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Building a YouTube channel around my passion for two years... then I read Fastlane.

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Kyle M

New Contributor
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Jul 12, 2020
11
15
Canada
For the past couple of years, I've been building a YouTube channel focused on myself as an artist and my passion for photography. This has always been on the side and has usually ridden shotgun to my main gig. It was basically started for fun, as a way to help other people with their craft, and that part of it has been super fulfilling.

This year I decided to go for it and see if I could transition to generating my income full-time from my photography online, in the form of YouTube and other online work (courses, affiliate links, etc.).

I've been seeing pretty good progress, revenue, and growth (2000 subs a month on the channel, great engagement, connections, relationships with camera brands, channel sponsorship opportunities, etc). Not enough to survive off of full-time, but the signs are there that people like what I'm doing and if I keep going it will grow at a good rate.

I've always 'followed my passion', and made a living doing video and photography work for the past ten years, but there have been so many times where it's almost killed my love for the craft, and also ate up a ton of my time and energy. I'm starting to feel that now with this YouTube channel, especially when I'm so emotionally and creatively attached to the final products and end up labouring over them for long periods of time to make sure they're perfect.

For example, I just spent two days working on a new video that I forced myself to go out and shoot so I could stay on schedule, but I hate the images I created in the video, so now I'm thinking about ditching it... whereas if I wasn't trying to make this my business, I may have waited a week and posted a video once I had an idea I felt really good about.

Up until this year, my mindset for my entire career has been to make a modest comfortable income doing something I love... that's it. "Follow your passion. Do what you love!"

But reading TML was a wake-up call, and it really got me thinking about the possibilities of running a business in another niche with more potential, generating more freedom, and then being able to do my photography and the YouTube channel for the love of it. Basically, running something as an entrepreneur, not as an artist.

I guess I'm just struggling right now to make the decision as I feel quite connected to it.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Anyone else out there been in a similar situation?
 
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Andy Black

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For the past couple of years, I've been building a YouTube channel focused on myself as an artist and my passion for photography. This has always been on the side and has usually ridden shotgun to my main gig. It was basically started for fun, as a way to help other people with their craft, and that part of it has been super fulfilling.

This year I decided to go for it and see if I could transition to generating my income full-time from my photography online, in the form of YouTube and other online work (courses, affiliate links, etc.).

I've been seeing pretty good progress, revenue, and growth (2000 subs a month on the channel, great engagement, connections, relationships with camera brands, channel sponsorship opportunities, etc). Not enough to survive off of full-time, but the signs are there that people like what I'm doing and if I keep going it will grow at a good rate.

I've always 'followed my passion', and made a living doing video and photography work for the past ten years, but there have been so many times where it's almost killed my love for the craft, and also ate up a ton of my time and energy. I'm starting to feel that now with this YouTube channel, especially when I'm so emotionally and creatively attached to the final products and end up labouring over them for long periods of time to make sure they're perfect.

For example, I just spent two days working on a new video that I forced myself to go out and shoot so I could stay on schedule, but I hate the images I created in the video, so now I'm thinking about ditching it... whereas if I wasn't trying to make this my business, I may have waited a week and posted a video once I had an idea I felt really good about.

Up until this year, my mindset for my entire career has been to make a modest comfortable income doing something I love... that's it. "Follow your passion. Do what you love!"

But reading TML was a wake-up call, and it really got me thinking about the possibilities of running a business in another niche with more potential, generating more freedom, and then being able to do my photography and the YouTube channel for the love of it. Basically, running something as an entrepreneur, not as an artist.

I guess I'm just struggling right now to make the decision as I feel quite connected to it.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Anyone else out there been in a similar situation?
So you’ve a skill that you enjoy and that’s kept a roof over your head for the past 10 years? A skill that’s the subject of a growing YouTube channel, and that lots of people would like to learn? You’re also worried that trying to scale this business could kill your love for that skill?

Maybe this is just a growing pain? Maybe your next hurdle to overcome is how to maintain your enthusiasm and joy in your art, while building a business around it?

On the other hand...

I’ve a skill that’s paid my bills for the last 10 years, a skill I still enjoy. Like you, I’m also comfortable where I am. To scale my skill I could grow a business teaching others how to acquire and apply that skill, or I could use that skill to grow other YouTube channels and/or businesses.

If you can do video and photography then I don’t think the only way to scale is to teach people video and photography. That’s a valid path of course.

Can you do both? Teach people those skills, as well as use those skills to grow other businesses?

Ha. I’m not sure I’m helping. Have I understood your questions properly?


EDIT: Release your video when you’re good and ready, and when you want to.
 
Last edited:

Andy Black

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Kyle M

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Jul 12, 2020
11
15
Canada
Hey Andy, you're right on with those ideas.

I definitely have skills to leverage in photography and video. I did run a production company for three years making commercial content for clients, but still attached myself to every project as an artist, and it ate up way more time and energy then it should of.

But yeah, I guess it all comes down to if I should try and scale this, or if I should pursue something else detached from this? That's a decision I need to make.

I feel like there are times where I make bad business decisions because I'm too protective of my art. ie. not posting a video because the images aren't good enough, only posting my portfolio work to my IG and never promoting anything I'm selling, etc.

That's when I'm like... shit... maybe I need to focus on something else that isn't linked to my passion.
 
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Andy Black

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Hey Andy, you're right on with those ideas.

I definitely have skills to leverage in photography and video. I did run a production company for three years making commercial content for clients, but still attached myself to every project as an artist, and it ate up way more time and energy then it should of.

But yeah, I guess it all comes down to if I should try and scale this, or if I should pursue something else detached from this? That's a decision I need to make.

I feel like there are times where I make bad business decisions because I'm too protective of my art. ie. not posting a video because the images aren't good enough, only posting my portfolio work to my IG and never promoting anything I'm selling, etc.

That's when I'm like... shit... maybe I need to focus on something else that isn't linked to my passion.
Sounds possibly that you could do with detaching yourself from your output? Maybe your current YouTube channel is of your personal brand, in which case I understand not wanting to publish videos until your satisfied with them. Can you play about on other channels? I test stuff on different YouTube channels, and even recently unlisted all videos on my main personal branded channel. For me, I’d rather scale without being the face of my business. Would that help you?
 

Andy Black

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I did run a production company for three years making commercial content for clients
I think this is huge and only set to grow. YouTube is huge already, and more people are spending more time on it every year. Our kids watch YouTube maybe more than Netflix.

I think that businesses will increasingly want to use YouTube as a marketing channel. I’m trying to figure out YouTube ads and the platform to help out clients, and also to help my own business. I’m consuming a lot of content on Tom Breeze’s YouTube channel at the moment.

Can you lean into this?
 

Kyle M

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Jul 12, 2020
11
15
Canada
Sounds possibly that you could do with detaching yourself from your output? Maybe your current YouTube channel is of your personal brand, in which case I understand not wanting to publish videos until your satisfied with them. Can you play about on other channels? I test stuff on different YouTube channels, and even recently unlisted all videos on my main personal branded channel. For me, I’d rather scale without being the face of my business. Would that help you?

Yeah, funny you mention that. I've actually thought of making another channel where I focus purely on photography and video from a review/tech/learning standpoint. Something where it's not about my art and my personal brand.

Right now I make videos about things I'm doing, work I'm creating, cameras I'm using, etc. Very much about my personal brand... but that's obviously limiting, because if I'm going to create any images for a specific video, they always have to be something that I'd be happy including in my portfolio. And the reality is often I go out and shoot for a day and come back with nothing I'm happy with.

But, there's potential for so much more than that. Maybe if I detach and make something separate, then that may help solve some of the problems. Something where I can just focus on teaching and getting information across, and less about me and what I'm doing?

Or maybe I just say F it and start including stuff like that on my current channel as well. Test it out and see how people respond.
 
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Kyle M

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Jul 12, 2020
11
15
Canada
I think this is huge and only set to grow. YouTube is huge already, and more people are spending more time on it every year. Our kids watch YouTube maybe more than Netflix.

I think that businesses will increasingly want to use YouTube as a marketing channel. I’m trying to figure out YouTube ads and the platform to help out clients, and also to help my own business. I’m consuming a lot of content on Tom Breeze’s YouTube channel at the moment.

Can you lean into this?

Yeah, have also thought about this a lot. I agree it's an amazing platform for businesses to be able to form a connection with their customers.

My thought is, how can I help businesses build their YouTube channels without actually selling them a service where I create content for them? (Trying to really keep time and scale in mind).

In the past, I'd physically do the production work, on location, which I'd like to avoid now.
 

Andy Black

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May 20, 2014
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Or maybe I just say F it and start including stuff like that on my current channel as well. Test it out and see how people respond.
This could be the makings of the channel! Why not show what you didn’t want to publish, and explain what you don’t like about it, and what you’d prefer? Explain that it’s normal to go out for a day and come back empty handed. Explain how you approach this, and keep going. Will you go back the next day? What will you do different? Etc.
 

Kyle M

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Jul 12, 2020
11
15
Canada
This could be the makings of the channel! Why not show what you didn’t want to publish, and explain what you don’t like about it, and what you’d prefer? Explain that it’s normal to go out for a day and come back empty handed. Explain how you approach this, and keep going. Will you go back the next day? What will you do different? Etc.
Definitely. It's something I want to do more of! I've made a few in the past about creative burnout, and things like that. They're not as popular, but I feel like they still provide a bunch of value.
 
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Andy Black

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Andy Black

Pick a direction. Get started. Keep going.
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Read Fastlane!
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Definitely. It's something I want to do more of! I've made a few in the past about creative burnout, and things like that. They're not as popular, but I feel like they still provide a bunch of value.
If the market doesn’t like it then shove them on another channel maybe?

I think you’ll figure it out.
 

Kyle M

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Jul 12, 2020
11
15
Canada

Gtp

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Jan 8, 2022
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8
So you’ve a skill that you enjoy and that’s kept a roof over your head for the past 10 years? A skill that’s the subject of a growing YouTube channel, and that lots of people would like to learn? You’re also worried that trying to scale this business could kill your love for that skill?

Maybe this is just a growing pain? Maybe your next hurdle to overcome is how to maintain your enthusiasm and joy in your art, while building a business around it?

On the other hand...

I’ve a skill that’s paid my bills for the last 10 years, a skill I still enjoy. Like you, I’m also comfortable where I am. To scale my skill I could grow a business teaching others how to acquire and apply that skill, or I could use that skill to grow other YouTube channels and/or businesses.

If you can do video and photography then I don’t think the only way to scale is to teach people video and photography. That’s a valid path of course.

Can you do both? Teach people those skills, as well as use those skills to grow other businesses?

Ha. I’m not sure I’m helping. Have I understood your questions properly?


EDIT: Release your video when you’re good and ready, and when you want to.
Thank you, @Andy Black. I have a skill I wanted to ditch because it feels less lucrative than some other skills. Your comment stopped me from doing that instead of going flat out on what I have and seeing where it can become a Fastlane business.

William
 

Andy Black

Pick a direction. Get started. Keep going.
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Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
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Ireland
Thank you, @Andy Black. I have a skill I wanted to ditch because it feels less lucrative than some other skills. Your comment stopped me from doing that instead of going flat out on what I have and seeing where it can become a Fastlane business.

William
Check out “Grow what your know” in my signature.
 

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