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GOLD! Creating a Thriving Personal Brand w/ YouTube - A Journal & A Personal Guide.

Andy Black

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Update 12. That’s a Wrap!

Well, it’s been a little while (and 2 videos) since the last update – for which I apologise for, but things have been super busy as of recently.

Thankfully with the release of my last video, I’m able to take a step back for a Christmas break and reflect on everything that has happened this year with the channel, and what a wild ride it’s been. As well as a run down on the finances of the channel – which I’m sure you’re all super interested in finding out ;)

But first: we hit a huge milestone!!!
View attachment 36091

Which I guess brings us to the first thing I wanted to talk about:

My goals when I started this thread.

***​

REFLECTION ON MY GOALS FOR THE YEAR.
Here's what I posted on the 31st of January, 4 days after posting my first video to the channel:



I think we can safely say we've ticked off that 1k milestone ahahaha.

But I think that's an important thing to note: I was in this for the long run, and I still am.

My fear is that someone might look at how quickly things have progressed over the second half of this year for my channel and think that this is how they should approach something like YouTube. Please don't. This is a long-term game which 100% requires consistency and the willingness to accept you may not make any strides during your first 1 - 2 years doing this. The Same thing applies to any sort of venture.

Another point: much of my goals and visions have changed.

The overarching goal remains the same:


But the vision for how I'm getting there has shifted entirely.

I began this channel initially thinking it would act as a way to indirectly promote Quidemy (the online financial education platform I created just at the end of 2019, but the channel swiftly turned into my main hustle after about 5 videos in, and Quidemy was abandoned for the most part.

I also never realised just how important my creative background would be to achieving what I have at the moment. I mistakenly had separated my creative side and entrepreneurial side when first getting into all of this, and that was very silly. I realise now: my creative side mixed with an understanding of entrepreneurship is what's going to get me to my goals faster than I could have imagined.

Which brings us to...

***​

EARNINGS FOR THE YEAR (and how it has affected me).
Let me make it clear that this still blows my mind.

I started this year off working briefly as an estate agent with a base salary between £11 - 15k. So to see where we've ended up is just insane to me.

It reminds me just how important it is to: 1) find something with huge scale/magnitude. And 2) separate yourself from the "hours worked = money earned" equation as soon as possible.

So here is the run down (as of the 23rd December) - I've rounded these figures down a little for simplicity:

Earnings from YT Ad Revenue: £114,900
Earnings from Sponsors: £6,300 (Skillshare)
Earnings from Affiliate Stuff: £720 (Amazon links in description for gear used, books read, and others)
Earnings from Patreon: £2,500
TOTAL: £124,420

This is all revenue, of course.

Granted, my overheads are incredibly low, and most of my spending is done for the sake of write-offs.

But there we have it.

Calling it surreal is an understatement. I get moments of imposter syndrome as well, because this has come about in a fairly short period of time from when the channel begun, I almost feel as though I don't "deserve" it. But in many ways, this makes me want to work harder to shift those thoughts into "of course I deserve it".

In many ways, this money hasn't changed much. I still live with my parents, and I've decided I'm going to be staying here for 1-2 years longer because I still have that excuse at my age ;) and it saves a ton of money.

In many other ways, however, this money relieves a lot of stress for me. Whether it's just a matter of needing to replace a broken piece of equipment, or paying for a subscription service needed to find stock footage/templates, I no longer have to really feel the burden of the price tag.

That feeling is incredible.

I've always been frugal, and my expenses haven't really changed at all from what they were at the beginning of the year, but it's the security of having that money coming in that is really what gets to me.

***​

Future Goals.
With all this being said - this next year is going to be an even bigger one with lots of developments for the channel, and overall business.

I'm in a bit of a debate when it comes to hiring a video editor for the main channel - at the moment, I think I'm going to be the sole editor of the main channel, but will have my Patreon videos outsourced.

I've started getting much faster at editing videos - especially with this recent video which at a length of 27 minutes I managed to get done inside a month.

This may be subject to change, it just depends on how the search for an editor goes (I've recently sent out a few applications and currently looking over the applicants).

But it's also important that I continue improving as an editor because I aim to release a video editing course at some point next year, and I really want this course to deliver in value. Taking someone from the basics of video editing on Premiere and After Effects, to being able to create in-depth visuals and motion graphics for anything that they want to.

I know the market for this course is huge right now, with constant comments and DM's asking how I edit, or whether I'm going to drop on a course on it. And I think I'm near the level where I can truly deliver on something.

Still deciding what to price it as. I'm thinking $250 to start with. I don't want to exceed anything in the thousands because I couldn't possibly justify that price, especially given my criticisms of other "business gurus" charging insane amounts of money for their courses along with unethical marketing. It would just seem really off-brand for me to do so.

I'm also going to continue developing and building my Patreon up, as it's really starting to kick off now that I've begun doing monthly editing tutorials (which is helping me build my confidence to teach this stuff as well as giving me bonus content to include in the full course). By the end of the year I'm hoping to get my Patreon to a solid £5k/month mark. It may be tough, but I'm sure that we can hit it.

In terms of earnings, I'm going to be pushing for the £250,000 in revenue. If we can get an editing course out, and maintain the current growth of the channel - this goal should be very reachable. Time will tell.

And of course, at the end of the day: the content is what reigns supreme, and it's what I will continue to be getting better at. Turning these videos into a real experience for people. Or, in essence: a productocracy.

***
Conclusion.
That pretty much wraps it up for this year, and what a year it's been - for so many reasons.

At this point, I really have no clue what the future might hold because God or whoever knows that this was not how I anticipated this year to have ended. But I have no complaints.

I'm still blessed with young age, and a ton of energy, and I intend to make use of both!!

Oh, and I'm going to be completely renovating my room over the Christmas holidays, turning it into an actual studio/office space - so keep an eye out for that ;)

Thank you all who have followed this thread, and I really hope you've gained some sort of value, or inspiration from it - if so, then my job with this thread has been done.

Till the next time.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

***​
Well done James. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

I’m also interested in how your parents have reacted.
 

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Valier

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Damn! For those not familar with GPB, that's around $170,000 USD.

You still live with the Ps... what have your parents said about your venture? Are you earning more than them?

Ahahaha - yeah, they've been over the moon about it!

Initially my mother didn't even know you could make any money from YouTube, and thought people just uploaded videos for fun - it's definitely been a pleasant surprise for her.

My parents are both immigrants that fled from their country during a civil war and had to sacrifice a lot when coming to the UK - including working insanely hard to raise me up.

Being able to finally show them that their sacrifices are starting to pay off is another amazing feeling that's come about from all of this.
 

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Amazing James.

You couldn’t be a more humble guy about it too.

Next year will be even bigger I’m sure - well done on all your progress this year.
 

MJ DeMarco

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My parents are both immigrants that fled from their country during a civil war and had to sacrifice a lot when coming to the UK - including working insanely hard to raise me up.

Being able to finally show them that their sacrifices are starting to pay off is another amazing feeling that's come about from all of this.

Wow, very heartwarming. They must be so proud of you, and you, proud of them as well.
 

Muhiddin

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Hi James,

You have completely changed the way i look at running a youtube channel and what is actually possible if you're committed.

Never before have i seen a youtuber who has been able to do what you have done over the past few months. I have heard about mr beast but he doesnt do documentaries. As a youtuber, i cant even imagine the amount of effort you have put into creating videos such as "the rise of fake gurus" and "the untold truth about money".

You said you use the pomodoro technique, if so can you share the total number of hours you have spent on making videos, building and running your channel? I guess its more than 2000 hours.

If we compared youtube to Hollywood, you would be the Stephen Spilberg who doesnt do any crappy stuff and takes years to make one movie and gets a world-wide attention immediately.

Your channel is the reason why i read unscripted and the millionaire fastlane and its the reason why i have big hopes for the future. I own a small youtube channel and i was going to give up on it but now i know what to do. Im gonna focus on CTR and WT.

But i wanna get your opinion on something.

Do you think i should start a new channel in the business nieche? my channel is about langauge learning and the pay is devastatingly low: $1 or $2 per 1000 views

And could you please tell me what udemy courses you took to master your skills? I looked at yout twitter page and everywhere in this forum but i was unable to find the answer to this.

James, thank you for putting in all the hard work and making the impossibe possible for us!
 

Harsha Vardhan

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Woah, James Jani......
Love your videos man those are few of the best videos I have watched in YouTube.
Love your Channel and what you are doing man...
But I always wonder how do you edit that good man what software do you use to edit videos??
 

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Congratulations to your outstanding success! I hope you don't mind if I put your most important findings into a short list.

Viewers
A) They take more attention primarily on the Thumbnail. Secondly on the Title. At the end they decide if the content is relevant for them.
B) The number of Subscribers doesn't matter anymore. More important is Point A above and Point C below.

YouTube Algorithm
C) Youtube will support your content through "Video Suggestions" more easily if you put more time into quality instead of quantity.
D) YouTube will split test your videos against similar videos to a small audience. The winner of the both will compete to another similar winning videos to a bigger audience. The winner takes it "all".
E) The number of uploads doesn't play a bigger role than the quality of each video.
F) Create watchable Content which is connected with the previous video to increase the viewers' engagement.

Is there any other point you find important to mention? It would be great, if we could have a short list of quality features. Thanks!
 

Gepi

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Hi James,
it is so incredible to see your journey unfold over this last year. I think you are very deserving of your success! Your parents probably woke up the next morning after you told them and first thing asked themselves: did we dream our son making more than us already at 21??

I just watched your most popular video 'The Untold Truth about Money'. It was great! Your narration is super easy on the ears, the clips you've chosen are very fitting, and the music (especially the soundtrack in part 2!) is super atmospheric and makes the video a pleasure to watch.
I am just getting started making videos, as I have recently finished my second course on Skillshare (yeah, I've seen your promotional links, as well ;) ) and have a (very small) YT channel to share free content related to it. So I know very well how much time and effort you put into creating this, and I think it is just awesome how well polished your content is.

A thing I just noticed:
You seem to present some ideas from MJ in cinematographic format in this video I watched, and of course you are also mentioning this first thing in the description and in the outro. I am myself studying economics at University at the moment and some things, like 'perceived value' are just a thing that gets taught there in marketing/service conceptions and so on, so some things even MJ did not invent totally anew, he just put the pieces of the puzzle together in a major new way ('just' of course, being an understatement, this is NOT an easy thing to do).

But, my point is: you don't have to reinvent the wheel or find the singularity formula, as long as you have an original way of presenting something and as long as your own handwriting shines through. If you present content in a new light, shine a new perspective on it, then it will gather an audience, it will find viewers!

This was just a big eye opener for me right now. And it relates to what I myself experienced
when making my courses on 3D modeling. There are loads of tutorials out there, but no one presents the topic quite like I do, and my audience rewarded me with following and watching on Skillshare, and for these first 5 months bringing me some nice extra money on the side.
(If you are interested: this is my progress thread - I am nowhere near as far along as you are, but you've also chosen a good field which has a waaay bigger niche - moneyyyy ;) )

So the moral of the story: Find something people want to learn and make good, original content - no matter if the idea has been told before! Think about all the songs which became succcesses - the version from Marilyn Manson 'Tainted Love' was a remake of a remake, if I remember correctly. Ideas are (often) cheap, but good, original ways of presenting them are not! Cheers! :D
 
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Mike Stoian

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I didn't bloody think I would find one of my favourite Youtubers on here. You're bloody amazing.

Thanks for all the great content you put up!
 

BD64

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Incredible stuff @Valier.

I'm sure you don't need anymore validation to know you've got something real good here, but just incase you did...

Found another channel, almost a carbon copy of yours in terms of everything aside from the fact that it's specific to the fitness niche. I won't post the link here but have PM'd you it in case you are curious.
 

runnaboi

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Love your latest video James! You can tell how much work you have put in to it... great things ahead.
 

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Alfie321

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Hey @Valier I'd be more than interested in the editing course. If you could go into the thinking process (why this sound effect here, why this sudden transition there, what effect you want to create, how and why it works) that would be insane value.

Most courses are about the technicals but I can learn technicals anywhere and for free. Now deconstructing your own thinking process is something almost no one does.

I'm not sure if you are familiar with competitive game analysis but it is a good example of this:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc_tGIJ7OqU


Another one is the hotseat series from Pick Up Artists. Basically clips of guys going out and talking to people and deconstructing why, when, how they do what they do. Those were insane value at the time and am for sure there would be a lot of people who would benefit from that kind of material.

Keep up the good work!
 

P789

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Hey @Valier, I love your videos on YouTube and I watched it all at once. However, I am concerned on some comments on your videos impersonating you, specifically this comment on the Part 1 of the LoA.

This is a spam account, attempting to scam anyone who would dial the number. Also, this isn't the first time happened. On your most popular video, there were a LOT of spam accounts spamming that video.

Screenshot (227).png
I have reported that account as spam.

This article may help you in moderating the spammers.

EDIT: This video below demonstrates what will happen when interacting with the spammer.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgDCW8FIg9A&t=307s
 
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alexkuzmov

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Hey @Valier, I love your videos on YouTube and I watched it all at once. However, I am concerned on some comments on your videos impersonating you, specifically this comment on the Part 1 of the LoA.

This is a spam account, attempting to scam anyone who would dial the number. Also, this isn't the first time happened. On your most popular video, there were a LOT of spam accounts spamming that video.

View attachment 37196
I have reported that account as spam.

This article may help you in moderating the spammers.
What the hell
I just checked his top video and the scam bullshit is everywhere in the comments...

Capture.PNG
 

MJ DeMarco

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Amazing how success attracts the grifters, scammers, and low-rent assholes.
 

CJW

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What the hell
I just checked his top video and the scam bullshit is everywhere in the comments...

View attachment 37197
Yep, I've seen loads of similar threads on anything to do with making money on YT... it's often a clone of the video they are commenting on. I've been in FB groups where someone has asked if it's safe to send payments to get crypto as it was "YT influencers crypto guy... YT influencer gave me his email". Fortunately he asked in a group and we were able to warn him that it was a scam and not really the YT channel owner.
 

MJ DeMarco

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What the hell
I just checked his top video and the scam bullshit is everywhere in the comments...

View attachment 37197

Sad thing is, these dumb asses are everywhere.

If the forum didn't moderate/screen posts, this is EXACTLY how every thread in the forum would look.

We literally delete dozens of these spam posts per day, and the rest don't make it past user approval.
 

alexkuzmov

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Sad thing is, these dumb asses are everywhere.

If the forum didn't moderate/screen posts, this is EXACTLY how every thread in the forum would look.

We literally delete dozens of these spam posts per day, and the rest don't make it past user approval.
How do they keep finding ways to do it though?
It looks like its automatic, because its repetitive, but maybe real people post the spam like its their job?
 

woken

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I’m just speechless. I’ve watched through your videos long before I ever found this topic.

Keep doing you my man ! You’ve got my on your videos. They’re addictive.
 

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Hey @Valier this video popped up and within seconds I was like “ah another James Jani video”.

I had to literally double check this wasn’t you - seems he ripped off your whole format and even the voice sounds super similar.


He does give you some credit in the video details but it’s kinda crazy to copy someone so heavily.

Id imagine someone sent this to you already - I’m curious if this has been happening a lot?
 

Raja

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Hey @Valier this video popped up and within seconds I was like “ah another James Jani video”.

I had to literally double check this wasn’t you - seems he ripped off your whole format and even the voice sounds super similar.


He does give you some credit in the video details but it’s kinda crazy to copy someone so heavily.

Id imagine someone sent this to you already - I’m curious if this has been happening a lot?
1618839072448.png
I see similar growth pattern like james's videos
 

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Zache

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Hey @Valier this video popped up and within seconds I was like “ah another James Jani video”.

I had to literally double check this wasn’t you - seems he ripped off your whole format and even the voice sounds super similar.


He does give you some credit in the video details but it’s kinda crazy to copy someone so heavily.

Id imagine someone sent this to you already - I’m curious if this has been happening a lot?

You think James Jani created this format? Go watch Jake Tran, he was doing the same format before James. This style of video has been around for a long time and as much as I love James' videos, he wasn't exactly the first one to do them.

He clearly puts a lot of time and effort into his videos and provides value to his viewers so I don't see why you are disapproving of this guy. What's wrong with copying someone if it works and other people enjoy it?

They have the same voice? Maybe they are just from the same area of London.
 

Thurlam

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hot damn, wasn't expecting this thread to be by the guy who got me into MJ's books in the first place, and whose content I've already consumed all of. fascinating read, and very impressive work. I still have to give you a lot of the credit for the relatively recent radical shift in my mentality, and for that I will remain grateful for the foreseeable future.

not long after watching your money vid and subsequently reading MJ's books, I actually spent about 6 months working on a 6+ hour long review of a video game I had just wasted my previous year on, in an attempt to salvage something of that waste. but since I kind of hated making it, video games are by and large bad for me (in addition to being a very saturated market), and my voice is basically a 2-3 compared to your 8-9, alas, this doesn't seem like a particularly viable path for me. (though to my surprise I did receive some glowing comments, but that strikes me as more of a vocal minority/early adopter kind of thing.)

anyway, good shit James, looking forward to your next one.
 

BD64

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Hey @Valier this video popped up and within seconds I was like “ah another James Jani video”.

I had to literally double check this wasn’t you - seems he ripped off your whole format and even the voice sounds super similar.


He does give you some credit in the video details but it’s kinda crazy to copy someone so heavily.

Id imagine someone sent this to you already - I’m curious if this has been happening a lot?
Yup, this is the exact post/YouTuber I was referring to but didn't want to link. Although, his videos are quite good and fill a different niche.
 

Ivex

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Holy guacamole! It's James Jani. I came across one of your first videos on my recommended a while back, can't remember what it was exactly now. But your style was a touch of genius in the daily upload culture of YouTube.

Keep it up.

British content creators rise up.

The "Sidemen" of entrepreneurship will rise up soon to challenge the American entrepreneur niche lot (Kevin, Graham, Jeremy).
 

Steve A

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hey congrats on your success mate! This is all very inspiring!

one or two people touched on it in earlier replies but i just want to point out what really stands out about your videos for me.

sure your video editing skills are top notch, you do heaps of research (more than most are willing to do) etc...

But what really grabs me is your ability to tell a story!

armed with the same editing skills, the same research, the same stock footage etc, i bet most people would fail to TELL that story as well as you do. The videos are gripping from the get go, and they do not relent.

you are a talented man, my friend! Your success is well deserved!

keep up the great work
 

Hampus

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Hey there @Valier

Just spent the past few hours reading through the whole thread, page 1-11! Super inspiring for sure. Makes me want to start a YouTube channel myself.

Would love to see another quick update post whenever you get the chance, I see you've gained another quarter million followers since the last one 5 months ago. Any new insights? Change in plans or strategy? Any online course revenue yet?

Cheers from Philadelphia!
 

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