Develop Your Business Like a YouTube Creator

November 4, 2020


I am obsessed with YouTube lately. I’ve found a set of ‘creators’ that I watch on the big screen, across a range of topics: action sports, woodworking, BBQ, sailing and more. I used to settle into the sofa for a movie after a long day. Somewhere along the line movies became too much of a commitment, so I moved to TV series. Today, even a 21-minute episodic show feels like a time suck. With an average length of 7-12 minutes, YouTube videos from folks I like and follow are now my go-to decompression screen time.

It's not the actual run time that matters. In fact I’ll often watch MORE in a sitting with a handful of videos than one or two episodic shows or even a movie. The cognitive forces at work here are ‘selection and switching’ costs. If a traditional TV show doesn’t work for me, I feel obligated to ‘give it a chance’, and risk spending 40 minutes on a dud. As a season finds its voice, viewers may need to weather 3 or 4 such duds to get to the good stuff. I’ve bailed on entire seasons for less.

Picking and switching is easy with Youtube. High quality creator content on Youtube is easier to “surf”. If you find a creator or channel with years of videos, you can start anywhere. And if one of the videos has you reaching for the remote (or mouse), you won’t wind up lost or confused- just try a different video.

As you think about building your business, be more like a YouTube creator and less like a Hollywood producer. Your new idea is a work in progress, getting better every time you release new material (or functionality, or marketing campaigns, or offers). The process of releasing material MAKES the material better. It's not about being perfect from the start. Like so many of the mountain bike how-to’s I’ve been watching lately, it is about “progression.”

Take Seth from the YouTube channel Berm Peak (formerly Seth’s Bike Hacks). Watching one of his ‘build and ride’ videos from this year is entertaining even if you’ve never pedaled a bike. Take a ten minutes to try this one about building and riding a ‘whale tail’ in the backyard:

Videos are well produced with professional videography, story-driven editing, quality sound work and well-crafted writing. But it was not always this way. Go back five years to the start of the channel and there is a noticeable difference in all aspects of production.

The material is… rougher. But the spark is there, Seth was onto something from the start.

Be like Seth, and like so many of the creators grinding it out. Just… start. And don’t stop. Keep it up, and get better!

And for those with a few extra 7-12 minutes, here are my current favorite channels:

  • Bourbon Moth - Woodworking how-to’s and furniture builds with just a touch of self-effacing sardonic goodness.
  • Apes Like Us - Great apes up close and beautiful
  • BBQ with Franklin - The master brings world class BBQ within reach of the backyard set.
  • Berm Peak - Build and ride and all manner of fun.
  • Sailing La Vagabond - Escape to the wild wild sea.