My name is Kayla Kempers. I’m currently based out of Toronto.
I work full-time as a project manager at a health and wellness startup, and I am also currently pursuing acting. Youtube is one of my favourite hobbies and has really grown into an incredible passion over the years. I’m currently a one woman team, and I think my YouTube channel will stay that way since it’s really a personal artistic hobby for myself.
When I started 6 years ago in 2014, I was actually doing fashion and comedic content, two areas that I don’t even really dabble in anymore! My channel started as “EverythingKay”, based on the idea that I wanted to do EVERYTHING on my channel. To some degree, I’ve stayed true to that idea in the way that my content has changed over the years to encompass more of my life and hobbies, however, I ended up changing the name to be my actual name.
When I began Youtube, it took quite a long time for my channel to grow! Especially because at first, I didn’t want it to. I had been watching Youtube since I was about 13, watching vlogs of original content creators like Jenna Marbles, FunForLouis, and the Yogscast. I was also obsessed with fashion and skits, which I believe is what inspired me when I decided to start my own channel.
As of February 2020, I’ve had my channel for 6 years. I actually started with a blog in January 2014 titled “EverythingKay” because I was way too nervous to start right off the bat with Youtube! When I did switch over to the platform I was most excited about, I didn’t want anyone to really watch my videos! I come from a small town where word travels fast and things like posting videos of yourself on the internet is definitely a little abnormal.
Youtube quickly became a way for me to express myself. Without going into too much detail, I was switching between friend groups and going through a lot at home in my personal life when I started Youtube. It was a way for me to explore my creative side and put my energy into something positive. Though it scared me at first to know people started watching my channel, I came to love my viewers. A lot of us were small creators with similar passions, and I found really amazing friends online. My artistic expression and connection with these people really helped during that time.
One creator who always has and continues to heavily inspire the content I create now (which is very vlog focused) is FunForLouis, or Louis Cole. He’s a travel vlogger with a fantastic attitude who has always inspired me to go on more adventures and show the world.
You can see from the photo of my subscriber growth, I really didn’t hit 1000 until 3.5 years after I started. I’ve always been able to stay motivated since it’s a release for me; something that de-stresses me and makes me happy is creating content. I have learned though, that since I can start making money from it and I love it so much, it’s worth developing it as more of a business than I ever considered it to be before, which is the direction I’m going in now.
I’ve actually always loved watching travel vlogs and GoPro videos. I actually just got my first GoPro (a lifelong dream of mine really) and watching the GoPro ambassadors create adventure and travel videos fills me with so much joy and inspiration. I also always watch daily vloggers to see how they’re changing it up and improving their content.
I like to sit down and have dedicated blocks of time to brainstorm for Youtube, but I also keep notes on my phone so that I can track my ideas. Inspiration can spark at any moment and I don’t want to lose any great ideas! I also like to journal out ideas. I’m a huge fan of traditional idea tracking in a good old notebook (I spend so much time looking at screens as it is, I’d rather not brainstorm digitally as well). Describing exactly what I’m going to do rather than just making point form notes is a great way for me to go with the flow and explore how I can bring ideas to life.
When I face a mental block on what to film, I’ll read through every idea I’ve ever had. I keep them all in my original Youtube planning book, so there are literally hundreds. I’m also not scared of taking breaks from Youtube when necessary. Taking a step back and distracting myself with something else (like my day job, or going on an adventure) is a good way to redirect my thoughts so I can come back to Youtube with a fresh mind.
I started editing with good old Movie Maker (which I don’t think even exists anymore haha). I edited my thumbnails in Gimp (which is a free software that’s basically like Photoshops little cousin; not quite as many features and a little less user friendly, but SO incredibly useful, especially when you can’t afford software). I also started filming on my Android and then iPhone 4. I had $0 to actually put into this hobby, so I really started from scratch.
These days, I’m a huge advocate for the Adobe Creative Cloud. I use After Effects and Premiere Pro for video editing, and Photoshop, sometimes Illustrator, for thumbnails.
I have a personal Instagram that I sometimes share links to my Youtube channel on, but self-promotion is something that I still get anxious about (old habits die hard I suppose). It’s such a great platform to utilize though, so I am working on getting more comfortable with self promotion.
As I mentioned, I was absolutely terrified of people finding my channel, especially because I had some comedic skits that were truly cringy (according to today's standards at least). I started to grow into it because the people closest to me started to accept it, but I still have a little flutter of anxiety every time someone brings it up or tries to watch my videos in front of me. Negativity in the comments still really gets to me, because Youtube is my little passion baby haha. As I transition into considering my channel as more of a business, I get better at disconnecting from the negativity. I don’t take the comments as personally now as I did back when it was just a fun hobby for me.
This question is a little tough since I’ve only recently started the transition into figuring out a business strategy. Some classic tips that truly have helped though are to
Post consistently, post what you love, and cater to a niche, especially a small one.
The videos I did on computer science did amazingly because the niche is so specific and there isn’t much content online for it. If you provide people with what’s missing from online content, it’s almost guaranteed to do well.
I would have stuck to a specific type of content early on. Doesn’t matter what it is, but people find it harder to stick with you when you switch your content type all the time. Since that’s exactly what the point of “EverythingKay” was, it really didn’t work well. Even if you have a plethora of different hobbies and passions, pick a maximum of 3, preferably related (ex, fitness, healthy cooking, and vlogging), and then dedicate your time to that. It’ll help you grow a consistent audience in your niche. People will know what to expect from you so you can gain engaged, long-term subscribers.
And again, CONSISTENCY. Something I’m still not good at, but those few months here and there where I can be consistent provide me with great engagement.
I cried when I hit 1000. It was also the milestone that my mum kind of started paying attention (before that she really had no clue what I was on about).
I got my first official payout in June 2017. You had to reach a $50 threshold to get any of your ad money, and that first payout also warranted a few tears, because it meant I could someday make a living from a hobby, which truly is anyone's dream.
Honestly? Every 100, 500, 1000 subscribers I’ve gained from there has been incredible. I go into a state of shock every time I sit down and think about how far I’ve come. Every time I get a payout I feel like I’m living the dream. I’m now around 9100 subscribers, and the goal is 10 000 by the end of 2020, which is another Youtube specific tier that gives you access to more support as a creator. I’ll probably ball my eyes out and crack some champagne when that day comes.
I only recently started getting brand deals and sponsorships, so I had to learn exactly how much to charge. There’s a science, based on your engagement (views, not subscribers), that helps you determine how much you should charge. I’m currently working on a Media Kit for my channel, which is basically a document that outlines your engagement activity, your style, projects you’ve worked on; anything that could be of interest to brands you may want to work with. Then when you reach out for collaborations or someone reaches out to you, you can forward your media kit to them. It’s like a creative portfolio.
I’m a firm believer in actually only working with brands that you enjoy. The exception I’ve made to this is when a brand specifically asks for a review, in which case I can try it out. I still want it to somehow fall in line with my brand, but I’m less strict with reviews. If I don’t actually like it, I’m free to share that with my audience. If you’re being paid to promote, not to review, then you have to make the brand sound good, in which case you need to align with their values. It keeps transparency with your users.