Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been on the receiving end of “advice” about how to run our business on a daily basis.
This has come from agents, managers, CEOs of major media businesses, YouTube “experts,” internet marketing gurus, and other industry hangers-on.
I get hit with this advice at parties, meetings, run-ins with my neighbors and the inescapable pick-your-brain coffee meetings. It is inescapable.
The problem is that almost all of it is terrible.
It just took me too long to realize it.
In the early days, I listened and I even implemented some of it. This has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars and at least a year of my life. No exaggeration.
For the most part, these people all have good intentions. They’re just operating on an outdated paradigm of how things work. They also have a desperate desire to be successful in the “industry.” They aren’t interested in a 7-figure lifestyle, but a 9-figure...
I’m writing to you from my hotel room in Austin, TX. It’s Day 3 of the SXSW festival and it’s great to be back in Austin - which feels like my hometown even though I wasn’t born here. I’m listening to a great Twine Time playlist which really has me feeling the Austin vibe.
Adriene and I kicked off the festival with a panel on how we started Yoga With Adriene and how we operate a business where we give 90% of everything we make away for free. It went really well and I look forward to doing more of this in the future. I’ll share the recording as soon as SXSW posts it.
Thank you to everyone who downloaded the 30 Days of Yoga case study. The feedback was really great. While the foundational YouTube stuff is critical, sometimes you need some kind of “stunt” to move the needle. So if there’s one big thing to take away from that it should be: keep trying new things.
There were a couple of recurring questions amidst all the emails...
Ever since the first 30 Days of Yoga series, life has been a blur. I somehow forgot (or never knew) that these videos existed. They were produced by YouTube as part of the Creator Academy. Adriene talks about how to start a YouTube Channel and how to turn your viewers into dedicated fans.
We've learned a lot since these videos were recorded but everything we're doing now is built on the foundation that she talks about in these videos. So, whether you're already a YouTuber or are just thinking about starting a YouTube channel - they're definitely worth the few minutes it will take to watch them.
If these videos piqued your interest and you'd like to know more behind-the-scenes info about how we started the Yoga With Adriene channel, check out this episode of Audio on Video - recorded right around the same time.
When I decided to start making videos for the internet, I didn't have an amazing plan in place. In fact I had no plan. Other than the video production side of things, I really had no idea what I was doing. But I was fascinated by the possibilities of creating videos for YouTube.
So we went for it. We figured things out as we went along. We made lots of new friends. It became our full-time job.
Now, we've been making videos for YouTube (primarily) for over 5 years. Pretty crazy. This anniversary made me realize that I've been making Hilah Cooking videos longer than I've actually held down any of the "real" jobs in my career.
The anniversary also drove home the fact that I was feeling a little bit burned out. So was Hilah. As of January 1st 2015, we had made 375 videos for the Hilah Cooking channel. That doesn't include all the videos we've made for companies like Tastemade and Ulive.
Since the beginning, I had been obsessed with creating the perfect show...
2014 may be another personal record-breaker for me as far as the number of videos I produce. It will definitely be a record breaker when it comes to the number of minutes produced. Even though I am producing more, I have started to downsize the amount of gear I use.
Last year, I went a little bit overboard. I had been using nothing but consumer camcorders for years. As soon as money started coming in from my various projects, I did what any self-respecting video geek would do - I started buying gear! It was fun but I ended up with too much stuff that ended up bogging down things when it came to production. There were too many options and too many things to think about. I am still a micro-budget producer and almost always a one-man crew. Time is always of the essence and I already have too much on my mind. So I started to downsize.
My production set-up is now what you see in the photo above. For outdoor shoots, that is the whole thing (except for a collapsible bounce-card...
In January of this year we launched the first Yoga With Adriene product. It was called REBOOT and it was a 4 video online class designed to help people get over their "holiday hangovers" and establish a consistent at-home yoga practice. We had no idea what we were doing. It was the first online video product that I had ever launched and everything that could go wrong pretty much did.
Despite the chaos, REBOOT was a huge success. With the help of the REBOOT community, we gradually worked through the technical issues and polished up the class. It was a significant turning point in the Yoga With Adriene project. In addition to the videos and instruction, we created a closed Facebook group for people to share their experiences.
It was in this group that all the elements came together and a thriving community started to take shape. This group allowed Adriene and me to communicate directly with people from all over the world who were fans of the show and liked it enough to invest their...
Last summer, YouTube asked Hilah and I if we wanted to take part in a top-secret program. The program involved three trips to LA to go to workshops and shoot collaboration videos with other YouTubers at YouTube Space LA. It sounded like summer camp for internet video creators. Of course, we said yes.
I've alluded to my recent batch of LA trips, but because it was a top-secret program, we couldn't talk about it or even say what it was called. Until now. YouTube has finally spilled the beans with the video above and I'm happy to report that we were participants in the first ever YouTube Creator Accelerator -- and that it was an incredible experience.
There were some really great workshops, but - just like summer camp - the real lessons were things I learned from hanging out with other YouTube Creators (and pestering YouTube staff with questions about my analytics).
Here are my 5 big takeaways from "YouTube Camp":
In case you're not familiar with...
It's been a little over a year since we launched Yoga With Adriene. I figured it was time to finally update you on how things are going.
Right now we’ve got almost 40,000 YouTube subscribers and our daily video views are consistent and trending upwards. Our email list is healthy and growing (despite a lot of neglect). We also just had a very successful product launch. Despite some really bumpy spots in 2013, I think things are actually going really well.
I knew YWA had a lot of potential, but I had always planned on using it as a case study. I had learned a lot through the creation and production of Hilah Cooking and I wanted to implement some of those things and launch a new project. Yoga seemed like the perfect fit and I knew Adriene would be the perfect host.
When we were in the early stages of developing the show, I had planned on writing an in-depth blog series about this. I got totally overwhelmed in the production of almost 200 videos last year and the blog series never...
After an incredibly busy year of non-stop travel and work, my body has finally succumbed to some kind of virus. So, I've been drinking glasses of effervescent cold/flu medicine and slowly but surely wrapping up the last bits of work for the year. We're launching the first Yoga With Adriene product on January 2nd so there is still a lot to do.
So far I've done a pretty good job at staying in "the zone," but it's the end of the year and my thoughts keep reflecting on the past 12 months. 2013 was a blur filled with a lot of big milestones that I don't want to forget. This year was also filled with some pretty intense emotional stuff that I would prefer to forget (but Hilah has already documented it in detail here). We all cope with things in different ways, and I definitely coped by throwing myself into work.
So here's a quick recap of the highlights of 2013.
This is probably the big one. I left my super-stable, ultra-cushy government job and started concentrating on the...
As I've already mentioned, YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, following it's big brother Google. It might seem like if you rank well in one, you'd rank well in the other, but that's not the case. I still don't know why some of our videos rank so well in Google and others are nowhere to be found.
When it comes to optimizing your content for search engines, we're all playing a guessing game. Google offers the occasional hints about what works, but the algorithm is top secret. All we can do is experiment, share the knowledge and guess some more. There are some great resources on Google SEO and I'll list them at the end of this chapter. But our focus is on ranking well in YouTube.
The YouTube search engine shares some characteristics with Google, but the current YouTube algorithm seems to be a lot more simple and much easier to crack.
Before we can move forward, it's important that we nail down the concept of **keywords**....