I used to watch YouTubers and think, “oh, wow – imagine what it must be like to have that as your job.”
You might have similar thoughts. You may have a deep desire to work for yourself and do nothing but make videos on a topic you love – and get paid for doing so.
Like so many things in life, the reality is quite different. Don’t get me wrong – being a YouTuber/content creator/influencer/<insert anything else here> is a wonderful career choice, and I feel privileged to have turned it into a full-time job… but it’s damn hard work.
I’m not just referring to the hours you need to put in, either. Staying motivated is one of the toughest tasks every YouTuber has to contend with.
So, without further ado, these are my quick-fire tips for how to stay motivated as a YouTuber.
Get up at the same time each day
Not long after I started my YouTube channel, I decided to set my alarm at 5:30am every day. Granted, I don’t actually roll out of bed at that time, but by 6am, I’m on my feet, without fail.
This has proved transformative for me. It enables me to sit where I am now, on my couch, writing today’s blog post – and remain consistent in doing so. As I’ve noted previously, this blog plays a pivotal role in the growth of my YouTube channel, and it’s a success in its own right because of my morning routine.
This is just one example of the benefits of getting up at the same time every day. Your mind and body will thank you for being regular with your wake and work start times.
And don’t worry – I’m not a morning person, either.
Have a content pipeline
There’s nothing more demotivating than scrambling for video ideas at the last minute.
Trust me – I’ve done it.
This is why a content pipeline is an essential tool for any serious YouTuber. And it doesn’t mean you need to plan months in advance, either; my pipeline usually maxes out at a month (unless it’s a particularly busy period with tech releases and sponsorships).
All you need to do is work a couple of weeks in advance. Keep a rolling diary of upcoming videos with that cadence, and you’ll always be motivated to crack on.
This year, I’m launching both a free and paid version of my Notion Content Engine, which will help you build and maintain an awesome content pipeline. To hear first when it’s released, sign up to my behind-the-scenes newsletter, today.
When anyone tells me they fancy starting their own YouTube channel, the first question I ask is: “do you watch YouTube?”.
“Occasionally,” they’ll say. Or, “well, not really, no.”
I’ve always believed that to be successful at something, you also need to be its biggest fan. I’ve watched YouTube for years, and I’ve built serious admiration for a number of YouTubers during that time. I’ve poured over their production techniques, sniffed out backstage content, and delved into their archives to witness their progression.
I’m a bit obsessed with YouTube and those who make a success of it. But I think that obsession has helped me become a better YouTuber and achieve early success with my own channel. More importantly, it keeps me going; if I hit a rough patch, I need only watch a couple of my favourite creators to rediscover my mojo.
Take breaks (you’ll know when)
We hear a lot about content creators reaching burnout. I’ve not experienced that, and I don’t intend to.
Your mind and body will tell you when you need to take a break. Usually, that’ll come in the form of fatigue, or the complete inability to think up a title, thumbnail, or story for your next video.
It is absolutely pointless battling against the wind of fatigue. Let it hit you, sit back, stick on Netflix, take the dog for a walk, or spend some time with loved ones.
Once rested, your mind will reward you with video ideas that once seemed elusive.
Focus on YOUR ideas
My audience, Discord crew, family, and newsletter subscribers have given me some of the best video ideas. But they don’t always know best.
I say that with the greatest love and respect. Indeed, the reason they offer those ideas is that they want me to succeed. But if I followed all of them, my channel wouldn’t grow.
This is for one very simple reason: the best thing to follow as a YouTuber is your own nose. Once your channel starts gaining some traction and begins drawing in a consistent stream of new subscribers and decent watch time, you’re doing something right.
You know which video to make next. The inspiration you crave will come from a combination of things – your intuition, those aforementioned suggestions from others, the analytics, and your ambitions for the channel.
The video ideas that matter the most are the ones you come up with, because when all is said and done, the buck always stops with you. The good news? You’re usually right!
Running a creative business is tough work, but that doesn’t make it unique. Every business, no matter the industry in which it resides, calls on significant reserves of motivation if it’s to be successful.
The good news is that the tips and tools above are available to everyone. They don’t cost a penny, and if you’re serious about becoming a YouTuber, you’ll discover them relatively quickly.
- be consistent with your morning routine;
- build a content pipeline (two weeks in advance is plenty);
- become YouTube’s biggest fan;
- take a break whenever you need to; and
- listen to others, but focus on your ideas.
Learn How to Edit Videos Like Me!
My latest Skillshare class, Video editing basics in Final Cut Pro X (for YouTube success!) is live and free to try: