There’s a common misconception that many people have. They assume that should you be so lucky as to do what you love for a living, you actually love every minute of it. That’s simply not the case. The truth is that the high times are what make the low times worth it. Sometimes, you just have to put up with what you hate so you can continue doing what you love. And that’s kind of the relationship I have with my vlog on YouTube.
I’ve been keeping up with a weekly vlog on YouTube since late 2016. It’s been a terrific learning experience for me, even though I’ve had a YouTube channel for years, and I really do enjoy putting together those videos every week for everyone to watch (and like and share and comment on). But I don’t love every minute of it. Here’s what I don’t enjoy so much.
1. The Algorithms
Yes, I know. If you live by the Google, you can only expect to die by the Google. This is true when it comes to running AdSense on your blog, just as much as it is true with relying on search traffic for any of your websites. And it is just as true on YouTube too, just as it is true on nearly every other social media platform these days.
We are all at the mercy of the algorithm, to which we all implicitly agree when we decide to published our content on rented land. That just comes with the territory. And YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet; only Google is bigger.
If you’re the kind of person who likes getting elbow-deep in the nitty-gritty of SEO, then maybe you like the algorithms. Me, I just want to focus on the content.
2. The Schedule Pressure
No matter what sort of content strategy you want to follow on YouTube, consistency is of paramount importance. Indeed, it’s been posited that YouTube heavily prefers channels with near-daily, if not actual daily videos and will give these videos preferential treatment in the algorithm.
I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’d be able to keep up with a daily vlog. Even with the weekly vlog, which I generally publish on Monday mornings, I find there have been several weeks where I just didn’t want to do it or the “deadline” crept up on me far more quickly than I had anticipated. This self-inflicted pressure to publish on time every week can be crippling and overwhelming.
But skipping a week here or there can very easily lead down a slippery slope where I stop uploading altogether. And I don’t want to do that.
3. The Talking Head
Some YouTubers decide to start a vlog because they like to hear themselves talk. Let me let you in on a little secret; I actually don’t really like talking in front of the camera. I mean, I’ve been doing it for years under other contexts, but the weekly vlog has taken this to a whole other space. Even so, the “talking head” segments are crucial for any vlog, because that’s how your audience can connect with you as a person.
And realistically, if I had too many vlogs where you never actually see my ugly mug, could you legitimately even call them a vlog anymore? Maybe I should just make other types of videos instead.
4. The Cost of Gear
While it may be true that you can get started with vlogging using only $200 in gear, that’s probably not the setup you want to run over the long haul. Indeed, the temptation to upgrade can creep in very quickly, because you want to have better lighting, a better picture, better audio, and all the rest of it. And all of that costs money.
Even if you were to take a simpler approach with a nice point-and-shoot, the Sony RX100 VI sells for about $1,200. That’s a lot of money for “just a point-and-shoot,” but it’s the de facto standard for vloggers. Even the cheaper Canon G7 X sells for about $600. If you take the mirrorless or DSLR route, when you tally up the camera, lenses, microphones, and everything else, you’re easily spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars too.
And it’ll never be good enough, because you’ll always want the better thing. I suppose this applies to life in general as much as it applies to vlogging in particular.
5. The Business Side
It may or may not surprise you to learn that I’m actually not all that interested in the business side of things. I just want to focus mostly on creating great content and engaging with a great audience. Unfortunately, that’s just not how the Internet works.
Because really, it’s the business side of things that has created the most angst for me as I chase those numbers. After getting booted out of the YouTube Partner Program, I was that much more motivated to get back in. I don’t really make money on YouTube, but those few dollars each month served as a monetary measure of my success and effort. I wish it were easier or simpler so I wouldn’t have to fret over it quite so much.
But I’ll keep creating regardless. At the end of the day, I still enjoy vlogging. What about you? Do you have a vlog? Why or why not?