When your channel isn’t growing as fast as you’d like, it’s easy to become discouraged. Not getting more views and more subscribers on YouTube when you pour a lot of time and energy into your videos is disheartening and can make you feel like you want to quit. Sometimes we face unique obstacles that we feel holds us back, like not having great camera equipment, or feeling too shy, or having physical limitations. Tommy Edison is a blind YouTube creator who joins us to talk about overcoming discouragement on YouTube.
This post is an interview with Tommy Edison from The Tommy Edison Experience on YouTube, also from Blind Film Critic. Why don’t you tell us real quick about what your two channels are about.
Tommy: Blind Film Critic is where I review movies from my perspective, so it’s from a blind person’s point of view, which is something I don’t think sighted people are very familiar with at all. And the other channels that Tommy Edison Experience, where I talk about my life as a blind person, answer viewer questions, and even play some games and stuff, too, and do some challenges.
Tim: That’s awesome. Now, your channels are fairly successful now. But they weren’t always that way. I know it’s really easy for a lot of creators to feel like, well, I can be like that creator, but I don’t have the money for a camera or expensive camera, or I or I don’t have the time to give to editing, or I don’t have the skills to edit. We come up with a lot of excuses.
What was it like starting your channel, because you have a unique position where you can’t even see the videos. And so you overcame that roadblock to still grow your channel. Tell us about how that happened for you.
Tommy: Yeah. Well, to be honest, I was very afraid of the camera at first. I really was. And Ben Churchill, the guy who I do all the videos with, just started shooting me doing things. And that’s how I sort of got used to the camera.
But once I sat in front of the camera, I just started to forget that the camera was on, because sighted people see all the lights in the camera and everything. And I don’t see all that stuff. So once we get into it, I’m just talking.
Tim: So when you were growing your channel and getting started, were there moments where you just felt like frustrated, discouraged, like, I should quit, this isn’t worth it. Were there moments like that for you?
Tommy: Absolutely. Doing the movie reviews was tough, because we were spending our own money. And it was a lot of time to go do the movies and then for Ben to go and edit them on Friday morning so they could be up Friday afternoon. And we just saw so many crummy movies. We just got fed up with it.
But then something would happen. A video would start to take off again. Or the last review we did got some love, or something like that. And it just sort of kept us going. And then we got the idea to do the other channel– the TommyEdisonXP channel, because the commenters on the movie reviews were so curious about my life and how I did so many different things. So that was really the birth of the other channel.
Tim: Yeah. So maybe one idea for you guys is if you’re starting to feel discouraged, try something new. Express yourself in a new creative way. Talk about a different subject. Experiment, especially if your channel is small, you guys have a unique opportunity that big channels don’t have, which is to try new things, to experiment, and express yourself creatively in different ways without ticking off a lot of people, potentially losing a lot of your audience.
Tommy: Well, that’s right, because when you’re just trying to grow your audience, and maybe you’re starting to plateau and you’ve just reached a point, and there’s some other thing that you’re really interested in in your life, why not try that just for laughs and see what happens? My life is– without something like a creep– but I have to work a little bit harder than the average person to get what I want. So for example, when I started working in radio, I have to really convince management that this was going to be OK, whereas, like, if you walked in for that job, they go, yeah, all right. Your resume looks good. Your tape sounds good. And you’re ready.
But I had to convince management that being a blind travel reporter is going to be OK. Trust me, because people are just going to be listening to me. So you just got to push through, and figure out ways to get through it. And just keep pushing. Don’t let anybody stop you.
Tim: And I know a lot of you guys, it’s really easy for you to feel like you want to give up. You want to quit. Like, I have been making videos for six months, and I only have 100 subscribers. And in your mind, you should have more. But I’m thinking 100 people. You got 100 people who said, I want to hear what you have to say.
I know a big thing for me when I feel discouraged– sometimes guys, just to be honest with you, it gets kind of boring standing in front of a black background all the time and just teaching points for how to do this and how to do that. But what keeps me motivated is not just focusing on like, oh I feel like I should be growing faster. I don’t feel like this is doing what I want it to do, or whatever, but instead, it’s like returning back to what made this fun for me in the first place.
Tommy: And I’m very lucky, because a lot YouTubers are just a one-person operation. So I have Ben. And he has me, conversely. And so what we do is– because it is fun– and so we play with each other. When we start to get all yawning or sleepy or whatever, Ben will just say something silly to make me laugh or do an impression or do a voice. Or I’ll do a voice for him just to keep laughing during the thing, so we’re still having fun. Listen, because if we stop having fun, the audience stops having fun.
Tim: Yeah and it really depends on what your mission is for your channel, too. If you have a mission that’s bigger than just more views, more subscribers, trying to make money– like all those things– and those things are fine and actually very important. But if you have a mission that’s bigger than that, I feel like that’s what keeps you going. And it’s harder to become discouraged when you’re focusing on that bigger thing you’re trying to accomplish.
Tommy: Absolutely. And it’s like anything you do in your life. If you want to be an airline pilot, and you give up after six months, you’re never going to be one, because you have to have all that time in the air, and all that flying time and stuff. And it’s a very expensive hobby.
Tim: But if you love it– see, that’s the thing, too. If you love it, you’ll do it. And if you don’t love it, then you’ll do something else that you do love.
And then don’t give up on that.
So I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments below. How do you stay motivated? How do you keep from getting discouraged on your channel? Share your advice, and tips, and ideas down there with other creators.
CHECK OUT TOMMY’S CHANNELS