I got to 100 subscribers on Youtube with 15 videos in three and a half months of very slow, steady growth. I know some people get 100 subscribers on their first day! And others can take 6 months. VidIQ says the average is 61 days, but that is for all new channels, not just the ones who are growing organically like me. I only told 3 or 4 people I was starting a channel and I didn’t share about my account on any social media platforms, so most of my subscribers subscribed because they liked my content, not because they knew and wanted to support me.
I thought I’d post my story for others who might be starting a channel and wondering how long it takes to get to 100 subscribers. I know when I had just 35 subscribers I really enjoyed reading about how other people got to 100 subscribers!
On November 17th, 2022 I launched my YouTube Channel Befriend and Tend. My channel is about living a happier life by finding self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-compassion.
Befriend and Tend is a deeply personal project for me, I have done so much work in the last 3-5 years to change and improve my relationship with myself. I became completely immersed in this, reading countless books and blogs, taking courses, watching videos, and doing the work to actually befriend and tend to myself.
If you want to get to 100 subscribers on YouTube fast, you can choose certain themes for your channel that are more likely to grow. Here’s a great video of hot 2022 channel trends. I chose my channel topic of well-being with the idea of sharing my journey to peace and happiness in the hopes it might offer insight and ideas that other women find helpful. So I’ve accepted the idea that growth will be slow going. Also well-being is pretty much dominated by the LCSWs and the psychologists on YouTube, but I decided I could offer some additional insights as someone who was in the trenches trying things out, and not a trained expert.
Step 1. Get Your Ducks in a Row – Equipment and Technical Skills
The first thing I did was figure out what I needed in order to start a channel. And the answer was basically nothing — I had most of the gear (camera, lights) because I am a professional photographer. And my computer came with iMovie, which is what I used for video editing.
For the technical skills, I signed up for a few YouTube classes. The most valuable one to me was Income School (also known as Project 24/P24) but I also recommend Erika Vieira’s Zero to Influence course, esp. if you are trying to create a beauty channel. You get more personal interaction with Erika than you do with Nate in Project 24 but the community is more active in P24.
The community and accountability in these classes is the best part of the classes. Most of the content in the courses can be found for free on Youtube and the Internet, although it won’t be logically organized for you like it is in a class. Plus most classes offer you live access to the instructors once or twice a month, and I also find that really valuable too.
You certainly don’t NEED to sign up for a Youtube class, but it is really nice to have other people to talk YouTube with! The only other person I know personally with a Youtube Channel is my sister, who has a wildly successful beauty channel, but she’s just on another level. Having other newbies who are on the journey with you is really encouraging.
Step 2. Publish Something!
You can’t get to 100 subscribers on Youtube if you don’t publish your first video! It took me forever to post that first video. I reshot it three times, I had two hours of footage each time that I whittled down to 10 minutes or so. It was very painful, and I agonized over every little step. As a professional photographer, I was able to use my Nikon Z6 to film the video, and I used iMovie to edit the video.
I felt very vulnerable starting my channel, so I didn’t want to publicize it to friends and family. I deleted my Facebook account anyway a year ago. I was hoping my channel would be found organically by others and grow naturally. I planned publicize it once it got to 100 subscribers and was more validated.
Many Youtube Educators (like Nate from P24) say you should make 8-10 videos before you launch your channel, and this is probably good advice but I couldn’t wait. This was probably a miscalculation on my part, because my first video is still my most popular video and it took me three weeks to get a second video up. If I had been able to publish another video a few days after my first one, my channel probably would have had more traction.
Step 3. Create Weekly Videos to get to 100 Subscribers on Youtube
Everyone says that a new channel should strive to create two videos a week but I couldn’t do that in the beginning. Each video took me a long time, although I’ve gotten faster. Where I once had 2 hours of raw video footage, now I have 30-40 minutes of video, and I’m using Final Cut Pro and am much faster at video editing.
Around the time I got to my 100th subscriber, I was able to start producing two videos a week! Hopefully this will help me get to 250 subscribers by June.
Step 4. Don’t let Discouragement Stop You
In the beginning, when no one is really watching your videos, it can feel discouraging to put something up that only gets 6 to 8 views on the first day. This discouragement is part of the process, don’t let it derail you. Focus on creating content that provides value for your target audience. Focus on getting better at making videos, the filming and the editing. Focus on improving your thumbnails and titles.
I do a lot of research on Youtube and I often find channels that were abandoned a few years ago. Their videos are still showing up in search because I found them! And they are good videos, but the channels almost all have under 1000 subscribers. I always wonder why they quit. Some of them I think could have really grown big. If I decide to stop doing YouTube at the end of the year, I’ll do a video to wrap up and close out my channel.
Step 5. Look at and Learn From Your Analytics (but don’t be Obsessed With Them)
Most big Youtubers say that analytics become a lot more valuable when you have 100 videos. Four or five videos isn’t a lot of data, but the analytics does give you some information you can use to improve your video content, like CTR (click-through-rate) and watch time. You can also see where viewers drop out of your videos, which can help you tighten up your editing.
Related to this is keyword research. Many people focus on keyword research to choose their video topics so that they show up in search. This is tricky though because popular keywords have a lot of competition, and if you are a new channel, you are unlikely to show up if you are competing against bigger channels for the same keyword. I’m not very good at this and this could be one of the reasons my channel is growing so slowly.
I just signed up for Morning Fame and I love it. It ranks your ability as a channel with x number of subscribers to show up in search for a keyword. This can help you make videos that will give you the most views for your effort, and I am hopeful it will help me grow my channel. If you sign up using the link above, we will each get a free month!
Step 6. Create a System for Capturing Ideas and Tracking Your Youtube Statistics
I started doing this shortly after I reached 100 subscribers on YouTube, and it has been invaluable to me. With all of the channel research, keyword research, and ideas that just pop into my head I needed a way to keep track of them and use them. And I’m now able to publish two videos a week! Part of this is that I”m also faster with scripting, filming, and editing, but part of it is that I am keeping track of my ideas better and I’m never at a loss for what to film next.
I tried to create a system using Notion because I love Notion, but I found that google sheets is the best. I can keep it pinned in my browser and it’s easy to use.
My channel is growing slowly, but I am proud of the videos I’ve created. I think they could be helpful and interesting to the right person! My goal is to have 100 videos by the end of 2022 and then to take a look at my channel and see what I’ve created in a year. At that point if my channel doesn’t have close to 1000 subscribers, I will probably invest in some training or coaching to help me trouble shoot my channel.