If you’re reading this, you’re most likely an aspiring YouTuber in Kenya or just getting started with your channel. I’ll share a few things that you’ll encounter all based on my personal experience.
We’ll look at some common challenges that you should be prepared to face before starting a YouTube channel. My goal is to give you the strength to keep pushing your content even when things become tough.
1. Coming Up With Unique and Outstanding Content
You’ll need content that differentiates itself from the rest of the pack if you intend to make a living off of YouTube. Coming up with this kind of content may be difficult for most people unless you have a unique talent or you’re exceptionally gifted at something.
For this reason, there’s a high chance that you’ll settle on doing content that already exists. Your chances of success will be slim in this case and you may need a little bit of luck to stand out from the competition.
For example, if you start a comedy channel, you’ll have to compete with the likes of Wololo, DeSagu, Abel Mutua, etc. You’ll have to bring something else that these big names among countless others haven’t already brought to the table.
If you decide to pursue a competitive field or niche, you’ll have to work extra hard to try and outmuscle everybody else. This isn’t to discourage you, if you really want to go for it, go for it and put in the extra effort and produce content as consistently as you can.
Fortunately, there’re still a few gaps you can fill and be successful with minimal effort such as these seven YouTube ideas.
2. Building an Audience From Scratch
Remember, no one knows who you are if you’re just starting out on YouTube no matter how awesome your content is. You’ll have to be firing on all cylinders on the promotion side to get a good start.
You’ll typically be advised to share your video on social media and directly with friends for a start but I have an even better approach that will guarantee steady growth—keyword research.
Here’s a summary of how I do keyword research for my YouTube video in a few simple steps:
- Brainstorming potential topics that I want to cover and narrowing them down to the ones I can run through easily.
- Typing my selected topic on YouTube’s search bar to bring up the available competition. The autocomplete feature will also give you a hint of the exact words people use to search for the topic.
- I’ll then feed the search phrases used into a free tool like keyword planner (I usually skip this step most of the time when dealing with Kenyan content). The tool will give me an idea of other search phrases people use. I’ll ensure I use most of these keywords naturally in my video title, future videos, descriptions, and pinned comments sometimes.
- I’ll analyze the first few videos that come up when I search for the topic on YouTube. If they have a few thousand views, I’ll go ahead and do my video. The goal is to start competing with the smaller YouTubers and gradually build up toward those with bigger numbers. The smaller ones are easier to outrank and this builds your authority over time.
Using the keyword approach will help rank on both YouTube and Google Search Results and bring in organic traffic.
Organic traffic will send better signals to YouTube’s algorithm and push your videos much better than direct sharing with friends and family. The subscribers you accrue will be there because they like your content and not just because they have to support a friend.
3. Low View Counts
In the first few weeks, months or even the first year, you may not get as many views and subscribers as you may want. This may be discouraging especially if your ultimate goal is to make a living out of YouTube.
However, this is normal if you ask even the most successful YouTubers out there. There’re only two ways to get out of this situation:
- If you’re extremely lucky and one or two of your videos go viral.
- If you post quality videos consistently (daily, or weekly).
Also remember, the more videos you have, the higher the chances of success. If you have 100 videos and someone else has only 10, you have more chances of a video going viral.
Even if a video doesn’t go viral, adding up the few views from each of the 100 videos can lead to good numbers. This will be critical if you’re chasing the YouTube monetisation threshold. Dedicate your first year on YouTube to producing as much quality content as you can.
4. Equipment Can Be Expensive
Owing a camera, tripods, lights, and microphones don’t come cheap. You may find yourself spending thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of shilling to create a simple YouTube setup.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a single cent to start a YouTube channel—you can always start with what you have and produce quality videos. All you need is your phone to get started on YouTube!
Your phone can do it all, shooting videos, recording audio, editing videos, uploading videos and creating thumbnails. It’s all I use for my small unboxing YouTube channel. If you have a decent smartphone, save your money, get started and you’ll buy professional equipment when your channel grows.
5. Video Editing Sucks
Video editing is a skill that takes time to master if you want to create captivating videos. It requires patience and can be frustrating when you don’t get things right.
Editing gets easier over time but it’s something that you should outsource as soon as you get the resources to hire someone else. You can then spend the extra time coming up with more content and other tasks.
One editing aspect that many small YouTubers (me included) overlook is creating thumbnails. Thumbnails increase click-through rates by captivating potential viewers when your video gets recommended to them.
Creating thumbnails is a simple skill to master and tools like Canva which I use for most of my graphics make it even easier.
6. Monetisation May Take a Long Time
For your channel to get into the YouTuber Partner Program (YPP) and start earning money you’ll need; 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours within the last 365 days.
Accruing these numbers is no mean feat. The subscribers part is the easiest and is almost a guarantee if people like your content. Getting 4000 watch hours is where the real struggle is considering the declining attention span of the average human being.
Here’s why I’ll stress creating high-quality and captivating content. If the content is great, people will stick on for longer, and adding up the hours will be easy. If your content is centred on YouTube Shorts, you can still get monetised if you managed to hit 10 million views in 90 days with 1000 subscribers.
7. Constantly Fiddling With the Stats
If you’re impatient like me, you’ll find yourself checking on the number of subscribers and views on your channel. There’s nothing wrong with this but it can be discouraging in the early stages when the numbers aren’t pleasant to look at.
To counter my obsession with numbers, I recently decided to only check my numbers on a computer and not on my phone. Doing so has significantly reduced the number of times I check my stats because my computer isn’t as accessible as my phone.
I’m working towards programming myself to check the stats only once per week instead of several times a day. Having a longer period in between can be motivating because the number will have moved significantly.
The last thing you want in the treacherous journey of getting started as a YouTuber is one more element to the already long list of demotivating elements.
8. Your Loved Ones Won’t Take Your YouTube Career Seriously
Imagine explaining to your parent that you want to make money by doing goofy stuff on the internet from your bedroom if you still live with them. That conversation wouldn’t end well.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to brace yourself for this unless your loved ones are tech-savvy or are already working in the online industry. If you intend to look for support from friends and family, there’s a possibility of getting none.
Brace yourself for a lonely journey!
Get Your Channel Up and Running
Now that you know what to expect, take out your phone or equipment and make that first video. A successful channel is an asset that can change your life and the lives around you. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll start reaping rewards.
If you’re camera-shy and prefer writing content, you can start a blog like this one instead.