The 1000 YouTube subscribers milestone is kind of a big one for new YouTubers because YouTube changed their monetization requirements in 2018. In order to monetize your YouTube channel with Google AdWords, you have to have 1000 subscribers at a minimum (plus at least 4,000 hours of annual viewing time).
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I started posting weekly on the VidProMom YouTube channel back in January of 2015, and I didn't reach 1000 subscribers until nine months later. I just recently, as of this recording right now, I just crossed over 21,000 subscribers, so it's been three and a half years to get me to 21,000 subscribers.
I recently published a post on how I reached my first 1000 subscribers on YouTube, along with a YouTube video explaining 7 things I did right when I was just starting out on YouTube. In this post (and podcast episode), let me tell you what I did wrong and how I would do it differently if I was starting from scratch today.
Listen to Episode 8: My first 1000 YouTube Subscribers… what I did wrong
So what would I do differently for those first 1000 YouTube subscribers?
Kept Up with Batch Recording YouTube Videos
For sure I would have kept up with batching, and that's one of the things that I said in my video that I think I did right, and the reason why I think I did that right is that that is what I did at the very beginning. That's what I did to launch my channel. I set myself up with a really nice long runway of content so that the first couple of months of publishing weekly on YouTube, I didn't have to worry about recording or planning out videos. All that stuff was already done.
The downfall for me was that I didn't keep up with batching. Sometimes I might record two videos in one week so that I had one for this week and one for next week, but for the most part, I was recording a video this week to publish this week. In some cases, there were days where I would record a video today to publish today.
That's really stressful! It puts a lot of pressure on me to feel like I have to record, edit, and publish a video all in one day. For the type of videos that I create, it's a lot. It's not like it's hard, it's just like, “Okay, I am sick and tired of thinking about this video topic right now.” If I'm trying to get it published that day, then I really have no choice but to just get it edited and get it published.
The way that I could have done that better was to keep up with continuously planning my next batching session, so to speak. Maybe if I had set a date for, “Okay, three weekends from now, I'm going to send the kids to my parents' house and I'm going to spend five hours batching 6 videos or 10 videos” or however many.
If I had given myself a little bit of a deadline for that, then I would have been able to prepare those episodes ahead of time and be able to just sit down in front of the camera and knock 'em all out.
If I had kept up with batching, it would have avoided a lot of headaches for me, for sure.
Improve the Quality of YouTube Videos
Another thing I could have really improved on was the quality in terms of the lighting and the audio. Everybody has to start somewhere and I realize that, and I tell people, “Just use your phone. No big deal.” Because it's really important to just start when you're starting out, rather than trying to make everything perfect.
I did buy a lavalier microphone, the smartLav from Rode, a few months into my YouTube channel. It was like $70 or something, but I also used my podcast mic in my face. I wish I had just sprung for an actual real microphone, like the one I have now, the VideoMic from Røde, instead of trying to fart around with hacking together different audio solutions. Because that wasted a lot of time, and I never really was able to figure out how to get really good sounding audio from my smartLav.
I also could have not waited until the last minute to shoot videos with little or no light. That would definitely have improved my lighting situation, for sure, which this goes back to the whole batching, and just preparing video content.
Sometimes I would wait until like 5:00 in the afternoon to shoot a video and then realize, “Oh yeah, I don't have any light” or maybe it's like a cloudy gloomy day, and my only option was to have a video with really poor lighting.
Avoid Trademarks in your Channel Name
Another thing that I definitely would have done differently was not use a trademarked name in my channel name… DUH. duh, duh, duh.
You can go back to episode number two of the Video Pursuit Podcast, where I talk more about this, but my first channel, the name of my channel was GoProMom, and I since obviously changed it to VidProMom, but I had GoProMom.com, and all my social stuff was GoProMom. I knew that that wasn't a very smart thing to do but I did it anyway. If I had to do it all over, I would definitely not have done that. I would have come up with something original and stuck with it.
Get Brutal Feedback from Experienced YouTubers
Another thing I would definitely do different today is I would have asked for brutal feedback on the actual quality of my videos from somebody who had experience and knowledge of YouTube. I mean, looking back at my videos again, you have to start somewhere, but I wish I had asked for feedback from somebody who's a YouTube veteran, maybe got into somebody's YouTube course or membership or something, and really improved the quality of my videos.
I'm not necessarily saying that I wish I had spent more money on equipment. I didn't have money to invest in equipment at the time, so I'm not saying that, but I think with some more like guidance and coaching, I could have done a better job with the quality. The lighting, the audio, just the framing and everything, and I think that would have been really beneficial to me, to get a little bit of coaching at the time.
The next thing that I would do definitely for sure is use tools like TubeBuddy, or Morningfame, which did not exist when I first started. Those are two tools that since finding them, have really been game changers for me. I mean, I'm not saying that they've been the reason why I've grown my YouTube channel, but they've definitely been a tool to growing my channel and creating content that people are searching for.
So, those are the things that I would have done differently. I don't know that I would have necessarily grown my channel quicker. There's a lot of things I would do differently that would have just made it easier on myself as the creator, but for sure the tools like TubeBuddy and Morningfame, or even vidIQ, those kinds of things I think probably would have helped me grow quicker.
I want to hear your thoughts on some of these things. If you have less than 1000 subscribers, are there some of these things that maybe helped you come up with a way that you could improve your videos?
I'm curious to know that, and if you have more than 1000 subscribers, I would like to know what you think you could have done differently so that maybe I can include that in a future episode of the Video Pursuit Podcast.
So, if this post was helpful for you, if it was amazing, mind blowing, or even just a little bit interesting, let me know what you think by hopping onto Instagram and maybe post your takeaways in an Instagram post or a story. You could screenshot this episode on your phone, post it, tag me, my handle is @VidProMom. You could use the hashtag #videopursuit as well, just for fun, but I'll get a notification if you tag me. I really thrive on audience feedback and Instagram is a really fun place to connect so hit me up over there. You can also tweet me, my username on Twitter is @meredithmarsh and I would love to chat with you there as well.