HOW TO START & GROW A YOUTUBE CHANNEL IN 2023 *ZERO TO 200K + MY JOURNEY*
If there's only one thing you take away from this entire video, it's that starting a YouTube channel can completely change your life, and there's no better time than the present moment to get started. So maybe you finally decided to take the plunge and start that Youtube channel this year. Today we'll be going over all the golden Nuggets of advice that I wish that I had at the start. There's actually so much more to growing a Youtube channel than initially meets the eye.
So in this video we will breakdown a practicaxl road map to help you start or continue your Youtube journey. This channel recently hit 200,000 thousand subscribers after one and a half years of uploading videos, which actually kind of blows my mind a little bit and it's completely changed my life in terms of mindset, finances, friendships and more. I've made friends with incredible people from all across the. World and I've learned to develop my own voice and creativity. If you're interested in key advice for starting and growing a Youtube channel, or you're just curious about my own journey and the emotional, technical and managerial skills that it takes, then keep watching this video.
If you're new here, my name's Izzy, I'm a Cambridge graduate and a doctor working in London. Firstly, I'll talk about why and now is the best time to start your Youtube channel, and also the overarching principles of how blowing up on Youtube even happens. Secondly, I'll breakdown the five key areas of advice and skills that you need to build up in order to be able to start and grow.
Successful YouTube channel. This will include some practical advice that you can literally apply immediately from things like handling the emotional roller coaster of doing YouTube, finding your niche, maintaining engagement and figuring out what gear and equipment you need, etc. Thirdly, I'll go over my own journey with YouTube in terms of growth and monetization. Finally, I'll answer some questions that you guys asked me on Instagram and Discord. Feel free to follow me over there if you'd like to get involved with this kind of thing in the future.
So this video is a bit of a three in one of YouTube advice, a Silver Creator Award, unboxing, and also talking about my personal journey to two. Thousand subscribers let's get into it. So why should you start a Youtube channel now? There's literally no time like the present to start video as a format is blowing up across all platforms including Youtube tik, tok. Instagram especially shorts, but also long form content. There are 22 8 billion monthly visits to the site and 1 billion hours of video content watched every single day on Youtube Which is actually insane. Like I can't even get my head around that number of hours videos overtaking traditional formats of information such as newspapers.
Reading traditional teaching and traditional entertainment in terms of its rate of growth, one thing you may have heard commonly is that it's already saturated. But people are saying that literally 10 years ago, and if you ever considered doing it, it's worth giving it a shot because you'll never know if you don't try. And I'm a firm believer in living life without regrets. So once we've decided we want to start a YouTube channel, how do we actually blow up? We see all these videos going viral, getting millions and millions of views. How can we achieve that ourselves? Well, there's actually only two things that you need to achieve if you want.
To blow up on Youtube or any of the other video platforms, if I'm honest, if you boil it down to the basics, growing on Youtube takes only two things. You need to get people to click on your videos, and then you need to get them to keep watching your videos. If you can do those two things successfully, then you're literally onto like a winner when a chicken dinner combination and the algorithm will notice and your videos will blow up.
Of course, the tricky part is actually getting those two things to happen. Our attention is our most valuable resource. So of course when somebody's watching a video they want to be getting value back from it, either through education, entertainment. Tutorials, comfort, information, etc. So let's go through how we can optimize for both of these by going through the five key areas of advice. The first area is the content value and the myth of the niche. Firstly, let's address niches because I know that you guys are thinking about it.
Everybody, when they think about starting Youtube is thinking, oh what should I make videos about? Finding your niche before you start is a little bit of a myth in my opinion. There's a few ways that you can go about this. If you really have a specific niche that you really want to go for, then of course gun for it. But if you're not sure what your niche is immediately you.
Don't need to force yourself to niche down artificially before you even start. I sure didn't, and I didn't know what I was going to make videos about when I started. My advice on this is to start making videos about topics that you enjoy or you're interested in, and your niche will find you. After you've tried out a few topics, you'll gain a better understanding of what works well for you in terms of what you enjoy making, and also what performs well in terms of the algorithm and the audience and what they want to see from you.
It's almost like this icky guy Venn diagram of what you love making, what you're actually good at making, and what. The world really needs to see from you and what the audience is wanting to see. The main thing here is to not stop reviewing and reflecting on how your videos are doing and what kind of topics you're enjoying, but don't stop actually doing the thing. If you're really stuck then one thing that can be helpful is instead of thinking of your niche, think of your audience and often the audience that you would be targeting is actually maybe often yourself from a few years ago. So for example, if I was making videos for Izzy a couple of years ago, maybe like 20 year old Izzy, then what would she benefit from? What kind of videos would be helpful for her? And then I can often make those.
Years quite well because I've gained that wealth of life experience since then. I'd also say that while deciding what kind of videos to make, you should consider a balance between search optimized and browse optimized content. Search optimized content is something that people would search for in the YouTube search bar. It's pretty self-explanatory This essentially means that it's content that will continue to get views slowly over time because people are constantly searching for it at a fairly flat rate usually. Browse content on the other hand is more designed to go viral or to hitch up onto the algorithm and once the algorithm.
Identifies a video that's performing well, then it will put it up on the browse page for more and more people and then that will get your video out in front of an audience. I found that early on when starting a Youtube channel, it's better to focus a little bit more on search topics, but occasionally through in a couple of kind of browse style videos that are optimized to go more viral rather than just being a search video.
This type of explore and then exploit model has been really helpful for me because actually when I started making videos I thought, you know what, I'm just going to learn how to make videos by making videos about kind of things I'm interested. And I happened to make one video about learning Chinese because I'd been spending hours and hours a day learning Chinese. So I thought, oh, why not just make a video about it? Since I've spent so long thinking about this? That video actually turned out to be the video that first really gained traction on my channel, and it wasn't what I'd expected at all. So I highly recommend you try a few different topics while you're starting out early on, remember that no one's really watching your channel that much when you start initially.
So just feel free to throw out a couple of things out there, fling the proverbial spaghetti at the wall, and see what sticks. And through the process of making all these videos, you're also learning how to make a good. Video so now, having debunked the myth of the niche, we also want to actually consider what our competitive advantages are. These are things that make you unique and give you a unique edge in your content. For example, if I tried to make videos about how to become a corporate lawyer, that would be pretty pointless because I don't actually have any competitive advantages in that space. I'm not a corporate lawyer. I don't really know a huge amount about it, I just think the basics.
But on the other hand, if I made a video about how to become a doctor in the UK's National Health Service, which I currently am, then that video would be so much easier for me to make. I would have authority. In the area and I'd be able to convey the information accurately because I'm actually in it and I have those competitive advantages in that space. The final tip in this category is to watch other Youtubers that you enjoy and get inspired by their videos to then create your own unique style.
It's OK to initially start out making videos that are quite similar to ones that you've already seen out there that will just help you get going, but with each video you make, try to infuse some of your own individuality into it and try to make it a little bit more your own. Because actually being your own unique voice is what will help make you stand out as an individual on Youtube The second pillar of advice is all the emotional skills around starting and then sustaining a Youtube channel. The first point is that you need to start before you feel ready.
You need to be outside of your comfort zone. You need to push your workout there even though you feel like it's horrible and not perfect and not what you'd actually want to push out there at all. One tip that helps me is instead of thinking of success on Youtube as the big goal, think of simply starting as being the goal. This will help you just take one step in the right direction and start to dip your toes into the whole world of making Youtube videos this.
Also means that you need to learn as you go along. So each time you make a video, each time you sit down to work on your Youtube stuff, try to learn something new and build on your craft. You don't need to have the perfect gear or the perfect camera confidence or the perfect script or the perfect niche or the perfect thumbnail to get started on Youtube Just launch ugly and launch while it's still rough around the edges and you'll learn every single time that you make a video.
The best way to learn is by doing, and this is backed up by numerous psychological studies and just work on improving a little bit, maybe learning one or two new things. Each time you iterate and don't forget that perfect is the enemy of good. Sometimes for me, once the video is even finished, I've got the thumbnail. I'd actually feel some resistance or fear to pressing publish, maybe because I didn't feel like the video was as good as it could have been. But it's actually always worth hitting upload and taking the plunge because you can always improve on your next video.
And who knows, because some of the videos that I thought were kind of a bit bad actually brought the most value to people and have been the best performing. The second key emotional skill is to learn to maintain equanimity. Equanimity can be defined as an. Evenness of mind, even in the face of stress. This means that whether things are going well, or whether they're going badly or whether nothing's happening at all, you have a place of emotional balance and stability that you can come back to. This is essential because YouTube can really be a rollercoaster of emotions.
When you first start out, it's quite likely that not many people will be watching your videos. You'll be wondering, oh, I'm putting in all this effort, but nobody's even watching them. And that doesn't feel good when we feel like our efforts are going unrewarded. But keep going because you never know when the algorithm could pick up a video. So I personally try to train myself to. Economists whether or not the outcome is good or bad. So that means I don't let myself feel too happy if things are going well, and I don't let myself feel too sad if they're not going well.
Decoupling my emotions from the performance of my videos and how my Youtube channel is doing allows me to make videos I actually enjoy and also not get too caught up in the whole roller coaster that's going on over in the algorithm. This is so important because video performance is often really out of our own control, and it's really hard to predict what's going to happen. All you can control is making another video that will. Hopefully be valuable to one person and improving each time you iterate. It's that whole balance between input and output and trying to let go of the outcome is a way to feel happier and more sustainable.
On Youtube the third pillar is the engagement engine. So this is all about the algorithm and how to feed the algorithm its favorite snacks which are click through rate and watch time. There are literally so many more variables. I think it's like 30 plus variables that are fed into the algorithm, but these are two that we can look at as creators to understand how things are going firstly. A clickable thumbnail and title is essential if nobody clicks on your video because the thumbnail and title don't look interesting enough to click, then they won't ever see the great content that you've made and the fantastic video that you've put so much effort into making.
Try to come up with at least five ideas for a thumbnail and title for a video and choose the one that resonates the most for you. Secondly, you really want to focus on the 1st 30 seconds of a video, also known as the hook. This is the start of the video where you need to show the viewer that the video they've clicked on is actually the kind of video that they want to watch.
You need to provide your value proposition early on and what you're going to talk about in the video south that they know what's coming up. So these first 10 to 30 seconds are so important to show the viewer why they should keep watching. Just a note about the thumbnails, titles, and the hook. It's not about creating clickbait or creating hooks that make false promises. What you want to do is you want to convey the real value that your video has, because ultimately, if you make a clickbait thumbnail and title and hook, people are going to realize quite quickly that the video doesn't have the value that they want and they will click off.
The next important thing is camera confidence and presence. When you're looking at camera, you should ideally try to look into the lens. So currently I'm looking directly into the lens. But one mistake I used to make early on, and is really common in people starting out on Youtube is that they actually look at the viewfinder. So I don't know if you can tell the difference between me looking at the viewfinder versus me looking into the lens directly.
But by looking into the lens it creates this feeling that actually I'm looking directly at you rather than looking off somewhere into space. I got a lot of questions on Instagram about how I managed to talk to the camera with confidence and actually this is something I really struggled with in the beginning and it's so natural to. Struggle with it because it's so unnatural to be sitting in your room alone in front of a camera and talking into this, like, black hole.
A tip that I found worked really well for me was that I pretended that I was talking to someone I knew really well. So I pretend I was talking to my sister or to my mom. And then I'd just be able to relax more into it. And I would just imagine, OK, I'm just filming a video for my sister. Well, I'm just filming a video for my mom, hey, and that kind of thing.
And that would help me to relax in front of the camera. And gradually, overtime, through repeated practice and iterating over and over again, you will naturally become better. At it. The final point in engagement is the editing style and you really want to make sure that the a cut is really tight. So the A cut is essentially the talking that goes on in the video. You don't want any long pauses or Um's and ah's. Cut these right out in the edit and get rid of them because they will just add a sort of slowing down to the pace of your video and make your audience feel like they're wasting their time because it kind of is a waste of time.
The next point in editing is to show, don't just tell. So if you're talking about. An item, for example, if I'm talking about my plaque, then maybe I can actually grab my plaque and be like, hey, this is my plaque, look at my plaque. Or I can put B roll of the plaque. So basically I kind of put a clip of me filming this over the main cut of the video and that makes it more engaging because video inherently is a visual source of information, which means that actually we can hear things, but we can also see things and my face, I don't think it's particularly interesting.
So if I put other B roll or pictures or images or text on screen, then that can help visually engage by showing. Rather than just telling, the final point about editing for engagement is pattern interrupt. So every seven to 10 seconds you want something new going on screen, whether that's text or B roll or something along those lines, just to keep it engaging and to keep the viewer's interest peak.
The fourth pillar is production value, so this means both the hardware and the software. So firstly, hardware in terms of the gear and equipment, the best gear is the gear that you actually have. You can even start a YouTube channel just with your phone. It has a camera, it has a microphone, and if you have a window with natural. Or some big lamps in your room. Then you've got your camera, microphone and your lighting. If you want to upgrade something then audio quality is actually much more important than video quality.
So upgrade audio first with by getting an external microphone. Next you should consider your lighting and then your camera, usually in that order, but depending on which one is the limiting factor. If you have an external microphone, then put it as close to your mouth as possible. So actually my microphone is right up here. Just out of shot, that's my microphone there. This gives you the best chance for picking up the best audio quality, and it's why podcasters, for example, have their microphones literally like right up to their face.
I've made a little notion page with the links to gear of different price ranges and also what exact gear I currently use. Don't forget lighting, because lighting actually makes a huge difference to how well even the same camera can perform in certain conditions. Take a look at these two pictures of the same camera with just different lighting and you can see a crazy difference. The second point in production value is software i often get asked about what kind of software I use to make my videos in terms of video editor. When I started out I used Davinci Resolve, which is free to download and a really powerful editor with amazing color grading really like.
Loads of features, more features than I could ever learn how to use. Other options for great video editing software include Final Cut Pro and also Adobe premiere, but those cost a little bit of money. Depending on your budget. Music for Youtube video should ideally be royalty free, which means that there's no copyrights controlling the music and you won't get a copyright strike on your video. If you do use copyrighted music, then you can get a claim on your video, which basically means it could get demonetized or taken down.
Or maybe the actual owner of the music will actually take the Adsense revenue themselves rather than you getting anything for your video. There are two recommendations I'd have for this. If you want to get something for free then I'd recommend thematic. It's what I used when I was on a student budget and had like no budget to spend on YouTube. But if you can spend a little bit more I would highly recommend epidemic sound, which is what I use now.
It's a subscription service and honestly it's much better than thematic, has so many more options in terms of genre and style of music, and the search function is way more powerful as well, so that's worth it if you can afford it. If you want a free trial of epidemic sound for I think 30 days then click the link down below if you've outsourced your editing with a video. Editor then a really helpful website is framed IO, which is really good for doing revisions for videos. A website called Canva is excellent for making thumbnails. I make all my thumbnails on Canva. Another website called Thumbs Up TV is really good for checking your thumbnails and how your titles will look etc.
And finally for creating links that are like deep linked to Youtube videos you can use something called Link twin. I'll leave links to all of these down below and a couple more because I think I've forgotten some off the top of my head. The fifth pillar is scaling and outsourcing. So once you've started to get your YouTube channel. Off the ground you may want to actually outsource some of the video editing or thumbnail creation or some parts of the process that you either don't have the time or skills to do to the same level. So for me personally, as I'm working full time as a junior doctor in London, that I barely have time to even sleep and eat, let alone edit my own videos.
So I of course do all the scripting and ideation and filming of my videos and then I work with a video editor who edits my videos and then we'll go through a round of revisions and framed IO before getting the final result which you. Looking at right now, I have a whole bunch of tips around this, but I won't go into this in too much depth because I don't want this video to get too long.
So now I'll talk a little bit about my journey on Youtube and how everything started and how I grew and monetization just in brief, just in case you guys are curious. I personally took the Parttime Youtube Academy Live course which helped me to get my Youtube channel going. It taught me a lot about how the whole Youtube thing works with personalized feedback on my videos, and it also linked me up with a whole bunch of you tuber friends to share the journey with and be accountability buddies. If you want to learn more about starting and scaling a YouTube channel as a parttime side hustle. You might want to check out the course I've added a link down below in the description in case you're interested OK, so this is my channel.
Currently, I have 207 thousand one hundred and fifty five subscribers. If I go to lifetime so I started my channel just as a kind of viewer way back in like 2014 just started watching YouTube but I only actually uploaded my first ever video in June 2021 That's when I officially started YouTube, so as you can see when I started in June 2021 I had a couple of subscribers. From just sort of friends and family and that kind of thing. And just gradually, slowly gained a couple of subscribers. As you can see, I only had a couple hundred subscribers for a really long time and I was just growing very slowly overtime.
So then in 2022 grew a little bit more, started a podcast with my really good friends Ruri and Matt. I linked their channels down below and some of my videos, including my Mandarin video started to gain a little bit more traction and started to be promoted in the algorithm after having been searched for ages because they initially started out as such focused video. Videos and people were searching for them overtime.
They'd gained views overtime and then the algorithm had gained enough evidence to realize actually they could put it on browse people who are interested in learning Chinese. Then I started to actually be consistent on YouTube for a couple of weeks and in August it actually started to really take off. And then it's been this sort of wiggly growth trajectory since then until the present day. In terms of views, this is what the graph looks like. You can see I started uploading a couple of videos early on over here, so my earliest videos are quite funny to look back on now and after I published these.
Videos in a row, then there was a little uptick of growth and then a real uptick over here in terms of monetization, there are two requirements that Youtube has for joining the Youtube partner program. The 1st is having 1000 subscribers and the second is having 4000 watch hours on your channel in the last one year. I personally hit this requirement on the twenty second of march twenty two and I started making a couple of pennies per day for my Youtube videos, which was really exciting at the time.
So it's time to open up my silver play button plaque. We're reaching 100,000 thousand subscribers. This is kind of weird. This is a little bit of a weird moment because I feel like this is the moment where I actually become a YouTuber when I open this. Which is partly why I've been putting this off, because I feel kind of nervous to actually hold it in my hands and see my name on it. But let's go. Let's do it. I'm so grateful to all of you watching for supporting me.
I literally, like, couldn't have done any of this without any of you guys drum roll. Let's go for it. Oh wow, that's one gone. Next one gone. How do I open this? Oh my goodness, it's packaged so securely. Oh gosh. A bit embarrassing if I can't actually open it and I have to ask my dad for help. Ok, there we go. Oh my God, it's opening. I'm actually so nervous I can't even express how nervous I am. Let's go. Okey dokey. Very mysterious black box for now. Check this out. I got a note from Susan and now for the main event. Oh, goodness, I can't even get it out. This might be the most chaotic unboxing video you've ever watched.
There we go. Oh, my God, you guys. It's so shiny. Oh, it's beautiful. Look at that. Oh my gosh. Ok. This feels really real all of a sudden. Honestly, this has been mind blowing. I wasn't expected to be like this, overwhelmed with just excitement. A little bit of imposter syndrome as well. Just a healthy dose of it. Oh my God. Finally going to answer some of your questions from Instagram and Discord.
I got a lot of questions that I've already answered in earlier parts of the video, so I'll just answer the ones that are left. How does it feel to have two hundred k subscribers? Honestly a little bit surreal I think at the hundred k subscribers mark. Felt like, oh, this is actually really getting real now. Before that point, I think I always told myself I wasn't a YouTuber, I was just trying to make YouTube videos.
I was trying to like, not overly commit to this identity of being a YouTuber. But once I passed 100,000 thousand subscribers, then I was like, OK, now I actually feel like a YouTuber. I mean, I've got. Plaque coming in the post did you expect to reach 200 K This soon? When did you expect to get to 200 K? And what was your intention at the start? No, I did not expect to reach 200 K subscribers as quickly as I did. I think especially because I've been quite inconsistent with video uploads at the start of 2022 I actually thought that having fifty k subscribers by the end of the year would have been unattainable, when actually I somehow achieved around a hundred and eighty eight thousand subscribers by the end of 2022 So that was a little bit crazy for me, honestly though, I didn't think too hard about whether or not I.
Would ever get hit because I just focus really on the daytoday of making the videos and then getting better and making them with each video that I made. Also, deep down I kind of knew this question was a little bit intimidating because it's not exactly something I have much control over directly. All I actually have control over as my input goal is whether or not I actually sit down to actually make a video.
The output of how many subscribers or views it gets is like kind of out of my control in a way, because the only thing I knew to optimize for that is to make a good videos. My main intention at the start was honestly just to give it. Ago, because it was one of those things where I don't want to live life with any regrets. And I thought, you know what, I'll get it a whack and see what happens.
And all of this has happened and it's actually changed my life. It's actually kind of crazy, so. You need to start your Youtube channel. I also knew that Youtube could become a form of income. However, I haven't really made the most of this because I've literally declined dozens and dozens of sponsorships because I just want to focus on making videos. What is my plan for Youtube moving forward? I'm planning a lot of things so stay tuned. I'm currently prioritizing 2 things which is firstly making great videos for you guys that hopefully bring value, and secondly is innovating and learning new ways to make great videos, how to make short form content, etc.
And this is in the hope that if the video is actually positive and valuable to you guys, then the videos will automatically get views and the channel will grow organically. That's the hope. I'm still experimenting, especially with shorts. So let me go down below if you have any suggestions for short form content or how to make shorts, because I'm still trying to get my head around at all. What got you started on YouTube and how has it affected you throughout your journey? So I was on a gap year between my fifth and sixth year at university and I decided that I just wanted to try something new.
It's actually affected me and changed me in many ways. I feel like I've gained a lot of deep confidence from this and proved. That I can do things and I don't have to worry about what other people are thinking. I've met and connected with so many incredible people, including you, watching this, and I've learned to care a lot less about what other people think and what other people's judgments may be. This has overall just allowed me to live life a bit more authentically and just really enjoy the process. To be fair, Youtube has also burned me out at times and also been exhausting, especially when I've been juggling it with Cambridge medicine and then now with working as a doctor.
But I've also found a real passion for just sitting down and holding this space to actually. Be creative and film A video that leads on quite nicely. Onto the next question was how did you do it around a busy schedule? How did you do it while you were studying at Cambridge? And also how are you doing it now while working as a doctor? Honestly this is something I really struggle with. My fulltime job as a doctor has been really busy and challenging in ways that I've never experienced before.
I often get home with very little energy to do my side hustle. So the way that I try to make time for this is by firstly blocking out time in the calendar, having a very organized notion can band board for my video. Your workflow. I can show you my notion Kanban board in another video if you're interested. Just let me know down below. On the Kanban board. I also breakdown the month by month plan and also breakdown the steps individually that are required to make each video.
And finally separating planning and execution which allows me to sit down and plan for the month and then actually execute when I actually have a little bit of free time because mixing the two is just never a good combination. What were your experiences with your first YouTube video? How did you plan and feel? I felt really nervous. Actually, I found it really hard to talk to a camera. I found it really baffling, the whole experience, and I just told myself, you know, what is he? You just got to start. You just got to pick a topic, write a script, film it, edit it. It's going to be bad.
It's going to be a bit, even if it's a bit. That's fine, because you know what, the next one can be good. I always have that kind of mentality. Like, oh, the next video after this one that I'm working on is going to be a good one. I'll just focus on making an OK video, a good enough video, and then publishing it. How did you grow your channel and get to 200 K? Advice for anyone thinking of starting a Youtube channel.
So there's been a whole load of advice so far in this video, but my main thing is to stick with it because a lot of my best performing videos actually didn't gain traction for quite a while after they were initially published. The algorithm needs to gain enough. Insight into how well your videos are performing and reach a level of statistical significance where it can vouch or you know what? This is a good video, but until it reaches that point when you're only getting a couple of hundred views on your videos, it doesn't have that information to make that call.
Stick with it until you're at least past that point and also always be thinking about bringing value to the viewer. Their time is precious and you need to respect that. Make sure you also show a bit of your personality as well, as that's what makes you unique. What advice do you have for building passion and love for what you are doing? I'd say finding the fun in it, asking yourself how this could be.
Run and leaning into that enjoyment. Best life advice in one sentence. Take care of yourself and remember the journey as the destination. What was the hardest part of your Youtube journey? I'd say the hardest part was when nothing was growing at all and I was just starting out. Actually starting was the hardest part 100 %. Once I'd started and learned how to make videos then everything flowed a bit more from there. So this has probably been quite a long video. But that's all the advice I have. I hope you found this video helpful or interesting in some kind of way.
If you enjoyed it, I think you'll like this video over here where I breakdown an evidence based framework for goal setting in order to maximize your chances for success. The goals such as starting Youtube or being consistent with Youtube As always, take care of yourself and remember that the journey is the destination. I'll see you in the next video bye oh my God, look at this is crazy. So this is. The video, oh, wow.
It's like an actual mirror. You can see the camera. That's crazy. You can see the whole camera. That's kind of trippy, you know?