A Framework for Achieving Big Goals


Hey friends,

Growing an audience online in 2023 is hard.

Back when I started my own YouTube channel in 2017, it was far easier to get noticed. The bar for quality was much lower, less people were creating content, and the algorithm was more forgiving to newer channels.

But, now, the competition on the platform has increased significantly. You can’t just post any random content and expect to succeed.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying that there’s almost no point trying to build and grow a YouTube channel (or any side-hustle for that matter) unless you have a strategy and treat the thing like a proper business.

The other day I was having a chat with a team member, Gareth, about this after he opened up about his struggles with his own YouTube channel. He told me that he’d been struggling for some time with his channel content, growth and engagement, despite putting a reasonable amount of effort into it over the last couple of years. And this was starting to take a toll on his motivation and creativity.

This is all stuff I’d heart literally a million times before from students on my Part-Time YouTuber Academy. So I gave him some advice on how I’d appoach any project I’m looking to ‘succeed’ at, and I thought I’d share it with you too:

  1. Target: what are you trying to achieve? – first, decide whether working on the project is what you really want to be doing and you’re doing it for the right reasons. One of the exercises I quite like to do here is the Odyssey Plan, which helps you to figure out the question of what you actually want to do with your life. If the project doesn’t align with the Odyssey Plan, then maybe you should think about doing something else.
  2. Time: have you made time for the project? – if you’ve decided that the project is a good thing to work on, you need to make time to actually work on it. The most effective method I’ve found for doing that is to time block. This means grabbing your calendar and blocking out specific, non-negotiable, time slots throughout the week where you’ll be able to work on the project without distraction.
  3. Tasks: what are the specific actions you need to take? – now you have time to work on the project, you need to decide how you’ll be spending that time. My recommendation is to write a list of next actions that will help you move the project forward and focus on just the most important item on that list each day. So, if you’re just starting out, I’d probably be thinking about my niche, target audience, and doing a competitor analysis. Basically, following all the stuff I talk about in the Creatorpreneur course 😜.
  4. Troubleshoot: have you identified the barriers to success? – things rarely go to plan, so it’s worth doing a pre-mortem at this stage. This involves identifying any potential obstacles that may hold you back and finding ways to overcome them. For example, Gareth mentioned that video editing was a huge time sink for him. So, one potential solution here is to outsource it to someone else. This would save him time and it’s exactly the sort of thing someone who’s treating their channel like a business would do, because it isn’t a high-leverage use of his time given that he isn’t an expert in video editing.
  5. Transparency: are you being accountable? – if you want to significantly increase the likelihood you’ll make progress and stay on track, find a way to stay accountable. One way to do this is to find an accountability buddy, where you regularly check-in with each other to discuss your progress and challenges. Or, you could take the route Gareth and I took: put money on the line. We agreed that he’d have to pay me £200 if he didn’t follow through with his commitment to work on his YouTube channel for a certain period of time and send me screenshot evidence of the work too.

Update: the accountability thing seems to be working well. He’s made a ton of progress figuring out the strategy and direction of the channel over the last few days, which has apparently given him a ton of clarity about what he wants to do. Here’s one of the screenshots he sent me:

So, if you’re workin on a project right now and struggling to either get started or make decent progress, then I highly recommend following this framework. Hopefully you’ll find it just as useful as Gareth has and feel free to send me screenshots of your work too if you want to be super accountable 😜

Have a great week!

Ali xx

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Thanks to Paperlike for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎬 YouTube Channel – ContraPoints. Last week I mentioned I’d been binge watching The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling. This week I watched a couple of really long videos that counterered the arguments from that audio documentary. The videos are from someone called Natalie and an interview from her was referenced in episode 6 of The Witch Trials. In one of the two videos she rebuts the points made in the podcast and, in the other video (from 2y ago), she discusses the J.K. Rowling situation. These videos made me realise that I’d been uncritically accepting the framing of The Witch Trials, because it all seemed very reasonable when I was listening to it. But, after listening to Natalie explain why the points made weren’t very reasonable and hear her talk about all the other stuff that wasn’t mentioned, I’m now very suspicious about the stuff I read and listen to on the internet. It’s just way too easy to accept something you read/listen to without actually questioning whether or not that information is legit. I’m really keen to understand more about these sorts of issues btw, so if anyone fancies replying to this email with recommended resources that would be great.

💻 App – ScreenStudio. Shoutout to Thomas Frank’s editor, Tony Santos, for having a chat with our video editor (Saf) and recommending this software to us. Previously I’d been using ScreenFlow whenever I needed to record my screen (e.g. for webinars, screencasts etc). But I tried using ScreenStudio the other day and while it was a little buggy (it crashed after about an hour of recording…) it’s still way nicer than the stuff I’ve done with ScreenFlow.

🎙️ Podcast – How To Influence People with Rory Sutherland. Rory is the vice chairman of Ogilvy UK, which is one of the biggest marketing and advertising companies in the world. He’s the author of the book Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense and his TED talks that have been viewed over 7 million times. In the conversation Rory gives me a masterclass in marketing and advertising, and reveals the marketing secrets brands use to change our perception of products and influence our behaviour.

📚 Book – The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This is basically about how to hire and work with an executive assistant. Recently, we moved one of our team members (Bhav) to a new role as my in-person executive assistant, and it’s been awesome. I’ve been reading a lot about how to effectively work with an assistant and I’m learning loads from this book in particular. If this topic is something you also want to learn more about, I also highly recommend the book ‘Buy Back Your Time’ by Dan Martel.

🎬 My New Videos

🧪 The Science of Gut Health (& Why It Matters) – I never used to care about my gut health, but it turns out it’s super important. I recently spoke to Sophie Medlin on my podcast Deep Dive so I wanted to share all the useful advice I picked up from here. So this video is all about the science of gut health and what we can do to look after it.

📆 How I Manage My Time – The Trident Calendar System – Time management is super important, and I’m always searching for the best techniques to help me manage my time. So in this video I break down the trident method, which is the system I actually use every day to manage my life, and get the most out of every day that I have.

❤️ My Ultimate Guide to Online Dating – Lots of studies have shown that high quality relationships are a large part of our happiness, and in particular, our romantic relationships. Given that one way of finding a relationship is online dating, and that I’ve had my fair share of experiences, I thought I’d create an ultimate guide to online dating

✍️ Quote of the Week

“What did you want to do when you were a child, before anybody told you what you were supposed to do? What was it you wanted to become? What did you want to do more than anything else?”

From Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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