What I Have Learned Starting an Investing YouTube Channel
I had the crazy idea to begin the journey of starting a YouTube channel that would chronicle my investing journey and portfolio, so I started it on April 20, 2019. I really didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing or where I wanted the channel to go. I also had no idea how difficult it was to actually be comfortable on a video talking to strangers. I mean I am a forty year old father of two children, who has been married for nearly 15 years (at the time of writing this). I say that to say I have seen a lot of things, conquered a lot, failed a lot, and generally am not concerned with what others think about me, generally speaking. Then I started making video content on YouTube and got nervous about it, life is weird sometimes, haha. At any rate let’s go over the things I have learned creating this channel, that might assist others thinking of getting started on the same path.
Lesson Number One: I had to learn not be nervous on camera, and speak without using so many speech fillers
One of the first things I had to learn, was to not be nervous, and speak without using so many “uh”, “umm” and “ah” fillers. The nervous thing got better by just making more videos, and I think that is really the best way to overcome it. The filler word issue, was one I didn’t even realize until I started watching myself on camera, and had to be purposeful about trying to correct it, and also edit out some of them.
Lesson Number Two: Make sure the people close to you are on board with you starting a channel.
For many people this may not even be a major consideration, but for me it was since I am married and have a family. I had to get their consent and think about how it would effect their lives as well. Creating content and setting up a brand can be time consuming, and that has certainly been the case for me as well. I am very thankful my wife and kids were and are very supportive even in the beginning when becoming monetized was not really a consideration (it was only a hope and dream). At any rate this is a key step to consider and discuss when beginning.
Lesson Number Three: Quality, trusted content is king
Let me explain what I mean here that quality, trusted content is king. When I started my channel I had a quantity mindset, where I was pumping out 4-5 videos per week, many of which were sub-par in quality. Needless to say those videos many times did not do so well. On most occasions, even early on, when I would spend the time methodically thinking through the content I would produce and do the best job I could editing it (this also is an evolution over time), the video would inevitably do better than a rushed video production. I also learned to do the extra research so I was not mis-speaking on a topic or providing ideas and insights that were not beneficial to those consuming my content. So the trusted aspect of this is also huge, because when people come to your content and know that they can trust your content it builds loyalty.
Lesson Number Four: It’s all about community
So YouTube is a vast community of both content creators and content consumers, with niche categories galore. The investing community on YouTube is from what I am learning still kind of in it’s infancy. There are a few big channels with over 500,000 subscribers, and maybe a couple with 1 million plus subscribers, but in comparison to some other categories on YouTube that’s a drop in a bucket. I say all that to say, it is very important to be in-grained in the community by visiting, subscribing, commenting, and supporting other content creators. This is in my opinion in the beginning the best way to grow your channel, and to see what other channels are doing to help inspire ideas and learn from others.
It is also critical to acknowledge those and interact with those that come to you videos and comment. A way to make the community feel included is to answer some of the questions that come in on a video and recognize the person who asked it (ask them first to make sure they don’t mind). Another way to make your supporters feel included is to do live streams/video premieres where they can join in a live conversation with others and yourself.
Lesson Number Five: YouTube opens up many additional other opportunities other than monetization
This particular lesson is one that I was completely oblivious to. I did realize that really big channels got paid sponsorships and partnerships with companies, I did not think that I would be able to partake in any of these until my channel was much bigger. Let me give some details into what I am trying to say here. Essentially as soon as my channel hit 1,000 subscribers I was sent a couple emails from a couple of newer smaller brokerages/cryptocurrency platforms to begin either an affiliate marketer for them, or to review their product on my channel. I declined all of the cryptocurrency platforms, as that does not make sense for my audience and content. I have however accepted two stock trading brokerages to be an affiliate marketer for. Being that my channel is still so relatively small, I have made very little from these, but it did open my eyes to the possibilities that are bound to come as my channel and brand continues to grow. One of the affiliates did pay me for my first video review of the platform and I was able to buy a new desk with that payout that I plan to use building a new studio to film in.
Another opportunity that becomes available to content creators is to create a blog in conjunction with the YouTube channel and also get ad revenue from the blog as well, obviously. So there are numerous doors that open up through the YouTube platform that many are unaware of.
Lesson Number Six: After monetization, it’s all about views and quality content, not adding subscribers
Views and quality content that provides value to your viewers will build your channel more than any other vehicle. I have seen some content creators get so fixated on getting more subscribers and not creating content that their current subscribers want to come back to the channel and view. Once you get monetized, every view you get is an opportunity to make a little more cash so why would you focus on subscriber count? This is backwards math, and I see some content creators go down the path of focusing on subscribers over content and their channels suffer.
So in conclusion, I have learned many things these past 8-9 months on YouTube, and I honestly have had an excellent experience on the platform. There are many videos and content creators that knock the YouTube platform, but I would dare to say that they may be misusing the platform or copyright laws or other policies/guidelines set forth by YouTube. If you have the desire to kick off a new channel, be prepared to be in lots of effort for very little return for quite a while, but also be prepared for many doors of opportunities to swing open wide. So just do it, and be kind and supportive to others, even when they are not being kind to you. All the best!