November 28, 2014
advice articles
“Success” on YouTube

“Success” on YouTube

I don’t know if you guys have noticed lately, but YouTube has exploded and changed. With huge businesses jumping onto the platform either with their own channels or heavily sponsored brand deals through big-name YouTubers, the community has definitely grown from what was once a gathering place for the socially inept to an established medium of entertainment. Watching so many channels experience “success” makes it enticing for anyone to start a channel to share in that same success their favorite channels have experienced. But from what I’ve seen recently, it bothers me how certain creators view their channel in terms of whether it is succeeding or not.

This may sound pretentious, but I like to think of my own content as a form of art. (That does sound pretentious, but hear me out.) I could judge that art by the amount it sells for, or I could judge that art by the amount of lives it affects, or I could judge that art by what it means to me, personally. It’s the age old discussion of what’s deemed as more successful – more money or more happiness/fulfillment?

With my channel, I judge the success by the amount of people that find what we do entertaining and the amount of lives we touch. The whole purpose of us making videos is to demonstrate how attainable a normal, homosexual life is, which is why we try to keep it as relatable as possible. It’s a YouTube channel I wish I could have watched in high school to help me accept who I was. If we manage to affect at least one person with each video, then I say job well done. Our goal isn’t to become YouTube superstars and quit all of our jobs and do just YouTube – that idea scares the shit out of me. I would never want to do only YouTube full time, yet it’s something others work endlessly to achieve.

However, I’m not knocking other channels that survive solely off their YouTube earnings; everyone has their own path and their own goals. In my opinion, I feel like judging success by the numbers and the money is missing the forest for the trees (old saying my mom used to say all the time).

If there was any advice I could give to new YouTubers, it would be to create original content that you’d be excited to create on a regular basis. If you enjoy what you’re doing and you consistently put out, the numbers will follow. And who fucking cares what kind of numbers they are – as long as you enjoy it, that’s all that should matter. From experience I’ve found the followers worth having are the ones who genuinely care about your content, not the ones that stick around because you happen to be popular.

About Will

Will is a recent graduate from Florida State University and transplant to Los Angeles who makes the occasional video on YouTube documenting his life with his fiancé and German Shepherd.
  • Rossana Napoletano

    Doesn’t matter the quantity of subscribers but the quality, and by quality I mean the real affection that we feel for you guys. Watching you every day influences some aspects of our lifes. I don’t blame youtubers that “work” on numbers, I enjoy their videos but not like I enjoy yours. You are REAL and this is make the difference. And of course you are amazing :)

    Baci e abbracci, ciao! :)

  • francois robin

    My point of view : it depends on the kind of channel. I watch also gamers channel who can live out of youtube by making review of game, or recap of matches, etc. They obviously see their successes by the number of view they get.

    Will and RJ’s channel is about life, emotions, witnessing that a gay life, an happy, partnered gay life is possible, and even very enjoyable. So their success is not really about the numbers of view but more about the impact this has on people’s life. The subscribers and RJ and Will’s own too.

    So the metric to measure success has to be different. In my view :)

  • Hannah Blatter

    At least to me, I think that people who rely on only youtube for their earnings are leaving themselves open for future financial downfalls. Being a “personality” won’t do well when your looks deteriorate and your fanbase gets laid or goes to college (thank you Alex Day). I’m not saying that all famous youtubers use their looks to their advantage, but there are some “popular” videos I watch just because of the eye candy.

    • Sjczz

      Me too. Good to eyes so I watch.

  • Rick Castaneda

    I really enjoy and love the channel you and RJ have made. I look forward to your videos everyday. I believe in success by how many people are touched by the work that you put out there. Relying on just YouTube to be an income is very uncertain. I applaud you and RJ for doing your video everyday and holding down a job also. It shows what real life is all about. I just want to let you know that I am so happy for your channel and the way you RJ do the videos. I will be always be a follower of you and RJ. Thank you for your channel.

  • Christopher Campbell

    I’ve got to say, even though your channel is fairly simple and straight-forward in terms of content; I’m still amazed that you can put a vlog every day and have it be interesting. That speaks a lot to both you and RJ, who are the reasons that everybody returns day after day. Quite frankly, if you ever became commercial, I think I would lose interest pretty quickly.

  • Rhiannan Fletcher-West

    So I am really new to your channel, like, I only started watching a few days ago. My first video was “Family Time” I think and I fell in love with you guys instantly, you are so much fun even though all you seem to do is eat Thai and Chipotle. Nah jokes but I seriously love you guys because you are so relatable. I have been watching endlessly for like 4 days and am excited to see more and more and get to know you guys better because you seem so open about what you do in your day to day lives and being who you are, in front of a camera, everyday must be hard.
    All the love, and endless support I now feel for you guys even after only a few days makes me wonder why I never found you guys earlier and the fact that your videos are so simple and, like, doing the day to day thing makes me happy, to see you guys happy because to me if you are a YouTuber you do it for the love of what you are doing and not just for the income and views (although I’m sure that can be nice too).
    So much love all the way from NZ. (New Zealand)

  • RaylenX

    I’ve watched your channel for over a year now, and in that time, I’ve subscribed to a wide range of channels. But I still find that yours has always been my favourite channel to watch, even over some of the ‘big’ YouTube channels. I guess it’s because I feel like I can relate the most to your content, even if it’s just you and RJ living your lives. In that sense, I feel that a channel is successful if it can engage with it’s audience, and stay well engaged with that core audience, no matter how small or large the channel grows to be.

  • Rick Mosher

    When I was in high school the PC was barely a thought in someone’s mind. So it goes without saying that YouTube was a long way off back then. How I wish someone could have shown me back then what you’re showing the world today. All those 3 or 4 minute one time “It Gets Better” vids are all well and good, but you’re proving it by showing the daily reality that it really DOES get much better. Keep doing what you do!

    PS – Give Dobby a hug and kiss on his cute puppy nose for me! :-D

  • Rawan

    couldn’t have said it better myself. youtube keeps getting bigger and bigger and a lot of people don’t understand it! we are a community! youtube is something that basically changed my life, like your videos give me hope in humanity they are a cure for my bad day. and the fact that a lot people judge a channel buy numbers is just.. because these channels that all have all these subscribers used to have just 5. Overall, I agree with you 100% and your channel is truly something that some youtubers nedd too look up to. I’m proud of you and RJ. Keep up the good work! <3

  • Sjczz

    I’ve been watching you guys over 6 months. I used to watch a soap’s episodes of German tv, and I find you guys. My first ever YouTube vloger. Since than I discovered Miles, Chris, Jake, Tyler, Jack and Finn, Matthew, Troy, Casper, Davey, and many popular Youtubers . And I’m subscribed to many of them. I watch them and enjoy them. But I don’t know how many videos they have in total. I don’t know the stories of their last 759 days, I know yours. I don’t wait till 2 o’clock of the morning to watch their video and race to comment first. I don’t cry with them when they leave their home land and move to LA. I don’t know their parent’s dog’s name. I’m subscribed to many but I don’t know how many times i actually have watched them and relates to them. I don’t say I’m proud of them, but YOU. No youtubers are as real as you guys. You are the guys who have actually changed my mind toward homosexuality. I can proudly say I support homosexuality, cause of you two people. Love From Bangladesh…

  • Flick

    I started watching after Will proposed as it was featured on a gay friendly FB page. However the relationship, irrelevant of orientation, between you is what keeps me coming back. I have so much respect for you that I’m honoured to watch you go about your day to day lives.

  • Daniel Park

    When all is said and done, you YouTube because you want to YouTube – if you find the experience tiresome, you will not be able to stick at it, no matter how much money or “popularity” you may receive.
    Sometimes it’s difficult to find a way of creating coherent content especially if you don’t have something to “hang” your content on, such as a strong theme or a strong relationship.
    Finally, remember that YouTube is an experience – there will be times in your life that this “fits” and times when it doesn’t. There is no shame in closing the book when you reach the last chapter of a period in your life – in fact it is the mature decision when that time comes.

Shep689: A Gay in the Life