In September 2021, I made my biggest decision yet as a YouTuber.
I decided to move out of my tiny back bedroom and into a proper studio.
This wasn’t the plan. At least, not so early on. But, then, the plan wasn’t to end the year approaching 50,000 subscribers, either; I genuinely thought that was going to take several years to achieve.
Alas, I got something right. I’m also sailing deeper into my 40s, and anyone who has broken that particular barrier will know that the brevity of life suddenly becomes very apparent.
So, in the words of Richard Branson, I thought, “screw it, let’s do it”, and signed an 18-month lease in October.
However, given that this is still a part-time endeavour for me at the moment, you may be wondering why on earth I took this seismic leap.
Preface: I’m risk-averse
Ever since I started my own business several years ago, I’ve avoided making massive decisions.
The first one was big enough for me. Leaving a relatively secure, well-paid job I’d been at for nearly 17 years (complete with a company car and loads of freedom) was scary. But it was also one of the best decisions of my life.
Since then, I’ve kept money in the bank, avoided ditching contracts (no matter how much of a time suck or uninteresting they become), and strayed away from anything remotely resembling a ‘pivot’.
I’ve also kept my overheads ridiculously low. Rather than employing people and growing the business that way, I’ve worked entirely by myself, from home, and with limited resources.
Now, I have rent to pay, electricity bills, and contents insurance. This isn’t like me at all.
Over the course of a year, I produced around 80 videos for my YouTube channel in our back bedroom. It really is tiny. In fact, it’s impossible to get across just how small that room is on camera, thanks to the additional perceived space added by a wide-angle lens.
Achieving depth in my a-roll shoots, and finding new angles for b-roll was, therefore, a constant challenge. It’s one I relished but soon grew tired of.
Regardless, I could have continued in that small bedroom studio. Indeed, many of the most successful YouTubers on the platform still operate from home and within very modest spaces. Just as the gear doesn’t really matter, the same goes for the environment in which you shoot your videos; people only care about how you can help them.
I’ve thought about this a lot, and I believe there are two reasons I decided to lease my own studio space:
- I’d grown tired of working from home; and
- I have bigger plans. Much bigger plans.
I’ve been working from home since 2015. It has massive perks. But it’s also rather consuming.
As much as I enjoy the absence of a commute and the ability to work in my pyjamas for as long as possible, I’ve also found myself increasingly craving separation between home and work. I suspect this is largely because I now start work incredibly early and, often, into the night in order to keep all aspects of my business ticking over.
Now that I have a separate, convenient place of work (the studio is just a mile from my house), I’ve finally gained that separation. And it is wonderful. I feel more relaxed at home, and it’s far easier to switch off when I’m finished for the day.
As for my big plans, well, they’ll be revealed throughout the course of 2022, but suffice to say I don’t intend on starting work at 6am every day and, essentially, working two full-time jobs for the rest of my life. I’ll let you guess the rest.
The moral of the story
The studio has thus far been one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business. It is incredibly early days, and I have a bit of a way to go before assessing the full impact of this new overhead.
But one thing I have learned is that, sometimes, you have to make those big decisions. If you’re risk-averse like me, there comes a time when everything you’ve done to ‘stay safe’ becomes the perfect excuse to pull your finger out and actually do something.
I didn’t want to work from home anymore. That back bedroom was too small, creatively. I wanted to take the first step on the path to the future of my business. With money in the bank and one or two life experiences reminding me that we’re only on this planet once, I had no choice but to be brave and make the move.
I’m glad I did. And if you’re currently sitting on a big decision that feels like it could be as transformative as it is scary, I suggest that you just go for it.
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