Hey YTTalkers! I recently heard a small YouTube creator complaining about how YouTube needs to update their algorithm to favor small YouTubers and not just "the big guys." Other small creators chimed in and readily agreed, but I honestly have a different perspective on why small creators stay small and it has nothing to do with YouTube's algorithm. I thought about this community today and thought I'd share my thoughts here in hopes of encouraging some of you. Hopefully this helps some of you break out from under the 1,000 subscriber barrier that seems so difficult to break sometimes. First of all, let's talk about that good ol' YouTube algorithm. Is it really geared for the large creators? For context, I'm a YouTube Certified Consultant and work with both my personal channels and client channels. I started my first channel in 2006 and grew my most recent personal channel from 0 to 10,000 subscribers in the first 12 months. It's now about 25 months old and has 54,000 subscribers and 2.8 million views. It's in a very narrow, small, specific niche, too, not something big and broad like gaming, vlogging, or beauty (ha! image me doing that!). Most of the channels I work with as clients come to me with under 1,000 subscribers. After about a month or two of working through some common issues that keep creators stuck in that subscriber bracket, they start to exponentially grow. That proves to me that the problem is not algorithmic. One client of mine came to me before he even started his channel. After 9 months, he's now making $30,000 per MONTH in Adsense revenue alone. I don't say that to point the finger at me -- I say that to say: You can do this! If this guy who didn't even have a YouTube channel can do it, so can you. The algorithm is not the problem. I've worked with countless channels that have grown from 0 to hundreds of thousands of subscribers and a lot of money fairly quickly. In fact, I used to be co-workers with the guys behind the CinemaSins channel. They'll be the first to tell you that YouTube's algorithm doesn't squish the little guys on YouTube. They started with 0 views just like everyone else. You can do this! So what are those common issues that cause creators to feel stuck at under 1,000 subscribers? 1. Poor branding. This goes far beyond a simple forum post, but think much broader than logos, header images, and branded bumpers. Essentially it's answering the questions, "Who specifically is this content for?" and, "Why should that person care?" Why does your channel matter? What difference does it make in that person's life? What's their motivation for wanting to subscribe to your channel in the first place? How easily does your channel answer those subconscious questions for them? How well is that "branding" integrated into your content and channel? 2. Poor titles and thumbnails. It doesn't matter how awesome your content is if the thumbnails and titles aren't engaging, enticing, and attract people to click. That doesn't mean you should be misleading and tease a story that really isn't in the video -- that will backfire every time -- but it means knowing what the true value of your video is for someone and then crafting a "billboard" for it (title and thumbnail) that accurately pitches its value. 3. Craft better videos. And I don't mean just in terms of production value -- I mean in terms of actual content value. Most creators assume that their videos are awesome and that the only problem they have is exposure. The problem with that way of thinking is that it locks you into a mindset that doesn't change with YouTube and causes you to start blaming other things that you don't control. It's pretty self-defeating. If you've been creating videos for even 6 months, go back and look at some of your first videos. You thought they were awesome back then. Today you're probably embarrassed by them. And next year you'll look back on the videos you're creating right now and feel the same way. So use tools like "audience retention" in YouTube analytics to craft better videos. Drop the stuff that causes audience drop-off (like branded intros, for example) and learn to start the videos with better hooks, eliminate wasted time, stuff like that. Hope that helps some of you get on the right track. Like I said, anyone can do this YouTube thing. I really believe that. The key is to work smart, not to just work hard. I'd love to hear what tips and ideas you have for breaking past 1,000 subscribers! Let's all help each other out here.