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Surviving my first month on YouTube

Reviewing my first month on YouTube after 5 posting 5 videos. What I wasn't prepared for. What I learnt from Reddit about my YouTube channel and progressing forwards to 1,000 subscribers.

Dan Morristar
Dan Morristar
7 min read

If I could sum up in just one word my first month on YouTube, I would use the word 'brutal'.

I've posted 5 videos and got a total of 215 views, 160 of these views came from a Reddit post that absolutely killed my retention rate (more on my lessons learnt from this later).

In this post I'm going to give an overview of my first month on YouTube and best case scenario I can look back on this in the future and see how far I've come. Worse case scenario I can help inform other new YouTubers with my experience to help motivate them to keep going during the early stages of growth (or lack of).

What I wasn't prepared for after starting YouTube

I never expected to get thousands of views, comments and subscribers. If I'm honest my expectation was to hopefully have about 500 organic views and 5-10 subscribers and to see each video do progressively better.

Although thats just not how YouTube works, good quality content rises to the top and YouTube analytics are a way for the algorithm to identify good quality content.

I LOVE analytics, but on this occasion the data was just telling me that my audience are not enjoying my videos and I need to improve. So I reached over to the Reddit community to ask for feedback on one of my videos.

The end result: Everyone from Reddit came to my channel, watched 10 seconds of my video and returned to the Reddit post to give me feedback.

While the feedback was helpful, this absolutely killed the retention on my video.

Frustratingly, I spent about 2 days editing this video and tinkering with different clips on the timeline. Reddit was a great source of traffic but I'm hesitant to post there again and drive my retention down further. If a user is already on the YouTube platform they are more inclined to stick around and watch a video. Im going to put greater focus on marketing and engagement on the YouTube platform.

I'll post my video here if you want to check it out. Please leave a like and comment because as you can see my stats definitely need it lol.

What I learnt from Reddit about my YouTube channel

I did receive a bunch of constructive comments from my Reddit post and have taken away a few lessons, below is my commentary and reflections.

  • Too early to tell - true, a handful of videos is not conclusive data at this point.
  • Monotone voice - true, this is feedback I've had in other areas and is something I will need to work on.
  • Busy Thumbnails - true, I wouldn't say they look 'amateur' but they certainly have a lot going on.
  • FIRE vs Travel - this one is tricky, I believe FIRE or Lean FIRE. Can be achieved much sooner by building assets in the UK and moving somewhere in the future with lower cost if living. I guess I want to try and share this concept on my channel but its very confusing to convey because 'travel = spending money' and 'FIRE = saving, minimalism, investing etc'.

Competitive niche - This comment was interesting because I only ever considered the benefits of my niche. The possibility of a high return if I cracked it and the ease to get started.

To long to get started - Totally agree with this and this should be a simple one to improve. Going forward i'm getting straight to the point and trying to add a Hook.

Why should someone watch me - This is something I need to give more thought to. I think initially I am going to post videos that are focused on SEO and answering specific questions, then try and transfer into being more personal and sharing parts about my journey that people might find interesting.

In that last sentence I almost said 'help inspire'... argh cringe, If I ever say something like that please roast me.

Don't put my face on the thumbnail at first - This was a very strong point. Initially I thought it would make my videos more personal but it actually just gives someone a reason not to click because they don't recognise the person. I am going to test my next set of thumbnails without my face.

Using Cut Scenes - A lot of YouTubers cut to B roll that they have built up, I'm a little time poor at the moment so will struggle to mix up my scene to much however I am going to start building up some B roll and looking at different camera angels to make it more interesting. I could use a service like StoryBlocks in the future.

Answer narrow questions - Agreed, this is the equivalent of long tail keywords from an SEO point of view.

Taste Gap - This comment was so interesting because Figrin1 actually quoted my own advice back to me from my first video haha. Also a lot of the reddit comments were let's say 'constructive'. This user actually sent something complementary which I found nice.

Whispering - Yep definitely in my first video It sounded like I was whispering a bit. I think it's 'part me' and 'part technology'. I had the mic far away on the camera and didn't want to raise the gain too much because of a hiss noise. To hopefully resolve the problem I've brought this!!

Honest Improvement - I agree with this to an extent. Understanding blind spots are always useful and it's important to know what to work on. However, some things people are fundamentally unable to change about themselves and I don't ever see myself opening up with heaps of energy as an example. However, I will always keep an open mind and look for ways to improve and grow.

Whats next & how I will get 1,000 subscribers

Sooooooo, after my Reddit roast - whats next.........

I plan to set myself a target.

I plan to set myself a target to get 1,000 subscribers.

I think 1,000 subscribers is a real milestone because it means that the YouTube channel is serving an audience and people value or support the content enough to want to carry on watching more.

Its also the point in time where its possible to monetise the channel (assuming you also have 4,000 watch hours).

Each successful  YouTuber reaches 1,000 subscribers at a different rate. Ali Abdaal reached 1,000 subscribers in just 52 videos. However the TubeBuddy average is about 152 videos.

My goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers within one year which means I either need to match the quality of Alis content or post A LOT more videos.

Between me and you, I don't think I will beat Ali's subscriber growth but I will be happy If I land somewhere in between Ali and the TubeBuddy average.

Below is the video explaining my plan and strategy. This is video number 5 so hopefully I've included a few of the improvements from above.

In this video I spoke about a chart to track my subscriber growth for my first 52 videos, so I can see if I'm on track with my target.

I will probably extend this chart to 152 videos at a later point if its starting to become clear that my target is FAR too ambitious.

My goal seems like a huge impossible mountain.

YouTube takes up so much time and energy and without any real traction or results to show it can become really discouraging.

I have felt like quitting many times and last night I came the closest. It would be so much easier to delete my channel and move onto something else. But then I would be abandoning my goals.

For years I have  myself from the internet and removed myself for privacy reasons. Putting myself online again in such a public was a big obstacle to overcome. To this day I still don't have a Facebook account. I realise this was probably a mistake and I shouldn't have deleted my Social Media accounts. I wrote a blog post about that here.

So far, I have 'virtually' met a few new people online and received a few comments on my videos. These comments and words of encouragement are surprisingly meaningful :)

Big thank you to Mook (Twitter & YouTube) for your supportive comments and DMs. Thank you also to my new subscribers for your recent comments Cooking & Baking & Xandiloquence Bizarre.

Dan Morristar

Talking Personal Finance and YouTube.