My name is Ben Taylor and I started making YouTube videos about five years ago. I’ve always liked making videos and I never thought my channel would develop to what it has now. YouTube is an awesome platform that’s connected me with tons of interesting people. I think that’s probably the coolest part for me.
YouTube is still a side-gig for me, but it’s been the best side-gig I’ve ever had. I don’t know when/if I’ll make the transition to full time. I really enjoy my full-time career in marketing but we’ll see what happens in the future!
My first video was about scambaiting and that seems to be the content that works best for me. I try to take a different approach and get to know the scammers behind the curtains. I try to approach scambaiting from a different angle and tell stories. I think my audience appreciates that. My channel’s name, Pleasant Green, comes from an ancestor of mine. When I set up my channel I needed a name and I’ve always liked “Pleasant Green”. I guess it’s kind of become my brand now.
Like I said, I’ve always dabbled in video production. I was making promotional videos for clients but I just didn’t like telling other people’s stories. I wanted to tell my own stories in my own way and I’m grateful that YouTube has allowed me to find an audience for that.
I used to want to go into film but I realized you needed to be really good or really lucky in order to be successful. YouTube allows anyone, anywhere to get their content seen. I guess you could say I’m getting my content seen just as much as if I were a film producer.
Some of my favorite YouTubers are Casey Neistat, Nerdwriter, and Austin McDonnell. I love stories and all these guys are great storytellers. I also have a lot of respect for James Veitch. A lot of people say that my content reminds them of him, and that’s probably due to his famous scambaiting Ted Talks. Great entertainers know how to tell stories and that’s what I want to do.
I have a hard time letting good be the enemy of perfection so I just try to create content, learn, and improve. I love this quote by Caset Neistat:
Overthinking the process will kill any career in the creative space. You just have to do, not think.
When I’m coming up with ideas I just throw them down in a notepad on my phone. I’ll then move things around and try to figure out a way to create a story arc. If I can’t really tell a story then I move on to the next thing. Story is everything for me.
I use Adobe Premiere to edit videos. It’s the tool that works for me the best. I love how all the Adobe applications all work seamlessly. I have Instagram and Facebook accounts but I have a hard time staying active there. I just feel like my audience is on YouTube so that’s where I spend most of my time. I wouldn’t really consider myself an influencer. I’m just a guy with a camera who occasionally has some interesting stories to tell.
If I’m being honest, I never really expected to get a big following. For me, content creation is really about me expressing myself creatively. I’ve often told people that even if people stopped watching my videos I would still be creating. I just like being creative and feel like it’s an important part of who I am. Some people like to paint; I like to make videos.
I think seeing my channel grow has made me more confident. I’m more careful about what I put out and I think I’ve improved as a communicator. I would recommend everyone setting up a YouTube channel just so you have a chance to look at yourself and analyze the way you communicate. I think it’s been really helpful for me.
Growing my channel wasn’t something that happened overnight. And honestly I could be doing a lot more. I’ve taken long breaks, sometimes months at a time. I had a couple successful videos at first but then things started to die off. I started making videos that weren’t scam-related and it seemed like I lost my audience. I started to get back into scam content and the audience began coming back. Lucky for me, I really enjoy that stuff.
When I got 10,000 subscribers I think I realized I could turn this into a side-gig and make extra money. That’s when I really started to put effort into it. I began learning what was working and what wasn’t. I set a goal for myself to hit 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year and I did it. One thing that has really worked well for me is series. I like making videos that require you to come back for more. I think that accounts for a lot of the early success I saw.
I think you just gotta start creating.
Get comfortable with your camera. See what feels good and what people are responding to. Then, just improve as you go.
It took me three years to get my channel to a point where I had a regular audience. Don’t let good be the enemy of perfect.
If you want to get into a particular niche, you’ve gotta be different. There’s a lot of scambaiters out there but I took a storytelling route and I think that accounts for a lot of my success. Don’t try to be better. Try to be different.
I’m still working two other jobs! One day I’ll figure out how to go full time. I get nervous every time YouTube changes its rules. I also get scared that I’ll run out of ideas or stories to tell.
The best part about my YouTube experience has been the people I’ve met. It’s taken me to Africa and given me chances to present at various conferences. The experiences of telling stories that resonate with people is much more important to me than the money. I also think I’ve become more confident in the way I speak and interact with others.
Again, the most important thing you can do is be different. Aside from being entertaining, I want my channel to be something inspirational. I want to help people understand that there are better ways to make a living outside of internet scams. I want people to become informed so they don’t fall victim to these scams. If you tell the right stories, you’ll get people sharing your content and that’s the best thing you can have going for you.
I’m really careful about brand deals. I don’t want ads to turn away my audience and so I only deal with brands that I think are relevant to my audience. I also don’t do deals with brands that I don’t personally support. I had a vaping website want to do a deal and I had to turn them down.