Like many YouTubers, I started my channel back in the day, 2015 to be exact, without much of a plan and made videos sporadically. I didn’t have a strategy — just a loose idea of the content I wanted to make when I had free time and that was good enough for me for a few years. I was years away from making a dime off any of it. A couple of years ago I started taking my YouTube channel more seriously, got monetized, had a video go viral, and have grown it to over 70,000 subscribers. Here’s what I love and hate about making videos on YouTube.
If you subscribe to my channel, thank you. I appreciate you so much. Now let’s pull back the curtain…. here we go.
Let me begin by saying there’s no one “right” way to do YouTube. Everyone’s experiences, goals, ambitions, and community are all different, so I’m just sharing my thoughts based on what I do. For me, “getting serious” about YouTube meant making channel growth a priority and putting work into it consistently… 20+ hours/week at a minimum.
Truth be told, this past year has been the hardest of my life. 2021 is when two family members passed away far too young from terminal cancer, one of whom was my mom. Looking back at the 71 videos I put out last year (which includes a handful of shorts), I think I put my head down and worked so hard on YouTube as a way to distract myself from the painful reality I was going through. Putting out a video a week was away for me to detach from the anticipatory grief and grief combo that was all consuming for me (and still is, but that’s a story for another day).
Putting out a video a week on my channel is not something I’ll be continuing in 2022. For the content I create and the way I work, it’s not sustainable nor is it good for my mental health or stress levels. I’m looking forward to a more relaxed pace in 2022.
Casual viewers might not realize how much of a time commitment YouTube is…. if you’re looking to grow your channel. There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes work that goes into a seemingly simple video… brainstorming, researching, scripting, filming, editing, thumbnail creation, promotion, etc. and that’s the short list.
Even a “simple” video takes 10 hours minimum from start to finish and that’s on the verrrry conservative end.
If you want to see consistent growth, income, and build a community, you need to have a plan and be patient. It’s most certainly work, and depending on the type of content you make, can become very time intensive and expensive work. Stay the course if it’s important to you.
OK let’s get into what I love and hate about being on YouTube.
What I love about having a YouTube channel
Always learning new things & the creative outlet aspect.
I love learning in general, which is a good thing because making videos has a steep learning curve. From video editing to the tech side of things with imagery and sound to even your camera presence, making videos can be a lot to learn. I take it one bite at a time and have come a long way. I improve the areas I can improve and love constantly learning new things about content creation, editing, whatever. I eat it all up.
It’s also an extension of the blog and a creative outlet that lets me do whatever I want. I love coming up with topics, shot lists, and edits. Video lets you work your creativity muscles differently than blogging and it’s really fulfilling (and intimidating!).
The Oui In France community.
YOU ARE MY FAVORITE!! Really. The Oui In France community is spectacular and you guys once again proved that to me when so many of you showed up in my email inbox and comments after I let you know my mom passed away. Thank you for being here through it all. Connecting with others out there makes me feel less alone.
Knowing my content has helped people in some way.
When I see a comment from someone saying my language tutorial helped them with French or opened their eyes to something they had never considered, or helped prepare them for their French vacation, it makes me so, so happy.
Knowing I can help people through sharing my life experience is the best feeling ever and that’s why I started my blog and YouTube channel. So when you tell me something I’ve created has helped you in some way, it’s really validating and lets me know I’m doing something right.
That I can earn money doing something I love, on my own terms.
I’ve worked for several companies over the years and nothing is more fulfilling than working on your own projects where you are 100% in control. The freelance lifestyle is where it’s at and I’ve never had a French work contract. As someone who is self-emp0loyed, I’ve always chosen the work projects I take on.
In the past, bosses and coworkers have underappreciated me, backstabbed me, and at times just made working with them a chore. I don’t dwell on that but the truth is I am so much more fulfilled as someone who is self-employed.
Part of that self-employment income comes from YouTube and I choose when I write and film, how I do it, what I say, when I take a break, etc. I appreciate myself more than an employer ever will. And if I can earn money doing something I love, well that’s the icing on the cake. Of course that’s taken years to ramp up, but it’s so worth it.
What I hate about having a YouTube channel
The hustle mentality.
YouTube wants creators to create, so you always feel like you have to be working on the next video. I feel like working too hard is glorified in our society and hustling to push out the next project, land the next client, close the deal, or in my case publish a video is what we should be aiming for.
All of this is not good for my stress level and sometimes makes me feel like I’m on a hamster wheel that I can never get off of. That leads me to the next thing I hate about being on YouTube.
Self-imposed pressure and guilt.
I make free content for people on the internet and sometimes I feel like I’ll let people down if I don’t reply to a long email fast enough or miss a DM or don’t reply to a comment asking a question. There have been times where I’ve spent a long time replying to a detailed email, to not even get a thank you reply. Someone literally wrote me to meet up in Florida as my mom was dying, and I wrote back right away to explain and she didn’t even reply.
I feel bad when I can’t do it all and the pressure of wanting to be at my best all the time — entirely self imposed — eats me up.
I feel like I can’t take a break sometimes and need to show up for you guys because you’re counting on me (stupid I know, but that’s how it is. I am taking a few weeks off from publishing on YouTube though). Want to hear crazy? The day my mom died, I filmed a video because the guilt of not doing it nagged at me.
Real talk, I know my community would be totally fine with taking a summer vacation away from YouTube. When it comes to others, I don’t expect any YouTube I follow to to always be “on,” so why I expect that from myself is crazy. Yet here we are.
I feel pressure to always make better content. To learn new things. Upgrade equipment. To show up. To do this and that and it’s dizzying. And it’s all me putting the pressure on myself.
I’ve had to tell myself that no one is entitled to anyone else’s time, and while in a perfect world I’d do everything perfectly, it’s just not reality.
P.S. I always reply to emails though and do my best to do so in a timely manner. Although a bunch have been going to spam lately.
Very valid reasons why bloggers don’t start a YouTube channel >>
Rude, nasty, attacking, and entitled comments.
Let me start this one by saying that if we choose to put ourselves out there online, whether it’s a blog, YouTube, social media, whatever, we open ourselves up to criticism and it comes with the territory. I understand that fully. I don’t expect everyone to think like me or leave flowery comments.
Not everyone is going to like our content or understand our point of view. And that’s ok because we shouldn’t be trying to please everyone.
But there’s a difference between respectfully stating your opinion or delivering constructive feedback and being outright nasty. Many things in life warrant constructive criticism both personally and professionally, but when people decide to leave nitpicky and rude comments about a YouTuber’s appearance, voice, etc. aimed at hurting them, it’s really tiring and gross.
There are two types of these negative comments I see the most: Troll comments, which aren’t constructive at all and are focused on lashing out and being hurtful. And constructive criticism delivered in a really nasty, rude way. Both suck to read.
The troll comments get ignored or deleted if they’re bad enough. The rude comments aren’t nice to read either, but I try to take away from them what I can and learn.
In any case, reading terrible comments wears on you.
I feel like when people say judgmental things in general, it’s coming from a place of insecurity and is almost always projecting. Like if someone is super rude about your accent, it’s because deep down (or maybe not so deep), they aren’t secure in their own language abilities. 99.9% of the time, the rude, hurtful comments hurled at me are because the person on the other end is projecting their own hang-up.
You can have a lovely community who is supportive and kind, but that one negative comment can have the ability to wreck you for days depending on what else is gong on in your life (e.g., mom dying).
When I’m already super stressed or down, I stay out of the YouTube comment section because it’s always the one faceless jackass comment I’ll dwell on instead of the lovely ones where people say you helped them.
I now have someone else check comments before I go anywhere near them to protect my mental health and get rid of personal attacks, hateful comments, etc. People get so triggered over everything and it’s the top thing I hate about having a YouTube channel.
You can say you love peaches and people will respond with, “Oh so that means you hate bananas? What’s wrong with you?”
As I said, there’s definitely a place for constructive criticism and no one is above improving themselves and doing better. But when there’s nothing constructive at all and the person forgets there’s a human being on the other side of the screen, it becomes clear that the person leaving the comment is in a bad place themselves and just projecting that hurt onto someone else. Knowing that allowed me to frame online nastiness differently and I realized it has very little to do with me.
Someone told me once that “hurt people, hurt people” and it stuck with me.
Being in the public eye
OK, when you choose to show your face online, you lose your anonymity and there are pros and cons to that. It comes with the territory of choosing to show your face on YouTube. That said, it does make me nervous sometimes — from a personal safety standpoint.
I had a harassment situation in the past and am a very private person in a lot of respects. I don’t put pictures of my family much online (choc mousse video with my dad was a big step and a few photos when my mom died) for the most part because I want to protect them from the negativity I’ve seen over the years.
As my channel grows, it freaks me out to know people might recognize me in public and that I might be approached by a stranger. While 99% of people are lovely and amazing(take Lorna at Trader Joe’s in Delray Beach, FL, for example. It was the first time someone came up to me and it was awesome. There’s a segment with her in the video, by the way), it’s the 1% that I worry about.
People are nuts and are triggered by the tiniest things. That makes me want to be even more of a homebody and stay behind the camera.
I know that might sound weird since I choose to be on YouTube, so it’s not a crazy big concern of mine since I’m still online, but it’s there.
But then again, pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone leads to personal growth so it has its positives. 😉
For those of you on YouTube, does any of this resonate? What do you love and hate about being a YouTuber?