I’m pretty sure that I have the best job in the world, and according to a recent survey it seems that many young people agree. I am a YouTuber: I have a YouTube channel on which I post regular content to an audience of over 1.8 million people. My aim is simply to entertain. Research carried out by Tesco Mobile shows that 30 per cent of Britain’s 16-24 year olds are avid viewers of people like me and when asked, almost 40 per cent said they would rather be vloggers than a lawyers, politicians or even popstars.
For me, it all started in 2009: I had graduated with a degree in psychology but had fallen out of love with the subject. Whilst trying to decide what to do with my life, I took jobs in insurance, retail and the magistrates court. Time passed but I still had no clue what I wanted to be and I started to panic. My sisters and girlfriend (now fiancée) both had YouTube channels and suggested I start making videos as an outlet. At this point, none of us had any idea what the potential was, we just enjoyed being creative, but my channel began to grow.
The most common question I am asked is "How do I become a YouTuber?". Technically, if you have access to a camera and the internet, anyone can make videos, but that definitely does not mean that your audience will grow to the point that it will become your job.
It’s impossible to quantify what it is about me or any other successful YouTuber that draws an audience to us. However, it’s very important to remember that for most of us, we didn’t know this could become a career until it already had. We did, and still do, genuinely enjoy making videos.
It’s also very important to note that although doing this as a job is by far the most fun I have ever had, it’s not as easy as people might think and I work pretty much seven days a week. Also the reality of my day-to-day life is much less glamorous than it may seem; there is always the risk of sharing too much and not having a private life at all. Being a human being I have my down days, and the dilemma of ‘being real’ or keeping my audience entertained and happy can be tricky to broach.
Doing this job really has changed my life. I used to be cripplingly shy, but now it’s my vocation to present myself to millions of people. I get to travel the world with my friends and I have an audience that I truly respect and that genuinely care about me. As my audience grows and more and more people are becoming aware of YouTubers, lots of amazing opportunities are coming through the door. I played a big role on ITV 2’s ‘Viral Tap’ with Caroline Flack, I’m often featured in magazines, and I have started to write for a few publications too. There are never two days the same and as long as I continue to respect my viewers and take them along this journey with me, there seem to be endless possibilities.
The beauty of YouTube is that I am not produced by anyone. I plan, film and edit my own videos, I tweet and Facebook and Instagram directly from me to my audience which makes for a genuine connection. I see myself as a role model to a lot of my subscribers, particularly the younger ones and I try to send a positive message and lead by example. I think this shines through when I get stopped on the street by them. Of course sometimes, this happens at inopportune moments (I accidentally sneezed on someone the other day), but for the most part I am greeted like a friend with a smile and hug.
Here are my top 5 tips for becoming a YouTube Star:
1- ACTUALLY MAKE A VIDEO: People often say to me "Jim I want to start a channel but I’m too scared to upload a video", to which my response is "You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take". You can’t expect to grow an audience if they have nothing to watch.
2- DO IT FOR FUN: Don’t try too hard to impress, it will shine through. Make videos that you enjoy making about whatever you want to make them about. If you’re not having fun, everyone will know.
3- ‘BE YOURSELF’: I usually hate saying ‘be yourself’, because what is ‘yourself’? ‘Myself’ changes regularly depending on a multitude of variables, but that is precisely the point. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into being any one thing. Having a YouTube channel gives you the freedom to tackle any subject in anyway. Go for it!
4- DEDICATION: Once your audience starts to grow, they commit to you and they except that commitment to be reciprocated. Make videos regularly and stay in touch with your viewers via social media.
5- BE PATIENT: Lots of people make two videos that get 20 views, realise that this isn’t going to happen over night and give up. If you want this to become something bigger, you have to work hard and not rush it. Let it grow organically, take your time and remember, at some point we’ve all had to do our first video…
Jim has joined forces with Tesco Mobile and will take on the role of a “Simon Cowell-esque judge” in the search for the next big viral sensation in the #EnoughSaid Open Audition. Entrants have 30 seconds to impress with a short video. If they get the video blogger’s seal of approval, they could win £5,000 and star in the next Tesco Mobile online advert. Visit the Tesco Mobile Facebook site here to enter
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