Have you noticed a trend on "quitting YouTube"?
I've been seeing more and more videos from big and small creators, so my 1st impression was — maybe the reach of their YouTube videos has dropped so much that it is no longer worth the effort?
Sure, makes sense. It is probably true.
Then I came across this video, Why So Many YouTubers Are Quitting, from Rick Beato which changed how I think about it.
You know, Rick is not someone I usually follow. He talks about music and I failed my violin grade 6 exam when I was a kid. I suspected my teacher hated me because I never practiced.
Anyway, it is likely Rick's white hair that got me to pay close attention to what he was saying (I love hanging out with people with more experience than I do, they are wise!)
In the video, he said from what he saw, a lot of these YouTubers have very specific upload schedules. That was likely why they couldn't do it anymore.
On the contrary, he is still loving every bit of it because he makes videos based on things that he enjoys.
Spot on. In the last 3 years, I cannot tell you how many times I've been struggling between doing what I like versus doing what I need to do.
And You know where my mind instantly went when I heard that?
- I recalled my YouTube effort last year. I was forcing myself to put out 1 video a week. I was putting a lot of effort into ideating what my audience would want me to cover. I did all the scripting, filming, editing, and writing descriptions myself. I made it a job.
- I also recalled my X effort in the last 3 years. I didn't follow closely what was working well for the algorithm or audience. I didn't care. I kept expressing my thoughts and showing my work. Even if I got 0 likes or replies, I didn't mind.
Hmmm, such a different mindset and approach.
But they are from the same Broccoli Guy!
When I did my 2023 annual review, I made a decision. I would only make videos if there's something I want to share and if video is the best format. For example, when I talk to all these community-led entrepreneurs on my show.
But then, I see how a question is coming up in your mind — "If you only share what you want to share, you're not serving your audience."
I also question my own approach. Deep down, I know that no one can just share whatever they want to say. They will be talking to a wall. They will fail.
This is really contradicting and took me some time to work out an answer that is shareable here.
I think here's where all creative work gets tricky.
I feel like there are 2 parts to it.
1. You don't want to be fully dictated
One, you don't want your work and content to be completely dictated by the audience's needs and research.
Oh and also SEO - you don't want to just write to get ranked.
My approach so far has been to answer questions people ask me. Because the answers are likely useful to other people in my audience too. Then sometimes I write about what I want to say, like what you're reading now "Don't make this a job". I honestly want to talk about this.
You have to find a balance.
If you ask me, I'd say keep at least 30% of what you enjoy. It is an important part if you want to be a great creator-educator.
But this next point is even more important.
2. You always keep a pulse check
Two, even when I am sharing things I enjoy, I am always keeping a pulse check on whether this piece of content is useful for my audience.
This is the hard but important part.
This separates people who are showing their work in an intriguing way versus people who are showing their work to bore people.
So many people throw out updates and thoughts that no one cares about.
For me, I have practiced building in public long enough that I don't need a system to help me evaluate. When an idea comes, it goes through this quick filter in my head. Before I jot it down, I already know whether this might intrigue people.
It is not 100%, but good enough.
I can tell you that there are a bazillion things I want to throw out but I stop myself. This becomes part science part art!
But again, content in a way is a volume thing, so missing 10-20% doesn't make a huge difference.
To make it clear, when it comes to creating products, I still believe in prioritizing what your audience needs.
But let's leave that to another day.