Jubair Ahmed
Jubair's Finance

How I Went From 0 to 1K in 6 Months: Second Chance on YouTube

How I Went From 0 to 1K in 6 Months: Second Chance on YouTube

Welcome! Tell us who you are and a quick overview of your business/brand.

I have a PhD in biomedical engineering, and a job in academia, but I've surprisingly always had an affinity for the camera.

I have been making videos for years now, I first started posting on YouTube in 2016 but left the upload life when I started my master's, to seem more professional.

Somewhere towards the end of my PhD, I realised I could do both, so I restarted my uploads, posting twice a week and slowly gaining two thousand subscribers and over 100 thousand views. Unlike many who have been consistent on YouTube, my channel didn't witness the growth that we have come to expect from our favourite creators.

It was in September 2022, that I decided to venture into personal finance, having a newfound interest in economics and investing. I took the leap of faith and began a new channel from scratch, without telling any of my existing audience to subscribe.

In this channel, I go through my investing journey, with all of its downfalls and losses, the principles of long-term investing, all dedicated to beginners with little to no prior knowledge.

I strongly believe that financial literacy is a field of education which is not accessible to the masses, and I wanted to make my impact. Within weeks of starting my channel, It quickly amassed views and subscribers, propelling me to the infamously difficult 1000 subscribers in just 6 months.

Today, I rank highly on search engines for terms relating to my niche and am quickly becoming an authority in the small UK personal finance niche.

How did you come up with your concept?

My whole life has been dedicated to learning and education. I knew from a young age; the importance of education and I have subsequently made that into my career.

However, the term education often brings certain stereotypes to mind, maybe the thought of reading and writing or perhaps science and technology.

Nevertheless, I believe there are a number of skills that the standard education system does not prepare our youth with, namely critical thinking and financial literacy.

At first, I wanted to create a channel where I could provide entertainment value, by sharing my PhD journey and some of my thoughts to hard-hitting questions such as "how can you be happy?". Yet it was difficult to keep the audience engaged in that manner.

I saw just how bad the average person was at saving and managing their money, and wanted a platform where people could be informed of how to save and invest, providing them with the strongest incentive known to man, freedom. 

How did you actually launch? How were those early days?

Having already been uploading on YouTube twice a week, for over a year, the initial reluctance to be on camera, or fears of what people may think, no longer existed.

It was a matter of starting, but it did come at somewhat of a mental cost.

Going all in on my new channel meant that I would be abandoning the channel that I worked so hard on for the past 18 months of my life, spending countless hours on thinking and producing videos and worrying if I was wasting my time.

But I  have always been of the mentality to just go for it.

I didn’t want to deliberate on it and on the 2nd of September 2022, I uploaded my first videos and waited to see what followed.

Given my experience on YouTube and my mature workflow, I started getting over 100 views a day from the third day, it seemed that people valued my knowledge in other fields and how I applied it to personal finance.

What strategies have you used to attract customers or followers?

I learnt from my previous channel, that asking for subscribers, especially from friends, is an easy way to ruin a growing channel.

When friends subscribe, they will do so because they want to see you succeed, but they will seldom watch your videos, mostly because it doesn’t personally interest them, this in turn hurts your click-through rate and tells YouTube that your videos are not popular.

This time, I let the YouTube algorithm do its job, and serve it to people who want to click on the video, stay and subscribe, but only if they wanted to. For this reason, I refrained from ever posting links on social media or telling anyone to subscribe, in fact, I’ve personally told people not to subscribe so that only the right audience is served.

What has been your biggest hurdle? How have you dealt with it?

My biggest hurdle is getting over the fact that I spent over 2 years posting twice a week, sacrificing social time and energy that I could have put into other endeavours, which would have made a higher return on investment (ROI).

It’s easy to think that by being consistent on YouTube, you are automatically owed success both monetarily and via a growing audience.

Although my previous channel was monetised and I was earning money from YouTube AdSense, I decided to start a new channel, where I wouldn’t be compensated for my time, in the hopes that I would reach a more engaging audience.

This sort of sacrifice was necessary, establishing a niche to let the audience know what to expect from the uploads and giving them a reason to subscribe.

Do you have a day job, what is it?

At the time of starting my new channel, I was and currently still am a postdoctoral researcher at University College London.

My job involves writing, publishing, lab work, supervising and teaching. It is a career path I enjoy and want to see to fruition. It also affords me lots of free time to work on other endeavours such as creating content and improving the education of others.

My job has provided me with almost all the skills needed to be good at content creation. Namely, these are being analytical, writing skills and being able to present complicated concepts to beginners who have limited prior knowledge.

Furthermore, having lectured for over 5 years (some of which are recorded), it's given me the soft skills to be confident in presenting at any level of technical proficiency. I have been lucky to also present at international conferences, this helps too, as well as being a part of the UCL student YouTuber's network.

I don't believe I would choose to become a full-time content-creator, because the translation between part-time and full-time, in my opinion, boils down to income, something I am not intrinsically motivated by, having been a student for all my adult life.

What are your competitive advantages?

I would have to say my main competitive advantage is definitely in my analytical nature and my ability to remember almost everything I see and hear.

I never carry a notebook to meetings or need a diary. I am very good at retaining information, especially numbers, so it saves me lots of time not having to go back and check figures.

This means I can create a video from scratch in much less time than my competitors, whilst still being engaging.

Also, I believe I excel at simplifying complex concepts to a degree that is digestible to anyone, this is especially an advantage against my competition who would struggle to be relatable to the average person, the larger they grow. I also think that my camera presence is friendly, which helps a little bit, I think.

Where are you today and what are you most excited about in the future?

My goal was never subscriber based, so I am more than happy to see where the channel has grown to.

In the future, I am looking forward to seeing what keeps inspiring me to make content that will benefit people in their financial lives.

I look forward to making more beginner guides to investing which have been popular so far. I want to make sure that investing and financial education is accessible to everyone, and that people are more aware of the possibility of financial freedom.

I don't want to be the channel that talks about unattainable side hustles and things hidden behind a paywall. In the future, you will see more inclusive videos about how to make your money go further and how my investing journey is going.

What are your three top tips for others looking to follow in your footsteps?

  1. If you want to be a creator, pick a niche, you can’t do everything. It might be tempting to want to try everything, but people need to attribute one main thing to you, so they know what to come back for. I wanted to do everything in my first channel, but people didn’t come back for seconds. 
  2. Choose your sacrifices carefully. All goods things come at a sacrifice, but make sure you are willing to let something go for the benefit of the future, but not at the cost of your health. Be willing to delay gratification, even when others are being hedonistic.  
  3. Invest in yourself first. Skills take time and multiple rounds of failure to achieve. You get a better ROI after you’ve invested in picking up useful skills relevant to your values. Ultimately, failures make for great lessons, don’t be afraid to try again.  

What platforms/tools do you use behind the scenes?

  • Adobe Premiere Pro: Super easy to edit on, I have a certain editing style where I cut out every pause, this seems to work for me, and people stay engaged on average for about 5 minutes a video. Any video editing programme will do, but I see so many beginner YouTubers making the mistake of leaving long or awkward pauses in.
  • Adobe Photoshop: Great thumbnails are everything. If your video doesn’t get clicks, it cannot perform well. By using photoshop or similar software, you can create thumbnails which really stand out. Overcomplicated thumbnails are generally less attractive to click on and perform worse on YouTube. 
  • High resolution monitor: This is essential for me, any 4K monitor is usually okay, but it makes multitasking so much easier, allows you to really check for fine details in your images and videos and have more tools open at any time when you’re editing. 
  • Full frame camera: A good camera and audio setup really helps make a difference on YouTube as it works to separate the foreground from the background (both for subjects and audio). Bad audio can put people of from watching your videos, even if your thumbnails are great.

What resources have helped you the most?

  • Ali Abdaal's YouTube - A huge inspiration to starting YouTube and the person that got me into long-term investing, also has/had a dedicated course of being a YouTuber and SkillShare courses. 
  • BBC News - This may seem odd, but BBC news is what the populace reads every morning, it's actually a great source of really digestible information about everything and truly highlights what is important to people in the UK. (My niche is most UK-based investors).
  • TubeBuddy -I used to use this tool/chrome extension when I first started out as it helps to get you started on search engine optimisation and writing good video descriptions which are very important in trying to improve your views. I no longer use it because I feel like I have learnt how to make good titles without needing it. 

Where can people find out more?

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