Nothing beats hard work – right?

I have had a Youtube account for more than three years now. For three years I produced content on a fairly consistent basis. Granted, my first videos were far from being good. But I kept at it and over time produced 130 videos, the last of which were really decent. The only problem? No one was watching them.

By beginning of 2018 I had exactly 74 subscribers. After 3 years! After spending hundreds of hours recording, editing, fine-tuning, uploading. This was really frustrating, to say the least. Nobody wants to produce content without any audience. A normal video of mine would get between 10 and 20 hits – half of which were mine. 

And it is not like I didn’t work hard on tweaking my content either. I improved my thumbnails. I created more enticing video titles. I studied how other Youtubers keep their audience’s attention and copied it. I made sure lighting, audio and editing were on point. But none of it worked. 

Learn from people who are better than you

I knew giving up was not an option (cause I’m a stubborn motherfucker), but it was clear that I was missing something here. And also clear was that the solution was not to blindly produce more and more content. I had tried that before and it didn’t work. 

So as I looked at what others did, I noticed that many of them would comment on A LOT of other videos! As I paid closer attention to the comment sections of my favourite Youtubers, I saw the same names showing up every time. These people systematically diverted the attention from a popular channel to their channel! And I saw their channels growing, so obviously there was something to that technique.

Find shortcuts and apply them

I went to work and started commenting myself. First I started with simple compliments to the uploader, but soon I moved on to more and more shameless plugs. Comments like the following became standard for me:

Great content, mate! Being a Youtuber myself you set the bar for quality videos really high!

Any person reading that would get curious. “Oh, he is making videos as well? I wonder what they are about. Let’s check it out!” And guess what? It worked like a charm! I have been doing that for a bit over a month now and am close to 500 subscribers!

Get your priorities straight!

There is a lesson here: If you are working hard and are not seeing results, you are likely missing something. You are failing to work smart. Now this does by no means mean that you can work only smart. The tactic I described would not work if I stopped uploading videos and constantly improving my content. But having amazing content with no audience will also not get you further. 

To become successful in any field, you have to work hard and smart. Just one is not enough. You can multiply your results and save a lot of time if you are just willing to lift your head up for a second, stop grinding and instead evaluate your situation carefully. Tim Ferriss has a rule where he looks at a To Do list and asks himself: 

“Which of these points would make all the other points irrelevant or easier?” 

He then tackles those first. 

I failed to do this evaluation earlier and as a result wasted three years. My question was “How do I grow my audience?” and instead of being smart I saw the only solution in working hard. 

Don’t be like me. Instead, look for people who are doing better than you and find out how they do it. Chances are, it is not even difficult or hard to imitate. You just have to be smart about it. 


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