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YouTube contribution to success in a Dirty Job - Shark Scrapper

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Ernman

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I recently found @Andy Black 's collection of YouTube progress threads and decided I would share this twist to using a YouTube channel.

Background: I own a small but growing scrap and recycling business in NE Florida. This is definitely a dirty job and not what many would consider Fastlane. I'm sharing my progress with the "INSIDERS." Part of my strategy and growth is my YouTube channel. So unlike many YouTube creators, my channel is not the biz. My channel is one aspect of my biz.

Like manufacturing, the scrap industry has raw materials and end products. The difference is my raw materials are usually in the form of a "finished" good such as a computer tower, server or major appliance and my product is the deconstructed remains of those goods. Literally a reverse manufacturing process. Success requires a steady source of materials and multiple buyers of the end "products." Both require a certain level of trust and understanding of what/how I run my business. Many of my sources of materials give me their PC's and appliances for free because they want them responsibly scrapped/recycled and not just added to the waste stream. Those who I pay expect a fair price. I also need to have trust with my buyers. I need to trust them and they need to know that I'm not selling them stolen goods or misrepresented products.

My YouTube channel is both a marketing tool and income generator. As a marketing tool nothing compares to my YouTube channel as a valuable resource to gain and maintain the trust and confidence of my clients. Twice a week they get to see what I'm doing with the scrap material I get and frequently where it is coming from. I talk about how I break it down, what is of value, where I can sell it and what is likely to happen to it after I sell it. In my YouTube vids I also mention my website, merch store, Amazon affiliate links, eBay store and other sources of income generating sites - in addition to what is coming into the recycling side of the biz. This generates a small, but growing, somewhat passive income stream. I'm also in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) which allows me to receive revenue from ads placed on my videos and payments from Super Thanks and similar YT monetization paths.

Since this is a progress thread I need to set the baseline. Here's my channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SharkScrapper

I started it Oct 2019. So rough 2.5 years old. In that time I've grown to 6,100 subscribers, 737,619 views and 118,551 watch hours. Like most channels my growth was slow at first but YouTube is a marathon. Many of you will rightly notice, I'm not "growing" nearly as fast as many other channels - still faster than others. And I'm OK with that. Why? Because my YouTube channel is one part of my biz - NOT the basis of my biz.

I started my business, Shark Scrapper LLC, with two primary criteria and a given. First the given - if you're not making money, you're a hobby, not a business. The criteria: an ethical company that gives back to our planet. I prefer that every customer, client, buyer be a long term relationship based on trust and an ability to bring value to each other. And I want to do something good for our planet. Lots of businesses make plenty of money while destroying the world around us. That is not sustainable in the long term. No I'm not a "tree hugger" but I do believe that if we want our planet to continue to sustain us, we need to do our part for the planet. Giving back is at the core of what Shark Scrapper does: redirect material out of waste streams and into resale, reuse and recycle streams. We also donate a portion of our proceeds to shark research. I like sharks, they are essentially scrappers/recyclers of the oceans. My YouTube channel helps me promote my brand and is one of the ways I can get my message out. Anyone can watch my videos and understand what I do and see that I am working to live up to my brand.

Alright, so what about this progress thread. This thread will be a good place to share if you are looking for a way to market your biz, build your brand or share your story BUT you don't intend for a YouTube channel to be the business. I'll share what I'm learning about YouTube and give real examples of how I'm working to improve my channel and it's impact on my business. I'm looking forward to all your questions and comments.

Success on YouTube is more about consistently uploading quality content with good thumbnails and titles than overnight viral hits. My personal goal is to make each video better in some way than my last. I don't always achieve this, but I try.
 
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Andy Black

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Ernman

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A little discussion of gear and software is in order.

Recording: GoPros, iPhone and Nikon D3100

Most of my videos are on the go...so I use GoPro's a lot. I started with the HERO 4 Black followed by the 7 Black. I'm now using both a 9 and 10 Black. The 7 is my back up. The 9 and 10 are small, tough and water proof - unless you put them in the media housing. When I'm on the go I usually use a head mount. Sometimes I'll use a small tripod or mounted grip to position the camera so I can be in the shoot. Some things to keep in mind about GoPro's. Like most action cameras they don't do well in low light. The 10 seems to over heat more than the 9. The 9 had a bug with the one touch record feature that would sometimes cause it to shut off for no reason. This was a random bug that required removing the battery for 10 seconds to allow recording again. The bug was fixed in the 10 - at least I've not had any trouble with it thus far. Battery life can also be an issue. But they are small and relatively inexpensive so I carry a few with me.

iPhone X: My trusty iPhone is also acceptable for short clips and quick images in a hurry. It's always near or on me and takes reasonably good videos and images. Some channels are very successful using only their phone's camera. So don't think you need a fancy expensive camera to do YouTube.

Nikon: I sometimes need to zoom into a printed circuit board or component and my Nikon D3100 with macro lens is great for this. These close ups can add some real value and unusual twists to a video.

The Nikon and GoPro's require some type of flash memory card for storage. I've been satisfied with SanDisk products thus far. I'm using the SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-1 Card in my GoPro's which is supposed to support full HD video up to 120 MB/s. 256 GB has been plenty big enough for me.

I have a Rode lavalier mic but for what I'm doing I'm not sure I really need it. The GoPro's capture my voice well but wind noise can be an issue on blustery days. That's when the Rode with a wind sock comes in handy.

Lights: When I'm in my shop and need extra lighting I use a mash up of lights that I've found in my scrap business. Sorry I'm not a lighting guru. Most of my stuff is done outside, so I let mother nature do the lighting for me.

Tri-pods and grips: I have several large and small tri-pods to use as needed. I also have a couple "grips". They are like tri-pods to hold the cameral but have bendable legs or clamps that can be used to grip any convenient tree branch, piece of junk, side of truck, etc.

Software: OMG there's so much to choose from. There's plenty of free software for hobby YouTubers. But if you're serious about growing a channel you'll need to breakdown and pay - but it doesn't have to be outrageous. If you're new and don't want to spend a lot of time learning how to use video editing software I recommend Camtasia by TechSmith. Very intuitive, easy to use and robust. I also use another of their products called SnagIt for screen captures. This is very handy for grapping images from videos to use has thumbnails or to stop the motion for a discussion. I was using Adobe products but have found Camtasia and SnagIt much easier and very satisfactory. You experienced professional editors are likely rolling over and ready to pound me. And I'll agree, the Adobe products are much more robust for advanced editors. I've also recently started using the PRO version of CANVA. Wow - so many capabilities there that I haven't touched yet. It's great for B-Roll and copywrite free images to enhance your vids. Plus some very useful templates.

Music: Let's face it, some videos need music and/or sound effects. I tried a paid service but had copywrite claims that had to be disputed. Waste of time and energy. Now I use the music free on YouTube and here: Welcome - Creator Mix

All of my recording and editing skills are self-taught through experience and ... you guessed it - YouTube videos. I'm constantly experimenting with new tricks and techniques that I see others use or talk about on YouTube. Always try to make your next video better than your last - even if in only one thing.
 
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Andy Black

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Thanks for this. Very interesting about the GoPros.

I use Camtasia and Snagit too, and my old iPhone 5SE (although don’t do many talking head videos).

Always try to make your next video better than your last - even if in only one thing.
That’s a great goal.
 
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Ernman

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If you're using your channel as an extension of your biz then make sure it reflects well on you and your biz. I can't emphasize this enough.

There are many content creators out there who don't worry about the quality of their content, consistency of upload schedule or use of foul language (or other controversial content). That's fine for the hobby creator who's just uploading content to have fun. But if it's your biz or part of your biz - you need to be more careful.

Consistently uploading quality content on schedule is the first step to reflecting well on you and your biz. You don't have to create Hollywood quality content. But do strive to produce informative or entertaining videos that are uploaded on a regular schedule. The frequency is less important than sticking to it. Once a week is plenty. Every other week is fine - especially if the videos are an adjunct to an existing biz and not a critical income stream. I upload twice a week, down from three times a week (more on that to follow). My upload schedule is factored into my work week so I can plan, record and edit videos along with all the other demands of the week. I also strive to have at least a week's worth of videos scheduled (uploaded to YouTube and scheduled to go live) ahead. When I thought I might get called up for jury duty I uploaded and scheduled a month's worth of videos so there would be no interruption to my audience.

You can over-saturate your audience and wear yourself out by uploading too much content. YouTube is NOT a quantity game anymore. If the quality isn't there the only thing daily uploads will do is let people ignore more suck content faster. I was upload three times a week, M-W-F. A very manageable schedule since it was deemed by me to be important to my biz. But then I decided to add Patreon to the mix - I'll discuss those reasons in a separate post. Instead of producing four videos a week, I stayed at three but made one of them only for my patrons. No extra work for me, but it gave my Patreon patrons exclusive content and they were willing to pay for it. The interesting thing is that my YouTube views went up when there were only two per week, now Monday and Thursday. My three day a week schedule was over-saturating my viewers. Those that still want to see a third video from me each week appear willing to pay a little for it.

Always strive to improve the quality of your content. But don't get wrapped around the axil trying to make a perfect video. Keep track of things that need to be improved and work them over time: audio, story telling, lighting, cuts/transitions, etc.

Avoid controversy UNLESS...When I retired from the Navy and entered business I was giving some solid mentoring by very successful business people. A common theme was NEVER discuss politics or religion in your business UNLESS your business is politics or religion. The same is true with your YouTube videos. I also recommend you NOT use foul language. Not only can foul language offend your viewers, it can turn off potential advertisers and may cause YouTube to limit the exposure of your videos by "restricting" them - limits audience exposure. The random soft cuss word is no big deal. But if every sentence is lased with F bombs and a smattering of other foulness, it sends a strong and not so good signal. It's hard enough to find/keep viewers (or customers) so why risk alienating them?

A little more on controversy. My business is scrap and recycling so I avoid controversy. Believe it or not, just evaluating if a certain computer component should be sold as scrap vs to vintage collects can be controversial enough in this biz. But if your channel or business is based on current events, politics, sex, religion, etc., your calculus is different. You've made the choice to be in that mix. So do it, but do so understanding the risks. And lying, misrepresenting the truth or otherwise being dishonest for the sake of generating controversy around your channel in the hopes of gaining views is a weak and cowardly approach to biz. Definitely NOT Fastlane.

Finally, you must be genuine. Don't be afraid to bring YOU to the game. Your personality is what sets you apart from every other channel/content creator in your niche. I recommend you make it the real you. You can't fake a persona long term. And if what people see in person is different from what they see on your videos...it won't end well. In my biz I see and deal with some of the same people that watch my channel. If I'm not genuine they won't trust me and if they don't trust me, they won't do business with me. There are some niches and channels that might allow for a shtick. If you're going to go down this road make sure you've thought it through as deliberately as you would any critical long term business decision. It could become a part of your brand - like it or not.
 
Last edited:

Andy Black

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If you're using your channel as an extension of your biz then make sure it reflects well on you and your biz. I can't emphasize this enough.

There are many content creators out there who don't worry about the quality of their content, consistency of upload schedule or use of foul language (or other controversial content). That's fine for the hobby creator who's just uploading content to have fun. But if it's your biz or part of your biz - you need to be more careful.

Consistently uploading quality content on schedule is the first step to reflecting well on you and your biz. You don't have to create Hollywood quality content. But do strive to produce informative or entertaining videos that are uploaded on a regular schedule. The frequency is less important than sticking to it. Once a week is plenty. Every other week is fine - especially if the videos are an adjunct to an existing biz and not a critical income stream. I upload twice a week, down from three times a week (more on that to follow). My upload schedule is factored into my work week so I can plan, record and edit videos along with all the other demands of the week. I also strive to have at least a week's worth of videos scheduled (uploaded to YouTube and scheduled to go live) ahead. When I thought I might get called up for jury duty I uploaded and scheduled a month's worth of videos so there would be no interruption to my audience.

You can over-saturate your audience and wear yourself out by uploading too much content. YouTube is NOT a quantity game anymore. If the quality isn't there the only thing daily uploads will do is let people ignore more suck content faster. I was upload three times a week, M-W-F. A very manageable schedule since it was deemed by me to be important to my biz. But then I decided to add Patreon to the mix - I'll discuss those reasons in a separate post. Instead of producing four videos a week, I stayed at three but made one of them only for my patrons. No extra work for me, but it gave my Patreon patrons exclusive content and they were willing to pay for it. The interesting thing is that my YouTube views went up when there were only two per week, now Monday and Thursday. My three day a week schedule was over-saturating my viewers. Those that still want to see a third video from me each week appear willing to pay a little for it.

Always strive to improve the quality of your content. But don't get wrapped around the axil trying to make a perfect video. Keep track of things that need to be improved and work them over time: audio, story telling, lighting, cuts/transitions, etc.

Avoid controversy UNLESS...When I retired from the Navy and entered business I was giving some solid mentoring by very successful business people. A common theme was NEVER discuss politics or religion in your business UNLESS your business is politics or religion. The same is true with your YouTube videos. I also recommend you NOT use foul language. Not only can foul language offend your viewers, it can turn off potential advertisers and may cause YouTube to limit the exposure of your videos by "restricting" them - limits audience exposure. The random soft cuss word is no big deal. But if every sentence is lased with F bombs and a smattering of other foulness, it sends a strong and not so good signal. It's hard enough to find/keep viewers (or customers) so why risk alienating them?

A little more on controversy. My business is scrap and recycling so I avoid controversy. Believe it or not, just evaluating if a certain computer component should be sold as scrap vs to vintage collects can be controversial enough in this biz. But if your channel or business is based on current events, politics, sex, religion, etc., your calculus is different. You've made the choice to be in that mix. So do it, but do so understanding the risks. And lying, misrepresenting the truth or otherwise being dishonest for the sake of generating controversy around your channel in the hopes of gaining views is a weak and cowardly approach to biz. Definitely NOT Fastlane.

Finally, you must be genuine. Don't be afraid to bring YOU to the game. Your personality is what sets you apart from every other channel/content creator in your niche. I recommend you make it the real you. You can't fake a persona long term. And if what people see in person is different from what they see on your videos...it won't end well. In my biz I see and deal with some of the same people that watch my channel. If I'm not genuine they won't trust me and if they don't trust me, they won't do business with me. There are some niches and channels that might allow for a shtick. If you're going to go down this road make sure you've thought it through as deliberately as you would any critical long term business decision. It could become a part of your brand - like it or not.
Agreed on avoiding swearing and controversy - unless it’s part of your plan/business.

And 100%, one of the primary goals is to get people to know, like, and trust us.


On regular uploads…

A line I heard last year that resonated with me was:

“Don’t tell different things to the same people. Tell the same things to different people.”

I’ve watched a few videos from big channels where they say a rigid upload schedule isn’t necessary, and may be harmful for the creator’s mental health. It certainly took all the fun out of Twitter for me when I tried to tweet once a day.

I’m using YouTube more as a place to host videos people can watch who’ve been referred to me and/or who I’ve chatted to.

Only this week someone was referred to me, sent me an email asking if I could help them, and then later sent another email saying:

“I'll book a time on Wednesday next, however, i watched your YouTube workshop earlier, really impressed with your knowledge and skill, id be happy to hire you straight away if we could have a chat.”

That’s after he found and watched the “pinned” video on my channel.

Other people I speak to mention they Googled me before hopping on a call. They find a lot of Google Ads content on various sites (including this forum).

I’m not saying NOT to have a regular schedule, just that it’s not the only way.

I may even unlist a lot of older videos and just keep a few choice ones there.

I’d rather have a few gems (and maybe put ad spend behind them) than have to publish to a schedule. I’d rather have ONE video on my channel that gets seen by different people every day than lots of videos that get seen mostly by the same people.

(Take with a pinch of salt of course. You do what works best for you.)
 

Ernman

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Agreed on avoiding swearing and controversy - unless it’s part of your plan/business.

And 100%, one of the primary goals is to get people to know, like, and trust us.


On regular uploads…

A line I heard last year that resonated with me was:

“Don’t tell different things to the same people. Tell the same things to different people.”

I’ve watched a few videos from big channels where they say a rigid upload schedule isn’t necessary, and may be harmful for the creator’s mental health. It certainly took all the fun out of Twitter for me when I tried to tweet once a day.

I’m using YouTube more as a place to host videos people can watch who’ve been referred to me and/or who I’ve chatted to.

Only this week someone was referred to me, sent me an email asking if I could help them, and then later sent another email saying:

“I'll book a time on Wednesday next, however, i watched your YouTube workshop earlier, really impressed with your knowledge and skill, id be happy to hire you straight away if we could have a chat.”

That’s after he found and watched the “pinned” video on my channel.

Other people I speak to mention they Googled me before hopping on a call. They find a lot of Google Ads content on various sites (including this forum).

I’m not saying NOT to have a regular schedule, just that it’s not the only way.

I may even unlist a lot of older videos and just keep a few choice ones there.

I’d rather have a few gems (and maybe put ad spend behind them) than have to publish to a schedule. I’d rather have ONE video on my channel that gets seen by different people every day than lots of videos that get seen mostly by the same people.

(Take with a pinch of salt of course. You do what works best for you.)
One of the values of YouTube is the flexibility it brings to creators to use as best suits their needs. If a creator wants to grow their channel nothing beats regular uploads of quality content. The key being what is "regular". There are some channels that only upload once a month, others once a quarter - but their content is so good they can still grow in between uploads. If a creator isn't concerned about growth so much as using it as a tool for some other business, the calculus is very different.

Yours is a good example of how less is more. It fits your needs. This works for you because you're not using YT as a way for people to find you, but a way to educate people about you. Another awesome application of the tool.

I've listened to a lot discussion about social media burn out. I've also chatted with a few creators who went through it. It is real. It's so important for creators to have a schedule they can sustain, or in your case no real schedule but just uploading as needed. The critical thing is that the creator understand what their goal is for the channel and the consequences of that goal. Too frequently creators chase subscribers and views which leads to burn out. Just like chasing money, they're failing to provide the value that brings the money - in this case views - to them.

I'm of two minds on the burn out issue. The retired military in me wants to say, suck it up butter cup and get to work. You chose this path, so stop whining and get to it. Not as easy as you thought? Then move on or get tough. The more sympathetic side says, YT is a marathon. It's ok to slow down to a sustainable pace, walk through the aid station while you rehydrate, look around and enjoy the scenery. Even the most serious runners, or in this case, business people take vacation some times. In the US Navy we give people 30 days paid vacation a year for a reason. Burn out from over work is real and dangerous. It is very important for people to pace their lives and YT is no different.

This is where having no schedule or having a regular sustainable schedule is very important. If one has no schedule, then missing a day, a week, a month is no big deal. The channel growth will suffer, but for someone like you that's not important. For the creator that does want growth but also wants to manage their mental health a regular sustainable schedule allows them down time either between vids OR by uploading a bunch of vids to get a week, month or months ahead.

Nothing on YouTube is one size fits all. There's so much flexibility in it. Unfortunately, there's too many gurus out there trying to sell people on what success looks like.
 
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Ernman

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My business isn't all about me. Yes, I want my biz to make me a lot of money and eventually get me on the Fastlane. But there's a philanthropic side to this as well. I have long loved the ocean and its creatures, especially sharks. Long story we can have off line some day. I decided my biz would help me contribute to supporting shark research as part of my commitment to giving back to our planet. (If you've read MJ's latest book, The Great Rat Race Escape , you can think of sharks to me as Pinky was to Samantha - but with more teeth)

In 2021 it seemed my YouTube channel, Shark Scrapper, was well enough established and large enough to risk asking my viewers to donate to a crazy idea. I would collect and match their donations so we could eventually "adopt" a shark through the University of Miami's Shark Research and Conservation program (SRC). I called it the Shark Scrapper Shark Adoption Project. I announced it during the Discovery channel's Shark Week in August. By December we had the $3,000 we needed. The SRC tagged a beautiful female Great Hammerhead Shark and sent me plenty of video and photos that I used to make a success video post and updates. The feedback was so positive that in early 2022 I announce the 2 FOR 22 campaign. To raise enough money to adopt 2 sharks.

But I felt a need to give back something more than just shout outs and thankyous. So I started a Patreon account. For those unfamiliar with Patreon it is a site where people can become "patrons" of an artist/creator by paying a fee determined by the artist. I established three levels: $5/month Hammerhead Shark, $10/month Tiger Shark and $20/month Whale Shark. If you want to see the details of the perks received for each level visit this page: Shark Scrapper is creating Scrapping and Recycling Videos and Community | Patreon. My viewers can still donate via paypal or old fashion check, but Patreon allows me to give them a little some thing back.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I went from three uploads a week on YouTube to two. Instead of a third YouTube video I now make a patron only video each week. It's no additional burden to my weekly work flow but that third video is now generating more revenue and building greater reputation with my more loyal fans.

The mechanics: You have to have place for the Patreon videos to reside. I use VIMEO which can be linked to your Patreon account such that only your patrons can view the videos and leave comments. I pay the mid-tier level ($108/year) for VIMEO which allows enough storage to upload one video and some small posts each week. I made that investment back in the first month. If this proves popular enough, I can always upgrade my VIMEO account to get more storage.

I chose to use Patreon as a part of my giving back. But anyone can use Patreon to generate additional income from their social media presence. It's another tool that may or may not fit in your tool box.
 

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