ASMR, Make-up, and Gaming

HaleyJean ASMR

How My Fascination with Video Editing Fueled Me to Become A Full-time Content Creator.

ASMR, Make-up, and Gaming
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September 18, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

My name is Haley Jean Scherbel (or HaleyJean ASMR), and I am a 20-year-old full-time content creator. I make ASMR videos on YouTube, stream video games on Twitch, and more! I am a one-woman team. I do everything in regards to my channel(s). I come up with the concepts, film, edit, produce, answer emails, discuss partnerships, and more. I’ve always been a sort of a perfectionist, so I find it most comfortable to do it all myself, so it suits the vision in my head. Since finishing high school, I have moved 4 hours away from my hometown and enrolled in University to study Psychology and Creative Writing full-time. I am currently at the end of my Junior year. So, there is a lot on my plate, but I enjoy keeping busy!

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory! 

I got my start in content creation through video editing. When I was only eight years old, I was stuck at home during the summer season while my parents worked. I had received my first camera for my birthday in March, so my dad introduced me to the iMovie application on his iMac. From then on, I became obsessed with making silly little videos for my friends and family. I would get my neighbors and siblings to star in them with me, and we would create music videos, skits, and more. It was an entertaining, creative outlet, and it kept me busy during the summer months. 

Me, at age 12, doing a video editing course at my local Apple Store.

From then on, I discovered the website, which wasn’t just for kids covering the hits on the radio but was a YouTube wanna-be. You could upload videos less than 4 minutes long, create web shows, and even gain “fans” (the KidzBop equivalent of followers). I created my account called Pupgirlz (don’t ask, I have no idea why I chose that username LOL), and then created a few web shows and began uploading my videos. After that, for about a year, I was featured on the main page of the site for a makeup web show I had created and ended up hitting about 1,000 fans on it. For 8, almost 9, year-old, this was huge!

When my parents surprised me with my own Macbook for Christmas in 2013, so I could finally edit on my own computer!

I then convinced my parents to let me move from KidzBop to an actual YouTube channel, where I knew there was a bigger audience. I have had many channels since then, where I’ve uploaded many different types of content. From music videos to now doing ASMR, eventually, I found my niche. I feel happiest in making gaming, makeup, and ASMR content, so I stuck with that. I created my original gaming channel in 2013 and my ASMR channel in 2016. Then I made my Twitch account in 2019 and began streaming as well! Fast forward almost 12 years later from when I first discovered video editing, and here I am! Still creating content, but now for 115,000+ subscribers instead of 1,000.

A screenshot from when I hit 1,000 subscribers for the first time on Youtube, in 2016.

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing?

I’d say I get my video ideas in 3 different ways. The first is through brainstorming. For some reason, when I am in the shower, a lot of thoughts come to mind! Or, if I am at the store and see an item that I think would be cool for an ASMR video, I make a mental note of it. Often, I just incorporate whatever I have been enjoying in my personal life into a video idea. For example, if I have been playing a particular video game a lot in my free time, I’ll play it for a video or stream. The second way would be through my viewer’s requests.

I love asking my viewers, either on Instagram or directly in YouTube comments, to suggest what kind of content they want to see. Also, if my viewers show greater interest in a specific type of video or stream, I usually turn it into an ongoing series. The last way I get ideas is through other creators! I am an avid watcher of ASMR and gaming content myself, so I regularly see new concepts and ideas. If I ever take inspiration from another creator, I make it a priority to give them credit and shout out their work. Some people come up with more refreshing video ideas than I ever could!

Then I organize all my video ideas on my iPad. As I said earlier, I am a perfectionist, so organizing is essential to me. I have a whole YouTube/Twitch digital planner where I plan out all my sponsorships, upload days, and more. I have several pages in the planner with lists and lists of video ideas, so I always have something to film! If I am on the go, I just jot down the ideas in the Notes app on my phone and transfer it over to my iPad later on.

What are the tools and platforms you use to help with your brand?

Aside from my digital planner, there are many websites and applications essential to help me do my job! I edit all my videos using FinalCutPro X, the upgraded version of iMovie (which started with), and Photoshop to edit all my graphics and thumbnails, and StreamLabs OBS to help me while I’m streaming on Twitch. It helps me create beautiful scenes and access my live chat all in one. ‍

What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

Since I started making videos as a young child, I didn’t have as much fear as I feel most content creators do. I know lots of teenagers that are afraid of making a YouTube or Twitch channel because they are scared of people at school judging them. Everyone at my school knew me as the “video girl” growing up, so I was never apprehensive about being bullied or judged by my peers for my content. Most of the people I knew liked my videos; even my teachers were supportive! I remember a vivid memory from 6th grade, where my entire class decided to spend the day watching some of my videos as a class party. 

The biggest issue for me was always the hate from strangers. I remember when I was 14, I made a satire video talking about the things that boys did that would annoy me. This video was the first to go semi-viral, and I woke up with hundreds of hate comments. Most of these were death threats from grown adults aimed at a teenager. My parents even made me delete my channel for a while after that. Now that I am older and more mature, any negativity or hate that I get doesn’t affect me. My family always likes to tell me, 

If people hate you, it means you are doing something right!

Since I have been doing this for so long, I have become somewhat desensitized to any hate. Time heals everything!

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

The only thing I want to stress is that building a brand takes TIME. As I said before, I have been making content for almost 12 years, and just hit 100,000 subscribers last year. It isn’t an overnight process; it takes a lot of consistency, dedication, and hard work. I genuinely think it isn’t cut out for everyone, and that people tend to underestimate how hard it is to build an entire brand for yourself all on your own!

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

The biggest advice I would give to those who want to start is to do it because it makes you happy. Create the content that you enjoy, not the material that is trending or popular. Create the content for yourself, not in the hopes of gaining followers or money. Your audience, no matter how big or small will see through the facade if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. People look for genuine content creators, be one of them! Also, be consistent. Upload consistently, promote your content always, and just keep going! No matter if you get one view or 1,000. I genuinely believe you don’t need a crazy expensive setup with the best products and such to grow an audience. Most people are just looking for those two things I mentioned: relatability and consistency. Film on your phone if you need to!

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

I have been doing this full-time since I graduated high school a year early in 2017. Once I finished high school, I quit my old job at a restaurant and fully emerged myself in creating content. It has been the best decision I have made! 

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

I’d say my two most significant accomplishments were deciding to pursue content creation as a full-time job and then hitting 100,000 subscribers on my ASMR channel. I hit 100k during November 2019, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. 2019 was a very stressful year for me for many reasons, so ending it on that note made everything feel worth it.‍

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

I would say marketing is something I need to do more research on, as I have been pretty dull in my growth journey. I have just kept being consistent with uploading content and adapted as I’ve grown. I’d say that is my most significant success for growth; my content is continuously changing and adapting, but I manage to remain just as likable. I think that is why I have managed to build a decent following on all my socials, even though my content isn’t all the same. People want to watch it because they like me, not just because of the video content.

I have done a few collabs with people like ASMRxBABEE, Lily Whispers, etc. They didn’t occur until I had already built a following, and I don’t feel as though they’ve helped me grow immensely, but I just like collaborating with creators that I see as my friends. So it is more of a fun experience rather than work. I never go into a collaboration, thinking, “will this help me grow?” I’ve declined collabs with much larger channels just because I didn’t vibe well with the person.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

Most of my sponsorships reach out to me via e-mail, then we negotiate prices and content, and go from there! The longer I have been doing sponsorships, the pickier I have become. I only want to work with brands who A) offer products I would purchase myself and B) see my worth as a creator. If a company reaches out to me trying to sell something that doesn’t fit my audience or try to underpay me harshly, I always turn it down.

I’ve only had 1 or 2 negative experiences working with a brand. One time a company selling makeup bags reached out to me, wanted me to model the bags for them, and then when I finally received the product and was about to take the images, they ghosted! It was a scam. Another time, a company wanted to sponsor a video. So I filmed it, edited it, and sent over the unlisted link for them to review before posting. I didn’t hear back from them for almost three months! By that time, I had cut the sponsor from the video and just uploaded it without, and they dared to tell *me* I was unprofessional. LOL. 

Very rarely do I reach out to a brand myself, and when I do I just link my socials and explain what my audience enjoys (makeup, fashion, gaming, etc.) When reaching out to brands, it is vital to consider who their customers are. For example, if it is a skincare brand, I highlight my skincare content. Highlight your strengths, and be extra friendly! Add in a few emojis to stand out. 

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