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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.