From zero to 1,000: my experience starting a YouTube channel

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Like many of us, Hugo Bezombes, a student in the New Media and Digital Communications pre-Master's programme, took on a new hobby during the lockdown – and not without success: in a little less than a year, he's managed to grow his YouTube channel to 1,000 subscribers. But the road hasn't been easy.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, stranded in my native France and bored out of my mind, I set out to work on an idea that had long occupied my mind: starting my very own YouTube channel. 

Bored out of my mind: the first 50 subscribers
I’d always had a fascination for European news, but I was let down by the lack of a good YouTube channel covering it. As some wise guy (not on the Internet) once said, “be the change you want to see in the world”. So, I went out and created the channel I would have liked to watch.

My initial goal, combined with the utter lack of anything else to do, quickly turned into an obsession. But I’m sure many people who have started hobbies or businesses during the pandemic can relate. In the first couple of weeks, I was putting 60 hours a week on my hobby. I had the drive to learn and the desire to improve my storytelling.

Corona blues: 300 subscribers
But let’s be honest, putting that much time into something is simply not manageable, not even in the short term. After my initial obsession for making videos, I was struck by the relatable corona blues.

The lack of perspectives and amusement options after work, combined with all the time spent in my room starring at a screen, slowly got to me. Six months in, my motivation tanked, and I started doubting whether the project was even worth it. Why was I wasting my time? What was the point of it all?

Luckily at that point, I had already gathered a supportive community that got me past this phase. Words of encouragement from strangers turned out to be more valuable than those I got from my friends. The feeling that people appreciate and enjoy your work is so gratifying.

Juggling with time: reaching 1,000 subscribers
Now, I have entered the third phase of my journey: that of juggling hobbies and responsibilities. Of course, in life, you can rarely focus on just one thing. Corona made that possible. I started my channel in the midst of a lockdown, having returned in a hurry from a trip to Colombia. I had no job, no study and no social life.

Now that life has somewhat resumed, I find myself with a new problem: that of juggling all those responsibilities with my career as a YouTube star. I am confronted with a similar problem than the one I first experienced: there is no limit to the work that you can do for yourself.

When studying, I think in terms of what grade I will get, and if I’m satisfied, I stop. For work, I consider whether my boss be pleased with my performance, and then I stop. For social life, you can only see a friend so many times a week before getting tired. But there are no limits to how much time you can put on a project that you are passionate about.

I dream of finding a balance in all the things I’m doing, but it looks like the only way to move forward is to put yourself in a situation of imbalance, as in walking.

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