I haven’t been around much the last few months since selling my case study site, but I’m back with a new case study I’m pretty excited about!
The title isn’t clickbait; over the last year, I’ve sold all of my websites and all but exited the blogging space and started a couple of YouTube channels.
This wasn’t a flash decision, I’ve wanted to start YouTube channels for years but kept making excuses and putting it off.
To be fair to myself, I didn’t have a lot of time while I was running a few blogs, especially because I always do everything myself and don’t outsource anything (still lame excuses though).
Anyways, I’ve finally started a couple of channels and I’ll post updates here every couple of months or so.
As I grow them you can follow along, but hopefully some of your reading this will also start a channel (or maybe you have one already) and we can tackle some of this together!
Here’s Why I’ve Transitioned to YouTube
I’ll say off the top that I didn’t sell up in a hurry and switch to YouTube due to ChatGPT and other AI tools changing the face of blogging – but it did help with the decision and has solidified that it was the right thing to do!
But I won’t go into that here, this is about growing a YouTube business.
Some of the reasons why I’ve wanted to get into YouTube for a while are:
- Video, especially shorter format videos have been growing in popularity for years
- There are loads more barriers to entry than blogging; I’m hoping this stops copycats and people from quickly duplicating my stuff which happened a lot with my blogs
- I like the viral aspect of video and how YouTube ‘should’ reward good content based on likes and good engagement rather than shady tactics like blogs
- It just feels a lot more flexible than blogging to me with more room to be creative and I’m tired of writing thousands of words a day to be honest
Another reason why I sold my blogs was that it enabled me to hit some personal financial goals.
I was always going to sell up when I could make enough money to never have to work a ‘job’ again or worry about paying the bills – so I did.
As a result, I only ‘work’ 2-3 days a week now on this YouTube stuff. I’m able to spend most of my time with my family and doing my hobbies, which means the world to me.
So progress on these channels might be a little slow, but we shall see.
I’m Making Faceless Videos – Here’s What That Means and Why
I’m only going to be making faceless videos, which as the word ‘faceless’ suggests – I won’t be showing my face.
There is nothing wrong with this, and it doesn’t mean the quality has to suffer. In fact, the majority of channels I watch are faceless and it’s perfect for a lot of niches.
There are successful faceless channels in just about every niche from health, to finance, teaching, and more, but some are better suited than others.
What does seem to get a bad rap is ‘YouTube Faceless Automation’.
This is that scammy stuff, like ‘Earn $10k a day without doing anything’, or ‘Earn $10k a day uploading thunderstorm sound bites’ all the fake guru’s push saying all you have to do is pay for a script, then a voice-over, then an editor, and print money.
The reason I’m making faceless videos is because I don’t want to put myself out there, yeh, but also because I want the process of making videos to be a lot quicker and not to brand the channel around me.
Anyone who followed along with my blogging journey will know that I don’t like spending money, and I intend to keep expenses low on my YouTube business as well.
My main cost has been a microphone. I spent about £220 on a Shure MV7 (Amazon Affiliate Link) that was recommended to me by more than one person.
But in all honesty, it’s been a nightmare. I’ve spent at least 5 hours messing about with the settings and troubleshooting stuff on forums and I still do not like how it sounds.
I’ve got all the settings cranked up to max and I think it’s still too quiet. It also seems to auto-fade in and out when it feels like it, and outright cuts out in spots.
This means I have to keep chopping at my audio and rerecording bits and it’s obvious when listening through that the volume and sound of my voice keep changing.
I don’t have a great voice for audio anyway, which is why I wanted to try and compensate with a good-quality microphone.
But it must be me, because it’s rated one of the best mics on the market.
At this point, I don’t want to pay for voice-overs, and there is a grey area around AI voices and whether or not it affects YouTube monetization and engagement so I’m going to keep doing the voiceovers myself.
Outside of the microphone, I’m using my iPhone to record footage and paying £18 a month for editing software with a stock library built-in.
Avoiding Copyright Issues
If you want to try and get an ‘easy win’ with YouTube, you could follow the crowd and start an Elon Musk Channel chopping up his interviews, a motivational channel using the same clips of motivational speakers everyone else is using, or one of those ‘best of’ channels cutting up the ‘Top 10 shocking moments’ from TV shows.
But the problem with all the channels like that is that you’re using footage owned by someone else.
If you hang around in some of the YT subreddits, copyright strikes and issues are one of the most popular topics.
It appears that a lot of people find a way around it by using clips shorter than 5 seconds, distorting or flipping the footage, replacing the audio, or just seem to go under the radar.
I’m not going to risk any of that.
Being denied monetization when hitting 1k subs, losing monetization on a successful channel, and getting strikes against a channel…these are all real things that can happen when you use footage owned by someone else without their permission.
I don’t want to risk my channel or revenue, so I’m not going to use any footage that I either didn’t record myself or isn’t from a stock library I paid for.
It sucks at times, I’ve done some videos where I’m talking about a clip from another video and could really use showing an example; but better safe than sorry.
The Goal – Getting into Youtube’s Partner Program and Monetized
The goal is to get a channel into YouTube’s Partner Program so they turn AdSense on and I start earning money!
The requirements to do this are:
1. Get 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months, or
2. Get 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days.
It’s nice to have a clear goal, and how hard can either of those be anyway, right?
I started my first channel as a way to practice and learn how to create videos, upload them to YouTube, and test some SEO things.
It’s in a classic faceless niche where most channels are literally just someone reading stuff out with a static image on the screen; think poems, quotes, short stories, etc.
It’s a channel I’m using to test stuff and practice, but I feel like I’m bringing some added value to what a lot of successful channels are doing so I’m going to try and take it all the way to 1k subs.
I’m basically writing scripts around keywords and titles I think people will find interesting and click on when YouTube recommends my videos to them, then I’m using stock footage and images.
I’m doing some SEO-focused stuff based on Google search volume, but don’t have a reliable way of checking the SERPs within YT at the moment.
This channel is very different, I’m going out and filming all the footage for this channel. It’s basically me (and a friend) exploring stuff around the UK that I think (hope) people will find interesting.
There are loads of successful channels where people just walk around, drive, film monuments and other features, etc, so I’m trying to tap into that general niche.
Some of these channels even do well without even filming anything themselves!
I’ve seen some channels just using stock footage that isn’t even the areas they’re talking about or taking images from Google Earth and growing to tens of thousands of subs.
I’m trying to add value by recording footage, incorporating stats and facts about areas, using elements and popups on the screen, and editing it a little more dynamically than most people do.
I’m also hoping to get an advantage by studying YouTube’s algorithm and optimizing my videos better for search and discovery than most channels do.
I don’t have a problem sharing this channel once it has a bunch of videos and is something I’m proud of.
Like I said above, it’s not like someone can go out and film all the same stuff as me and copy my ideas, so it would be nice to get some feedback on it down the line.
Stats for My Channels
Here are my channel stats:
|#Watch time (hrs)
Well, I took the biggest step which was starting and I’m already loving the process of recording, editing, and creating videos – so it’s full steam ahead.
Two months ago I’d never edited a piece of footage and could barely put a header image together on Canva, it’s been a steep learning curve!
If anyone has any tips or advice, don’t be shy about sharing it and I’m sure I could use it.
I’ll drop back in with an update in a month or two if I’m starting to get some traction or have anything useful to add.