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Where 12 months on YouTube can take you

Adam Holownia

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Hi everyone,

I've just published an article about my experience on YouTube in the last calendar year.
If you've ever wanted to start a channel, I hope it inspires you to do so.

Let me know if you have any questions!

I've published the full article on Medium but here's a copy of the text from the article if you just want to read it without all the links, images etc.

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Where 12 months on YouTube can take you
From starting a channel to appearing on Richard Branson’s blog.

As we move into 2017, I’ve documented the journey of my first full calendar year on YouTube. The aim is to show you what is possible and to hopefully inspire some of you to give it a go.

I started my channel, Obtain Eudaimonia near the end of 2015 with no previous experience of creating videos. I read a lot of books about successful people and decided to create animations providing a summary of each book that I read. Like most people’s first attempts, my first video was relatively poor, but not as cringe-worthy as I’d feared. Since that very first animation was published just over a year ago, I’ve been on a journey both figuratively and literally. I’d like to share some of these experiences with you.

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Every year I set myself at least one long term goal. I’d recently got back into reading a lot, which I used to do as a child. In January, I set myself the rather ambitious challenge of reading 50 books in a year, which would mean a video every week for the channel.

The first three or four months of 2016 went by and I was enjoying the process of creating the videos. The challenge to read one book a week and produce an animation was tough, but achievable and the goal really helped me to keep being consistent with producing the videos.

Incidentally, in my experience it’s not the smartest that are successful on YouTube… it’s the most consistent, the hardest working and the most unperturbed. As Albert Einstein once said: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”. His view is as applicable on YouTube as it is in theoretical physics.

The channel was growing, but the growth was very slow and I started having doubts as to how beneficial the videos were for people, as they’re primarily educational in nature. Then in May I read, Screw it, Let’s Do It by Sir Richard Branson. It was a great book and after I made a video about it, I sent a link to it to his company, Virgin, as I thought it may have been of interest to them.

A few days later, out of the blue I was contacted by Sir Richard himself who wanted to share the video on his website and promote it further. When he published his blog post about the video, it was my proudest moment as a YouTube creator. As you can imagine, the recognition and kind words he had to say about my work were extremely motivating and gave me a boost: not only in terms of motivation, but in views and subscribers as well.

Over the course of the year many other people have got in touch to say how much they’ve liked the videos, which brings me to my next point which may seem obvious to some. If you produce high quality content about somebody, let them know! Simply by sending a tweet or an email I’ve got to speak to some incredible people and received some invaluable advice. The author Derek Sivers in particular has been a great help, answering my questions and offering his advice.

In August, I did my first collaboration and had an animation about Steve Jobs featured on Evan Carmichael’s channel. Since then I’ve also worked with Patrick Daniel who was looking for people to get involved with creative approaches regarding the launch of his new book The Thinker. By reaching out to him, we worked together to produce a series of videos, containing extracts from the book. Never underestimate the power of reaching out.

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In September, I was invited by YouTube to attend their YouTube Creator Day at their brand-new YouTube Space in London. I also attended a similar event closer to home in Manchester in December. The events were invaluable as you spend the day learning how to improve your channel with other YouTube creators. Extremely successful YouTubers who are a lot further on in their journey than me that I learnt a lot from included Mike Boyd (who learns a new skill every month) and Amman Ahmed (who built a company from his relaxation music channels). There is also an opportunity to network afterwards in a relaxed “Happy Hour” environment with your peers. A couple of friends who I met and stayed in touch with are Marek Larwood (comedian extraordinaire) and Iain McGregor (who creates Physics/Engineering animations). The benefit of receiving knowledge, help and advice from speaking to your peers is invaluable.

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The past year on YouTube has not only exceeded my expectations, it has opened doors to opportunities that I didn’t even know existed and I’ve gathered over 5,000 subscribers in the process. I’m excited about the future and my plans for the direction of the channel in 2017. I hope this shows you what is possible in 12 months with a goal and some hard work on something you enjoy and are passionate about. Although, when it comes to hard work as the saying goes: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

So if you’ve ever thought about starting a channel, I implore you to give it a go in 2017? Who knows where it could take you...
 

Tivo

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Thank you for sharing! That is very inspiring. I hope you gain much more success in the future!
 

Envision Adventure

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That's an incredible story! It's really cool to hear about how far you've come in one year. Congrats!
 

clairelouise

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that is amazing! im so glad for youtube! although i dont really hope to become famous i hope to meet a few good new friends from around the world! thanks for a insight into youtubers!
 

Ridic

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That's pretty cool. I am thirteen and I also started animation channel that started uploading back in October. Perhaps this year will be very successful for me. And maybe you and I could become friends, we are both animators.
 

Adam Holownia

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That's pretty cool. I am thirteen and I also started animation channel that started uploading back in October. Perhaps this year will be very successful for me. And maybe you and I could become friends, we are both animators.
Thank you Ridic. You have a new subscriber. Keep up the good work.
 

Ridic

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Thanks. You seem to have some pretty cool stuff to.
 

PositivelyBrainwashed

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Great to see you around here. Watched your video the other day. We should keep in touch :)
 
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