I’ve winged it my entire life.
I didn’t go to university. I’ve never had formal training in anything. Yet, somehow, I’ve managed to build a successful business and find a sizeable audience for my tech ramblings.
I’m not entirely sure how this is possible, but I know there are three elements that have played a role of sorts:
- damn hard work;
- embracing mistakes; and
- happy accidents.
Today, I’d like to talk about the last item in that list, because I think happy accidents are one of the main reasons my YouTube channel has thrived so early on.
There are three happy accidents I’m particularly conscious of.
Accident #1: My timing
When I started my YouTube channel in 2020, I did so with a desire to help fellow and would-be freelancers find clients and make more money.
I’ll just throw in the odd tech review, I thought.
That’s exactly what I did. For about three videos.
You see, the first tech video I decided to publish featured the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones (you can have a laugh at it here). Unbeknownst to me (read: due to a lack of proper research), Sony decided to launch their successor – the WH-1000XM4 – at precisely the same time my video went live.
This triggered a flood of interest in Sony’s headphones and sent thousands of people in the direction of my video. Its views quickly broke the 1K barrier and my subscriber count began to climb.
That headphone video changed the game for me and led to a strict focus on building a tech-only channel. The freelance stuff was dead in the water; I realised I needed to capitalise on what appeared to be working.
But I couldn’t have planned that. Nor could I have planned the release of Apple’s M1 chip in late 2020, which, again, propelled my Mac-based content into numbers and statistics I had assumed would only be achievable far later down the line.
The moral of the story? Start making videos today, because you never know when someone else might make a decision that sets your world on fire.
Accident #2: My voice
Of all the happy accidents I’ve encountered as a YouTuber, this is the trickiest to write about.
I genuinely don’t get it.
Not long after my views and subscriber count began to climb, I started to receive comments about my voice. People appeared to enjoy listening to my dulcet tones.
Some simply noted that it was nice to hear a calm British voice. Others suggested that it was the perfect voice “to fall asleep to”. I’m still not sure how I feel about the latter.
I’m from Northampton in the UK. And, as much as I love that town, it isn’t known for its accent – at least, not in glowing terms.
I also hate editing my own voice; I hear every lazily pronounced word, mouth click, and rushed sentence. I really am not a fan of my own voice at all.
But others seem to like it, a lot. Once again, I couldn’t have planned this, and I promise it wasn’t even a remote consideration when starting my channel.
Somehow, my voice has been a key component of the early success I’ve experienced on YouTube. I guess I’m just going to have to accept that.
Accident #3: Taking the easy route
“I love the fact you don’t use music on your videos, mate,” said one lovely viewer recently.
This isn’t the first time someone has commented on my decision not to include a music bed in my videos. In fact, just like those directed at my voice, they’re one of the most common comments I receive.
I’m going to let you into a little secret.
The reason my videos don’t have a music bed is because I can’t be arsed to add one.
The same goes for sound effects; it’s just too much faffing about, in my book.
Don’t get me wrong – some of this is a creative decision. I quite like the fact that the lack of any background distraction gives my words room to breathe, and I’ve become rather tired of the swoosh which seems to accompany every onscreen graphical element on other YouTube videos.
But the main reason there’s a lack of incidental audio on my videos is because I really couldn’t be bothered to add another step to the creation process. As a result, my videos feature my voice and a single audio ident at the start and end of the video. It’s easy to produce, and my audience appears to like it. So, everyone’s a winner.
Again, I didn’t plan this. More tellingly, when I first set out, I actually wondered if my decision to skip sound design might hurt my channel’s growth. Surely, I’d need to sound like everyone else, right?
As it turns out, no! This is yet another example of why it’s important to be yourself on YouTube – even if what you consider to be one of your less desirable character traits comes to the fore.
Because, who knows? It might actually be the thing that sets you apart.
If the above three accidents hadn’t taken place, I wouldn’t be approaching 50,000 YouTube subscribers today. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d have either reduced the amount of effort I was putting into the channel or abandoned it entirely.
Accidents happen to all of us. Some are horrible, others are incredibly fortuitous.
When it comes to YouTube, every creator will experience their own set of happy accidents, and I’m a firm believer that they’re one of the most important elements of growth. They are totally out of your control, but, then, so is most of what makes a YouTube channel successful.
So, if you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel in 2022, there’s never been a better time. Your happy accidents are out there, waiting to happen – trust me.
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