Hello, and welcome to this episode. Today, we talk about some of the biggest YouTube mistakes we’ve made that in hindsight really held us back from growing. The other side of YouTube that people don’t talk about…but we’re baring it all in this episode.
Episode 11: What no one tells you about being on YouTube…(Mistakes you’re making and how they’re holding you back) – Podcast Transcript
Let’s talk about some of the biggest mistakes that we’ve made, I’ve made and you’ve made that we’ve kind of learnt through the years, really held us back from growing. And it’s the type of mistakes that now in hindsight, we can say, oh, we shouldn’t do that.
Hey, Thrivers. I’m Sara Nguyen, creator of Thrive Video Academy, and I’m here to help you go from stuck and overwhelmed to becoming a confident, profitable and thriving creator. Join me here each week for honest conversations about what it really takes to become a successful YouTube creator without compromising your creativity, sacrificing cheeky drinks with people you love or downtime for yourself.
You’ll hear about the hard lessons I’ve gone through so you can avoid making the same slow and costly mistakes on your journey, as well as my secret weapons to help you dig deep and do the work it takes. I’m so honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to share this together with you, right here on the Thriving Creator Podcast.
I’m glad you’re here. Let’s get started. I wanted to bring Pete John’s on board today, who is a fellow creator. Why don’t you tell people quickly about you and about your channel and why you have the right to talk about making mistakes on YouTube?
Well, Sara, I’ve made a lot of mistakes on YouTube, and I’ve been doing this YouTube for nearly six years now and have probably made all of the mistakes. My channel, which is called Studio Live Today, what my goal here is to help people create, record and release their best music.
And very early on when I started out on this, I didn’t even really think that I had the authority or the right to tell anyone to do anything. But over time, I’ve realised that there’s a lot of people just like me, a lot of weekend warriors out there that were also trying to create music.
And there’s also a lot of people that one of them turn that music or sort of little bit of an idea into more of a whole YouTube channel around their music and around their content. Over the years, I’ve learnt an awful lot and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes.
Let’s get right into those mistakes. What has to be the first and the biggest mistake that you’ve made, that looking back now you’re like, oh, what were you doing, Pete? What were you doing? What I was doing very early on is I was I was chasing perfection.
I was looking around at what everyone else was doing. And I was thinking, oh, no, I’m nowhere near as good as Joe Gilder or Graham Cochrane or anyone else in my nation. I thought if I’m not as good as those guys, then how could I, how could anyone ever listen to me?
And I realised very early on and what I like to say is that perfection is the enemy of done, and all the enemy of shit or the energy of finished or complete, whatever you want to say about, what other cliche you want to throw at it. But if you aim for perfection, Number one, perfection is not possible because no one or nothing is perfect and number two it’s subjective.
So your idea of perfection may not be what other people are looking for. So more often than not, the sort of content that I’m producing and a lot of people are producing is either to sort of help someone, to inspire someone, to motivate someone, to get someone to do something.
And I realised that for me, helping other people create music or even create anything is just all about engaging with that person. It’s so much more important to just put it out there and get something there that it was to be perfect.
My first videos were shot on like an iPhone 4. And for those that are old and nerdy, that was really bad, 720p camera quality like shaky and bad audio and all that. But what I was saying was what other people wanted to hear and that over time I’ve managed to tweak it and improve it over time.
But if I hadn’t created back then, if I’d waited years and years until I had the perfect quality, then that wouldn’t have worked for me. I wouldn’t have been able to share my message and engage with so many people over time.
That’s where I’ve come from. What about you, sir? It’s interesting because when I was in my version of chasing perfection, which looks like different things, right? For me, I wanted the best backdrop. I wanted the best set.
And I literally paused, creating videos for six months as I invested in creating a backdrop, as I invested in all of the little bits and pieces for my backdrop. And I didn’t release anything. And it was ridiculous because, as you know, the backdrop really doesn’t matter.
I know people go, oh, you need to have it so people can brand you and identify you. But does it truly stop you from creating a video? Does it truly prevent you from putting content out there? It shouldn’t because it’s not a show stopper.
But I paused video creation for six months while I was trying to get the perfect backdrop. And I just think what a waste of time. What a waste of effort, where I could have just continued to create and build the backdrop in the background.
But I didn’t do that. And I see a lot of people make this mistake, too. They watch other people’s videos like, oh, I want a set as beautiful as Casey Neistat or as beautiful as Phil DeFranco’s. And it’s like, yeah, but they’ve been doing it for a while and they’ve evolved over time as well.
So to stop and try to get it to perfect, I think has been a massive thing that held me back. And now I’m like, you know what, as you say, perfection doesn’t exist. I’d rather make progress. I’d rather continue to put things out, which is more important.
And I think we’ve got to let go. We talked about this because we did another show earlier today and we talked about the artist Pink and the documentary on Amazon Prime and just halfway through watching it. And talk about chasing perfection, so there’s this part in the documentary and she just finishes a show, I think it was in Wembley Arena, one of the massive arenas, and she said as she was driving out, if I had paid to see me and I paid for a ticket, I’d gone with my partner, had dinner and gone to see the show, I would have been disappointed.
And I was like, why? Why, why are you so hard on yourself? And the reason she had for why she thought it wasn’t the perfect show were things that were kind of like no, that no one cares. So for her, she said the size of the arena was larger than what they were used to.
They didn’t adjust the timing of the choreography. So therefore, she felt people would have noticed that it was bigger and now in a smaller space and not feeling it, I was like, they would have just been happy to see Pink!
Like these things we have in our head. And I think it’s kind of a little bit relieving where you’re like, okay, it’s not just us, it’s also the stars as well. We have these insecurities because that’s what it really comes down to, where we’re like, we need to be perfect, but it doesn’t exist.
And as you said, it’s subjective. What we think it needs to be perfect is so different to what other people perceive. So I think that’s definitely a big mistake that I see a lot of creators make. Trying to get it perfect.
The perfect equipment, the perfect backdrop, the perfect everything, and it just doesn’t exist. I think that’s definitely the case. And I think that the other thing with that and it’s interesting you bring up Pink is that like it’s so subjective
of perfection of what you do.
And what you got to realise is that you are one person. You are not your entire audience. And whether you are putting out videos or audio or whatever you’re doing to 10 people, 100 people, a thousand people or one hundred thousand people, they’re all going to be different.
And the vast majority are going to be different to you. You are generally not representative of your viewers, and that’s something that it took me a long time to figure out. I’m very opinionated.
I’m very particular about what I like and what I dislike. But that’s not everyone. And I needed to actually just take a bit of swallow, a bit of humble pie early on and go, actually, Pete, people aren’t always as picky as you. And your biggest critic is generally it’s you.
So you need to be a little bit less harsh on yourself and realise that other people don’t hold themselves to the standards that you do. And they certainly don’t hold you to the standard. And I mean, we could talk about it later if we get into it.
But obviously, if you get one negative comment or you get one person that dislikes the video, that can be what makes you think, oh, see, I was right. My brain was right. I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t perfect.
But that is where you need to shut that down, because there’s what I call the silent majority, 80% of people will just watch your stuff, will dig it, will get the value that you want out of it and move on. 10% of people will love you and tell you about it.
10% of people might poo poo what you do and have something harsh to say. Probably not even ten, probably 1%. But it’ll feel like sometimes it’ll feel like a lot more than that because you’re striving for that perfection. And it’s like we say, it’s subjective, it’s unrealistic, and you’re never going to reach it so start doing things and just pushing it out there.
It will be a lot better than not doing it, right? And be like frozen and let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Bless it and let it go. Let’s get into the second mistake. What’s the second mistake that you made that really held you back from growing in your wisdom now that you can see that has really impacted your growth?
Well, this is going to probably fly in the face of my first mistake I just talked about. But it’s not taking the advice about what I could improve. So it’s important to get started. It’s important to get going and do your thing.
But for about the first two years, there was one thing that I ignored and it could be something different for everyone. See, I’m an audio guy. So audio was pretty good early on. Like I got good microphones, good audio and I had that down pretty, pretty well.
Lighting, though, I had no idea about. I didn’t know a soft box from a ring light, from anything. So it took me a long time to realise that my videos were looking gainy. They were looking cruddy because I had zero lighting and I’ve done zero research into what lighting I needed.
And funnily enough, it wasn’t that I needed to go out and spend thousands of dollars or do hours of research. It was watching about thirty minutes of videos, realising that I needed a couple of soft boxes that were pointing at my face that would light me up on video, that would make me look okay.
And then suddenly my webcam that was previously pretty crappy suddenly became more than acceptable. And suddenly I wasn’t having grainy footage, it was nice and crisp. And suddenly my background wasn’t distracting, it was nice and blurry because you get that little Bokha thing going on.
It’s actually really easy. But I was probably twist up as soon as I got over the first one of saying, hey, I don’t need to be perfect, so now I’m going to accept whatever I have are then people started to say, well, I really like your stuff, but you could probably up the lighting, buddy.
You could probably, like, not look so grainy and not look like you’re at five frames a second there, buddy. Oh, okay. And then yeah, again, it wasn’t until I realised that it was actually so simple to make those changes and just sort of start levelling up.
And I say this often, that you don’t need the best gear, but you need decent gear. You don’t need the worst, you don’t need the best, you just need good enough. And good enough for you is going to be different for everyone, but as long as you’ve got the the gear that is good enough for you, that’s going to give you a good quality video that people can just look at and go, yep, that looks fine.
I’m happy with that. Again, perfection is completely something that is not achievable. So as long as everything is good and you take it along, I’m good. So yeah, that is definitely number two for me, is to listen when we get feedback and then make those incremental changes that are just going to start levelling up your content.
I think I want to extend on that a little bit because I think there’s not taking advice to improve. And as an extension of that, I hang around a little bit in a lot of YouTube related groups and a lot of live streaming related groups.
And VidIQ and TubeBuddy had their little certificates for when you reach the little milestones, the 50 subscribers, 100 subscribers, and I see people posting them all the time, right? And I’m like, look, I’m not trying to poo poo your efforts on growing the channel because I know how hard it is.
But at the same time, you’re saying, yay, I got 20 subscribers this month. And is that really a representation of your growth? Is that really growth? And we know and we know that subscribers are not the be all end all.
But, you know, I think if you really want to grow and you really want to improve, it’s about asking the right questions. It’s about asking people, how can I make this video better and getting that advice as opposed to saying, hey, I got 20 subscribers, give me a clap.
It’s like asking the truthful question, hey, I released this. Do you think there’s anything I can do to improve? And people don’t ask that because they probably don’t want to hear the answers to it. But if they’re open to it, it’ll be like, you know what, I think you need to work on your delivery or I think you need to tighten that intro.
I think, you know, you kind of rambled on, you probably should have cut that out maybe for the next one. And I think that’s what will help you grow. And I was I was subject to doing that as well as I look at my little milestones where the effort probably should have been in, can you give me honest feedback?
And that’s where you grow, and that’s where you progress. So I think that’s an extension of not taking advice and not asking for the correct advice, instead just patting yourself in the back for those 15 views that you got. But there are other important things that you should be looking to improve with.
Yeah, so true. And those what we call vanity metrics are so tempting and they’re so alluring because let’s be honest, they open up some things on YouTube in particular. They open up a lot of options when you get a thousand subscribers, or I think it might change now, but you get things like the community tab and once you get your four thousand hours, you get monetisation on a YouTube channel so that they do put those in front of you to make you want to aim and achieve them.
But the problem is that, yeah, if you do those at the detriment of other things, it doesn’t work and it drives the wrong behaviour sometimes, that you are aiming to get subscribers, which is not actually the thing, because what do most people get into content creation for?
Is it to get a number, to be able to point to a number and say, look at that number, or is it to actually help people to actually provide information and to actually enjoy yourself and provide enjoyable content that other people are going to like?
I think it’s yeah, it’s very easy to fall into those traps and realise that things like the views or the watch time and the engagement and the click through rate and all those other YouTube things we talk about that are important because that’s what you try to drive to help people, yeah, can be overdone by the subscribers and those vanity metrics that get thrust upon us.
So, yeah, it is a hard thing to do and to actually say, hey, I’m happy because I bought some lights and it’s not always about buying things, but it might even be that I improve the way I script my shows. I improve the outlines that I write.
I improved the quality of the content on delivery. I did a rambling 20-minute live stream and then this week I did a 10-minute, really sharp, succinct livestream. And that is much better. I think rewarding yourself for those things is so much better than the vanity metrics.
But they had it to measure and as we know in everything in life, business, YouTube, whatever, the things that are easy to measure, other things we measure, the things that are hard to measure are often go unmeasured. It’s a challenge. Definitely.
Let’s get into the third mistake that you’ve made that’s kind of held you back on YouTube. Pete, what’s the third mistake? What did you do? Oh, well, I mean, there’s so many things. When you ask me these questions, there are so many things I could have said.
But the third that I’ve picked out here is being a loner. And I say that because I’m a card-carrying introvert from way back, I live in my audio cave. I sit in my YouTube studio, which is just the front room in my house.
Let’s not get too fancy of the stuff, but I sit here and I do my own thing and it’s very easy to become all up in your own head and not engage with other people. And worse than that, you think of other people that are in the same niche as you, the same area as you, the same content as you as a competitor because anyone that’s worked in businesses before, in sales and marketing, which is my background, you start thinking of other people as your competition.
And actually in this case, it couldn’t be further from the truth because the big mistake I made was not actually engaging with other creators. So the very fact that we’re having this conversation, the fact that you’re at my channel earlier today and we were doing live streams together, those sort of things are what I didn’t do early on because I was in this mindset of, well, if I’m creating content and other people are creating content, we’re all in direct competition with each other and we can’t be friends, we can’t chat and we can’t do things.
It actually couldn’t be further from the truth. And the very cliched phrase, which is like an old John F. Kennedy thing was attributed to different people over time is, a rising tide lifts all boats. So that basically means that it’s not that you have to be the only one out there and just fighting off all the other things.
It’s that the more people that are doing things and the more that you’re actually engaging and doing things, if the whole industry is successful, if YouTube is successful, if the entire niche that you’re in is successful and gains momentum, you will, too.
It doesn’t become a survival of the fittest kind of thing. It becomes a let’s all band together. And if we work together on this stuff, we could all be successful at the same time. So that was something that it took me a while to get to.
I’m from a musical background. It’s so weird because when I need a drum part for a song, I call a drummer and I say, please play drums for my song. Yeah. The weird thing is when I needed help with my YouTube and my creating, did I call a YouTuber?
Did I say, Sara, could you help me out with stuff? No, I’ll work this out on my own. So it’s so weird that I was so cared to collaborate and so scared to reach out to other people for advice and help and even just to say, hey, I’m struggling.
Have you hit this problem before? And as soon as I did that, so many people gave me so much great advice to say, oh, yeah, we’ve all had that before. Of course we have. So, yeah, it’s reassuring.
It’s comforting. And yeah, as soon as you flip that around mentally and say the people that maybe I once thought as competitors are actually my compadres, my collaborators and people that are doing the same thing as me, that was a game changer for me.
I think once again, as an extension of that, I struggle with the balance of connecting with the community and not spending too much time and wasting time there, because I see a lot– very good point, particularly with the live streaming groups.
I’m like, hey, I think it’s great that there’s groups of people who live stream for three hours, six hours a day together, but that’s a lot of time and I haven’t got that time. I’m going to be honest, I don’t have the time. And personally, I don’t want to have that time to just hang out with you guys for six hours a day.
Like I’ve got other things that I need to do. I can’t just be live streaming and hanging out with people six hours a day because that gets in the way of me creating my own stuff and the other responsibilities that I have. So it’s that balance of connecting with the community and growing with them and then not just pledging around, wasting all of your time there, because there’s a difference.
There’s a difference between growing with them. There’s a difference with just wasting your time with them. Yeah, totally. And I’m glad you pointed that out too because I say that a lot in a gain, because my because I’m in the music creation community, a lot of people are very good at watching your tutorials about how to create music.
They’re not creating enough music. And it’s the same in the live streaming and the video creation world. There’s a lot of people that know everything about it. They’re in the forums. They’re answering everyone’s questions.
And then you look at what they’re creating and you’re thinking it’s a little bit lacking actually putting this all into practise. And I think that if you learn things, that’s good.
The technical side, I’m a nerd, so I love learning the technical side of things. But if you don’t apply that knowledge, if you don’t practise it, I mean, I say practise makes progress all the time in the music world, and it’s the same with everything.
Practise doesn’t make perfect, but it makes progress. And you have to actually apply the things you learn. And exactly what you just said, all talk and no action, you just don’t get the benefit of what you’ve learnt.
So once you do have those conversations and once you are collaborating with other people, you do need to then go away and actually put that into practise and start creating. So create more than you consume.
Still be protective of your time because it’s very easy for people to latch on to you and be like, hey, can you help me with this? And it’s like, I helped you with that last week and you didn’t implement what I told you to do and you’re asking me to help you again.
Like, go back to what I told you before. I’m not going to spend another forty five minutes with you. I think there’s always that balance.Always that that balance. And I know you only ask me for three Sara, but I always give more.
What you said that the way that you communicate with people that contact you because you just mentioned it there, that if I answered, I mean it sounds a bit, it sounds bad when I say this out loud, but once you reach a certain level, people will want to take your time and they’ll want to monopolise your time.
And they want to ask you questions and they’ll want one on one support. I’m like, in the nicest possible way, I often want to what support, but I have the capacity to do it for free for hours upon hours every day.
But what I’ve learnt over time is that there are ways to do that and engaging with the community is super useful. Early on I didn’t do this. These days I do. But there’s engaging with the community and then the smart ways to engage.
So what I say about this is if you’ve got resources, and on my channel earlier today we talked about having a website or having somewhere to send people, and if someone’s asking a question, I’ve got a bit of a rule. I’ll answer your first question, but then I’ll probably direct you into an FAQ that I have set up or a resource or a page or a playlist of videos or another video or some way or a community, a Facebook group somewhere where you can then get further support because it can get really easy to get into that sort of exactly what you said before, where instead of actually just getting on and creating and doing what I call the one to many, you’re spending all your time in the one to one.
And that’s wonderful and lovely and great, And it helps out you and it helps out other people, but try to be one to many. And if you do it in a really smart way, every time you get a comment on a YouTube video or anything you create, think about how can I help this person right here, right now, but also direct them into something else that’s going to help them, but also not take them away from me, that sounds bad, but push them into something else that can help them.
If someone asked me a question about, hey, Pete, what audio interface should I buy for my recording? I’ll say here’s the one I recommend. By the way, here’s a link to my gear guide. And here’s my video on the best audio interfaces for beginners to record.
And that does a few things. It makes them happy because I’ve answered their question. It sends them into a funnel, I was about to say the F word, Sara. I’ve never said the F word.
It sends them in to the website or to somewhere where they can then go in and find what I actually recommend because I’ve got that set up for anyone that wants to ask that question it can actually help and it can save you time.
So whilst that feels a bit creepy, again, go back to that first thing and say it might be for you. But remember, you’re you and other people are going to be completely different to you and they just want someone that’s helping them.
And simply answering a comment in your YouTube comments or anywhere is more than what probably 90% of creators are doing right now. So just answering them with anything is great. And if you answer them and then send them somewhere, that’s going to actually further benefit them.
They don’t think that’s creepy marketing hype. They actually probably think that’s really good and that you’ve taken
your time to actually do that. Definitely. One of the things that I advise people who say, people constantly asking to pick my brain, I was like, yes, they can pick your brain after they pick a payment method like PayPal, credit card.
How would you like to pay for this session? So they can pick your brain after they pick a payment method. And second to that is with answering people in the comment section on YouTube, it’s a fine line because you don’t want to train your community to think that you’re their Google.
You’re their concierge, right? It’s like, well, what you’ve asked me, you could have just Googled yourself. Or I get a lot of Canva questions. I’m like one, I am not Canva. I keep telling people this.
I do Canva tutorials, but I am not Canva. If you’re having problems, you need to contact their help, not me. I don’t know why it’s not working for you and to you. Probably could have found the answer by googling that.
In the time you took to type me, you could have typed it in Google and got that answer. So you don’t want to be training them and creating these bad behaviours. It’s that fine line, like not giving away too much and protecting your time because time is finite.
We’ve only got limited time. So you’ve got to protect that with all of your might, in my view. Totally. No, I agree. And if you ever want to be super passive aggressive, I don’t do this for anyone but you. There’s a great website called Let me Google that for you and actually it’s going to letmeGooglethatforyou.com and put in someone’s search term and it will give you a link that you can then send back to that person.
So if there is someone in your world or in your life that is asking you questions that could have easily been Googled, but they’ve messaged or emailed them to you, let me Google that for you. Send it back to them. And it literally types out the question in the Google search bar, hit submit and it shows them the results.
Yeah. There you go. If you want to be a bit of a D-I-C-K about it, then you can do it. Yeah. Or you can take Sara’s advice and just make sure that you lead them into a nicer way of doing things, which is that you are not their support and you are not the companies that you maybe make videos about but you can certainly point them to the FAQ of that page and then they can go there and harvest and read to their hearts content.
Definitely. So that essentially wraps up today’s podcast. So we talked about the biggest mistakes that we’ve made, talked about chasing perfection, which is common not just for creators like you and I, Pete, also entertainers like Pink in the world as well, suffer from chasing perfection as well.
So we’re not alone, but we know that it’s not where we need to be. We talked about not taking advice to improve and not asking the questions you need in order to improve your content as another mistake, that kind of holds you back.
And we talked about being a loner, not engaging with community and finding that balance between engaging with community and wasting your time with community. And the fourth one has just slipped my mind, Pete.
We talked about–that was engaging with the community and the comment. So utilising comments to respond in a positive way that’s going to educate those that are asking questions that they could probably have gone to some of our awesome resources on your website or other playlists or videos instead of maybe just directly asking you in the future.
So, yeah, utilising some of those smart ways of channelling some of those folks into other areas. So thank you, Pete, for your time and sharing your experience and your wisdom and all these gems. Now, where can people go to find you if they want to check out your channel or check out your website?
Easiest way is to just go to a studiolivetoday.com, folks can jump over to the YouTube channel. They can jump into all the articles and all the guides. And if you are a content creator or a musician or someone that wants to get into creating music or videos or anything, then yeah, there’s plenty of plenty of videos there and plenty of resources there that will keep you occupied for many, many days.
Thanks for joining us, Pete and thanks for listening. One last thing before I go, I created this podcast as a reminder that you are not alone in this. Growing with video is hard, and I want to be here to help and guide you and others through it.
If you found this podcast episode helpful, please leave a review. This helps Apple and the algorithms. Put my podcast in front of more people just like you. I’d be incredibly grateful. Thanks for listening.