How to Start a YouTube Channel in 2021
It just hit me today that it’s almost the end of 2020! I realized that my strategy on YouTube has changed over the last year. So today, I want to talk about what makes a good channel and what you should focus on if you’re getting started with YouTube. Here’s how to start a YouTube channel in 2021.
How to Start a YouTube Channel in 2021 | What you REALLY need to know when starting a channel
Want to watch a video version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
2020 has been rough, y’all. During all of the craziness that has gone on this year, more people have realized the power of an online business. More people realized the power of social media and doing things differently. Our perspectives have shifted, if nothing else.
If you dig back in my monthly income reports, you’ll see that my income from YouTube skyrocketed back in March – along with most other online creators. If you didn’t move toward YouTube in 2020, you might be considering it for 2021.
I’m NOT here for boring content. I’ve taught you the technical stuff like tagging, thumbnails, and titling your content before. What I see more often than not when it comes to people failing at starting a channel is NOT the technical knowledge – it’s the strategic knowledge. The things that a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, video can’t teach you. It’s also due to the fact that people don’t tell you that it’s HARD work to be on YouTube.
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It doesn’t matter what the purpose of your YouTube channel is. Whether you want to do YouTube full time or as a side hustle, it’s ALL hard work. Filming, editing, planning, and strategy take a lot of time and effort. I’m not telling you that to discourage you – I wouldn’t exchange being a YouTube creator for the world. But it’s a lot and I don’t want to gloss over that.
So, if we sat down for coffee (aka you sat down for coffee and I drank tea because I don’t drink water that tastes like burnt tires) and you asked me how to start a YouTube channel in 2021, here’s what I would tell you.
First – be YOU.
[Dramatic sigh]. There is this idea that we have to be more professional on camera. Sit up straighter, talk plainer, and all the things. But so many times, the camera turns on and the personality walks right out the front door.
The thing that will grow your channel more and make it succeed is YOU. Put your personality into it!
I did this. In my very first videos, I sat very straight, tried to correct my accent, and speak sweeter than I do in real life. And that is NOT me. I’m a little all over the place, I’m straightforward, a little all over the place, and I definitely don’t dress up every day.
When I gave up on the idea that I had to be “super professional, slow-speaking, no-accent Jessica,” my channel started to grow.
When I had a tiny channel, I went to a YouTube intensive. I had them rip apart my channel and tell me what to do better. The note I got most at that event was that my channel was full of personality, and people loved to see it. Sometimes, my personality comes off as a little much to people – surprise, surprise. But in the words of Taylor Swift, “baby, that’s the fun of me, there’s only one of me.” (ME!, anyone?)
The same thing applies to you. There’s only one of you and the fun of you is your personality! That doesn’t mean your personality has to be wild, loud, or eccentric. It just means that you have to show up as you. Don’t show up as a robot or as someone else.
Embrace YOU. Show who you are and your personality quirks in front of the camera. I swear that will help more than anything else.
Be different than the other people in your industry!
This is sort of an asterisk on my first point. Nobody wants to watch a bunch of channels that are all the same. Viewers don’t enjoy when tons of different people are sharing the same information and presenting it in the same way. People want to watch variety. If you will stand up and be different from the other people in your industry – HOLY MOLEY at the growth and success you’ll see.
People have spent a month binge watching channels that are just like yours – and then they stumble across yours and the way that you explain things sticks with them. They’re going to keep watching your videos. Since they keep watching, YouTube will realize your content is great and start showing it to more people!
If you don’t follow Kelly Stamps on YouTube, you should be. She has such a quirky personality and doesn’t care to show up like that. In the first video I saw of hers, she walked into frame and smacked herself on the butt with a spatula. And she was literally talking about YouTube strategy.
Let go of the perfection mindset.
I can’t talk about starting a YouTube channel without mentioning the “you have to be perfect to do it” thought process.
I’m not a perfectionist – I’ve always been a “done is better than perfect” person. While that can be a problem, I also think of it as a superpower. I never get hung up on having the perfect thing before I put it out into the world.
I see so many YouTubers talking about how to start a YouTube channel telling you that you need this big camera, a huge mic, a $400 tripod and a professional editor. You DON’T need ANY of that. None of it.
Let go of perfection. You do not need to be perfect to get started on Youtube. You just need your phone, good lighting (like a window!) and you need to not sound like complete crap.
I mention sound and lighting because I don’t want to breeze over the fact that people do like quality. Viewers want you to be well-lit, have clear and not blurry videos, and not be distracted by the sound in your video. 99% of the world is not audiophiles who will criticize the setting your mic was on.
You do need some quality, but you can let go of perfection! Grab your phone, sit in front of a window, and make sure the room you’re in isn’t too echoey.
The Rule of One
I have done an entire podcast episode about the Rule of One that you can listen to here. I want you to know that I didn’t invent this rule and I can’t find the person who did because I’ve heard it 1,000 times in 1,000 different ways.
The Rule of One means that you have one ideal client or viewer, one niche, one EVERYTHING. You don’t try and spread your focus out too much. When it comes to how to start a YouTube channel in 2021, this means you have to pick ONE ideal viewer. You don’t need to try to appeal to every single person. You need to figure out who exactly you’re trying to talk to and create ALL of your content for that person. I’m not going to create some of my content for people who are entrepreneurs and some for people who like fitness.
The reason for this comes down to how people use YouTube. As viewers, when we go to the platform, YouTube shows us things that it thinks we will like. Let’s say that I went to your channel and I watched a video about CrossFit. Now, YouTube realizes that I like CrossFit and it will show me more videos about it. YouTube’s algorithm knows I like CrossFit, and it also decides that I must have liked that video I just watched from Channel A because I stayed on it for awhile.
The algorithm then wants to show me another fitness/CrossFit video from that channel, because its entire purpose is to make viewers stay on the platform longer. They realized I like that type of content from that creator and they want to show me more because they know I’ll watch it and stay on the platform.
But, if that channel doesn’t have any more CrossFit content or fitness content, then YouTube will skip over their videos and start recommending similar content from other creators. When you stick with one ideal customer, then you’ll get recommended to more people.
Focus and make sure that every piece of content you put out will be watchable by that one person and that they will WANT to come back.
Consistency is KEY
If you ain’t consistent, you ain’t legitimate – Jessica Stansberry
YouTube WANTS us to be consistent. It wants to count on us posting a video that it can recommend to the same people so that they will continue to watch. If it doesn’t see content on our channel for it to share, it will move on to someone else’s channel.
YouTube isn’t going to waste its time making a video go viral or getting people hooked on a channel if it doesn’t first have proof that the creator will put out more content those people will like. It’s like bingeing your favorite show. If you watch a few episodes and get addicted to it and then you literally don’t know when they’re releasing the next episode… they're going to dip out. The algorithm will decide that you’re not relevant and won’t favor your content.
Consistency breeds legitimacy. So pick a schedule and stick to it! It doesn’t have to be a super rigid schedule or every single day. I personally believe that when you’re getting started, you should be publishing new content at least once a week at the same time on the same day.
Here's how to start a YouTube channel in 2021…
- Remember to take Taylor Swift’s advice and be you. Embrace who you are and let it shine in your channel!
- Be different from other people in your industry. Make your channel unique and stand out!
- Let go of perfection. You don’t need all the fancy things – you just need what you have.
- Follow the Rule of One. Have one ideal viewer, one niche, and one problem you’re solving.
- Be hyper-consistent. Be so consistent that it’s almost freaking annoying.
Here’s the thing – I know you’re going to watch other people’s videos and say that they break one of the rules. The thing is, as you grow, you can break some of these rules because you have a dedicated audience and YouTube knows that.
This list is full of things that are BEYOND the surface level stuff you can Google.
Now, some super fun news for those of you who are reading this before November 19, 2020!
I am hosting a pop-up Facebook party that will teach you how to cultivate a group of raving fans who want to buy anything you sell. If you’re getting started on YouTube, Instagram, in business, or as a creator, eventually you’re going to want to sell things! Maybe you’re in the middle of selling things and people just don’t want what you have to sell.
I’m literally creating this party so I can come in and tell you guys how to cultivate raving fans who literally hang on every word, want to listen to everything you say, and what to buy anything you’re selling. And we’ll talk about how to leverage that into sales!
This pop-up Facebook party starts on November 19 and runs through Black Friday. It’s really exciting and also time sensitive.