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Deep Dive #13 Shelby Church on Growing a Successful YouTube Channel, Podcasting & The Value of Blogging

Shelby is an American YouTuber who makes lifestyle and technology-related content.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Shelby is an American YouTuber who makes lifestyle and technology-related content. Given that this was more of an interview, this post features highlights in the form of direct quotes from our discussion.

On Starting YouTube

“I feel like the landscape of YouTube and my relationship with it has changed a lot. When I started there was only one channel with 1 million subscribers. There weren’t people making a living off it. I did know you could make money but I expected it might be only $30 a month or something. But over time I began to see it could be a nice side hustle and when people started getting brand deals it was clear that you could probably make a living off it. A lot of people still didn't believe it though but now it’s pretty mainstream and people do ‘get it’ when you tell them you’re a YouTuber”

On Future Plans with YouTube

“I wouldn’t have predicted for everything to work out in the ways that it did in terms of my channel and how YouTube has evolved. It’s interesting to see how things have played out. In terms of future goals, my goal would be to make a feature length documentary – something that would be a bit longer”.

On Work Life Balance (when self-employed)

“I would always worry about whether I was being productive enough but over time I figured out what worked for me. Videos take 20 or 30 hours to edit and I would usually be working a normal 40 or more hours per week. I’ll try to come up with video ideas that get me out of the house because otherwise it's quite easy to just end up spending the whole time inside editing videos or planning videos".

On Podcasting

“Having a podcast is the best excuse to spend an hour or two talking to someone and I feel that you create better content because you know it's being recorded. You're more in the zone than just a causal conversation. The one thing about podcasts that bother me is that there is not a built-in system for comments or an easy way to get feedback".

On YouTube Saturation

“The world probably doesn’t need any more YouTubers but I think the technical challenge and the fact that you don’t make money immediately does weed out the people who are just doing it because they think the lifestyle is good and you make loads of money”.

On YouTube Analytics

"We upload so often that it almost doesn't matter. That's the great thing about YouTube. If one video flops, I'm almost like, whatever, onto the next one. It would be so troubling if that was like a documentary that you'd worked on for like three years. I think if you think about a video relative to that standard then it's not so bad. Also videos can suddenly become popular like three months down the line so I try not to get too worried".

On Blogging

"I think writing is a bit intimidating because it feels a bit more formal. But I've thought about it more because I've just made a video about how much bloggers make. I always thought blogs were kind of dead but for a lot of bloggers, their CPMs can be easily $10 whereas on YouTube my CPM is usually $5-$7. They do affiliate links on top of that, but I had no idea that you make this much on blogs. A food blogger that I interviewed easily makes six figures a year".
Deep Dive

Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.