How to achieve your dreams in impossible circumstances
Growing a YouTube channel to over 100 thousand subscribers with four young children
I’m Lauren a single mum of four, a professional YouTuber and a writer. I’ve recently started writing for Medium, and I love the community. Today I’ll share my thoughts on how to achieve your dreams in impossible circumstance. I’ll describe how I became a successful YouTuber with over 100 thousand subscribers. And I will share my two methods for achieving impossible dreams.
I used to be a personal trainer with my own wellbeing studio. I had a picturesque farm and lived in beautiful regional Victoria, Australia. Then my marriage ended, and my life face-planted. Ouch! I moved house with four young children. We lived one kilometre from a large, noisy pub. There was a chronic youth ice drug problem. Youth homelessness in the area was at an all-time high. There was a meth lab operating in a garage a few doors down the street. At times gunshots rang out. And if that wasn’t enough, there were occasional fires lit in the park behind us. And did I mention the night car drag races? Nights were at times like being on the set of Mel Gibson’s ‘Beyond Thunder-dome.’
The rest of my family lived an hour away.
We also had family challenges. My twin boys had sleep apnea, chronic tonsil infections, and one has an enlarged kidney. As my boys are tall, they also had medical issues ensuing from rapid growth. My daughter struggled to sleep at night. I could not leave one of my children alone for extended periods. And there was that time when one of my twins hit the other over the head with a stick. His sister told him to do so ( go figure). I never realized that blood could gush so high like a bright red fountain out of a child’s head. At the end of each day, I would spread out on my bed, feel a tightening in my chest, and stare up at the ceiling.
‘ How on earth am I going to do this? How am I going to both parent four children and make money?’
While there were challenges, there was also a lot of good in our lives. We would cuddle on the couch with popcorn watching movies. We would walk to local Boggy Creek, eat fish and chips at the park, and play basketball with the local team. We had such memorable conversations, and there was always laughter. I would remind myself each day of the many good things in our lives.
Don’t always listen to well-meaning friends.
“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.” Cicero
A well-meaning friend intends to be helpful, but they are not always successful. Has that ever happened to you? The problem with seeking a friend’s advice is they may listen, and then imagine what they would do. The friend may not understand what you’re going through. And how could they understand? They haven’t had your experiences. We can only see through the glasses of our own experiences, values, and beliefs. For example, how can a person of wealth understand what being poor feels like? How can a privileged person understand prejudice? As Cicero said, “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”
I needed to work out how I was going to parent and earn money at the same time. Well-meaning friends suggested I become a teacher. Well, there were no teaching jobs in the area. Teaching also required a year of further study, including long hours of placement. How would I afford the care for the children? How would I be away from them? There was no practical way I could achieve this.
I knew I had to find my own answers instead. So I tried to work from home. I tried counseling, meditation, and personal training. I even tried counseling on Skype. I locked my self inside my indoor robe. With my feet pressed firmly against the door trying to stop the kids coming in so I could counsel my clients. It didn’t work. The children kept creating havoc, making noise, and bursting into my room.
I felt desperate. What do I do?
At times desperation can be our best friend. When the going gets tough, desperation can give us the kick we need to keep going. We can achieve our greatest goals when our backs are right up against the wall. It was knowing I had no choice that made me dig deep for the motivation to keep trying. I wrote a book called Daily Rituals for Happiness. I completed my Masters in Counselling. I did a Certificate in Pilates teaching. I started a Podcast called Being Well with Lauren. I learned how to operate a Zoom Mic- recorder. I learned the audio program Audacity. I learned the audio-visual program Premiere Pro. I learned how to create a Word Press website. I learned the graphics program Canva and started using the SEO program TubeBuddy. Many times the projects I started didn’t work out, but I kept trying new ways.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison
Success starts with a trickle.
The great floods of success often start with an insignificant trickle
I tried creating different types of video and audio products to make money. These generally didn’t work out. I then created several meditations for iTunes. I wanted to create content that helped others to feel less lonely and anxious. I wanted to create content that helped people sleep and relax. I thought about all the people around the world who felt isolated and alone like me. These people were going through their own challenges, just like me. But still, after many months of trying, I was only making a few dollars per month on YouTube. Hardly enough to support a family of five.
At the end of a particularly bad day, I wanted to give up. I then turned on the camera. I looked deep into the camera lens. I leaned forward with tears in my eyes. I addressed the viewer. Through gritted teeth and with pointed my finger. I said:
Dont you ever give up . No matter what is happening in your life you can do this. Just get back up. I believe in you.
I talked to the camera as if the viewer was in front of me. I spoke of life’s challenges, goal setting, and resilience. I spoke as if the viewer was my close friend. The video showing my raw, vulnerable self went viral. The views started to escalate. Other videos then went viral. I began receiving letters from viewers asking for requests. People began to share their own stories with me.
My subscribers and views started to grow. It began as a slow trickle and then grew. The success wasn’t overnight, but the money started to come in.
But still, life wasn’t smooth sailing. Yes, there were many lovely comments from viewers who appreciated my content. But there were those who hated and criticized me and took time and effort to tell me so.
My greatest motivation came when people told me that I couldn’t do it.
As my channel grew and the subscribers grew into the thousands, and then the tens of thousands so did the hate. People wrote me hateful, nasty, and personal comments and emails. Some of the comments were anonymous. Some of them were from people I knew. Sometimes the comments were so hateful I would cry for hours.
But then I reflected. These people had nothing better to do with their time than hate on someone they did not even know. Why should I listen to them? If they were so hell-bent on hatred, what real credibility did they have? I made a decision. I told myself that for each nasty comment, I would work even harder. I have been like that ever since. Every time a comment hurts me, I work harder, create another meditation, or write an article.
‘They told me I couldn’t do it that’s why I did’ Michael Jordan
Thank you to the haters
Here are some of the comments I received from viewers, haters, and even people who knew me. Disparaging criticism is not always about hate. Even some of my friends told me to be realistic, get a job, and stop being a victim. I am so grateful to these people as they have helped to make me who I am today.
‘Because I care about you I need to tell you you look old and should get plastic surgery on your face’
‘Your meditations are hopeless, you are a loser. You always will be’
‘You are an embarrassment. Get off YouTube’
‘No one your age gets anywhere on YouTube’
‘YouTube isn’t a real job. Get a real job.’
‘You are just a YouTube rookie you’ll never be anything else’
People were quick to have an unqualified or unkind opinion. I knew I had to go with my gut, and my gut told me I could do this. After-all Einstein was told he was lazy at school, and then he created the theory of relativity and changed science as we know it. Michael Jordan didn’t make the College basketball team. He then went home, locked himself in his room, and cried. He bounced back to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before inventing the light bulb. If they could do it so could I. I believe that if you want dreams to happen, build an impenetrable force field around you. And listen to that voice deep within you, find a way, and keep on going.
How I realized my dreams
As humans, we are social by nature. We are a herd animal, and our instinct is to keep doing what we are doing without change. Society teaches us;
Don’t take risks. Don’t stray from the herd or do any different or you might get eaten up by a wolf.
Achieving your goals requires the opposite. You have to face your fears, move beyond the comfort of the herd, and embrace failure. Be your own person, and make success happen. No one in the herd can be your benchmark. You can’t compare yourself to anyone ever. You must face the wolf of your fear by yourself. You are you, and you have got this.
Two vital beliefs I used to succeed.
I’m going to share two vital beliefs I used to grow my channel to over a Hundred thousand subscribers and many million views. The first is never ever give up. No matter how many times you fall, get back up. And the second is work harder, longer and with more discipline than anyone else. Don’t even compare yourself with others. Comparison is the thief of authenticity. This is your race. Get fit. Don’t look behind you and keep on running until you have passed the finish line.
1. Get back up
Don’t let others set your expectations. Life is short. Make stuff happen. Embrace failure like one would hug a good friend because failure is your friend! I learned that each failure could teach me valuable lessons which propelled me forward. And wow did I fail.
But success is often a numbers game, and my achievements outnumbered my failures.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. — Michael Jordan
2. Develop a ridiculous, insane work ethic. That’s how winning is done.
‘Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!’ Rocky Balboa
Rocky was one of the movies we watched as a family. My boys know this scene off by heart, and sometimes they would recite it when we were driving to basketball. This quote mirrored my life.
We can each be our own Rocky Balboas. You need to decide, just decide to commit to the goal. And invest with every part of your body and mind. And that is what I did. I was older, unemployed, less skilled with almost no income. I wasn’t that talented, and I didn’t have the audiovisual skills. After the kids went to sleep, I edited meditation late into the night. I had one goal in mind- support my children. I made a SoundCloud playlist and listened to motivational tracks daily in the car. Now the children know these off by heart.
I know that you too can achieve your goals in impossible circumstance.
Know your goal and be prepared to fail yet at the same time, fight as if failure is not an option. And then get back up. And if one door doesn’t open for you try another and another. Stephen King, who has sold over 350 million books, had his first novel rejected 30 times. Learn how to overcome failure and keep moving forward. Don’t expect others to understand. This is your story, not theirs. Work harder longer and with more discipline than anyone else. Do courses, study, learn, and develop. Keep a journal, lists, learn software, train in the gym, meditate. Do whatever works for you. Don’t listen to the haters. Instead, be inspired by them. I have reached 100 thousand subscribers now. Several of my videos have in the several million. Days ago, I received my hundred thousand silver plaque from YouTube. I can’t describe how I felt when I opened that cardboard box and took it out. It was a quiet moment. I ran my fingers over the plaque, and I smiled.