I’ve just completed my first month as a full-time content creator.
The term ‘wild ride’ is used a lot in business – particularly when it comes to entrepreneurship. But trust me – nothing quite prepares you for what it’s like to exit corporate life entirely and work completely for yourself.
It’s no rose garden. You don’t jump out of bed and click your heels. The fact you are suddenly a master of your diary turns out to be more of a challenge than a nirvana.
Despite these early challenges, this is the best thing I’ve done. It’s not the first time I’ve run my own business, either, but it is the first time I’ve been beholden to no one but myself.
If you’re heading in the same direction as me, I have one piece of advice: make some friends. I’ve been doing this recently, and it has turned out to be a rather wonderful strategy.
There’s no such thing as competition on YouTube
I’ve never worked in an industry where there is literally no competition.
That might sound naive, but it’s true. I now operate almost solely in the tech review space and there are thousands of creators like me. But I don’t view any of them as combatants in the quest for audience mindshare and profitability.
Every industry has its idiots, and this one is no different, but those people aside, we’re all in this for one another. We all experience the same successes, failures, and, crucially, opportunities.
There are enough eyeballs to go around. There is more than enough attention of which to grab your own share. Viewing YouTubers in the same niche as your own as competition will only make you bitter, twisted, and ultimately primed for failure.
It can get lonely
I’ll freely admit that I’m at my happiest and most productive when working alone. Sure, I enjoy collaborating occasionally and deeply enjoy working on special in-person projects with people now and again, but locking myself away in the studio and making shit happen is where it’s at for me.
This is a double-edged sword. Because as much as I use that time to smash out some of my best work, it can get rather lonely.
This is exacerbated when you go full-time because you’re suddenly aware that success is ultimately up to you. You can hire assistants, editors, and bookkeepers, but you’re the one who calls the shots and determines what happens next. When things go wrong, you only have yourself to blame (whether the failure was at your hands or someone else’s).
Making friends with other YouTubers banishes this loneliness. They’re always on the end of a tweet, email, or private message on Instagram – and they know exactly what you’re going through.
You’ll learn quicker
Since reaching out and talking to other YouTubers, I’ve learned a tonne of stuff. It’s the kind of stuff I’d have missed entirely or would only have bumped into if I’d made a mistake.
Likewise, I’ve offered my own advice and shared my wins and losses. Being able to do that is a lovely feeling – arguably better that receiving advice yourself.
It’s important to note that I’m not officially trained in anything I do; I’ve learned by trying and failing. I’ve also learned by asking and being inquisitive, which is why building friendships with other YouTubers has been so valuable for me.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been introduced to tools that have made a massive difference to my business. I’ve also been shown small hacks and tricks that make my day that tiny bit easier. I’ve even been introduced to potential new sponsors and review unit suppliers.
This is all thanks to my new mates, and I’m super grateful for the part they’re now playing in my business – and the part I’m playing in theirs.
There are collaboration opportunities
I left this until last because I think a lot of content creators go about their friendships the wrong way.
Collaboration is of course an opportunity for any burgeoning YouTuber friendship, but it shouldn’t be why you get in touch initially. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, you may not click. Like any relationship, it takes a while to suss each other out and assess whether or not you have the same beliefs, sense of humour, and mindset. Jumping straight into a collaboration with someone you’ve barely spent any time with could be disastrous. Get to know them, first.
Secondly, you’ll get far more value from the relationship by focusing on the other points I’ve covered in this blog post. Relishing in the lack of competition, shared experiences, and ability to reach out to someone for a chat if you’re feeling frustrated by something is far more valuable than working together on a video.
Go in with that mindset, and the collaborations will happen naturally – and be more successful as a result.
I couldn’t do this without the support of my amazing girlfriend or wonderful family, but they’d be the first to admit that they haven’t got a clue how all of the pieces fit together. I noted earlier that your YouTuber friends will know exactly what you’re going through – good or bad. That’s the key takeaway today.
YouTubers get it. They’re doing exactly what you’re doing. They’ve experienced the same highs and lows, dealt with the same trolls, and made the same colossal decisions.
Make some friends – I promise it’ll be the best thing you do for your brand.
Take my free video editing class
My latest Skillshare class, Video editing basics in Final Cut Pro X (for YouTube success!) is live and free to try:
This post includes affiliate links