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Lessons from a humble 6 year journey to 2K subscribers feat. Sirdeathvids

Channel snapshot (at time of posting)

Name Sirdeathvids
Niche – Gaming & Hobby
Subscribers – 2.2K
Watch time – 680 hours (30 days), 20.3K hours (lifetime)
Revenue – ~$33 per month
Videos published – 263
Date of first video – April 12, 2016
Employees – 0 (solo)

Why/what made you want to start this YouTube channel?

I initially started this YouTube channel as a way to post a submission for a Warhammer 40,000 terrain-making competition.

Sirdeathvids’ first video

But afterwards:

I realized that I could upload videos on anything I wanted and kept going with it.

Prior to uploading on YouTube, I had some experience; I had a failed channel in 2013 (with just one video) and experience making Lego stop motions on Movie Maker with my brother.

This channel was somewhat a redemption for the prior failure. However, I’d be lying if I said that in the back of my mind there weren’t any thoughts about being famous in the same way that you dream of being rich as a child.

How did you get started?

For my first few terrible videos, I got started with the bare minimum and zero fancy equipment:

  • An iPod 6 as a camera
  • A cheap Logitech H111 mic
  • Windows Live Movie Maker, Sony Vegas 13 & XSplit
  • A poorly-performing Lenovo B575 laptop/HP 8000 Elite (with a GT730 GPU)

Being from rural Canada, a unique challenge in the first four years of my YouTube journey was internet. My internet plan had a 100 GB/mo limit, 1 MBPS upload speed, 9000+ ping on multiplayer games and intermittent outages.

My gaming footage was incredibly laggy and my workflow was really holding me back. Later, I upgraded to:

  • An iPhone 8 for the camera
  • Kotion Each G2000 and Blue Snowball (for voiceovers)
  • OBS for recording gameplay
  • A better computer (for smoother gaming footage)

How did you get to 10, 100, 1000 subscribers and ultimately where you are currently?

My first 10 subscribers came from the Warhammer competition I initially interested plus friends/acquaintances I showed my channel to.

I remember begging in PewDiePie’s comments [to get from 10-25 subscribers], which I’d advise not doing. It’s rude and the people subscribing likely won’t care about your content and were just hoping you’d subscribe back.

From 100-2K subscribers, it was all about experimentation and slow, incremental improvements. I tried creating a variety of different types of content depending on what I felt like making; from tutorials and lets play’s to discussing my experiences of various games (like Minecraft, Portal, L4D2 and more).

In 2019, I decided to do a reflection on how I could improve and realized I should make the following changes:

  • Engage with my audience (reply to viewers)
  • Upload consistently (twice a month)
  • Improving video quality (adding thumbnails, removing ums/ahs, better scripting, more camera presence, smoother editing etc)
  • Learn more about the YouTube platform (and watch more videos on YouTube growth)

The last point led to me focusing on two main themes of video creation that eventually accounted for most of my growth to 2K subscribers:

How much money are you making (and how)?

I’ve made ~$600 in my first year of having monetization enabled (all passively from AdSense). This includes months of higher revenue but now I average ~$33/month. I also received board games (from Hasbro) worth ~$210.

At this stage in my content creation journey I don’t think I have a dedicated enough audience to diversify into selling courses or anything like that.

If you could go back to square one again, what would you do differently?

💰 Learn how to deliver value to an audience as early as possible. I would have wasted less time spending hours creating videos like “Sirdeathvids New Year’s Eve Special 2018” and instead spent more time on valuable videos that both I and an audience would appreciate.

This would have both saved time and frustration about “why are people really liking this ork painting tutorial from two years ago, but my video that I just spent 4 hours making has 5 views?”.

📺 Develop “YouTube skills” as early as possible. Though videos by YouTube gurus like Nick Nimmin seem repetitive now, they formed the baseline knowledge I now possess about creating high-performing, watchable videos.

👤 Realize I’m a nobody on the Internet. It’s only when I can deliver some knowledge to a viewer that I become a somebody with a purpose. Videos perform poorly when they’re self-centered.

🎨 Upload a variety of videos to scratch your “creative itch” and deliver value. My most popular video with 125k views was a result of creating outside of my niche. I’m glad I didn’t listen to advice from gurus saying not to do variety content and the negatives that come with it. Don’t break your content into separate channels; keep one channel with all your interests.

Where can we find out more about Sirdeathvids? And is there anything else you’d like to add?

All of my content is centralized on YouTube at the moment, but I also have a Reddit and Twitter account if you need to reach me.

It’s been an honour to do this and I hope you’ve found something useful within my paragraphs of knowledge.

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