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EXECUTION Creating a YouTube Channel to Document my Challenge of building a SaaS business in 12 months

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davidpn

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 5, 2019
12
18
17
Canada
Hello everyone!

I haven't been very active on this forum, but thought I'd try to contribute by sharing my latest adventure.

A Short Introduction:
My name is David, 32 and currently I’m living in Vienna, Austria (at least for now and no, I don’t speak any German... haha). I've spent most of my life in Canada, but have lived in a few places around the world. I’m currently working as a developer (hence the SaaS business desire).

At the start of the year, I set out a lot of goals/objectives for 2021 and one of those goals was to start a YouTube channel. Since I also have a desire to build a SaaS business, I thought stacking those 2 together would go quite nicely. It would also give me an opportunity to build out my personal brand.


What I was working on this year so far:
I started out the year by building some blog content on my personal website. However, when I was re-designing my site late last year, I seemed to have started with a bunch of negative, spammy backlinks. Thankfully I cleaned that up with the help of a friend, and after a while I noticed more search term consistency. Plus my site was starting to trend upwards in Google Search Console. Then again... I seem to have been hit with a negative SEO attack a couple months ago. This caused a downward trend and much more inconsistency (though I think I've recently fixed it). My suspicion is that because I have a popular name, someone with the same name as me was trying to make sure I don’t show up on the first page. Since I don’t get much traffic to my site yet, I’m not overly concerned with it at the moment.

For the time being, I have my site on the side since I have shifted my focus to YouTube. This is part of my strategy. I will also start promoting my site and return to writing some content occasionally at some point in the future.


What is the rough overall game plan / strategy?
Soo… right now I have the following layers:

- A personal (and blogging) site
- A YouTube channel
- A Self Challenge to build a SaaS business in 12 months

I have already created about 17-18 blog posts on my site and have yet to promote / share any of the content. The reason for this is I wanted to get my YouTube channel up, running and to have the first episode of my build a SaaS business challenge.

My focus moving forward is to ultimately drive traffic to my YouTube channel, and of course in building a SaaS business.

I plan to spread various blog posts around different channels to drive traffic to my site, and hopefully funnel some of that traffic to my YouTube channel. If people like my content enough, I’m hoping they’ll also subscribe to my email list.

On a side note ,and an interesting development that I didn’t consider was that, YouTube also acts as an organic search and has been driving some traffic the other way (to my personal site). A sort of nice multiplier effect.

I’ve also read through half of James' (Valier ) YouTube thread for inspiration and have taken notes. So I'm very thankful that he shared his insights and journey (which is absolutely mind boggling)!

I’ve also decided against setting a minimum amount of uploads per week, but instead focus on delivering value and something of higher quality than average/good. Just keep at it consistently and if it takes 1 week or 3 weeks for my next piece of content... that is okay.


My YouTube strategy going forward:
I’ve just released my first episode of my challenge to build a SaaS business in 12 months. Link is below if you are curious.
View: https://youtu.be/M64XfCYIV4g


I’ve gone ahead and called it Entrepreneurial Dreams. This first episode is meant to be silly, poking fun and at times funny. The next episode will be much more serious, but I’ll try to mix education-entertainment where possible so it isn’t as dry.

I realize that nobody will be searching for my challenge videos and YouTube probably won’t recommend it either. So I’m going to have to split my video creation time between my challenge and creating some value (searchable) content. This will hopefully drive organic YouTube traffic to my channel and hopefully a portion of those people will also consume my Entrepreneurial Dream videos and stay.

I will continually adjust/improve this approach as time goes on.

My current YouTube progress:
Videos:
3
Watch Time: ~11 hours
CTR: ~8.5%
Subs: 9

Best video stats:
- Views: 153
- WT: ~11 hours
- CTR: ~9%


Lessons learned so far (A mix from reading/listening to other YouTubers and from my own experiences):
From what I’ve read/seen so far, there seems to be 4 things that really matter and one should spend a good portion of time on each of them. They are:

Your thumbnail: This can make or break your channel. You need to have something that makes people intrigued enough to stop scrolling and (eventually) click on your video. Well placed images and strategic text (ideally if it drives emotion or curiosity) are important. Why? Because this directly impacts your CTR, which (from what I’ve read) is critical to the YouTube algorithm

Title (and description): If you can get someone to stop on your thumbnail, they will also very likely read your title. So from what I’ve gathered so far, it should build on top of your thumbnail and provide more information to the viewer.

I’m still not exactly sure what makes a good title, but I’m going to experiment (when possible) with having the desire part in the thumbnail (ex: framed picture hanging on the wall) and the how part in the title. (ex: How to best mount a framed picture in your house). Ideally providing value, or solving some kind of problem.

The description seems to be the place to provide more information (about the video and to drop links). Plus to helps with being more searchable on YouTube.

Watch Time (WT): The second thing that supposedly influences the YouTube algorithm heavily is WT. So this means having good, quality content. If your video is engaging, and people are watching it… that’s a good sign. I’m still learning how to improve this one, as it seems my average WT is around 14-15%.

Intro: This one is tied into WT and I feel when you first start out, you should spend a more significant amount of time dedicated to the beginning of your video. Make it interesting, intriguing and get to the point / cut out useless things that don’t align with your thumbnail/title. I noticed a big drop of >50% in the first 30s of my video. So moving forward I would like to improve this number and get to the good content quicker.

In the future, I’m going to start asking myself if this is valuable/interesting content to the viewer (yes → keep, no → omit) for the first minute of my videos.

I’m hoping with some small tweaks/improvements I can get my WT up to the 20-25% range.


Goals:
I don’t really have any YouTube specific goals. I’m doing this more for fun and to share/document my journey, but in a more strategic way that will hopefully benefit me in the future.

Ideally... the SaaS business I build will be a success and that is the main goal here.

However, for the purposes of setting a target, I’m going to go for 1000 subs and 2500 hours of WT before the end of 2021. I would be really happy to achieve that.


Other then that... I will update this thread with my progress, or when I have something meaningful to say (insights).
 

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RicardoGrande

Contributor
I've Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 9, 2021
43
65
107
Hello everyone!

I haven't been very active on this forum, but thought I'd try to contribute by sharing my latest adventure.

A Short Introduction:
My name is David, 32 and currently I’m living in Vienna, Austria (at least for now and no, I don’t speak any German... haha). I've spent most of my life in Canada, but have lived in a few places around the world. I’m currently working as a developer (hence the SaaS business desire).

At the start of the year, I set out a lot of goals/objectives for 2021 and one of those goals was to start a YouTube channel. Since I also have a desire to build a SaaS business, I thought stacking those 2 together would go quite nicely. It would also give me an opportunity to build out my personal brand.


What I was working on this year so far:
I started out the year by building some blog content on my personal website. However, when I was re-designing my site late last year, I seemed to have started with a bunch of negative, spammy backlinks. Thankfully I cleaned that up with the help of a friend, and after a while I noticed more search term consistency. Plus my site was starting to trend upwards in Google Search Console. Then again... I seem to have been hit with a negative SEO attack a couple months ago. This caused a downward trend and much more inconsistency (though I think I've recently fixed it). My suspicion is that because I have a popular name, someone with the same name as me was trying to make sure I don’t show up on the first page. Since I don’t get much traffic to my site yet, I’m not overly concerned with it at the moment.

For the time being, I have my site on the side since I have shifted my focus to YouTube. This is part of my strategy. I will also start promoting my site and return to writing some content occasionally at some point in the future.


What is the rough overall game plan / strategy?
Soo… right now I have the following layers:

- A personal (and blogging) site
- A YouTube channel
- A Self Challenge to build a SaaS business in 12 months

I have already created about 17-18 blog posts on my site and have yet to promote / share any of the content. The reason for this is I wanted to get my YouTube channel up, running and to have the first episode of my build a SaaS business challenge.

My focus moving forward is to ultimately drive traffic to my YouTube channel, and of course in building a SaaS business.

I plan to spread various blog posts around different channels to drive traffic to my site, and hopefully funnel some of that traffic to my YouTube channel. If people like my content enough, I’m hoping they’ll also subscribe to my email list.

On a side note ,and an interesting development that I didn’t consider was that, YouTube also acts as an organic search and has been driving some traffic the other way (to my personal site). A sort of nice multiplier effect.

I’ve also read through half of James' (Valier ) YouTube thread for inspiration and have taken notes. So I'm very thankful that he shared his insights and journey (which is absolutely mind boggling)!

I’ve also decided against setting a minimum amount of uploads per week, but instead focus on delivering value and something of higher quality than average/good. Just keep at it consistently and if it takes 1 week or 3 weeks for my next piece of content... that is okay.


My YouTube strategy going forward:
I’ve just released my first episode of my challenge to build a SaaS business in 12 months. Link is below if you are curious.
View: https://youtu.be/M64XfCYIV4g


I’ve gone ahead and called it Entrepreneurial Dreams. This first episode is meant to be silly, poking fun and at times funny. The next episode will be much more serious, but I’ll try to mix education-entertainment where possible so it isn’t as dry.

I realize that nobody will be searching for my challenge videos and YouTube probably won’t recommend it either. So I’m going to have to split my video creation time between my challenge and creating some value (searchable) content. This will hopefully drive organic YouTube traffic to my channel and hopefully a portion of those people will also consume my Entrepreneurial Dream videos and stay.

I will continually adjust/improve this approach as time goes on.

My current YouTube progress:
Videos:
3
Watch Time: ~11 hours
CTR: ~8.5%
Subs: 9

Best video stats:
- Views: 153
- WT: ~11 hours
- CTR: ~9%


Lessons learned so far (A mix from reading/listening to other YouTubers and from my own experiences):
From what I’ve read/seen so far, there seems to be 4 things that really matter and one should spend a good portion of time on each of them. They are:

Your thumbnail: This can make or break your channel. You need to have something that makes people intrigued enough to stop scrolling and (eventually) click on your video. Well placed images and strategic text (ideally if it drives emotion or curiosity) are important. Why? Because this directly impacts your CTR, which (from what I’ve read) is critical to the YouTube algorithm

Title (and description): If you can get someone to stop on your thumbnail, they will also very likely read your title. So from what I’ve gathered so far, it should build on top of your thumbnail and provide more information to the viewer.

I’m still not exactly sure what makes a good title, but I’m going to experiment (when possible) with having the desire part in the thumbnail (ex: framed picture hanging on the wall) and the how part in the title. (ex: How to best mount a framed picture in your house). Ideally providing value, or solving some kind of problem.

The description seems to be the place to provide more information (about the video and to drop links). Plus to helps with being more searchable on YouTube.

Watch Time (WT): The second thing that supposedly influences the YouTube algorithm heavily is WT. So this means having good, quality content. If your video is engaging, and people are watching it… that’s a good sign. I’m still learning how to improve this one, as it seems my average WT is around 14-15%.

Intro: This one is tied into WT and I feel when you first start out, you should spend a more significant amount of time dedicated to the beginning of your video. Make it interesting, intriguing and get to the point / cut out useless things that don’t align with your thumbnail/title. I noticed a big drop of >50% in the first 30s of my video. So moving forward I would like to improve this number and get to the good content quicker.

In the future, I’m going to start asking myself if this is valuable/interesting content to the viewer (yes → keep, no → omit) for the first minute of my videos.

I’m hoping with some small tweaks/improvements I can get my WT up to the 20-25% range.


Goals:
I don’t really have any YouTube specific goals. I’m doing this more for fun and to share/document my journey, but in a more strategic way that will hopefully benefit me in the future.

Ideally... the SaaS business I build will be a success and that is the main goal here.

However, for the purposes of setting a target, I’m going to go for 1000 subs and 2500 hours of WT before the end of 2021. I would be really happy to achieve that.


Other then that... I will update this thread with my progress, or when I have something meaningful to say (insights).
Much like a terrestial lizard, I will be monitoring this thread.
Good luck David!
 

davidpn

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 5, 2019
12
18
17
Canada
[UPDATE]

How my first month (well... 3.5 weeks) went:

I produced 3 videos. One from each of the following areas:
- Programming
- SaaS business challenge
- Random

As far as I’m concerned… they were all duds (well I shouldn’t comment on the SaaS one yet as it’s recently released)!

So far, the very first video I made has garnered the majority of my channel's traction and also gained the most amount of views & WT. About 80-90% of my stats come from that one video alone! It seems to be ‘evergreen’ content, which is great! I feel that videos around the theme of “how to get a developer job” will be the most popular/successful on YT. I would like to reproduce that kind of result in one of my next programming videos.

One bad thing is I think I lost 6-7 subs because of the random video I uploaded. So I guess the lesson is don’t go too random or off topic.

Also, my eyes keep getting quite sore when I edit videos with DaVinci Resolve (namely because of all the glare on the screen from the dark background colour of the software). Unfortunatley, there is no way to change the background colour, which really sucks. Might have to switch video editing software because of this...

Changes to my approach:

I’ve realized that I simply am not just documenting my journey on YouTube. I also want to succeed there (in the long-term), so this means putting more time into it than I thought I was going to. Which also means putting in less time on actually starting a SaaS business. This may hurt me in the end as I try to get more WT, views and subscribers. We will see…

Also, I Initially had a video breakdown plan of:
  • 50% programming
  • 50% SaaS business challenge

However, after some thought… I would like to experiment every now and then with random/different content. To see if anything sticks or test the waters on different topics. So I’m going to adjust my percentages to:

  • 45% Programming
  • 45% SaaS business challenge
  • 10% Random/whatever

Maybe this is deviating further from my SaaS challenge, but I’ll adjust as necessary in the future.

For my 2nd SaaS business episode, I tried getting to the point quicker and also changed my approach with having background music & more b-roll footage. I was debating about making it more viewer friendly (interesting) versus just posting minimally edited videos.

Anyways, here is the latest episode.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhYxgaqQB-I


I also think I’m going to change the thumbnail layout to make the episode number & name more prominent.

My current YouTube progress:

Videos: 6 (+3 from last update)
Watch Time: ~35.5 hours (+24.5 hours ...)
CTR: ~7% (-1.5% …)
Subs: 23 (+14 ...)​
Best video stats:

Views: 497 (+345 from last update)
WT: ~32 hours (+21 hours …)
CTR: ~8% ( -1% …)​

Lessons learned in my first month:

No such thing as a sure winner, or a video that you think will do well.

It’ll definitely be a grind to get those first 100 subs.

Not sure how some people get traction so quickly, but I’m hoping if I produce good enough (searchable) content, people will be inclined to also share it and the channel will grow a bit quicker.


Assessment of Goals:

If I’m to reach my sub & WT goals, I need to get a video to go mini-viral (in my case: 1-10K views). Otherwise, I will probably only get to 100 subs and maybe 150 hours of WT by the end of the year. I need to repeat the success of my first video a couple of times.
 

davidpn

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 5, 2019
12
18
17
Canada
[Update @ ~90 day mark]

How my last 2 months went:
I had a pretty busy period with things going on in life + going on a vacation, so I didn’t do as much as I wanted. My average time between video uploads has been increasing.

However, I did upload 3 videos (1 each from programming, random & SaaS business challenge). The random one was from a hackathon event I attended and decided to make the video public, otherwise it would have only been 2 videos.

The programming video that I made in this period has crossed the 100 view mark and only my 2nd video to do so. Only my first video has been a great success so far.

I’m probably going to upload more random videos, which means I’m not going to shoot for a 45/45/10 split (programming/SaaS challenge/random). I think I’ll just upload whatever feels right between programming, SaaS challenge and random.

I’ve realized that the SaaS/business topic is going to be hard to break into on YouTube. My best best is with programming, as that is what has given me the most traction so far.

Around my SaaS challenge. Progress is going very slow, but I’m okay with that. I have narrowed down what ideas I want to focus on and the next episode should be more interesting (coming up with a game plan for testing my ideas). Also, due to not getting many views on my SaaS challenge videos, I’ve decided not to do any fancy stuff and keep the editing to a minimum.

Here is the latest episode

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QyYm8RhWy0


I also changed the thumbnail slightly to make the episode number more visible, as well as the episode title. I think it is a bit better.

I did create 1 short video just for fun and that has the lowest amount of views on my channel so far. Maybe I’ll experiment with it later on.

My current YouTube progress:
- Videos:
9 (+3 from last update)
- Watch Time: 171 hours (+135.5 hours)
- CTR: 5.4% (-2.6%)
- Subs: 74 (+51)

Best video stats:
- Views:
2.5K (+2K from last update)
- WT: 157.5 hours (+125.5 hours)
- CTR: 5.8% ( -2.2%)

Lessons learned in the last 60 days:
It seems like the YT algorithm has picked up my first video as I’ve gotten a lot of results from that video on my channel. I’m still trying to reproduce that kind of result with another video, but I’m happy that it is driving my channel forward. That gives me daily motivation to keep going.

I also found it crazy to think that on my best day, people had spent almost 14 hours watching my videos.

For my YouTube channel/growth and success… I will need to focus on the programming niche. The SaaS business challenge is more for myself & just a place to document my journey online.

Consistency is key and the more content you put out… the higher your odds are that something will get picked up by the YouTube algorithm.

Assessment of Goals:
I’m about 7% of the way to both my subscriber & WT goals. Still have about 75 days until the end of the year. So I got some work to do.

Final thoughts:
I wish I had started something (YouTube channel, or a blog, documenting my journey back when I first, first started). I would have been much further ahead and better off than I am now.
 

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