In this Deep Dive I have a chat with my friend and fellow YouTuber, Sara Dietschy. We chat about her winding path to success and the lessons she learnt on the way. Some of the highlights of our discussion can be found below, as well as time-stamps if you fancy listening to us talk :)
After 3 years of an Electrical Engineering / Computer Science degree, Sara dropped out of college to pursue filmmaking full time. She is obsessed with showing the creative process and has brought the rawness & fun of vlogs into her tech videos and online series.
- Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
- Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks
- Charisma on Command by Charlie Houpert
- The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden
Other Links/Websites Mentioned
- Timery app
04:30 Sara Arrives
06:00 Sara's Introduction
08:20 How Sara Got Started
12:00 The Progression to YouTube
17:30 Getting Started on YouTube / Social Media / Podcasts
22:20 Building An Audience or Monetising Your Product
29:30 Making Money, Enjoyment + Self Awareness
35:00 Why Sara Left College
46:40 Moving In Front of the Camera
51:00 Current Projects
58:15 Structure, Accountability + Tracking Time
01:04:40 Diversifying Revenue Sources
01:09:40 Quality Bar for YouTube Content
01:34:40 Knowing When To Target A Niche
01:36:30 Focusing Time With Multiple Passions
01:40:25 Building An Audience
- Getting started
- Formula of selling a product then building audience has flipped, providing value.
- Making Money + Enjoyment + Self Awareness
- Diversifying Revenue Sources
- Focusing Time With Multiple Passions
- Building An Audience
Highlights From Our Discussion
On Personal Branding
- After I started, I suddenly realised that people didn’t know how to pronounce my name which meant I wouldn’t be found. So I had to think about finding a way of making sure that people had something to relate my name to. Now, with so much technology voice operated, it’s even more important that people knew how to pronounce my name to find my channel and podcast. I then combined it with a zeitgeist-y thing – the Peach emoji – and that’s how it came together.
On Social Skills
- A lot of soft skills you can practice and get better at. You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations where you are practicing those skills. It’s only through pushing through those moments that you get better and, over time, more comfortable.
- It was great for me in the beginning – it helps you to become more empathetic but at a certain point that novelty maxes out. Also, when you’re on a plane for 5 hours and you’re thinking about what you could be doing instead, travel starts to lose its appeal.
- In High School we travelled to places within America but that was about it. When I was in College I started going abroad and making videos as a means to explore and offering value to a company. I was also really into credit card hacking to get like a free $800 Iceland plane ticket. I know it scares people when we talk about credit cards but I did it in a very responsible way and it all benefitted the travel.
On The Bar For Content
- There are so many things that I wanted to say outside of the classic YouTube channel – but YouTube isn’t the place for variation when you have an audience. So I knew that I needed to find a second medium for that [which led to the podcast]. I’m a big fan of experimentation.
- Education, entertainment or inspiration – if a video can nail two of those things, then I would post it.
On Diversifying Revenue Sources
- I’m not the biggest fan of the Patreon model – I don’t want to ask my audience directly for money. I’m a big fan of affiliate links to things like Squarespace.
- I’m more concerned about what I need to diversify for 10 years time rather than right now.
- It’s always been a dream of mine to grow a company and be the boss of my company.
On Structure + Purpose
- Time tracking gave me a structure and accountability – accountability is a huge thing when you are your own boss.
- It allows you to have the 1000ft view of what you’ve been doing on a daily basis.
On Taking A Break
- Anxiety wasn’t something that I had experienced before this current crisis but I started to develop anxiety and I decided to take a break and having that reset has really helped.
On Presenting in Front of Camera
- The aim is to be as genuine as possible to your actual self and that allows you can put any negative comments into perspective.
- It’s excruciating in the beginning – bringing out a camera in public. But I ended up really enjoying it. I started behind the camera but now I really enjoy being the other side and presenting it.
- The internet is remix culture – that is synonymous. Someone once said ‘original thought doesn’t exist’ which I sort of agree with but it’s your personal spin on things which makes you special on a platform like YouTube.
- Tweaks to existing content generates new genres. Look at Casey Niestat – he changed aspects of the vlogging genre.
- "There’s no such thing as a unique message – only unique messengers” Pat Flynn.
On Leaving College
- I figured out a year into college that it wasn’t going to work. I got an internship but I hated it which meant I didn’t like the studying or the real world experience. But what was keeping me there was the scholarship. Three years later I moved to Nashville, transferred into Belmont and switched to computer science and in one semester my bank account was wiped. I had a decision to make at just 21 – my parents weren’t paying for my lifestyle and so I wasn’t answering to anyone so I could do what I felt was best. That was 2015 and it was when I decided to go on YouTube full time at that point”.
On Aspiration and Careers
- I saw the 9-5 that my Dad went into and that was motivation for me to make sure I did something that I love. Maybe I don’t want to spend 8 hours a day video editing but setting up a business to be able to expand and delegate and being free to do whatever I want, I get a lot of joy from it and I really like building. If I had to go to an office 9-5 I think I would die inside.
People need a self-awareness – this is a grind. If you can’t do it 24/7 to get to the point where it’s self-sustainable, it won’t work.
On starting YouTube
- You have to think about what is the value that you are providing; for some people this might be to create an app or a website. For others, it might be educational content on YouTube.
- If you are really obsessed with the video making process and you have something to talk about then you have something to offer. It’s hard just to say “I want to be a YouTuber” without a hobby or interest to talk about on the channel.
- Now is always a perfect time to start if you have something that is driving you – that’s how I felt with YouTube as well as the podcast.
- When you get a certain audience, you do feel like a product of the algorithm. But that same reason is why new YouTubers can generate momentum with an algorithm that can suddenly make a video explode in popularity.
On Background and Beginnings
- Sara began by combining interests in music and video production to make school projects which grew into wider interests in editing.