Tech & Vlogs

Happy Aujla

How A Creator Left His 6-Figure-Paying Desk Job To Make Tech Videos & Pursue His YouTube Dream

Tech & Vlogs
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June 7, 2022

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

Hi, My name is Harpreet Aujla, aka Happy Aujla. I am from Los Angeles and I am a full-time YouTube creator with two YouTube channels. I started my first YouTube channel in September of 2017, and it took me two years to go full-time on YouTube.  

I am a one-man army. I am the only one who manages everything from filming, editing, talking to brands, etc. I have always wanted to make my name a brand, so I use my nickname, Happy, and add my last name. That’s how I came up with my channel name.

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

After post-grad in 2016, I searched for jobs and started working in Hollywood as an audience extra. While working there, I noticed that there aren’t many Indian YouTubers in America who are creating tech videos. So I thought of starting a YouTube tech channel in Hindi, but it took me one year to gather the courage to record my first video.

This is my first-ever video.

I started making YouTube videos because I always wanted to do something where I could do what I wanted and I didn’t have to follow orders. I worked in Hollywood, where we had to follow so many rules, and sometimes they made us stand in the sun for 2-3 straight for the shot. During the same period, I used to work in the company as an IT Manager. They paid me a six-figure salary, but I felt like I was in jail every day.

At that time, I used to watch a lot of vlogs, mainly from Movlogs, Logan Paul, and Casey Neistat. It got me thinking, what if I start doing the same. But I was always timid, so it took me a while to press that record button for the first time.

I always follow one quote “A dream without a plan is like a wish.”

I can’t say that someone inspired me. Still, I used to watch a lot of vlogs and tech videos when I was in college and always thought of starting my channel because it gives me the freedom to create what I want. I can work according to my time and I have the freedom to travel and work at the same time. The only motivation I have is that if I stopped working now, I would have to go back to that desk job, and I don’t want that. I always keep in mind why I started this in the first place and contemplate where I want to be in my life. YouTube was the first place where I uploaded my first video and until now this is where I post all my videos.

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

I watch many YouTube videos, and sometimes I get ideas from different creators. I read a lot and spend 1-2 hours on Twitter and Reddit to get ideas for new videos and try to find what is trending right now. I do a lot of polls on my Instagram and YouTube community posts where I ask my viewers what they like or don't like. They sometimes suggest a specific video.

Whenever I am traveling, I always have my iPad with me, and I use Notability to take notes whenever I get an idea for my next videos. Sometimes it's tough to come up with new ideas for videos. So what I do is I start watching creators from my niche and see what they are creating and try to get ideas from that. 

I think Google Trends is an excellent tool to search for new ideas, and it's free! Read your YouTube analytics if you can. You will get a good idea of what your viewers want to see and what kind of videos they interact with the most.

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

I started with free software called iMovie for video editing, and I learned everything from YouTube in the beginning. Later on, I moved to Final cut pro X because I am a Mac user. I use Adobe Photoshop and Canva for thumbnails. I learn everything from YouTube & Skillshare. As I’ve mentioned, I use Notability to take notes and I use the Todoist app on my phone and Mac to schedule everything and remind me of all the tasks for the day. 

I have two channels on YouTube:

1: Happy Aujla

2: Happy Aujla vlogs

You can check out my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

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

I was scared of people’s judgment when I started my YouTube channel. In the beginning, there were no nasty comments; it was always like people trying to encourage me to make more videos. Eventually, as my channel started growing, I started to get so many hate comments, and people tried to discourage me. For the first two years, I still remember, I used to reply to all the haters, which affected me a lot at one time. It was so bad that I had to go to the doctor. After all, I was afraid to post my next video because I was scared of these comments and judgments. 

But now, I learned to ignore nasty comments and just continue with my work. This is the best option for a creator, and if possible, don’t read the comments first thing in the morning because it ruins the entire day. Avoid all inappropriate comments and focus on the positive side. It’s tough to ignore these comments, but I believe you have to learn this skill if you want to grow in the creative world. 

How did you build your brand to where it is now? Take us through your process.

When I started my Channel, I used to post 3-4 videos a week, but after five months, I tried to post every day, which helped a lot. Now, I think YouTube works differently. It used to be quantity over quality. But now, I think it’s better to take your time and post one good video and wait to see the results. Don’t chase the amount.

When I started my YouTube channel, I had $15k in my savings account, and I invested everything into my Channel. I bought a MacBook Pro, DSLR Camera, Lights, and Table because I believe you have to invest if you want to make money. Later, I find out that I was wrong. Six months after, I spent all my money. In the following months, I bought everything from my credit card and got into a lot of debt. Luckily, one of my videos went viral, and the rest is history.

I get a ton of help from YouTube videos, and I bought a lot of courses to learn the essential skills. The most challenging thing was to face the camera initially and learn how to do everything efficiently. For the first, I’d say 50 videos, I was experimenting because I got no idea where to set up lights, and I messed up a lot of stuff when I was learning.

It took me one year to get traction on my channel. I started posting videos in September 2017, and the first video that went viral was in October 2018. For me, getting the first 300 was the toughest. After reaching 300, I assessed the videos that my viewers liked and thus, made similar videos. I got 100k subscribers in 13 months.

As of this writing, I have been doing YouTube for the last five years. Now, before making any video, I research for a day about the topic, and then I write everything down and then write an outline of the points. After that, I set up all the gear (camera, lights, mic). It takes me somewhere between 2-5 hours to film one video and 2-4 hours to edit the video.

This is the video that got me the most subscribers when I was starting.

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

If I get a chance to go back and do things differently, then for sure, I will focus more on the quality of the video. I will first learn how to edit a video and think of ways to interact more with the viewers. The mistake I made was that I took a long time to learn how to edit videos and pictures, and I am still struggling with thumbnails. YouTube is a marathon, not a sprint race, so take your time and learn things every day.

Try to interact with the audience and ask them what they want to see. Watch many videos on YouTube if you don’t want to invest in a course or subscription. There is plenty of free content that can help you grow and improve. Learn to edit and try to put a lot of text, graphics, and music. Try to film 4-5 videos in a day and then the next day, edit all the videos and then schedule them for release. This way, you save a lot of time.

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

I quit my job to pursue my YouTube dream. After two years, I realized the potential, and I gave my 100% to this platform. Thankfully, it worked for me. I quit my Hollywood job after making sure that I can make $2-3k a month.

Tell us the biggest obstacles you have experienced in your content creation journey. And how did you bounce back?

The only problem I faced in my creator journey was learning how to make videos when you are traveling abroad and with a family. I am still looking for the answer, and I did a few things, but they didn't work in my favor. Now, before going on a holiday, I shoot and schedule many videos in advance so that I can enjoy my holidays without worrying about my channel. 

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

My most significant milestone was when I crossed 100k subscribers in 2018. It was the biggest thing for me. I still remember it was 12:05 am, and I was sitting in front of my computer to see the 100k on my channel. 

After that, every single day was like a dream.

I turned my YouTube into a full-time career and bought a few cars for myself (Tesla model-S, Audi A5, Camaro SS). And now, I can do whatever I want and I can work in whichever part of the world I may be.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

First of all, I did everything on my own, from editing, posting, filming, etc. The only thing I did and still do for marketing is to share it on as many social media platforms as I can, and I focus more on the content and thumbnails. I am trying to make catchy thumbnails so that I catch the attention of my viewers.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

I work only with American brands because their policy is good, and they play at the right time. Every Monday, I reach out to many brands for future partnerships. I worked with more than 200 brands, including Samsung, Sony, Super73, Vizio, LG, among others. I don’t work with Indian brands because they don’t value your time, and the amount they pay is nothing. I try to work with well-known brands who worked with influencers before.

Always read your contract carefully and talk to brands about everything - including time to finish the video, payment, and licensing. Negotiation and brand deals go hand in hand. I never worked with a brand that never negotiated the price. You have to learn what is the correct amount for you. You can use a website like Social Bluebook or contact any YouTuber friend to get an idea. Do your homework before talking to a brand. 

Set rules for collaboration. Tell the brand what is acceptable and what is not. Sometimes brands force you to do false advertising, so it’s better to talk about everything before proceeding. Don’t be afraid of asking questions; they are also humans like us, doing their jobs.

What is your monthly earning from content creation? 

I earn about $5-10k per month.

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