How to Stay Motivated as a Small YouTuber

These hacks will take you from small beginnings to unstoppable success!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

So you have a small YouTube channel that you started in order to do more of what you love. You have a small group of followers and you’re becoming increasingly aware of how overwhelming it is becoming to keep your content consistent and your channel growing in subscribers. The whole thing is starting to feel like a chore and it’s harder and harder to put as much into it as you once used to. Is it even worth it to keep doing it if it’s more draining than fun?

If you’ve asked yourself that question, you might find the following tips useful to stay motivated and not lose sight of why you got into the YouTube game in the first place.

1) Treat your YouTube channel like a hobby.

Photo by Peter Stumpf - @peter.stmpf

If you take your channel too seriously, you’ll come across as inauthentic (not genuine) and chances are that you’ll only end up chasing trends in order to get views. Neither of these things will build you a successful, long-term, YouTube career. And by the way, by “not taking it seriously” we don’t mean “don’t think about succeeding”, just that you try not to lose your authenticity and the joy that creating content brings you.

Also, if YouTube becomes a burden instead of a fun endeavor, it’s not just your followers that will lose interest in your channel – you yourself will start to forget why you tried to make a career out of it as well.

So, one way of avoiding this is to treat the whole thing like a hobby and have fun with it. Combine that with staying authentic and you’ll start attracting people that enjoy this lighthearted approach to creating content, which in turn is what will make you stand out.

2) Don’t get too caught up in trends, do what’s fun for you:

Part of the struggle of being a small YouTuber is the constant need to be found and get new viewers – so how do you do that?

The best and quickest way to do it is to create videos that are searchable (videos that people are actively looking for), and these are usually the ones that follow trends. Exploiting trends to bring in new viewers can be a good way to build up your following, but there’s also a downside to it.

Trends, when not handled carefully, can be damaging for both small and large creators, mainly because they can suck you into a short-term cycle. This is better explained with an example, let’s take the case of the slime trend.

Say you’ve jumped onto this trend and your slime videos are getting 50% more views than any other series you do. You’re likely attracting new viewers – that’s great news! However, you also notice that according to Google Trends, the general interest for slime is dying out.

Now, if all you care about is increasing your views (because you’re taking your channel too seriously), then you might ignore the overall declining market. After all, you just want more views. So why does this not last?

Since you’re only chasing views (the easy benefits of the trend), you’re not looking at the big picture – in other words, you’re taking the short term approach. So when the trend dies, you will basically be left with an audience that is split as follows:

1) People that still want slime content, even though it isn’t trending anymore (a small percentage of your audience)

2) People that no longer want slime content (a big percentage of your audience)

And looking at the bigger picture, there are two possible outcomes to this:

  • You stop making slime videos – Group number 1 will choose other creators who will cater to their slime hunger when you no longer do and Group number 2 will move on to the next trend. If your channel consists only or mainly of slime videos and you haven’t displayed your own personality and brand, then this group of people will most likely become inactive subscribers.
  • You get stuck making slime videos – because you didn’t pivot to a new trend early enough and/or didn’t complement the slime videos with content that connected you to the new, non-slime viewers, you now have a stable audience that is only pleased by a dying trend, which forces you to make more videos about that trend, which forces you to cling on to the dying trend, which… well you get the point.

In order not to fall into these traps, you have to keep both short and long-term perspectives in mind. It’s clear that both trends and personal (on brand) content for the fun of it (that connects you to the new viewers), are really important. Neither one by itself will give you a growing audience as fast as both of them combined. But if you fail to find a balance between them, you could find yourself in a very difficult situation.

3) Listen to your viewers’ feedback:

Photo by Peter Stumpf - @peter.stmpf

Once you get around 100 regular viewers, some of them will likely tell you how your content has helped them in their lives, either by simply providing great entertainment to distract them from a tricky situation, or by providing some kind of education that makes them a better person. Whatever they are, you’ll start getting these messages at some point or another. But what should you do with them?

It is obviously great to enjoy them at the moment but you can also save them in some form (maybe a folder or printed out on a vision board) to help get you through dry patches where you’re not particularly motivated to create content and are generally feeling down. You can look through them when you feel this way to remind yourself that your content and work are impacting individuals – not just numbers – who consider you their friend. There’s a reason why YouTube is a community loved by so many people.

In conclusion, the key to staying motivated and to keep creating is:

  • Creating content that you truly enjoy, while mixing in content that helps you grow through search (trends)
  • Not focusing on the numbers, but looking at them as a by-product of creating content that you love
  • Regularly remind yourself that you’re impacting individuals and their lives, not just figures on a screen

Remember: don’t let your work turn into a job you don’t enjoy – that’s why you’re a YouTuber!

NC Team

Tags: Creator, Content Creation, YouTube, Motivation, Growth