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5 big mistakes that YouTubers need to stop making

5 big mistakes that YouTubers need to stop making

Phil Ranta is head of creators at Mobcrush. Prior to this, he managed online talent at Fullscreen.

In my nearly ten years working with digital-first talent, I have seen some truly inspirational life stories: kids becoming stars, stars becoming business leaders, and business leaders becoming positive role models that have literally changed the world for the better.

I’ve also seen a lot of top talent wash up before their time. Many didn’t fade away. They jumped off the plane mid-flight without a parachute.

And when I speak to the formerly-famous, many say the same thing: “I wish someone would have told me.”

There are hundreds of common mistakes I could list, but talent that keeps these top five in the front of their mind can extend their careers for decades and their bank accounts into the millions. And for creators that aren’t yet stars, it’s good to keep these mistakes in mind as you’re building your career.


Click here to view the list »
  • 1 Holding on to lousy management

    Holding on to lousy management logo

    I’ve been in rooms with brands brainstorming creators for six- or seven-figure campaigns where they’ve passed on a talent because of their difficult managers.

    They always point to the same managers, agents, or multi-channel networks representing some of the biggest social media stars. These creators don’t even know how much money they’re losing because they don’t ditch their inexperienced, unqualified, or just plain incompetent reps.

    Think about your whole team: your agent, your manager, your multi-channel network, and any business advisors. Have they improved your career or are they just trafficking inbound inquiries? If they’re the latter, trade them in for a smart, organised assistant who can push your career forward for a lot less money.


  • 2 Not evolving their programming strategy

    Not evolving their programming strategy logo

    If your videos today are exactly like your videos a year ago, your audiences are going to get bored and leave you.

    Online trends move fast. Can you believe the fidget spinners fad happened only a year ago?

    If your editing hasn’t changed recently, watch how David Dobrik or Casey Neistat do it for some inspiration. Audiences expect videos to look better every year as production equipment improves and prices go down.

    Remember, with every video: experiment, learn, and pivot. Try something new in every video, see how your audience responds, and, if it works, figure out how you can use that learning to push your content in new directions.


  • 3 Not diversifying their audience across platforms

     Not diversifying their audience across platforms logo

    A lot of YouTubers lost a big chunk of their revenue in 2017 when the Adpocalypse occurred.

    For creators that also built relevant Instagram followings, they didn’t sweat it. That’s where ad dollars were moving anyway. Those who were wholly dependent on YouTube ad revenue to run their business aren’t on the platform anymore.

    You have to move your audience to new and profitable platforms while you’re at the top of your game. Popularity swings up and down. It’s hard to move your audience when you’re on the downturn. You have to do it when you’re hot.

    Unfortunately, many creators don’t try to build additional revenue streams until the money starts going away. At that point, it’s too late.

    Start by getting a great social media scheduler. Set it and forget it, then grow your attention along with your audience.

    Have you checked out Patreon? Twitch? Affiliate marketing? If you have a real fanbase, you can get away from YouTube ad revenue as a primary source of income. You need to take the first step.


  • 4 Not putting 100 per cent into every brand deal

    Not putting 100 per cent into every brand deal logo

    Don’t take this the wrong way because I mean this statement as a positive but: brands don’t need you.

    If you pass on a deal, they have your next ten replacements already selected. There are a lot of people creating amazing content online. It’s not a slight on you. It’s the reality of the market.

    The creators that make the most brand dollars are the ones that have the same agencies (and sometimes brands) coming back over and over to buy more sponsorships. Why be in the sales business when you can be in the re-selling business?

    Many creators will try to fulfill the absolute minimum requirements of a campaign because they’re afraid their fans will call them sell-outs. That’s the easiest way to come off as a sell-out.

    If you own the fact that you’re doing a campaign, knock the creative out of the park, deliver on time, and thank the brand for buying your services, your career will last a lot longer.


  • 5 Not maintaining a healthy lifestyle

    Not maintaining a healthy lifestyle logo

    You’re not a robot. You’re a human being. And human beings have a breaking point both emotionally and physically. Creators burn out, lose their creative direction, or drive themselves bonkers. I’ve seen all three. And all three can stop your career in its tracks.

    If you’re spending more than 10 hours per day doing your job (creating videos, tweeting, responding to comments, live streaming, doing collabs) then you’re on the road to burn out.

    If you’re pouring vodka down your throat six hours per night, that burn out will come a lot faster. You’ve got to slow it down and prioritise.

    If you feel like you may be at risk for a collapse, talk to your manager about strategies to maintain a healthier relationship with your work and friends. Compartmentalise your work life and social life so the two don’t become intertwined.

    Do something good for the soul, like non-profit fundraising or surprising a fan in a hospital. If your manager can’t handle that, ditch your manager (see section 1.)

    Fame can make you dumb. If your numbers are going up on both the subscriber and revenue side, it's easy to think the numbers will go up forever. But that’s not how celebrity works. You always need to think about next month, next year, and next decade.

    You have to either be business savvy or surround yourself with a team that can be savvy on your behalf. The creative spark that made you famous will always be with you. Don’t lose that. But you need to protect that spark or it will fizzle along with your career.


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