- 10k subs
- 1 million views
- 200 uploaded videos - this is the main goal really, it's the only one I have control over.
All right, if anybody is interested in the details and history of my YT channel, I went into great lengths covering that in my YT guide topic.
All right, I tend to write long walls of text, but I'll TRY to keep this as short as I can without omitting anything I deem important. I'll probably fail, so I'm sorry in advance. I don't and won't claim to be successful on YouTube. In fact, my channel's growth rate has plateaued for quite a...
Long story short, the channel has grown past 2.8k subs and 350k views since April 2018. Due to increased upload frequency in the last 2.5 months, I set a new record for monthly views and new subscribers in November. Not by a large margin, but the incremental gain resulting from more YT search traffic has been the only thing that's worked for me consistently. So, while I'm glad the positive trend continues, I'm not entirely satisfied with the state of the channel and the rate of growth (~30k views a month, ~150-200 new subscribers). It does generate a decent income from Patreon, I've enabled ads recently and I'll try monetizing in a few more ways, but it's not enough to invest back into the channel's growth in any meaningful way, so I have to keep pushing more.
There's one more reason traffic spiked recently. 2 of the November videos got pushed onto the YouTube's homepage, each riding a relatively huge wave of new visitors who never saw my channel before. This is something that never happened to me before. Between just the 2 of them, the channel got more than 7k views in November, so it might be FINALLY gaining some traction in the algorithm other than ranking high for specific long-tail keywords. However, it might have coincided with the release of the newest expansion to the game, as both videos covered related topics, so it just might be a one-time thing that won't happen again any time soon. Even if YT search becomes the main traffic source again, I won't complain. Slow & steady always finishes the race.
The channel suffers from one glaring issue though, among several others. It is in critical need of way more content to be a viable main business/entrepreneurial project. 75 videos in more than a year and a half averages out to less than 1 video/week. Frankly, that's just not enough and I'm well aware of it.
I want to speed things up a "little" bit. I'm going for 200 videos by the end of 2020
. That will put the channel's upload frequency somewhere south of 1.5 videos/week. That also means I have to make 125 new videos in the next ~400 days. It will be a hard nut to crack, but based on my recent self-imposed challenge that had me make 50 videos in 50 days (I made 23), I think it's quite achievable and realistic.
This, needless to say, is still a massive task for me. I often spend weeks thinking about and preparing my videos. If I want to hit 200 total uploaded videos, I'll be forced to change some things and streamline the video creation process. This means less analysis-paralysis, less procrastination and much, much more quantifiable action and active grinding instead of just mulling over things in my head.
My intention is to keep updating this post at least once a month with updates of my progress. I won't make any promises, but I'll try and let you know of all the interesting, relevant good and bad things that happen over the course of the next 400-ish days.
That's it. Now's the time for the adventure to begin.
JANUARY 5 2020 UPDATE:
I lost a lot of battles against the procrastination demon throughout December 2019 - I've only uploaded 5 out of 10 planned videos. This is most likely the main culprit behind the failed discount deal I had running throughout the month, resulting in only 3 leads and 1 sale. Compared to June 2019 when 20+ people responded and I had 8 sales, the results are really abysmal. I even had more channel-wide views in December than in June. More people were aware of the discount overall I believe. It just might be that everybody and their dog was screaming "GIMME MONEY!" during the holiday season, so my offer got lost in all the noise.
In the end, Patreon dropped down to $350-ish and Adsense amounted to meagre $80 in the supposedly best month of the year. I haven't even published the Fiverr gig offering a service relevant to my video topics yet. Lazy SOB.
5 days into January, I've already uploaded 2 videos and I am determined to catch up with the lost time and missed opportunities this year.
As you would expect from a less active channel, December views (31.8k) and new subs (210) have dipped down compared to November (35.9k views, 255 new subs). On the flipside, splitting 1-2 hour long videos into 2 "shorter" ones seems to be working for now. I'm in the middle of testing the 3-parts approach right now, we'll see how it goes - I can always go back to just 1-2 videos per topic.
I also got a new desktop PC, so now I own 2 computers. There's no more "I can't do much while the video is rendering on my laptop!" excuses, so time to commence the heavy grind!
FEBRUARY 9 2020 UPDATE:
I got a super nasty cold and throat infection in January which I'm still feeling the effects of, so I haven't uploaded nearly as much as I planned and wanted to (only 5 new videos
). However, I have been working on new content during that time, I'm now recording it on-the-go and drip-feeding it onto the channel every few days.
In January, the channel received 34.3k views, 216 new subs and made $67 in ad revenue, which slightly exceeded my expectations. For whatever reason, I got a lot of new pledges and, as a result, Patreon is back at $422, which is a hefty jump from $350 it was sitting at just a bit more than a month ago. Even though I still have some debt leftover from 2019, I'm in no immediate rush for cash yet, so I still haven't monetized with the Fiverr service offering people to make custom characters for $5+. The channel is still very, very small, I don't want to rush things and come off as overly greedy. Therefore, I will space out the introduction of new income streams instead of dumping them all out at once.
As it stands now, February will finally see me upload 10 new videos over the course of a month, at least half of those addressing my older content with new, improved and clearer information. There have been comments asking for updates to older videos and the idea is to make these new, "update" videos relatively short, around 10-minutes long, and plug the Patreon page just a bit more aggressively than I usually do. After I gauge the overall positive/negative response to those videos, I will assess when and how to monetize the channel with the Fiverr service. I've also been thinking about selling funny/meme-y D&D shirts via Teespring or a similar service, but even if I set things in motion there, I'll probably wait until Spring/Summer to introduce this "merch" store or whatever you wanna call it.
MARCH 5 2020 UPDATE:
I was still inconsistent in February, only 6 videos uploaded. However, I think I finally had the "breakout video". On February 25, I uploaded a 15-minute long video which I worked on for more than a hundred hours in total - initial topic idea, research, preparation, recording and editing took way, WAAAAY too much time.
All of this extra effort was worth it - 22k+ views so far on that video makes me one happy man.
I got a lot of new patrons in February, a lot of old ones left, but it all accumulated to around $500 at the start of this month. It seems like I'm back to my 2019 Patreon earnings again. YT ad revenue also accumulated to $87.84, so February has actually been my second best month so far in terms of total earnings.
I'm feeling pumped and I'm now gearing to finally start releasing updates for my older videos. I most likely won't reach 200 uploads by the end of 2020, because I'm now spending considerably more time editing the videos to make them flow better and keep viewers' attention for longer.
APRIL 4 2020 UPDATE:
March has been my best month ever, at least at the time of typing this update. 3 new videos went viral, the channel received almost 130k views and just a bit north of 2k new subscribers. It made over $1000 total from new patrons, existing patrons and YT ad revenue. I'm still nowhere close where I want to be productivity-wise, but I'm working on it and slowly improving myself, getting more disciplined... COVID-19 stopped the whole world and caused me to procrastinate massively, keeping up with useless news and stock market fluctuations. Considering this impending global economic doom, I doubt the revenue will be this solid any time soon. My only hope is that most of the new videos keep going viral and rapidly growing the channel for the foreseeable future so that once the recession is over, this will become a viable full-time project I can rely on and expand even further.
I've been thinking about starting a new side-project, a new YT channel maybe, but I have no clear idea of what exactly to do other than talk about everything and anything, which is exactly the opposite of what I've been doing on YT for the past 2 years. So, I'll wait and see if the idea clears out a bit in my head over time.
MAY 3 2020 UPDATE:
Kept up with COVID-19 news and played Gloomhaven with my buddy in Tabletop Simulator way too much, resulting in only 3 new videos and less than 60k channel-wide views. Nevertheless, all those new visitors from last month seemed to have warmed up to my channel, I've had the best month on Patreon by far. YT ad revenue tanked due to less views and pandemic murdering the CPMs across the board, so I made a bit less money compared to a month before. On the bright side, I'm finally debt-free, largely thanks to the unexpected virality rippling over my channel for the past 2 months.
Recent Frosthaven (expansion for base 2017 Gloomhaven board game) Kickstarter success made me seriously consider expanding into the RPG board game niche. I'll probably make a video or 2 about Gloomhaven, see how they go - if enough people watch, I can easily make it a permanent topic on the channel.
JUNE 7 2020 UPDATE
: Very low drive and motivation throughout May, only made 3 videos. Not sure if the lockdowns affected me negatively mentally or I've "outgrown" the narrow topic range of my channel, but I need to find something that will kick me in the butt and propel me to make at least 1 video a week, preferably 2. I still have video topics I need to take a crack at, it's just a matter of willpower, discipline and consistency.
Earnings wise, it's been another good month, I doubt the positive financial trend will continue if the channel keeps going for weeks without new videos. I need to improve.
AUGUST 5 2020 UPDATE:
I made very few videos over the last 2 months, I've hit some weird mental/creative block and whatever I do I'm either not interested in or I think it's not good enough to go on a channel. I still had one video do well on YT Homepage during this time, amassing almost 45k views. Average passive daily views have definitely increased by at least 50% compared to half a year ago. Patreon income is still very, very strong, though Patreon itself is now facing uncertain future and may get drowned in court fees (something about Patreon banning certain creators and patrons of those creators suing the company for interfering or something...), facing bankruptcy. I already made SubscribeStar page and I've made preliminary research about starting my own membership website/portal, where I'd be paying for hosting and everything else, but I'd also own everything and won't have to pay a 10% cut to these crowdfunding subscription platforms.
I hosted a charity live-stream on July 18th, raised almost $400 (some of it was my own and my parents' and friends' money) and bought a bunch of clothes, shoes and toys for the kids in a local orphanage. So, I'm still doing things, making moves, just a bit less active on the YT channel. I'm also about to start a second YT channel where I'll be talking about more things than just D&D, because I feel like I have more to offer than just numerical and conceptual breakdowns of imaginary fantasy characters.
SEPTEMBER 13 2020 UPDATE:
I still don't upload as much as I'd want to, but a radical change in my video production quality since February/March 2020 is bringing in double the views compared to before, because all of my videos have better view durations, CTRs and likes, resulting in way more recommendations across YT. I don't doubt I'd have even more views with more videos, but I'm very satisfied with the current growth rate as well. August has been insane for my Patreon with 43 new pledges, most of them on the $10/month tier, and earning well over $1000 combined between Patreon and YT ads.
I finally succumbed to greed and added mid-roll ads across all my new and old videos, which resulted in an instant bump to my CPMs and daily earnings, so as long as I remain in YT algo's good graces, finances won't be a problem. I'm living very minimally, way below my means, saving most of my income and recently even investing some spare change in the stock market, so the overall outlook is positive and I will keep pushing this YT project more and more.
After months of thinking and brainstorming, I have a clearer idea about my second, non D&D channel as well. That side-project will start soon too, but more on that in some of my next updates.
NOVEMBER 11 2020 UPDATE: Baldur's Gate 3 came out about a month ago. I tried live-streaming my gameplay. Mixed results, as is expected with anything new and unknown. Patreon is still going strong, ad revenue is trickling in as well. In less than a week, D&D 5e will get a major official expansion. I already have several new video topics related to that expansion ready to go, so I will have a lot of new content by the end of 2020. I spent way too much time in my room, barely seeing any sunlight. I have to fix that and a few other things. Gradual, incremental improvements over time are slowly compounding.