A few weeks ago I wasn’t going to do this post. It’s been such a weird year that I didn’t feel like it was a story I could tell well or a story worth telling. And, honestly, I’m just a little tired. COVID still sucks. However, again, it’s been a weird year and even some of the weird is worth telling even if it’s not perfect.
From being in a consistent rhythm from January to March, to then being in the what is going on world from April to September, and then this fall & end of year, getting back into rhythm. Or at least I was really starting to get into rhythm and BAM. COVID.
Like seriously, I might just start wearing a hazmat suit when I go to places.
Thankfully, I’m feeling better and am ending the year on a good note.
I can’t cover everything that has happened this year, but I want to cover a few main topics that might be helpful to you: becoming monetized on YouTube, what I learned running the Station accelerator, and from these lessons, why I’m changing my definition of consistency.
Let’s jump into YouTube. As I mentioned, I became monetized on YouTube which was a big goal for me. It’s been one that I’ve had for a year and a half and felt like such a crawl starting out.
From January through the end of March, I posted a video every weekend. I was super consistent and consistency has been something I’ve been bad about. I’ll show up, but what I’m actually working on can change month to month. YouTube has been something that I’ve been consistent about.
Then April happened. I stopped posting because I was focused on the Station accelerator. More on that in a bit. It was a lot to have a full time job, run a cohort based program, and post YouTube videos. I honestly burned out in May. It was a little rough.
Thankfully, had a lot of great support around me, so thank you if you’re watching this.
Even though I was burned out and wasn’t posting any videos, YouTube was growing and taking off. Not super take off like hundreds of thousands of people, but my average daily watch time in May was double what it was in April. That was wild.
It was all because of one video that I honestly didn’t even feel like was my best work. Just like this video, I almost didn’t post it.
That one video was the one I did on the best no code mobile app builders in 2023. Today, that video has over 88,000 views and essentially monetized by entire YouTube channel by itself.
This video has been such a great reminder that just because a video or a post or really anything that you create isn’t doing well initially, doesn’t mean it’s bad work. Time is a friend, not an enemy.
This video wasn’t great to start, but once it became a YouTube search favorite, it really took off. Almost half the views on that video are from YouTube search.
If you know anything about discoverability on YouTube, search is only about 30% of all views. That might be outdated with shorts, but you get the point. YouTube search is not where the majority of views are.
Even with that fact, search on YouTube is definitely a part of my strategy, but I do want to get better at discoverability in other ways. Better thumbnails & titles are definitely a priority going into 2024. I’m getting better at them, but I’m not where I want to be yet.
I have started posting again on YouTube and should be more consistent in 2024. What’s been interesting so far posting more this fall is that revenue hasn’t gone up at all from YouTube ads. That same mobile no code video dominates the day. Not as well as it was, but still really well. It’s not a ton of revenue, but the $100 every other month is still pretty sweet to get.
I know I’ll never get rich off YouTube ads and that’s not the goal. The goal is that it helps people build ventures that solve real problems and helps them and their communities economically do better.
Again, YouTube won’t fix that problem fully either, but I was hoping YouTube would help people join the Station accelerator which is way more help than one single video.
However, YouTube didn’t send one single person to the Station Accelerator this year.
Let’s move into that Station accelerator.
The Station Accelerator is a free, 5-week virtual accelerator for bootstrapped founders. In 2023, I ran 2 cohorts of about 15 teams each. This was a giant experiment. I wanted to see if one, this would be helpful & valuable to founders and two, if I could build a long term community from those that went through the Accelerator.
Marketing and finding founders to join wasn’t super hard. As I mentioned, Youtube didn’t lead to anyone joining. That’s okay. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to. Especially since for most of the year, I had less than 1,000 subscribers. I’m still very early in this YouTube journey.
Where I did find founders and most of the teams was through LinkedIn. I paid for a few months of Linkedin Sales Navigator and just did cold outreach. It was a super simple message of saying hey, I think the Station accelerator might be a good fit. I’d love to see you apply. And that’s it.
A bunch of people didn’t even consider it, but given that I was able to accept over 50 teams for 2 cohorts, that seems like a good investment and made the experiment a valid one.
Now, the content and format seemed to have worked. About half of each accepted cohort attended 4/5 sessions or at least stayed in touch. For feedback, I asked for a rating from 1-10 each week from those that attended each session. The average score was 8.38 which is solid.
All of that to say that I feel like the Station accelerator was a quality program. The qualitative feedback I received was good, people came and attended sessions consistently, and there was momentum.
Until I might have messed it up?
In July, I kind of tried to start the paid community with them. “Kind of” being the key phrase here.
I sent two emails. Two. to which barely anyone responded. Between the no response and still feeling burnt out, I essentially shut down. I didn’t feel like the vision I crafted for Station was going to work and just felt lost. I definitely should have put more asks out there for people to join the community, but I also know I didn’t have the energy to be all in on it.
I still worked on things but I honestly couldn’t tell you what I was working on. I did some YouTube videos in July & August, but they don’t feel like my best videos.
I then did a LinkedIn post about a free community and realized pretty much on the first day that it was a dumb idea. That was so much work to get engagement and no one was really committed to it. There was no way to have that be sustainable for me or as a venture.
Thankfully, some accelerator participants and good friends had good chats with me after that. You know who you are 🙂 Again, thank you.
So, where does this all lead? Let’s talk 2024 and a little bit about consistency as I feel like I have a weird relationship with that word right now.
Plans for 2024
For 2024, there’s going to be community of some sort. I’m still working through what that looks like, but it’s happening in some fashion. To make sure I committed to this, I even bought Circle for the entire year.
In addition to community, I’m going to stay committed to YouTube.
This is where it gets interesting. I’m going to be committed to YouTube, but I’m changing the definition of consistency for me a bit. Consistency to me has always meant that I have to show up at a high level every single week until it’s successful.
One, what in the world does it mean to be successful? and two, there’s no way to show up at a high level every single week. Life happens. Heck, COVID still happens.
So, yes, I’m going to consistently show up in the long run. However, consistency doesn’t mean showing up at a high level week in and week out. I’m not a machine.
If you don’t see a video or LinkedIn posts for a week, I’m not being consistent for that week, but I’ll show back up and be consistent in the long run. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
In the long run, by taking breaks and having good consistent habits, I can show up at good enough and at high level when needed. Every day, every week doesn’t mean showing up at the same level.
I also don’t have concrete goals just yet for 2024. This upcoming year feels like a year to think quarterly rather than yearly. I have a rough vision that I’m going to mold as I run more experiments. Different types of content. A variety ways of programming. Maybe even in-person events?? I don’t fully know what it’ll all look like. It actually sounds like a lot of fun.
What I do know is that I’m still really committed to helping others dream and build bigger. What that looks like could look a lot of different ways. If you’re interested in being part of that process, DM me on LinkedIn. I’d love to chat more in-depth.
Otherwise, it’s been a weird year of consistency, inconsistency, and even a little burnout. I’m still moving forward, being consistent in the long run, and that’s what really matters.
Thanks for being part of the journey and I hope to see you in 2024!