It’s easy to spot a yellow car when you’re always thinking of a yellow car. I read this a few years ago and I believe it with all my heart and all my mind.
We always see more of what we’re thinking about. It isn’t that certain things start happening more frequently in our lives than other things, we’re just able to see more of them because we’re more aware about them.
Everyday millions of objects, words, concepts and feelings are presented to us. We’re just more aware about some and less aware about others. We’re only able to see, hear and observe just a handful. The handful that we wanted to see more of.
If you only see negativity in your life, I’m sorry to tell you that that’s what you’ve been looking for all along. To see forgiveness in the world, you have to want to look for it and once you do you see it all the time. If you look for generosity once, you will start to see how much more generous is the world. This isn’t something I or someone made up, it has it’s backing in the science. It’s how humans work. They call it Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or more commonly the yellow car phenomenon.
You have to want to see things, and the things will want to see more of you.
You have to want to look for opportunities, and the opportunities will want to see more of you. It’s easy to spot an opportunity, when you’re always thinking of an opportunity.
I purchased Koolmuzone.com in January 2009. By the end of 2009, I had built some kind of traffic as well some kind of authority in the Pakistani music space; but I was still not making anything more than a pocket change. Part of the reason why that happened was because you didn’t really get paid anything for Pakistani traffic. People can relate to that even today. I mean if in 2020 you make significantly less on a Pakistani traffic compared to the US traffic, you can imagine how bad it was in 2009.
Ten months into my efforts to make this work, I still hadn’t generated more than $200. In October of 2009, Telenor announced a blogging competition. Bloggers were supposed to generate maximum outbound traffic from their blogs to Telenor Weblounge Portal. Because I had significant traffic, but no means to monetize, I placed Telenor banners on my blog (for free). A month later, Telenor published the stats and Koolmuzone had won the competition.
By November, I received a Blackberry Bold phone as a prize for the competition. After receiving it, I drove straight to blue area and sold it for $500 so I could use it to fund the future growth of my business.
I recently asked my friend Usama from Tech With Usama to write down the process that he developed over time to be able to grow his channel. He was kind enough to share his experiences and has written a run down of how you can start a YouTube channel. Following blog post is written by him.
Starting your own YouTube channel may seem like a difficult process at first, but after I pen down my own experience, you will find it easier than ever.
If you are already enticed by the idea of starting a YouTube channel, you probably have an idea of the content you want to produce, but the journey ahead may keep you from taking that first step. I will break the entire process into small parts with the results that I achieved.
Why do you want to start a YouTube channel?
Ask yourself this question first of all. There are two kinds of people on YouTube. The first ones who do it just for the sake of self-satisfaction, they love to create content, creative content to be precise. And then there are the ones who want to opt for it as a profession. Both these need a lot of passion, without passion it’s just a car without wheels. Combined with passion, you can achieve greater results of course.
Creative people are not result-oriented, they just keep on making the content that satisfies them. On the other hand, professionals are data-driven, they keep figuring out what’s working and what’s not in order to act accordingly. If you fall in the first category, just go ahead, start making the content, go-on-and-on until people start noticing you. But, it’s an entirely different process for anyone who’s looking forward to making YouTube a source of income. To achieve results faster on YouTube, you have to be data-driven.
Choosing the content
After deciding that you want to be a professional YouTuber, the next thing is choosing the content, the category you want to work in. YouTube primarily has 12 categories including Travel, Lifestyle, Science & Technology, How To, People & Blogs, etc. These categories do not limit you to a specific content type, you can just choose what you want to do and fit in there.
While choosing the content-type, you need to make sure that you are passionate about your choice. You have to be an expert in your game. For example, when I wanted to start my YouTube channel, I knew that my passion was technology and I ended up making a tech channel that falls in the Science & Technology category. Choosing something that you are not passionate about will not affect you initially, but it will become monotonous at one point. So take your time, and choose this wisely.
Choose the language
Language plays a big role on YouTube, and language has different impacts on a channel. Before choosing a language, you need to know what audience you want to target. Bear in mind that the audience will have a direct impact on your revenue. If you want the audience from countries like the US, Canada, UK, and Europe, you will probably go with the English language. But if you are going with Urdu/Hindi, your audience will be limited to India, Pakistan, and a little bit of Bangladesh. So, do the maths and decide on the language.
Remember that the Indian/Pakistani audience can still watch your English content, but the US, UK, European audience will not be able to listen to your Urdu/Hindi content.
Choose the audience
What age group and gender you want to target with your videos? You should know that beforehand. Take a look at YouTube’s stats and create a sketch of the content for the most-active age group on YouTube.
Preparing for the channel launch
The next step is to prepare for the channel launch. For this, you will simply open YouTube, sign-in, and create your channel. By default, your YouTube account itself is a channel, but you can choose to create new channels under one account. Here is what you have to do in order to prepare the channel outlook.
Decide the channel name, don’t go for a too-long & confusing name. Keep it short, sweet, and simple.
Write an interesting “About us” with your contact email.
Make a very eye-catching channel thumbnail/profile picture.
Design a creative channel-art picture.
Preparing for the Video
Before you cluelessly start shooting a video, you need to write down a script. You need to know what you want to work on, and what you want to speak. A script that the video will follow. You will compile your clips according to the script. If you don’t want to create a script, list down the important points at the least and shoot accordingly.
Video Tips and Length
When you start off on YouTube, it will not let you publish videos of over 15 minutes. So, for a good amount of time, you will make videos under 15 minutes, but in my opinion, you should make videos under 10 minutes. Keep your videos short, straight to the point. If there is a video that requires 30 – 40 minutes, break it into small parts. Do 4 parts of 10 minutes each instead. This will give your channel more content.
Do not waste a lot of time saying the things people don’t want to listen to. Getting straight to the point will make users stick to your video, and watch it until the end. The video should be interesting enough to keep a user’s interest alive.
As far as the video resolution is concerned, the minimum resolution your videos should have is 1080p. You can go up to 4K if your gear supports it.
Your video should have a very good description attached to it. The description should give users an idea of what your video is all about.
Dedicate a small part of your video to explaining what your channel is all about and what value you are offering to the viewers. Encourage your viewers to subscribe to your channel.
Thumbnails are the most important part of a YouTube video. Thumbnails can actually determine a video’s success or failure. Here is how thumbnails work.
When you publish a video on YouTube, it goes to YouTube’s homepage and appears on the user’s browse page. If your Thumbnail is good, people will click on it out of curiosity, and if the video next to the thumbnail is worth it, they will stay and stick to your channel.
If one user comes to your video from YouTube’s browse section, YouTube will automatically recommend it to next 10 users, if they come to your channel too, it will go on to appearing on the screens of another 100, and the chain goes on.
Thumbnail dimensions should be 1280 x 720
Thumbnails should be eye-catching.
Text concentration should be minimal on the thumbnails.
The thumbnails should be self-explanatory.
Symmetry among your thumbnails will give your channel’s homepage a very nice look.
Always target the keywords that suit and explain your content. The keywords should placed inside the Title, and all over your description. You can also put them in the form of hashtags. Up to 3 hashtags can be placed in a video. Keywords should be placed in tags too.
Content Quality vs Quantity
A lot of beginners often confuse themselves between the Quality vs Quantity debate. Here is how it works.
If you focus on quality, a video is going to require a lot of time. In this case, you may not be able to go over 3 or 4 videos a week. The fewer videos you upload, the lesser are going to be your chances of hitting the right chords on YouTube. What I mean is, initially, you have no idea of what will bring traffic to your channel and what do people exactly want to watch, and this is where quantity takes over.
Quantity over quality will open a whole new world of opportunities. You will be publishing more videos on YouTube, targetting more keywords, providing a lot of content, a lot of choices to the viewers. If the users develop an interest in a certain video of yours, you can build your entire channel around that one video.
When I say quantity or quality, I do not mean that you do 2 videos or 3 videos a day. These are not blog posts, these are videos that require a lot of hard work. In this case, you should try doing 1 video a day and stay consistent with it. Out of 10 videos, 1 will work and open your doors on YouTube.
After you publish a few videos on YouTube, start watching the channel analytics. Keep an eye on the geographical location of the users, user age, traffic from non-subscribers, subscriber conversion per video, and everything else that matters.
Hitting the right chords
Keep an eye on the video that’s performing well. Not down the keywords that are bringing traffic to that particular video and develop more content covering those keywords.
All it takes is 1 single video for a YouTube channel to make its place. Let me explain that further.
I started creating content on YouTube in October 2018. From October 2018 to March 2019, none of my videos crossed even 10,000 views. It was mid of March when one video of my channel brought in 2,000 views in a single day, this was huge and I was overwhelmed. I stretched across the same content and produced over 15 videos on the same topic, and this is what happened.
My channel started going up in March and hit the highest views in the following months, and it never lost the ground after that.
From October 2018 to March 2019, I had only 700 subscribers, but in the following month, my Subscribers count went up to 5,000.
To see this day, I had to make over 100 videos. It was a difficult process, but consistency is the key. After these results, I never looked back and had already given up the thoughts of giving up.
But the question is, how do you make 100 videos? Well, Quantity over quality. Make 10s of videos around the same topic, and keep making the videos until your day comes.
To monetize a YouTube channel, your channel needs to have 1,000 Subscribers 4,000 watch hours. This can be achieved by using the Quantity over Quality approach too. If one video of your channel finds its way to YouTube’s homepage for a good amount of time, it will take a couple of days to bring in 4,000 hour watch time and 1,000 subscribers.
Fighting with “Others have done this, I shouldn’t do this” thought
This thought is disastrous. It has killed many dreams, and I suggest you not to do the same. It doesn’t matter if others have made a video already, you still need to make the video you want, in your own style, telling people what they need to know, and say what no one else says. Not making a video just because someone else has already made it is an extremely absurd approach, so avoid that at all costs.
Fighting with negative comments and dislikes on YouTube
The Internet is a ruthless place and so is YouTube. There is going to be a number of people who are not going to like your content for many reasons, but it doesn’t mean you should back down. The number of people liking your content and encouraging you will always be higher than the discouraging ones. Take the negative feedback positively, and improve your videos further to a point where people stop disliking them.
Channel branding tips
Add a “Subscribe” animation to your videos urging users to subscribe.
Add a “Like” animation as well.
Also, add a 150×150 “Subscribe” button to channel’s lower-left corner, this appears in the channel’s advanced settings.
Use an “End Screen” showing two of your videos to drive the audience.
Share your videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest.
YouTube Channel Growth
The channel growth prospects entirely depend on the linguistics. If you are making Hindi/Urdu content, your channel will grow faster in terms of subscriber count because of the relatability factor. The competition is still low, as Neil Patel mentions in his vlog.
YouTube is extremely competitive in the English language, and I have experienced this too, but the point is, English is the language you want to work in if you want to make YouTube a passive income source in a short period of time. You can definitely make a lot of money from the Urdu/Hindi content too, but it’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort.
So far in my experience, my English channel brought a higher number of views and fewer subscribers while the Urdu channel brought a higher number of subscribers and fewer views. The English channels’ Views to Subscriber ratio was like 100:1 and for Urdu, it was 100:20.
Does Gear matter?
If you are creative, the gear doesn’t matter. Your creativity will overcome the lack of gear. Shoot with whatever you have, and build your base before you invest in your YouTube gear. But if you don’t have very good video-skills, the Gear can certainly overcome the lack of skills and this requires a lot of money. In my case, I didn’t have any skills beforehand, and my blogging career enabled me to invest in the Gear before I made my first video. My first 50 videos still didn’t look good, I only started learning after I had made over 100 videos. This was a slow process but I eventually learned and realized that this can be one approach too.
Motivation for beginners
A year ago, I was a beginner on YouTube. I sought help from videos of other YouTubers. Furthermore, I read a lot of posts, and even after doing all that I found myself clueless. I only got a hang of YouTube after I made my first video. Making my first video also made me realize as if that was the hardest thing ever. Here is how the YouTube process takes its course.
Hardest things on YouTube
Making your first video.
The very first video will take a lot of time. Maybe a day, a week, a month, or a year before you finally sit down and write down that script. After the first video, you build confidence to do more of it, and you eventually start making the content on a daily or weekly basis. Remember that it’s all about that first video.
Killing the Camera-shyness.
With the first video, the camera-shyness will also come in your way. It’s very good if you are not camera-shy, but if you are, just shoot down the first video thinking that the camera is your friend and you are talking to it. It’s very important to kill it as the face value will build a better lock-in with your viewers.
Reaching your first 100 Subscribers.
The hardest thing on YouTube is reaching your first 100 subscribers. This is a painful process and you need to wait patiently. I’m talking about the organic 100 subscribers. Wait it out and don’t lose hope.
Reaching your first 1000 Subscribers.
Reaching your 1000 Subscribers will not be as difficult as reaching the first 100. In my own case, it took 3 months to reach 100 subscribers and another 3 months to reach 1000 subscribers.
Reaching your first 10,000 Subscribers
Reaching the first 10,000 subscribers will not be as difficult as reaching your first 100 and 1000 subscribers. Once you reach 10,000 subscribers, YouTube will open its doors for you. Your channel will see rapid growth after this given the amount of content you are publishing. Take a look at what Casey Neistat has to say.
Consistency, perseverance, persistence is the key to a successful YouTube. So what if you are not getting views, never give up and keep making the content unless YouTube starts suggesting your content to people or the people start noticing your channel. I emphasized the fact that it takes only one video to hit it, and that cannot be done without consistency. Stay consistent, keep making content, and your consistency will improve once you start seeing results.
Find the gaps
It is not possible that what you want to work is all-already done. One of the keys to success on YouTube is the ability to find the gaps. Go through the content that is similar to your idea and see what others are doing. Instead of focusing on the things they have covered, find out what they have not, and that is your room to play. Play within those gaps and make a mark on YouTube.
Camera – Start with whatever you have, your phone, action camera, or whatever you fancy right now.
There is a lot more that I’d want to write down, but it’s important not to confuse the beginners with a lot of knowledge all at once. Starting your YouTube channel is a great idea keeping in view how big YouTube is. As of March 2020, YouTube makes up about one-third of the Internet’s population. YouTube’s search engine is as big as Google now. Millions of videos are uploaded each day and billions of views are generated. Youtube’s application is vast and using it rightly can help you in a number of ways.
Ask your questions in the comments below, I will try my best to answer each one of them with the knowledge I have gained in 1.5 years of my YouTube career.
I don’t know anything about running a marathon. The physical one. I have never run it. To be able to do so, I’d need to train, at the very minimum for a few weeks. I’m going to struggle to run for 5 miles even. I’ll probably do it, but I may not enjoy it or consider ever doing it again.
I have however run a mental marathon. I trained for it and I enjoyed it. Although it was tiring like the physical one, I thoroughly enjoyed running it and kept going back to run it.
When you have large goals or you’re trying to build something complex, it won’t happen easily. It might be as easy as running in a straight line, but you would probably need to run for a long time and you will need to build endurance. Once you have built endurance you can probably do it over and over again. You would also enjoy every time you would run this marathon. However, if you don’t run a mental marathon for a really long time such as taking time off and putting the brain at ease, you will need to train again, just like the physical one.
Your IQ wouldn’t have changed during this time. You would still be mentally as capable as you were before, but you wouldn’t have the endurance to run a mental marathon. On the bright side though, for a former marathon runner, it’s easier to build endurance again. Easier than someone who hasn’t done it before.
If you feel you’ve big goals and the aptitude or the IQ but are somehow still helpless and incapable of getting to them, it’s the endurance issue. You get on the mental treadmill, but you’re too irregular. You build the endurance a little bit, and then you go back to your old ways. You fail to build on your previous progress. If you can do that, you’ll see yourself on the other side.
I saw an interesting video by Garry Tan where he mentioned that startups spend as much as 40% of the funds they raise on Google & Facebook ads. That is a lot. In other words, 40% of all VC money is going to those 2 companies. This is obviously going to reduce in the coming months and so we could expect this to reflect in the earnings of these 2 companies.
During the upcoming recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the advice that seems to be coming from everywhere is to have cash runway that lasts 18 months.
In order for this to work, many startups are going to reduce their spending or risk survival. One option that all startups have is to allocate more time and resources to retain more customers instead of acquisition, as the former is often cheaper.
The startups that are going to continue to invest in customer acquisition need to know that the lifetime value of customers would most certainly be lower than what they were accustomed to. Because of this, an immediate recalibration would be required for ROI metrics. Acquiring customers on a better a ROI than before should be the norm for the next few months.
These are difficult times for everyone including us but looking into pandemics of the past suggests that all this should be over soon.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I enjoyed a 2 year break from work. Or I thought that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t really. I picked many bad habits and got very unhealthy. I am still not healthy, physically, but I was very unhealthy mentally too. I’m quite healthy mentally now.
When you’re deep into something like a 2 year break, its difficult to start working. You don’t want to work. You’re deep in that mental zone that leaves you good for nothing. I was, at least. So I decided to write a blog. Something that I could term productive, but wouldn’t require much effort on my part either. It worked out well for me. Within 30 days of writing, I was working full-time. It really helped me pick up that lost pace.
In 2020, despite COVID-19 pandemic looming above us, we’ve done quite well. We’ve already done tens of thousands of dollars in revenue in the first quarter despite being a super difficult time to operate a business in. This blog helped me do it.
I introduced 365-days streak in my life so I was forced everyday to turn on my laptop and think. For the first few weeks, it was quite easy. I had so much to talk about. I had many stories and experiences to share from the past 10+ years. But then I started running out of stories to talk about.
My daily challenge started to annoy me and continues to do that occasionally. It is especially difficult for me to write when I’m actually busy working on super important aspects of the business yet I’m still forced to write. It sounds bad, but it isn’t. I’m forced to push my limits and boundaries every day. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Other days, when I’m not busy, but also can’t seem to think about anything interesting to write, I start consuming content that I continued to bookmark for weeks and months, but could never find time. So I’m forced to read so I can learn something meaningful that I can then write about. All because I’ve a challenge which can get annoying, but gets me to work, learn, and share.
I have been practicing social distancing for the past 10 days. During this, I’ve went out only once because I needed to buy some important essentials. During the first 3 days, all I did was read about the COVID-19 virus. It wasn’t healthy.
On my 4th day, I enrolled in a digital marketing course that I wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t find time. 3 days into it, I was spending thousands of dollars on ads to try what I had just learnt. I haven’t watched more than 5% of the content of the course yet, and have spent considerably more time trying those things.
During the quarantine, I have found myself busier than I usually am. Before, I was spending considerable amount of time outside of the house mainly to socialize. While that is obviously not a possibility now, I am making the best of this time by not just learning new things but actively trying those in my business.
I haven’t watched Netflix or movies so far in the last 10 days, and I haven’t felt like I have anytime left to think about how to “kill” time during the quarantine.
There are things you always wanted to do but didn’t have time for. Now is the time for that. It’s time for you to be with your family. It’s time for you to play all the games that you wanted to play with your kids, but could never find time. It’s time for you to learn all those skills that just couldn’t fit in your otherwise busy routine. It’s a tough time for all of us if you think about COVID-19. But apart from that, it’s a great time for self-reflection and to make progress in life.
As an entrepreneur, it’s very important to stay calm even when the world is breaking apart. Most of the time, when there is a world changing event like COVID-19, people’s consumption behavior change. They buy different things compared with their previous spending habits.
While doing product research for our E-Commerce holding company, I got to know that Hair Clippers was one of the best selling products while China was on lockdown because of COVID-19. Who would’ve thought that people would buy Hair Clippers when hundreds are dying because of an extremely deadly virus.
But when barbershops are closed, you still gotta cut yours and your children’s hair. 3 of the fastest growing Chinese companies from January to March are companies which are either manufacturing Hair Clippers or are leading retailers.
Another great example of this trend is blankets, hand warmers and mini electric heaters. Due to control measures of COVID-19, apartment buildings turn off heating and you have to open windows for fresh air. However, temperature in many parts of the world is still too cold. China’s leading e-commerce marketplace Pinduoduo reported that sales of blankets and hard warmers saw 165% increase during the lockdown.
When you find calm in chaos, you can find opportunities like these and benefit from them. Insights like these coupled with lethal digital marketing can create new companies which capitalize on new purchasing behaviors.
This is a guest post by Socialoholic’s co-founder @SaadBassi
Facebook advertising can be overwhelming because of how inconsistent it can be. Despite it’s inconsistency, it still is and will continue to be my go to place for marketing. I’ve been busy with the launch of our new store as I mentioned in my last blog yesterday. So I’ll be writing this one in a hurry, so I can head back to work.
Markets. They are a good place for everyone to passively build wealth while you actively work on your business or in a job. But in times like this, markets can get the best of you. Let me tell you a story.
The first time I bought a Bitcoin was for $1000. The first time I sold a Bitcoin was for $200. I think most people are aware that Bitcoin went all the way up to $20,000 and trades today at $6000. I was a newbie in the markets. I continue to be even today, but I wouldn’t make that same mistake again. You shouldn’t either.
If you always wanted to own a certain asset whether it’s Bitcoin or stocks or gold, now and the weeks to come could be the time to do that. 2020 is a better time to buy these assets, as they trade 30% below the price they traded in 2019. 2021 could be an even better time than 2020, but we don’t know that. What we do know is 2020 is a better time to buy than 2019.
As cliche as it may sound, buy when there’s blood in the streets and if you can’t, that’s okay. At the very least though, don’t sell when there’s blood in the streets.
I thought about software businesses, which may also be struggling, but far less than other kind of businesses. In fact there are some software businesses that are doing better than they have ever done before; Zoom for example. As S&P500 index goes down as much as 30%, the stock price for Zoom is up by 30% as more and more people resort to work from home.
You may have also read that Amazon is hiring as many as 100,000 people to fulfill the customer demand. So Amazon doesn’t seem to be doing too bad either as people resort to online shopping to follow social distancing.
The more you read about the bad news on Twitter, Facebook or wherever you get your news from, the more opportunities are presented to you. In fact, when the world was functioning on full-throttle, it was tough to find opportunities because every industry was so competitive. Now, opportunities present themselves to you.
For example, you may have read that in many parts of the world, everything has been closed except for pharmacies, groceries and food deliveries. This is an obvious proof that if you could deliver medicines, essentials or food, you might be doing better than others. But what’s more obvious is that if there was a delivery version available of everything else that’s on a complete shutdown, that could be an even better opportunity.
If people are locked in their houses, they might need more than food or medicines. They certainly need video conferencing (zoom) to continue to work from home. They need Netflix, obviously. They probably also need to workout, right? Probably other things to keep themselves entertained or busy.
Because people need to still workout, we’ve launched our “workout from home” brand in the last couple of days. We’ve seen initial demand for it, and plan to scale it in the coming weeks. There’s a big e-commerce opportunity right now and I encourage that you seize it.
Moreover, Shopify is giving away 90 days free trial instead of the regular 14-days to help small businesses stay afloat. So what are you waiting for? This could be the time to kick-start your e-commerce journey.