What happens if you *gasp* take a break from uploading and creating videos for YouTube? In this episode, I talk about my experience and share my tips when I took over a month off to deal with personal life events that took place.
Episode 6: What happens when you take a break from YouTube? – Podcast Transcript
What happens when you take a break from YouTube? Does it hurt your channel? Does the YouTube algorithm banish you into the dark depths of the internet? How does it impact you as a creator when you’re trying to grow a channel on YouTube?
That’s what I’m talking about today. 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. When it comes to taking a break on YouTube I see a lot of creators say, oh, I’m taking a break from YouTube, but I’ve scheduled out videos for the next six weeks.
I will still be technically releasing videos. And in my opinion, and in my view, that’s not really taking a break. That’s like a Ross and Rachel from Friends taking a break. That’s really unclear because you say you’re taking a break, but you’re still showing up.
For me, when I talk about taking a break from YouTube, I’m talking about nothing. I’m talking about not creating any videos, well, maybe you are, but in the background, not releasing any videos, not doing any live streams, no uploads.
That’s what I mean by if you take a break from YouTube for whatever reason and stop releasing videos for a period of time, what actually happens? Now, I think I’m qualified to talk about this because in December last year I had some big personal things happen.
There was a death in the family and I took a month off. It was unexpected. I needed to take time off to deal with everything that was happening and it was literally, I didn’t have videos released over that period of time that I took off and I took off a whole month and I didn’t live stream that whole time.
Literally, the channel YouTube got nothing from me for that month. And I don’t regret that decision at all, which is why I’m talking about this today. With that said, you’re like, I don’t regret that decision.
I was going through a really difficult time and I didn’t want to show up as I was going through this moment in time. I’m going to talk a little bit about what that looked like for me in terms of how it impacted my channel.
And I think it’s really important that we dig into the myths and the misconceptions behind taking a break on YouTube. When it comes to, should you take a break or how’s it going to damage your channel, this idea that the world’s going to end because you’re taking a break from YouTube releasing from YouTube, I think there’s a couple of misconceptions.
And the first one is that if you take a break from YouTube, your channel’s going to tank. It’s not going to survive. You have to keep releasing. You’d have to keep hustling, which I really don’t like, this whole hustle culture, this big misconception that if you take a break from YouTube, your channel is going to tank.
That’s number one. The second myth that I hear all the time is that the YouTube algorithm will punish you. You need to keep releasing consistently, otherwise they’re going to stop showing your videos.
And we’re going to show you what actually happened to my channel in a moment. And the other thing that I hear is that subscribers will get angry and they will forget you. And let’s talk about that as well. That myth that your subscribers will not forgive you for taking time out because you need it.
And then just this idea in general that I see that YouTube must come first. If you want to succeed on the platform, you have to do YouTube at all costs. And I think these are the misconceptions that people have about YouTube.
And one, I think it’s horrible advice. And I hear it a lot from big creators. I don’t know why, but I hear it a lot. And I hear it, it’s just misinformation. And I think it’s terrible advice for a couple of reasons.
YouTube, in response to it’s myth that you have to relentlessly release videos, otherwise your channel will die a terrible death, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, she actually said, and this is a quote from her, she actually said we encourage you to take care of yourself and invest in your recovery.
And this is specifically in relation to if you’re feeling burnt out, if you like really want to take a break from YouTube because you just need to take a breath to focus on stuff and you don’t want to release just for a short period of time, they actually recommend that you do this.
They did a study of YouTube channels that took a break, and they looked at the views that the channel was getting before the channel took a break or the creator took a break and after the creator took break, before and after, and then when they looked at the views that happened.
The study was quite big and this was YouTube itself, that nothing really changed. If anything, the channel got more views when they returned. YouTube, in fact, say that, no, this is actually not true.
This is a big misconception that if you disappear from YouTube for a while and come back, it’s going to be okay. I think it’s really important that we bust these myths in terms of what happened if you take a break from YouTube because you really need to.
But that’s, I think important to address. YouTube is a long-term game, creators. Don’t burn out, otherwise, it’s not good for YouTube either. They don’t want us to burn out either.
I want to look at what my experience has actually been. And I want to look at my experience in terms of what happened to my views and reach, because I know you all want to know.
What happened when I took a break, did my channel die? The answer is no, because I’m still here. Clearly. What actually happens? Let’s have a look at my actual channel.
And the last video that I released was the 23rd of December, and then a whole bunch of stuff happened and I took a real break from YouTube. I didn’t have another video go out in the channel until the 25th of January. Nothing.
A whole month of actually nothing as I was dealing with the big life events. If you have a look really the reach, the impressions that I was getting in terms of YouTube was still showing my content.
Even though I was not releasing videos for this period of time, I was still getting reached. They’re still showing my videos in search, in terms of views. In terms of engagement in watch time, they’re still showing my content, people are still watching it.
I wasn’t forgotten by the whole world. They’re still showing it and people will still watching it. And if I look at this in terms of all right, there’s little dips here, but overall, if you draw a straight line, like it’s not really a massive difference.
I didn’t see this deadly decline in my channel. I want to like really bust a myth. The myth that if you take time off your channels, YouTube will stop sharing your content, people will stop viewing your videos because that’s just not true.
That’s absolutely just not true. That I think is my first myth, but that’s what happens in terms of my views and reach. Now, the other second thing that I wanted to talk about, which is a really big one as well, is what happened to my income?
I think there’s this big fear with YouTube creators, that if you take any time off YouTube, then the money just stops. And I want to address this because I feel that particularly when you’re a new creator and you’re really desperate and you’re really gunning to get monetized, this is a really big fear that if you don’t keep going, you’re not going to get monetized and everything’s going to fall apart.
In terms of my income over the period, I think it’s important to note that I didn’t see a dip in income because I’ve diversified how I make money from YouTube. I make money from my product and coaching sales.
I make money from brand deals. I make money from affiliate commissions and AdSense. YouTube AdSense is probably the smallest slice of that pie. And I’m grateful for the money that comes through because of it but I’ve deliberately and intentionally built the business that’s not the only thing I’m relying on.
And particularly when things happen and life happens and you have to stop YouTube, I’m not worried that something’s gonna happen and then I can’t cover the bills. I can’t make the money that I need to make to survive.
It’s really important if you want to take a break from YouTube to consider different revenue streams, because AdSense at the end of the day, not just for me but for all creators is actually a really small portion. I know, like there are big creators like there’s Casey Neistat and there’s these huge creators who make a lot of money from AdSense, but you’re not them.
You’re not Casey Neistat. You’re not Phil DeFranco, no, you’re not those big YouTubers that have the gazillion subscribers. As a smaller creator, as a new creator, once you get monetized, it takes a while to build up that income for it to become something decent.
And then like it’s unpredictable, right? It fluctuates. YouTube changes stuff all the time you can’t rely on it. In terms of being able to survive a break, it’s important that you diversify your income that you don’t actually feel like this massive hurt when you need to take a break, and you will need to take a break because life happens.
That’s the second impact that I had. I didn’t really have pain because I had planned for it. And you should too. Let’s talk about the third thing in terms of the impact on my channel is like what happened with subscribers?
Now, I think like I talked about this big misconception that if you take a break all your subscribers will be angry at you and they’re going to send you hate mail and they’re never going to talk to you. No, that didn’t actually happen.
I probably had a couple of subscribers who messaged me directly going, Hey, we haven’t heard from you for a while. Are you okay? I had like genuine subscribers who cared about my wellbeing and were like, where are you?
Are you okay? That was really lovely. I didn’t have anyone who was like, why aren’t you releasing any videos? I’m waiting for your videos, and angry. None of that actually happened.
And when I did return a month later, did I get people going, I can’t believe you haven’t released anything for a month? No, I didn’t get that at all. If anything, it was like, Hey, good to see you back again.
Looking forward to your content. I don’t think particularly if you work on building a relationship with your channel, with your community and your subscribers, and you’re attracting the right people, that you’re not going to have all of these abuse.
Hopefully, not anyway. When you come back, I think that in terms of subscribers, did they get angry at me? No. Did I lose subscribers over that period? No.
I just saw the same number of subscribers that’s been constant over the last few months happened during that time. I really think that’s a big misconception as well. Now, in terms of why my channel didn’t disappear into the ether and completely die?
I think I have to address the fact that a lot of my content is also evergreen content. This is important to know because I know there are a lot of channels out there that have a lot more trending content.
There’s trending content and there’s evergreen content. Trending content is I think stuff like that’s of the moment, that’s like newsworthy, that’s right now. Whereas evergreen content typically is relevant at any time.
And my content, predominantly, is evergreen content. I do a lot of tutorials. I do a lot of how to trainings and I think having that as part of my YouTube strategy help the channel while I took a break because YouTube kept serving those videos because there were evergreen content should be always relevant.
That is a big component as to why I could survive taking a break from YouTube when I really needed to. That’s part of my YouTube content strategy. With that said and with all of these things that happen, what’s the key takeouts?
Can you take a break from YouTube? Let’s wrap it up. What should you be considering when it comes to YouTube and taking a break? It’s important to think about your content strategy.
I think in general, having evergreen content as part of your strategy somehow, and incorporating that into your channel will help you survive these dips. And it will also help you stabilise the fluctuations in your views and the fluctuations in your income as well.
That’s in my experience and what I would recommend. Think about your current content strategy and consider adding evergreen content as part of it. And this will help you for when you need to take a break, or if you want to take a break, this will help keep your channel alive.
I think it’s really important as well to not rely on AdSense alone. I say this all the time, particularly, with brand new creators who are trying to get monetized. They’re like, I just want to make an income from YouTube, AdSense is how I want to do it.
And AdSense is great, but it’s so small, especially compared to what you can potentially do and especially compared to what you actually can control. Don’t rely on AdSense alone.
Create your own products, do affiliate, lineup with the right affiliate products and promote them and make commissions off them because you’ll find that money is way more than what YouTube will pay. You don’t rely on AdSense alone, and this will definitely help you cushion for the periods that you actually have to take time off.
I think if you are considering taking time off, or if you need to take time off, put a return date in mind. When I took time off, I knew that I needed to take that time off. YouTube is important to me.
It’s important to my business, but what I was going through at that time was more important. YouTube had to wait, but with that in mind, my intention was always to come back and I said, all right, I’m going to take a month off.
And to be honest, if I had gotten to that one month mark, and I felt that I needed more time off, I probably would’ve moved it and said, okay, I’ll need to take another month off. But at that time, I was like, you know what I’m going to at this moment say one month and then my aim is to come back after then.
In the back of your mind, that you haven’t forgotten it and that you will come back to it. I think I would put a return date in mind because that will help keep you accountable. That will help you to keep YouTube in your peripheral as you’re dealing with whatever you need to deal with.
And I think if you really feel that you’re burnt out, if you really feel that you just want a bit of time off from YouTube, take the time off. Don’t be afraid to take the time off.
I see a lot of people comment saying I’m feeling really depressed. I’m feeling really burnt out, particularly with everything that’s happened in the last year with COVID and the lot of it, people are feeling burnt out and people are exhausted and it’s okay to take a break from YouTube.
And I think that this hustle culture where you need to show up no matter what, I would rather see you take couple of weeks off to a month off so that you can recuperate, you can recharge, you can refocus than for you to push through and put out content one, that probably isn’t your best because you’re not in the right head space, and your state of mind is such a big part of you being able to deliver content confidently and for it to be something that you’re proud of.
I’d rather see you, yeah, take that break so that you can come back refreshed and to do an amazing job on your actual channel. I think it’s really important that you honour yourself and you honour your needs.
And if you are feeling whatever, whatever is going on, you are allowed to take a break from YouTube. Your channel is not going to tank and you’re going to be okay. I saw someone wrote that they took six months off YouTube because they were feeling really depressed and really burnt out.
And when they came back, they felt that their channel has struggled and they saw a dip in views. They saw a dip in a lot of it. And my response to that was if you had to, if you felt that you were so burnt out that you needed to take six months off, trying to push through those six months in that state, your channel probably would have seen a decline because the content wouldn’t have been great anyway.
I’m more proud of that person for taking that time out and honouring themselves and then coming back, refreshed and then pumping out content after that period, than trying to push through it and trying to struggle through it and like just being unkind to yourself.
That’s my little advice to take the time off, come back and everything’s going to be fine. That basically wraps up today’s live stream. It’s a little bit different than the content that I usually present, but this was something that is really real.
And this was something that was real for me. And I hope that in showing you that behind the scenes of my analytics, that the views and the reach and the watch time didn’t die in that period that I took off, that you can have the confidence that you can take time off and you’ll be all right as well.
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.
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