How an assistive tech channel reached 62K subscribers & 8.6M views

Feb 28 2024
Case Studies

Channel Overview (at time of writing)

Name - The Blind Life
Niche - Tech/Personal
Subscribers - 62K
Watch time - 8.6M views (lifetime), 136K views (monthly)
Videos published - 867
Date of first video - 21 December 2013
Employees - 0 (solo)

Why did you start this YouTube channel?

I’m terrible at writing. People have wanted me to write articles and start a blog but I’m honestly terrible at it and can’t make it work. In front of a camera, I’m great though.

I was already making YouTube videos for a couple of years prior for a channel called MobileTechVideos2. I had a lot of fun making videos about the Android ecosystem (especially “rooting” your Android). 

I was always watching YouTube; anytime I needed to know something, I’d just watch YouTube videos. That’s actually how I got connected with MobileTechVideos; by just being active on YouTube.

I’m visually impaired/legally blind due to having a rare condition called Stargardt Disease. While browsing YouTube, I searched “Stargardt disease” and found mostly doctors talking about the clinical side. But I was interested in the day-to-day experiences of people like myself. There was only one video I could find.

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So, while making Android videos, I decided to upload a video about assistive technology apps for the visually impaired.

I got a lot of engagement/positive feedback. It made me feel like there was a real need for visually impaired content.

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There was no plan to grow the channel into something big. There was no schedule either. It was just fun and something to keep me occupied.

How did you get started?

I needed to make my videos accessible to the blind/low-vision community. That meant making high-contrast videos with my face lit up well against a dark background (so it stands out).

All I had to work with was a Canon point-and-shoot camera and a tripod. I stood in front of a window to help with lighting and made sure the background was dark. I didn’t script anything (and still don’t to this day). I just knew my talking points and winged it; that’s kind of my style.

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A lot of people have told me that’s one thing they appreciate about my videos; that they’re not scripted or rehearsed.

For editing, I used Windows Movie Maker (just because it was free and got the job done).

How & when did you get to 10, 100, 1000 subscribers (etc) and to where you are currently?  

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The blind/visually impaired niche is unique in the sense that there’s no explosive growth (unlike the gaming, beauty, or consumer tech niches). It’s just been a slow and steady rise.

I reached 1K subscribers 2-3 years after I started in early 2016. I hit 2K subscribers at the end of 2016.

In 2016, I started working as an assistive technology manager at a non-profit. All of a sudden, I had access to a lot of tech to review, play with, and make videos on. And that’s when I noticed the channel started to grow more.

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I reached 10K subscribers around 2018, roughly 5 years after starting and I remember passing 20K subscribers during COVID, roughly 6-7 years after starting.

I think slow and steady growth is better because it means I’m still doing what I’m supposed to be doing and people are engaged.

As I was growing, I made sure I was continuously improving my videos; I was never satisfied.

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People always ask me why I care so much since the people watching my videos can’t even see. But I can see and so can the companies that sponsor me. I want to be at the top of the game and stand out amongst the pack.

What does your content creation process look like?

Creating a video takes 3 times longer for me than for someone without low vision. I’d estimate a 10-minute video would take me roughly 25 hours to make (over a week or two).

Finding ideas

I usually get ideas for review videos because people/companies reach out to me directly. Otherwise, I take inspiration from my day-to-day life.

If something happens in my life, I wonder “Do other blind people do/have it this way?”. There are no dumb video topics.


I don’t ever script. I just note down basic talking points and improvise on the way. With product reviews, it’s quite easy since the points to cover are quite universal (like battery life, screen quality, etc.). 


If I’m doing product reviews, I use my cameras (Sony A7 IV and A7C II) to get high-quality footage and close-ups of the product. 

When referring to a part of a product (like “the 32MP camera for the iPhone”, the audience naturally looks for that part. So when/if I do, I always try to get B-roll shots focusing on that part.

I also record talking head footage in the part of my studio I set up specifically for them.


I use DaVinci Resolve to edit my videos. Since I have low vision, I have to use it all zoomed in on my 43” monitor. Even then, I only edit using the audio waveform; I know my cameras never move so I never need to look at composition.

This part takes much longer for me since I can’t just look at the back of a camera to see what the footage is like. I have to use my magnifier to look at it and that’s tedious.

I have a video where I talk about how I edit my videos too.


I create my thumbnails in Adobe After Effects which I know is odd. I’m just really comfortable with After Effects to the point where I use it like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva.


After posting my video, I tag my videos and share them on all social media platforms. This is the most tedious part of the process. I hate it but you have to do it.

Since I’m terrible at writing, I also get ChatGPT to write/re-write my description for me.

Then, I give the video about a week and I answer comments.

How does your channel make money?

The channel (and I) make money through:

  • AdSense
  • Channel memberships - ~200 members paying between $1-5/month
  • Sponsored content
  • Merchandise
  • Affiliate marketing (via Amazon)
  • Consulting/training
  • Speaking engagements
  • Product evaluations (for visually impaired people)

My channel is one of the biggest in my niche but not that large overall so I don’t make much money from AdSense. Most of my income comes from sponsored content and speaking engagements.

I have several options for sponsored content; from full dedicated videos (reviews) of products, to shorts, 30-second commercials, social media blasts, live streams, and podcasts. 

Usually, companies reach out to me but now and then, I’ll see an interesting product/company and reach out to them directly with my media kit.

In my media kit, I have a section where I say all my reviews are 100% honest. My loyalty is to the audience, not the manufacturer/distributor. In the past, I’ve directly told a company their product is horrible and offered them a chance to back out.

With speaking engagements, I get paid to share my story and talk about assistive technology, the education system, and employment as a visually impaired person.

Most visually impaired/blind people don’t succeed, unfortunately. In that sense, I’m a bit of a unicorn; there aren't many people doing what I’m doing.

For channel memberships, I have two tiers ($0.99/month or $4.99/month) that people can subscribe to. I have 200 members mostly subscribed to the $0.99/month subscription.

I deliberately made memberships cheap since the blind community has a 75-80% unemployment rate. I wanted to offer a way for people to give back to the channel in an affordable way.

I make affiliate marketing income through Amazon affiliate links in my video descriptions.

I also have merchandise. I upload my (sarcasm-filled) designs to Spring and they handle shipping, returns, sales, etc. I promote the merch by wearing it in videos, posting on social media, through the channel’s merch section and even selling it at conferences.

What are the key lessons you’ve learned from your journey?

⌛ Stop putting it off. A lot of people procrastinate and worry about having the right camera, lighting or mic before starting. You’re never going to have the perfect start; you’ll get better as you go. It’s more important to get going.

You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.

📚 There are no dumb videos or topics. I used to think “no one’s going to care about this video” but someone will always care.

It doesn’t matter how dumb you think your idea is. Even if it doesn’t get a million views, it’s still feeding the YouTube algorithm.

💼 You have to treat it like a job. If you want to succeed on YouTube (or social media), you have to be serious about it and put the work in from 8 am to 5 pm. It doesn’t have to be a terrible job or something you don’t enjoy but you do have to be diligent.

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

Check out my YouTube channel, my podcast, and my website.

My channel is the number one resource for assistive technology for the blind and what it’s like to live with low vision.

Hopefully, my channel shows people that it’s not the end of the world if you’re blind. It’s just a matter of living in a new way.

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