We all have a dream — my dream was to become a full-time YouTuber. I mean — who wouldn’t want to be one? You get to make fun and creative videos on your own time while making passive income. You are your own boss and that is something that a lot of us aspire to be these days. These YouTubers made it look super easy making comedy sketches and blowing up on the internet. Is overnight success really a thing? I would say yes in very rare cases, but that is the .00001%. I just made up that number, but you know what I mean. The algorithm is this magic wand that chooses who is going to be the next Charli D’amelio.
Many people who aren’t into social media doesn’t think that being a YouTuber or influencer is a real job. One of the biggest reasons they think that is because they believe it’s super easy and that there is no hard work behind it. These are some of the most ignorant people. There is more to being a YouTuber than just turning on a camera saying words then uploading. It is hard work with no guarantee of return.
So many people start a youtube channel for the wrong reasons. They become a YouTuber in hoping to become rich and famous. I am not going to lie and say that the thought has never gone through my head because I am human and all humans like attention and financial freedom; however, that isn’t the only reason I chose to do youtube. If I only did youtube to make money then I would’ve quit back in 2016 a couple of months after I started.
I was inspired to join youtube after watching MyLifeAsEva videos. I thought she was really funny and weird so I thought to myself… I’m funny and weird, maybe I should start a youtube channel. The one thing that really caught my eye from her channel is that not only was she creating comedy sketches, but she was extremely relatable. I wanted to be relatable. I felt that I could do the same so I started my youtube channel in 2016.
I started the channel under my first and last name because I had no idea what to name it — right now it is LifeWithJustine. My first video was titled “how to get a job” — which was me giving tips to teenagers on how to nail your first job. The video was a trainwreck. I had no idea what I was doing. The video is still on my channel only because it is my first ever video and I like to see how much I have grown.
During 2016, my favorite videos to make were comedy sketches. I truly enjoyed planning out videos and inviting friends to be in my videos. I would also do morning and night routines because those were popular in 2016. I did what was considered “trendy”. I wasn’t doing bad in the beginning until 2017 when youtube changed its algorithm. This made it 10x harder for a small YouTuber to grow. I still didn’t give up.
I may not have had thousands of subscribers, but I did have a small circle of viewers who looked forward to my content and that is what kept me going.
Youtube connected me with like-minded people who have a love for content creating as well. I have made some amazing friends through the platform. Some opportunities that came my way were attending Vidcon and Playlist Live. I was also selected to be in a small YouTuber panel in 2019 at Playlist Live. It was an opportunity I will never forget.
Youtube has also helped me grow as a person. It taught me how to be my own boss. It helped me build my creative skills, public speaking skills, and social media marketing skills.
When you are a small YouTuber, you are your whole team. You are the producer, videographer, actor, editor, manager, and social media manager. It is a challenge — the biggest challenge of my life. It is even more challenging when you are 25 years old working a 40 hour week and doing ubereats on the side to pay bills. Paying bills has to be my top priority otherwise I would be on the streets. My body would always be on low battery.
My day job is also a very high-stress job that drains me mentally which leaves me left with no creativity. I am noticing as I am writing this that it sounds like I allowed Corporate America to choose my life destiny, but I did not.
So referring back to my title — I have been doing youtube for 4 years and still haven’t hit the 1k subscribers mark and it does make me sad because I’ve taken all the advice that people who are successful given me and nothing is working. Sometimes I wonder if I am supposed to be doing youtube. I have worked so hard with very little return and it is extremely discouraging. Most people would have quit by now, but I can’t. I really can’t. Youtube is PART OF ME NOW. If I stopped doing youtube then part of me would feel dead. I still believe in myself. It may look like I have failed miserably, but I am going to keep putting videos out there. All the mental breakdowns will be worth it one day.