for anyone to really care what I do on a daily basis. That’s why new YouTubers with vlogs and bloggers with lifestyle blogs find it hard to gain success faster than other content creators. Consumers are online to find solutions to their problems. Yes, they want to be entertained as well, but you’ve got to solve their problems.

Many famous YouTubers with vlogs or those with reality TV shows are people with some kind of influencer or celebrity status already. There is something truly unique about them which draws in the audience. They didn’t start that way though. These people started by building a brand around one thing they were good at and serving one audience really well. Only after you’ve done all of that do you get the privilege of talking about whatever you like and have people actually care about what you had for breakfast or what you eat in a day.

When you create that video about reviewing the latest product my audience is searching for information about, I understand they may not know me, but they know the product. By leveraging the name recognition of the product I’m reviewing or the celebrity I’m about to disagree with or book I’m going to review, I create a win-win situation. I get the views (and maybe subscribers) and they get answers to their questions. Everyone is happy.

3. Serve the audience

The final piece of the puzzle is likely the most important. As I’ve said before, no one really cares about me because they don’t know me. It’s not because I’m not a person of worth, it’s just that the viewer has a problem and they are looking for a solution, not my musings on the latest Nike shoes or the shenanigans of my dog.

As content creators and business owners, we have to remember that our job is to serve. If we aren’t offering a solution to someone’s problem, what are we doing? YouTube is a search engine and people are looking for answers to specific questions. By providing those answers, you can increase the opportunity for them to get to know you, like you, trust you, and then buy from you.

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” – Craig Davis

Serving the audience is really about looking outside of yourself and not creating selfish content. It is not my job to create content I want to see, but rather create the content that my audience is looking for. What keeps them up at night? Why are they online searching for answers? Certainly I can weave in my story and message within those answers, but the content must first and foremost serve the audience. Without an audience you are just shouting in a vacuum.

And while I’ve had to refocus my YouTube channel many times, the only reason I haven’t been consistent in content production over the last 4 years is because I took the focus off of the audience and put it on me. While I would love to have a successful business and have my YouTube channel be a part of that equation, I have to remember to serve first.

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