“An average new channel that did not blow up” – My first month on Youtube (August 2021)

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After thinking about doing it for years, I published my first Youtube video on August 1st.

Since I’m the queen of overthinking, I researched a ton about what to expect in my first month and how long it would take me to get 1,000 subscribers and everything else you could research instead of actually jumping in and making a video. Oops.

So if you are thinking about starting on Youtube: DO IT THIS WEEK! No, you don’t need to prepare more. No, it’s not already too late. It’s a great time, just start.

… You’re still here? Okay, then let’s talk about my analytics and everything I’m feeling about this.

Table of Contents

Analytics

Let’s start with some statistics, because many of you are probably only here for that.

I have to mention at this point, that I started the month with almost 4k Instagram followers. I talk about my videos in posts and stories and have a link in my bio. But because I don’t have 10k followers yet, I can’t directly link to the video from my story via a “Swipe-Up” link, so the follow up rate is not ideal. I also hear often that Instagram users don’t want to leave the app, which I agree with from personal experience. I think it’s easier to get a Facebook or Twitter user to follow your link to Youtube. Instagram is also currently rolling out the story link sticker to people under 10k, I don’t have it yet but I might be able to use it during September.

My Instagram traffic still makes up a good cut of my views though, so I think this is important to mention. Most of my 79 subscribers are also likely from Instagram as my views seem low for the amount of subscribers I already have.

Total Views in August: 458

Total Watch Time: 13.9 hours

Subscribers at the end of August: 79

Full disclosure: I did not make a single cent. You can’t monetize on Youtube until 1,000 Subs anyways and I don’t have any affiliate links anywhere either.

My first video

After editing and cutting my first video for over 6 hours, I honestly hated it a good bit. I forced myself to push through and still publish it, because I’m stubborn like that. But I thought it was the most boring video ever made, because I was extremely nervous when talking to the camera so I didn’t manage to be energetic or funny at all.

I felt so bad about my video that I didn’t even want to promote it on Instagram. But the lovely Sofia from TechWithSofia gave my video a shoutout on her page and then I decided that I was being ridiculous and I might as well promote it too.

I still have not watched this video again and thinking about it still makes me cringe a bit.

It currently has 277 views. And no hate comments, so it can’t be THAT bad.

Videos published: 3

The goal was weekly videos, but since I’m also a full time student writing my master’s thesis currently, that already faltered after the first video. But that’s okay. I’m glad I made a second one after the mental tragedy of the first.

After making two “Advice”-type videos, I decided to make an educational video, which was a completely different challenge, as I had to think of how best to explain a single technical topic and also make it visually appealing in PowerPoint as a video format and fitting on mobile and desktop screens as well.

I’m still finding my way with regards to which videos I want to make in the future and I will probably experiment a bit more with that in the next few months as I gain experience and find out what I like. I am already pretty sure that I won’t be making exclusively educational videos like the “Epoch, Iteration & Batch Size” video. That was a ton of work and felt incredibly stressful because I was scared of saying something wrong.

Tools I use to film and edit

I was very interested in how other beginners make their videos, so here I’m sharing my process and tools. Most content I found about this topic was from more established people who can afford to invest more money into this, which I did not want to do in my first months. Who knows how long I will be using all of this.

To film I use my phone, which is a Honor View 10 that I bought in 2018, so not a top line phone at all.

I put the phone on a tripod that I had previously bought to take Instagram pictures.

And after the first video, I ordered a softbox light for 50€, because as I was filming the sun was going down and the video quality got worse and worse and I just did not want to deal with that stress again. The light also increases the camera quality because my phone naturally struggles to record good video in low light.

My audio is recorded by a Blue Yeti microphone and I edit my audio with Audacity to remove background noise and normalize the audio to -1dB.

To record my screen or PowerPoint presentation, I use OBS.

To edit I use DaVinci Resolve on Windows, which is free to use in the basic version. And I have a GTX 1070 GPU, which helps with rendering etc and speeds things up a bit.

For my thumbnails I use Canva.

Conclusion & Real Talk

Was it a roaring success? No. I’m nowhere near 1,000 Subscribers and if I grow at the same rate in the coming months, it will take me almost a year to get there.

Can I believe that I actually did it after years of being too afraid? Also no. I’m immensely proud for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and not quitting after my first video. I learned a lot about Youtube and even learned transferable skills like video editing, audio editing, setting up lighting and expressing myself on camera, all of which are not at all useless in a digital career. So even if I quit or never find success, I would not say that the time was wasted.

Real talk: I was extremely scared of what all the people in my life would think of me starting a Youtube channel. So far most people have been supportive, but the lingering fear that they secretly think I’m crazy remains – oh well *shrug*. I’ve also thought about quitting multiple times before and after each video and even just yesterday when looking back on my first month. My stubbornness remains though, and I am vowing to at least try for another month and see how I feel then, which brings me to …

My Goals for September

I might make this sort of post a series on here, so I thought it would be nice to give an outlook on what I hope to achieve next month, so I can then evaluate if I did reach that goal or not. (and psst: writing this makes it more likely that I actually post something in September)

  • 100 Subscribers are obviously a next step. I’m fairly close to that, so that should be doable. I don’t normally like to set goals that are out of my control, but I feel like I can only miss this goal if I miss the next one, too.
  • Publish 3 videos. The ultimate goal would be 4 or 5 as there are 5 weeks, but I will count 3 videos as a win already, especially because I have quite a few weekend plans in the coming month, so time might be rare.
  • Talk about current research. I originally wanted to make a channel to talk about papers that I’ve read for my master’s thesis, but so far I’ve been overwhelmed with this task. I want to tackle this next month, because I think there are very little videos about research out there and it can also benefit me a lot to learn to talk and present research. I might not cover a whole paper, but maybe the main section and ideas of one.
  • Film a vlog. I’m personally addicted to “Day in the life” content and I watch many vlogs myself and always missed having more techy people vlogging that I could watch. Sadly I think my life is extremely boring, especially currently while I’m working from home alone on my thesis, but I will try at least once.

I hope this was helpful for some of you. If you have more questions, leave a comment or message me on Instagram with your question 🙂

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