I’ve been seriously YouTubing now since around 2020 (please like and subscribe… 😉). What started off as a way of staying sane during lockdown has turned into a full time hobby - my channel now has over 100 videos and over 27,000 subscribers.
As someone in the maker world, it’s great. I often have hundreds of ideas swimming around my head and producing a video actually makes me finish some of them!
I’ve also met some amazing people through the community and it’s been a real eye opener.
As a hobby, it shouldn’t matter how many views each video gets. But it’s still slightly soul destroying to work hard on something, only for it to flop horribly and just get a few views.
Every guide/advice/guru will tell you, the way to be successful on YouTube is to find your niche and produce content that people in that niche want to watch.
You’ll build a loyal following. They will watch your videos, share them with their friends and help you grow your channel. It will become a self sustaining machine.
The problem is, this means that you have to stay in your box. You can’t just make videos about whatever you want. You have to make videos that your subscribers want to watch.
If you try and stray off the narrow path, you will be punished. The “algorithm” needs to know if your video is any good - there’s no point showing it to people if it’s rubbish.
How does the algorithm know if your video is any good? It shows it to your subscribers. If your subscribers don’t click or watch your video, then it’s not good enough. If it’s not good enough for your subscribers, it’s not good enough for anyone else. After all, your subscribers should be your biggest fans!
You are stuck in your narrowly defined box. You make videos about ESP32 and Arduino. That’s it. Get back in your box.
Now, obviously the answer is - make a new channel, make a channel for every niche that you want to make videos for. Become the new cable TV provider with hundreds of channels.
But the incentives are biased in completely the opposite direction - managing more than two channels would quickly turn into a knightmare. Even managing one channel is hard enough.
There are also barriers to being monetised - you need enough subscribers and accumulated watch time on a channel. You have to upload regularly or you will lose monetisation - you can’t just stop and only upload when you feel like it.
Now of course, I could just ignore the analytics, the monetisation, the glorious advertising revenue, but I’m as weak as the next man/woman. Who doesn’t want to be a YouTube millionaire?