Treating YouTube like a hobby you can’t get enough of is the only way to make your channel work.

Being a YouTuber is hard work. The hours suck. It’s repetitive. Performing at a high level is difficult. While generally very positive, a vocal minority of the online community can be toxic and demoralizing. To top it off, most creators never manage to make a full time living, and those that do only do so after years of work. Like all creative endeavors, if you truly want to make it through the hard times, you have to love what you do.

It’s easy to look at the top one percent of YouTube channels and think you can do what they do. Given enough time and motivation, you probably can. But the motivation can be hard to find.

The fastest growing channels are extremely prolific and consistent, highly viral or both. While posting viral content is the fastest way to reach YouTube stardom, actually achieving virality is easier said than done. No one has really cracked the code on what makes a video go viral. Even the very few channels that manage to have several viral hits tend to struggle to reliably repeat that success.

The approach within reach of most YouTube creators is to develop an audience through consistent and frequent content. Even if the substance of your content is amazing, however, the road to a full-time living is a long one. While some creators manage to coax substantial revenue from their subscribers directly via Patreon, most creators will tell you that a full-time income only comes as you work your way into the hundreds of thousands of followers.

Developing a following that big is no easy task. For most, it takes years of constant hard work with little to no financial pay-off. That’s why, if you hope to stick with building your YouTube channel for years, you have to be rewarded in other ways. Personal enjoyment and satisfaction are paramount to your success.

Loving what you do doesn’t just motivate you to endure the months and years of unprofitable work. You’ll find your passion shows in your content, making the substance of your videos better.

We all know that, on YouTube, authenticity is everything. If viewers can’t clearly sense your passion, they’ll unsubscribe, or worse, never discover you in the first place.

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