How I made my first 1000 subs - A mindset advice

Sophia Calate

Active Member
Hi everyone!

First things first: Please excuse my English, there might be some errors as English is just my 2nd language. My name is Sophia, I'm 24 years old and I live close to Cologne, Germany.

There are many good hints and tips on this Forum of how to get views, subs and so on, but most of them focus on YouTube related things. For example:
"Don't put words in the headline or tags that don't relate to your video" or
"Do not beg for subs in other channels comments" or
"Do not monetize too early" and so on...

These are all great tips! Eveybody should know them. For me, these are kinda mandatory. If you haven't checked out these tips, please read these threads:
  1. What I Learned While Gaining My First 1,000 Subs - by @laurenzside
  2. 10 fairly solid pieces of advice for brand new channels - by @jackdarke
  3. How to get: Views & Subs *EASILY EXPLAINED* - by @Unated
  4. And many more... I haven't checked all posts
Those threads should be read and understood by everybody who is serious about his/her YouTube channel.

But after all there is still some advice missing that I have found for myself very useful: It is your mindset! You may wonder now, how your mindset can help you get more likes, views and subs. This is the reason why I have created this thread. It is because most people don't know about it! If you follow what I am saying right now, you will end up in a significant increase of your views and subs!

I've found out that most of the strategies are common with business strategies in the business industry.

Lesson No.1: Your YouTube Channel is a business!
Don't be afraid! Even if you have only 100 subscribers or less, you should still use your YouTube channel as if it was a serious business. And even if you do not earn money with it and you never monetize it, treat it like a business!! Sounds boring? Well, it will get funny once you make 4-5 figure income out of it ;)
You are wondering what it takes to treat it like a business? I will get to the point in the next lessons, but at first I want you to understand that this is one essential step of your mindset!

Imagine this: There is a new computer game coming out and you decide to upload a video of the very first let's play of this game. You are doing it all right, your quality is good, you are entertaining, you are mastering the game, you explain every detail your viewers want to know. You get 2000, 3000 views in the first week. But suddenly, there is PewDiePie (the guy with the most subs on YouTube) and he uploads a very poor let's play of that game, but he gets 2mio-3mio views in the first week.

What has happened here? The same like in the economy or business industry. Let's compare it with that:
You have your own restaurant where you sell burgers. You decide to make a new burger and sell it to your customers which contains lobster for example. You sell 2000-3000 Burgers each week. But then McDonalds decide to make the same burger and they sell 2mio-3mio.

The reason why PewDiePie gets so many views is obviously that he is well known. Same like McDonalds. But keep in mind that they both started small!

What I wanted to teach you with this fist lesson? Upload consistently new videos and never ever give up! You might think that this tip sounds boring as you probably have heard it before 1000 times. In the beginning it's okay to upload 1 or 2 videos each month. Everyone starts small, everyone has the same start with zero subs and zero views. Some accounts grow fast, some grow slow. Many accounts will shutdown before they even reach 100 or 1000 subs, but in the business industry the companies who lasts longer are those companies who are successful! This fact is independent of how good these companies are doing their job! So, stick with it!

Lesson No.2: You need a plan!
If you make a journey without a destination, then you shouldn't be surprised where you end up! So, when you start your channel and end up with 17 subs and 43 views after 3 months, the reason might be a missing plan. Have you ever attended in exams at school completely without learning? What was the result? I bet it wasn't good! Same here: You have to prepare yourself to achieve good results! For example: You want to make a let's play channel, you buy a webcam, set everything up, start playing, upload the video and wait for viewers. The chances are below zero that you will get 10k views on this or more! Viewers on YouTube are used to high quality. I don't mean only HD or 4K resolution, but also the way how you act on the video.

You should ask yourself:
  • What video will I am going to make next? (Don't just start filming see where it leads you!)
  • In case I'm making more videos of the same theme/story/plot/topic -> make a list of videos you upload and name the title before you start filming! So it is well organized.
  • What will it be like? Am I the first one who is doing such a video? Will it be super funny or super detailed or the best tutorial or the most entertaining game-walkthrough? What is your goal and why are you actually making this video?
  • Can I devide the video into chapters? How do I name them?
  • What camera gear is useful for my video? Picture-in-Picture -> 2 cameras / external mic, etc
  • What is the plot? Image to tell your friends about the video as if it was already finished!
make the entire video ready in your head, then write everything down. It depends a little bit of what you actually film, but you save a lot of time with this mostly!

The reason why you write everything down is essential, because then you force yourself to rethink of what you are doing! Believe me, your videos will get improved by this rapidly! Errors like jumping from one topic to another and back the first cannot happen anymore. You would have noticed that in your plan before! You will not forget important things so easily! Have you ever stumpled upon a video where somebody forget something and put that information into a YouTube textbox? It looks more professional if that never happens, right? ;)

Focus on the story of your videos. What do you want people to show? Act as if you must write the screenplay for lord of the rings 4 ;) Sit down and start to write the story first, then film it! You don't have to write down every detail, but it helps if you make at least a generic list.

Lesson No.3: Analyse the market
Just like in real life, companies analyze the market. Why do they do that and why should you do that as a YouTube channel too?
Companies do it, because they want to sell something to their customers. As much as possible! Same like your YouTube channel. You want to sell your video. At this point, this has nothing to do with monetization. With selling I mean: people find your video and click on it. If it runs real good they even like your video and/or subscribe.

Imagine you live in a region where you have a high rate of unemployement, low wages and maybe high crime rate. Now you open a Ferrari dealership. Guess how many Ferraris you will sell? I bet waaaay less than Ferrari in Beverly Hills!

So how do you adapt this to YouTube? Here is how:
Check the news of your branche / niche. If you make tech reviews then check the tech sites. Is there a brand new camera released that can do certain things which no other camera can do? Then it is likely that people wants to know more about it!
For my personal channel I check all car manufacturers, watch the news, be active in Forums, talk with dealers, subscribe newsletters to get to know all about new cars and their functionalities. When there is a certain topic like: "The next generation of Ferrari will come without naturally aspirated engine. Ferrari is going to switch to turbochargers". I read this topic in the news, in the Forums, in the newsletter and in the Forums. That information is all over the internet which means: This information must be attractive so I will try to get one of those new cars in front of the camera and show my audience the new car! I'm going to sell my audience what they want to have (watch)! There is a high demand so I'm trying to offer this information about the Ferrari in my video.

One example of how not to do it would be: You love the game Half-Life 1 and you want to make a review of it which was released in 1999. Nobody wants to see that today! Make a review of a game which was released yesterday!

Lesson No.4: Analyse your competition
This lesson is even more important than analysing the market. It is mandatory that businesses copy from each other. Usually they copy from the market leader. Why do they copy from the market leader? Because the market leader has the most successful business. That's why he is the market leader ;)
Sounds easy right? It is easy and it makes sense! And you should follow these very easy tips!

Back in 2000, the first cell phone with built-in camera was released. All the other cell phone manufacturers followed that trend and nowadays, everybody has cell phone with a camera!

In your YouTube branche you should know the big names and the successful YouTubers with hundreds of thousands or millions of subscribers. What do they do? What are they talking about? Do they use different techniques for making videos? Do they have new episodes of what they are doing? Do they switch to different topics? In case they do something else than in the last 1-2 years, it could be an indicator that they have analyse the market and create or follow a different trend and hope it attracts more people/viewers. You should think of doing the same too. At least you should consider to make changes! Be brave enough to leave your comfort zone and try something else/different. Even if you don't like it, you should try it just once. In case your views will decrease you don't have to switch to different videos anymore. But if it turns out that your viewers count increase dramatically you can still think about staying with it. I don't mean totally different!! Don't start reviewing mainboard processors when you first had a channel of drawing with chalk :D

Example: You upload only let's play videos. One of the "big players" suddenly starts to upload videos of how video games are made (coding/styling/motion/scripting etc.). That is something different and the reason for that is not always "because he likes to show that". He does it, because it is the next market of what people want to watch on YouTube. (This doesn't reflect the actual situation of the market, it's just an example).

Lesson No.5: Find a niche and determine your USP
This is where everything starts! Why do you have a YouTube channel? There are hundreds or even thousands who are doing the same stuff like you! Why do you want to create one more? Do you want to be successful as XY? It won't be enough to be like him/her! Do you want to earn as much money as XY? If you copy that Channel your growth remain zero and you earn nothing!

So what should your YouTube Channel be like?
In the business industry it is absolutely the same. You found your own business and you do exactly the same like another business. Besides that you get accused of copying what they do, you will not get successful with it longterm!

You have to find your personal Unique Selling Proposition! What's so special about you? What seperates you from all the others? What makes your channel unique? All these questions end up with lesson no. 2: you need a plan! You have to justify the existance of your channel and then people will understand that they don't get videos like yours anywhere else. At this point I guarantee you a huge growth!

When you have a business it all starts with the USP. That is the first thing you need to explain to sponsors, investors, donors, trusters and so on! Everybody wants to know your intention of founding a business. If the answer to that question is: "Because it was always my dream to be famous and successful" or "I want to be rich with my hobby", then everybody will turn away from you! Doing something you love with success and doing something you love without success are two different things. You can either have fun and remain with 7 followers or you can have fun, work on yourself and grow your channel. It doesn't mean to have no fun at all and grow a strict business! But you have to understand that it takes a lot of work. You have to work on yourself! If you can identify mistakes on you and try to make it better next time, you have a great advantage!

Don't get me wrong. You don't have to be perfect. Nobody is perfect especially at the beginning. It is a learning process. I did horrible videos in the beginning and I acknoledged this. I accepted that there were things that I needed to improve. Even after my 1000th follower and my 22nd video, there are still a lot of things I want to do better next time. Each of my videos has more or less mistakes that I would like to avoid next time! Listen to your critics! Ignore the haters but pay attention to those who comment on your videos in a serious way! Don't be angry if people write things like: "bad camera work" or "why don't you upload something I didn't know yet?" or "speak up please, you are to quiet" or "there are so many cuts, it is hard to watch".

People who comment things like these are you biggest help! They have different point of view on yourself and they notice things that you would never notice!

Lesson No.6: Determine your target audience
Let's get back to a real business for the very last time. These businesses comparisons might be annoying to you, but I cannot find any better way to show you what I am trying to teach you!

Most people underestimate this but determining your target audience is one of the most important steps you have to do before you even start your business! When I ask people who is your target audience, 90% I get this answer: "Everybody!" "Because everybody can watch it!" "It is fun for everybody!"

But unfortunately I have to tell you: NO IT IS NOT!

You have to determine a specific group of people who you want to reach! Big brands spend millions of dollars on finding this out! So this must be important right? ;)
These ones of you who have already placed ads on Facebook, Google+ or Instagram know, that they always ask you to determine your target audience. If you do it wrong it is a waste of money, because at some point your money is gone and you have no higher growth rate or more sales... There is a certain reason why your target audience is that important. You want/must attract a specific group of people. This can be for example female only (make-up channel) or Chinese only (if you speak chinese without english subtitle) or people who like tech stuff (camera gear channel) and so on.

These were just some general examples, you have to go into detail here. Let's say you have a "Let's play" channel and you want to be a successful YouTuber. You have to find your niche so you decide to play your games as quick as possible (speedruns). People who do speedruns try to beat the game as quick as they can and that means they leave out the story of the game. The story is just secondary here. So what if people wants to know about a game you play and about the story? It means your channel is nothing for them! It is something that they aren't interested in. But on the other hand you attract a lot of people who wants to see how on earth you beat super mario 1 in less than 5 minutes while it took me days in former times!

Final thoughts:
I hope I could help one or another with my thoughts. Please know that I haven't read any hints or tips about YouTube yet! I know how to start up and work in a business and I have used the same mindset on YouTube. No videos, no help, no Forums about YouTube since today. It worked! Your/my outer appearance might help you/me in a short period of time, but only my business skills lasts longterm!

If you have questions or any kind of feedback let me know!

Hi Sophia -- Thank you for such a detailed and good post. I really like the idea of comparing the YouTube system to a business model. They really do have a lot of similarities. =)

I've moved this to the YouTube tips, Tutorials, Help, and Guides forum so that it won't become lost. ^_^
Thanks @Beard Glasses , YouTube has a lot of similarities with a business (start-up). It sounds like boring theory in the beginning, but if you master it it's gonna be the best game ever ;)
I'm so amazed by your post! That's exactly what I needed to read, I've got so much energy right now to just.. do stuff with my channel;) So big Thank You for that! And also well done for making a strategy successful, your channel looks so cool!;)