Why I failed on YouTube
As mentioned in my introduction blog: I am what you can call a “failed YouTuber”. There’s many reasons for why I failed so terribly, let’s explore some them.
Starting too early, too young
I was 16 when I made my first YouTube account. The exact day was 9th october 2009. Sadly, there’s just no way I could get into that account again, because I’d love to re-watch these old privated videos. But when I was 16, YouTube was only a couple of years old and not at all known in Belgium.
It also didn’t help that I was very shy at that young age. I kept my YouTube videos very private, not letting anyone know. The only reason I eventually shared it with my family (after months and months) was because my brother figured it out (because I was talking to myself all the time in my room, he knew something weird was going on).
Starting at 17 years old was mostly a mistake because I didn’t even know who I was, personally. So how could I ever present my own voice on the platform? I couldn’t. So I coppied other people.
Back when I regularly received comments, one of the most regular things I’d see in there was:
You have a funny accent, where are you from?
Yeah… I couldn’t properly speak english. I had a super thick accent (still have one now, just not as bad as back then) and my vocabulary was pretty limited.
Additionally to that, I switched languages quite often. At a certain point, I got invited to host an internet show, but it would’ve been in dutch. Which is something that, up until that point, I had never done before. But I went for it and went great. However, something like that isn’t great for your audience. It’s hard to build an audience with a channel that features two different languages. As a new subscriber, you can easily get confused if you’re suddenly being spoken to in Dutch, when you subscribed for videos in English.
Too many different channels
Another reason my “YouTube carreer” (yuk) failed is … well, I was all over the place. I originally had two channels (because everyone had two channels back then; one “main” channel, and then your “second” channel for vlogs and additional content besides your “main show”).
I, on the other hand, took having different channels to the next level. I had 5 channels at one point. My own “main” channel, my “second” channel, my “show” channel, my “sketch” channel and … yeah another “show” channel. I can honestly not remember why I had so many different channels.
And to be completely honest, this is one of the things I just can not seem to learn to drop. At the moment of writing, I have two channels (and several inactive); My drums channel and my gaming channel. (Oh and one of them is in English and the other one in Dutch, so I guess I at least learned to split languages on different channels?) – I also have a couple of inactive channels such as Helium 5 and the channel where I vlogged for a while but then turned it into our Goe Gezelschap Podcast channel, and now it’s just not being used either. (Maybe later ey?)
As creating videos is just a hobby and not a profession, there’s no real reason I should stick to a fixed schedule. However, not uploading for four months, then uploading every single day for a couple of weeks, to then inevitably burn out (leading to not uploading for months again) … It’s a cycle that happened quite a lot.
Uploading was often heavily influenced by my own personal mood. If I had a couple of weeks not feeling the “YouTube grind”, nothing would get uploaded. Which, again, is fine because of the fact that it’s not my job, just a hobby. But for subscribers, it just comes off as I just don’t give a damn about YouTube consistency.
That, combined with an algorythm that, over time, more and more prefered channels that uploaded on the daily, just killed my presence in people their subscription boxes. Which lead to situations that, when I came back (with several uploads a week), it lead to me losing subscribers, instead of growing.
Topics and style changes
What I didn’t fully understood in my first years on YouTube (again, just too young to understand the platform properly), is that people are not only subscribing to you, they’re subscribing to a genre or subject.
For example; I started by talking about the news, in English. But over time, on that same channel, I started vlogging in Dutch about life a college student. Total flip, but that’s just not what the subscribers are here for.
Being consistent in genre of videos, in language, in visual style, … in all sorts of things, was something that I couldn’t hold on to. Sometimes I changed styles because I was getting bored of doing the same thing over and over again, or I learned something new and wanted to grow that skill, … Whatever the reason, I could never stick to one thing for a long period of time. Which, again, was just confusing for the subscribers, leading them to eventually leave.
Is there a real conclusion to this? No, probably not. If anything, I hope that you, the reader, learn something from my mistakes and grow up to be the YouTuber I never got to be.
I’m not bitter about being a “failed YouTuber”, nor am I wishing I was a star on the platform. I enjoy making my little videos, even if only a handful of people watch them. To me, creating is the fun part, that’s what I do what I do. If someone else enjoys it enough to subscribe and check back from time to time, that’s cool. But that’s not my endgame.
Learning, growing, having fun. That’s what my YouTube channels are about.