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Howzit howzit (Photographer with 100k YouTube subs says hello)

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chuckstar_za

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May 12, 2022
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Howzit all.
So basic, usual stuff first.

Actual name is Alex
Born in UK, grew up in South Africa, now back in the UK.
Most of my life I have been a photographer (studied at Pretoria Tech photography school for 4 years)
Flirted around with various things - commercial, weddings, portraits etc.

Not so basic stuff.
I'd been on the fence for ages about taking pictures of peoples kids. It wasn't really the kind of photography I enjoyed, and when I had a kid of my own, I resented being at the studio on weekends etc.
In many ways C-19 was a blessing as it forced me to close the studio and have a reset.

Decided then to finally get off my butt and start the YT channel I'd been mulling over in my head for a few years.
Closed the studio officially mid 2021 and went full into YT.

Now have a 100k sub channel doing around 800k views a month in the photography niche (more on the 'why' rather than the how, or another gear review channel)

Always felt that what was lacking in my overall picture was some focus about pushing on and making real money. At the studio if I didn't go in, I didn't make any money. YT has given me a taste of this scalability of making something once and it generating at scale (albeit small still).

The reason I'm here is I want to start actually building up on these early modest gains that have come through helping people enjoy their photography more. Also because I work alone, I don't have any sounding boards to get inspired from talking to.
 
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Howzit all.
So basic, usual stuff first.

Actual name is Alex
Born in UK, grew up in South Africa, now back in the UK.
Most of my life I have been a photographer (studied at Pretoria Tech photography school for 4 years)
Flirted around with various things - commercial, weddings, portraits etc.

Not so basic stuff.
I'd been on the fence for ages about taking pictures of peoples kids. It wasn't really the kind of photography I enjoyed, and when I had a kid of my own, I resented being at the studio on weekends etc.
In many ways C-19 was a blessing as it forced me to close the studio and have a reset.

Decided then to finally get off my butt and start the YT channel I'd been mulling over in my head for a few years.
Closed the studio officially mid 2021 and went full into YT.

Now have a 100k sub channel doing around 800k views a month in the photography niche (more on the 'why' rather than the how, or another gear review channel)

Always felt that what was lacking in my overall picture was some focus about pushing on and making real money. At the studio if I didn't go in, I didn't make any money. YT has given me a taste of this scalability of making something once and it generating at scale (albeit small still).

The reason I'm here is I want to start actually building up on these early modest gains that have come through helping people enjoy their photography more. Also because I work alone, I don't have any sounding boards to get inspired from talking to.
Welcome Alex, and well done on growing that YouTube channel! Feel free to link to your channel.

I changed your thread title to get you more eyeballs.

You might find this master list of YouTube progress threads useful. If you ever start a progress thread then let me know and I'll add it to the list.
 

chuckstar_za

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May 12, 2022
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52
Welcome Alex, and well done on growing that YouTube channel! Feel free to link to your channel.

I changed your thread title to get you more eyeballs.

You might find this master list of YouTube progress threads useful. If you ever start a progress thread then let me know and I'll add it to the list.
Hi Andy.
Thanks - it was quite late when I wrote the OP and was stuck for a title :D
 
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Andy Black

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Hi Andy.
Thanks - it was quite late when I wrote the OP and was stuck for a title :D
The title/subject line/headline can make all the difference. (If you’ve 100k YouTube subs then I’m sure I’m teaching you to suck eggs.)

I’m curious…

What have you enjoyed the most and least about focusing on YouTube?

What’s surprised you about your YouTube journey?

What advise would you give those just getting started on YouTube?
 

chuckstar_za

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May 12, 2022
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The title/subject line/headline can make all the difference. (If you’ve 100k YouTube subs then I’m sure I’m teaching you to suck eggs.)

I’m curious…

What have you enjoyed the most and least about focusing on YouTube?

What’s surprised you about your YouTube journey?

What advise would you give those just getting started on YouTube?
I was just reading some of those threads you linked to earlier.

Will write a wall of text later on after school run, but quickly:

1. Working at my own pace when things suit me is 100% the best thing about YT, close second is the realization when setting income targets (say $1000 per week adsense), you don't divide by 5 (working days), but by 7 because those videos are being served (and generating revenue) 24/7

Worst thing is the somewhat arbitrary vibe of dealing with the many algorithms (there isn't just one - each view source has one - browse, suggested, search etc). There are theories, suggestions, conspiracies and loads of head scratching, but there's never anything concrete you can say to someone about to create a video that definitively will lead to clicks.
One video will leap out the gate and get 30k views in a few hours, another ticking the self same boxes (initial CTR, AVD, End screen CTR etc. and all those other acronyms that Newtubers scratch their heads over) will just tank hard.

2. That people actually like listening to me talk! Or more seriously, how relatively easy it is to replace the income that was lost from closing the studio.

In MJ terms the amount of time I am trading for money has dropped significantly. In March the channel generated $7500ish in Adsense, plus another $2000 in course sales, $300 in Pateron, and $150 in 'coffee'. (I talk mostly in USD even though I'm in the UK bc most of my audience are North American so it's easier for me.) This doesn't take into account Sponsors - none in March, but generally I would charge around $600-$800 for a 30second end roll placement.

All of this whilst 'working' on my channel 3 days a week

3. To paraphrase another channel - you just gotta hit record.

Oh and don't ask your mum to watch your videos unless she is your target audience - doing that type of stuff will hold your channel back massively.

Will post a more comprehensive view later
 
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Andy Black

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I was just reading some of those threads you linked to earlier.

Will write a wall of text later on after school run, but quickly:

1. Working at my own pace when things suit me is 100% the best thing about YT, close second is the realization when setting income targets (say $1000 per week adsense), you don't divide by 5 (working days), but by 7 because those videos are being served (and generating revenue) 24/7

Worst thing is the somewhat arbitrary vibe of dealing with the many algorithms (there isn't just one - each view source has one - browse, suggested, search etc). There are theories, suggestions, conspiracies and loads of head scratching, but there's never anything concrete you can say to someone about to create a video that definitively will lead to clicks.
One video will leap out the gate and get 30k views in a few hours, another ticking the self same boxes (initial CTR, AVD, End screen CTR etc. and all those other acronyms that Newtubers scratch their heads over) will just tank hard.

2. That people actually like listening to me talk! Or more seriously, how relatively easy it is to replace the income that was lost from closing the studio.

In MJ terms the amount of time I am trading for money has dropped significantly. In March the channel generated $7500ish in Adsense, plus another $2000 in course sales, $300 in Pateron, and $150 in 'coffee'. (I talk mostly in USD even though I'm in the UK bc most of my audience are North American so it's easier for me.) This doesn't take into account Sponsors - none in March, but generally I would charge around $600-$800 for a 30second end roll placement.

All of this whilst 'working' on my channel 3 days a week

3. To paraphrase another channel - you just gotta hit record.

Oh and don't ask your mum to watch your videos unless she is your target audience - doing that type of stuff will hold your channel back massively.

Will post a more comprehensive view later
Very interesting. Looking forward to your other notes.

What does your week look like juggling kids and YouTube? Are you still doing photography work as well?
 

MTF

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I was just reading some of those threads you linked to earlier.

Will write a wall of text later on after school run, but quickly:

1. Working at my own pace when things suit me is 100% the best thing about YT, close second is the realization when setting income targets (say $1000 per week adsense), you don't divide by 5 (working days), but by 7 because those videos are being served (and generating revenue) 24/7

Worst thing is the somewhat arbitrary vibe of dealing with the many algorithms (there isn't just one - each view source has one - browse, suggested, search etc). There are theories, suggestions, conspiracies and loads of head scratching, but there's never anything concrete you can say to someone about to create a video that definitively will lead to clicks.
One video will leap out the gate and get 30k views in a few hours, another ticking the self same boxes (initial CTR, AVD, End screen CTR etc. and all those other acronyms that Newtubers scratch their heads over) will just tank hard.

2. That people actually like listening to me talk! Or more seriously, how relatively easy it is to replace the income that was lost from closing the studio.

In MJ terms the amount of time I am trading for money has dropped significantly. In March the channel generated $7500ish in Adsense, plus another $2000 in course sales, $300 in Pateron, and $150 in 'coffee'. (I talk mostly in USD even though I'm in the UK bc most of my audience are North American so it's easier for me.) This doesn't take into account Sponsors - none in March, but generally I would charge around $600-$800 for a 30second end roll placement.

All of this whilst 'working' on my channel 3 days a week

3. To paraphrase another channel - you just gotta hit record.

Oh and don't ask your mum to watch your videos unless she is your target audience - doing that type of stuff will hold your channel back massively.

Will post a more comprehensive view later

Loved your response. I find it fascinating how you were able to get to such numbers so quickly. You're an excellent example of a person who's benefiting a lot from the creator economy and who has a bright future in it.

Welcome to the forum. I'm looking forward to more of your posts.
 

chuckstar_za

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May 12, 2022
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Very interesting. Looking forward to your other notes.

What does your week look like juggling kids and YouTube? Are you still doing photography work as well?
I try not to juggle my little lad anymore - my back won't take it :D

It can be a bit of a stretch, especially when holidays come around. However you can circumnavigate this to a degree by producing content to be released over that period in advance. All it needs then is a bit of first 24hr babysitting to make sure it's not tanking (checking CTR, changing up TAT (titles and thumbs) etc)

The only thing I can't do at all when Ash is around is record.

No, I've stopped doing photography work completely, though I could have fitted this in with doing that aswell. However I doubt I would have devoted as much time to learning the rules of the YT game or be as committed to it.
 
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chuckstar_za

Contributor
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May 12, 2022
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52
Loved your response. I find it fascinating how you were able to get to such numbers so quickly. You're an excellent example of a person who's benefiting a lot from the creator economy and who has a bright future in it.

Welcome to the forum. I'm looking forward to more of your posts.
Thank you. After a few false starts over the years (getting 20k a day traffic on a website back in 1997 and not monetizing it for example) I feel I'm finally in a place where I'm mentally ready, the scaffolding is ready and my experience is ready to make the most of the creator economy.
 

eliquid

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I came out of forum retirement to say hello.

And also see if I could request something:

1. A post about your YouTube optimization process. Not meaning audio or video settings, but what you do to ensure good CTR, youtube love, views, etc ( checklist process if you have one )

Also, congrats on your success.
 

chuckstar_za

Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
May 12, 2022
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52
I came out of forum retirement to say hello.

And also see if I could request something:

1. A post about your YouTube optimization process. Not meaning audio or video settings, but what you do to ensure good CTR, youtube love, views, etc ( checklist process if you have one )

Also, congrats on your success.
I'm about to sit down and write a post about the journey.

As a very short and TL:DR type response to your specific question:

Good CTR isn't a fixed number - it's different for everyone. What matters is your channel AVERAGE CTR.
Is your latest video doing better or worse than your previous 10? That's the metric to measure against.
YouTube shows you these metrics on your home page in Studio.

YouTube love mostly comes from IMHO, keeping people on the platform.
People talk about watch time, but SESSION time is more important. Do people watch more content (ideally yours) after viewing one of your videos? An easy way of improving this is to tell the viewer specifically what to do at the end of the video - i.e 'Here's a video that I know you'll enjoy which talks more about X topic which I touched on in this video. Click here'.

One CTA in the video, not hundreds ;)

Views come from impressions, impressions come from views. To increase the chance of views in the first place, the idea needs to be sound. The basic tenants of marketing come in here - The prospective viewer asks, why should I watch this video?

The big YT players spend days/weeks thinking of ideas for videos. No matter how awesome the thumbnail or title, no one will watch a video about a crappy idea.

YT is an environment with a lot of subtlety - many factors (mostly hidden) are at play in your success or not. If you're really stuck, spend time on the idea first, then the title and thumbnail, and only then shoot the video.

I hope this helps.
 
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MTF

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YouTube love mostly comes from IMHO, keeping people on the platform.
People talk about watch time, but SESSION time is more important. Do people watch more content (ideally yours) after viewing one of your videos? An easy way of improving this is to tell the viewer specifically what to do at the end of the video - i.e 'Here's a video that I know you'll enjoy which talks more about X topic which I touched on in this video. Click here'.

So if in your videos you want to send people to your website, this means that you'll get less YouTube love just because you're making them leave the platform?
 

chuckstar_za

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May 12, 2022
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52
So if in your videos you want to send people to your website, this means that you'll get less YouTube love just because you're making them leave the platform?
Yep. Anything that kills session time should be treated with caution.
You can do it obviously, but don't do it every. single. video.
 

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