What I learned after hitting 1000 subscribers on YouTube | by Emily Fang | Apr, 2021

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YouTube has always been a daunting platform for me to consider creating on. Many of my early thoughts were based on the premise that there were too many YouTubers and it was highly competitive. I thought about starting, but never executed.

When I moved to Singapore in 2020, I decided to begin documenting a few of my experiences. I had a unique perspective, coming from San Francisco as a Taiwanese American crash landing in Singapore, where this city-state was really fostering startup innovations, encouraging entrepreneurship to locals and foreigners, and effectively managing Covid-19 compared to the rest of the world. I had a privilege of being here that many did not have — for that, I am incredibly grateful and wanted to give back by showing the world what Singapore was really like. Not just the richness and beauty of Singapore, but also the authentic and local realistic parts that expats wouldn’t get to see if they didn’t look for it.

I wanted to show Singapore through my lens, so I started a YouTube channel called The Fang Girl. In the beginning, I was incredibly awkward speaking to the camera. I know this from my incredulous older sister when she watched a few of my first videos — she would say, “Wow your videos do not depict how you are as a person. Why are you speaking so softly, like a mouse. You seem so timid and shy. That is not the Emily we know.”

After a couple feedback loops and hard learnings, I compiled a few thoughts after hitting 1K subscribers on YouTube. For context, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to monetize your channel with AdSense within a year.

Be authentically you — talk to the camera as if you are speaking to a friend.

Honestly, this comes with a lot of practice. If it helps, think of it as you’re speaking to a friend on zoom and give your camera a name to give it an identity. Sounds weird I know, but psychologically, it’s helped me. I would even spend time speaking to myself and articulating my thoughts in the shower out loud to practice speaking out of nowhere and to no one. My housemate probably thinks I’m sane.

Also, there’s no cookie cutter personality you should have. Authenticity is key — if you are yourself, you’ll naturally draw in the right people who can relate to you and want to be part of your community. I also learned to be yourself, but if you’re a quiet speaker, practice projecting and throwing your voice to be louder; it shows up on camera a lot more effectively.

Your first 5 videos should offer value by answering the questions your viewers are searching.

People are on YouTube to learn (most of the time). If you were a viewer, think about what questions you would search and how you can offer value with the knowledge you hold. I learned this the hard way, since all I wanted to do is create content I was interested in, like my daily vlogs. But honestly, no one knows who I am or cares what I’m doing — that connection is built later on when you begin to offer value and they take interest in you as a person.

For example, questions I helped answer on YT include: What is online dating in Singapore like? What are the pros and cons of co-living in Singapore? How much do I pay for rent in Singapore? These perform well because people who are interested in moving to SG would look for these topics.

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