Culture and Lifestyle

Abby P

How a Naturally Modest Creator Reached a Million Views on YouTube.

Culture and Lifestyle
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July 20, 2020

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

Hello! My name is Abby, otherwise known as “Abby P”. I am from San Diego, California in the U.S. and am currently based in South Korea working as a full-time English teacher. I have been a content creator on the side for many years, but am looking to finally go full-time in the near future. The main content I currently create are YouTube videos about culture, lifestyle, and language. My interests also include gaming, cosplay, and music, and I find ways to include those with my main content.

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

I’ve always been interested in the arts and anything where I could be creative and active, like dance or sports. In university, I majored in Visual and Performing Arts where I also developed a deep love for video creation and editing. Video, to me, was a perfect medium to tell any story or showcase anything you were passionate about.

From there, I started my first YouTube channel, “byebyezombie”, where I uploaded dance and song cover videos.

At this time, I was editing my YouTube videos on Windows Movie Maker. I was also very involved with cosplay because it combined so many things I loved such as creating, designing, acting, anime, and video games. I uploaded my cosplay photos on Deviantart and Tumblr. I started to gain a following for my cosplay content, and was surprised that my music videos were also gaining traction, even on a popular Japanese video sharing site, then called Nico Nico Douga where some of my YouTube videos were uploaded.

At the same time, I was still studying in university. I was unsure of what I really wanted to do with my life, and going full-time as a content creator never really struck me as something that I could actually do for a living. I continued working hard on creating videos and cosplays, but perhaps, always doubted that I could go any further with it. So, I never did. It was always “just for fun”.

In 2015 when I moved to South Korea, I started a new YouTube channel, “Abby P”,  with more vlog-style videos to document my experiences in a new country.

Again, it was something that I started “just for fun” and didn’t expect anything of it. Some of my viewers from my first YouTube channel followed me on this new adventure as well, which I am still so thankful for. Over time, the numbers started to grow and I developed a clearer vision of the kinds of content I could create based on my interests to also fit the interests of my audience.

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

I think I’m someone that gets easily inspired and moved by anything in life: it could be from another video I’ve watched, music I’m listening to, something I’m thinking about in the shower, etc. Whenever I get any sort of idea, I always add it to my “idea list” on my phone or a notebook. That way, when it’s time to make another video, I’ll never be at a loss for content. I also consider if the idea is something that can bring some kind of value to the viewer, whether it’s helping them learn more about a topic, or even just making them feel entertained or inspired. My viewers also give me fun ideas, too!

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

I have several cameras I shoot with depending on what kind of video I’m making. I have a DSLR, a compact point and shoot, and a GoPro action camera. For the majority of my videos, I use my DSLR and compact camera, whereas the GoPro is more for travel vlogs. I use Final Cut Pro X to edit my videos and Photoshop to create or design any photos or images for my platforms. I use my phone and my planner to organize all of my content ideas and schedules.

Besides my YouTube channel, I also have a Twitch channel, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Soundcloud. I currently have a website in the works that I hope to launch by next year when I officially go full-time as a content creator. My YouTube is for my main video contents, while my Twitch is solely for my video game streams. I use my Facebook mainly to promote my contents, whereas Instagram and Twitter focus more on my daily life where I connect more personally with my followers.

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

I think many online content creators share the same fears starting out such as talking in front of a camera, worrying if people are going to even care or like what you’re doing, and dealing with online negativity. For me, my biggest fear was talking in front of a camera. I’m naturally quite introverted, so verbal communication takes a lot of energy out of me. On top of that, the idea of talking about myself to others (strangers, essentially) on the internet made me even more anxious.

Even to this day, if I had to choose my least favorite part of content creation from idea development, filming (aka talking in front of the camera), editing, and feedback and interaction, it is talking. In the beginning, every time I filmed a video where I had to talk, I would just think that if I got past the talking part, then I could get to my favorite parts: video editing and viewer interaction. Overall, however, my desire to share my passions, get a message across, and help others is what drives me to just do it.

There were definitely times where I struggled with negative comments and “haters” even though I never intended to hurt anyone with my content. Respect has always been something I heavily valued. So, it was hard witnessing the inconsideration of some internet comments and messages. Eventually, I accepted that this is inevitable, and that I should always focus on the positives. I handle it by reminding myself that all of the good that comes from this, such as being able to use my creativity to positively impact others, far surpasses any fears or negativity. I am always thankful for the warmth and encouragement from my supportive family, friends, and lovely viewers. My “P-PLE”!

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

It started off as a hobby outside of my full-time job. I wasn’t always posting consistently because I never really prioritized it. So this was my general mindset for the many years since I started creating content online. However, in 2018, I made a goal to post more consistently and put more effort into my videos. By luck, one of my videos, “Speaking Six Languages”, hit a million views.

My other videos were also gaining thousands of views, and I was receiving lots of emails and messages on my social media. And then in 2019, I reached 100,000 subscribers and received a YouTube Silver Play Button. I started to see the potential and impact of my content, and from the enthusiastic feedback of my viewers, realized this could be something I could actually do for a living.

Starting off, I never really received any outside help in creating my content. I thought I didn’t need to, and could do everything on my own. Eventually, I started coming out of my shell more and even participated in several collaboration videos with other creators. I also started to get more input from friends and family, and realized I didn’t have to do it all alone. I also love working with and promoting fellow creators and artists, and luckily, some of them are my friends that help me with my own content. For example, one of them creates music that I use for my YouTube channel and another is an illustrator that made custom art for my Twitch channel. Friends are also wonderful for helping you film videos. Even something as simple as their physical presence to provide you moral support during filming can mean the world.

I think my biggest challenges were usually the battles within myself: being uncertain and doubting myself, feeling unmotivated, feeling unskilled or unworthy, etc. The quote “You are your own worst critic” would best describe this. I am a perfectionist and am often very hard on myself because I constantly have to shake off that desire to be “the best” at everything I do. My own mental health was indeed my biggest challenge, and it’s an issue that many can relate to. Being more open about it has definitely helped, and it does make a huge difference to know that you aren’t alone in your struggles.

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

Be yourself. Sure, it’s good to experiment, try new things here and there, and make some changes to see what your audience enjoys, but at the core of that, it should always be the true “you” that drives all else. Live honestly. Keep doing you, and the right audience will find you and simply click with you effortlessly. In the end, the community that you create is another reflection of who you are as a person, and what kind of community would you want that to look like?

Be hungry. Food is awesome and necessary for survival, yes, but ambition and that constant desire to create, learn, grow, and become better and better is what will keep you thriving. It’s been said by others, but

This whole game is a marathon, not a sprint. Your endurance will be tested time and time again by the obstacles you face. If you really want to achieve something, set that goal and don’t give up.

Be respectful and humble. There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is unattractive and hollow. Everyone has their own story and struggles. Your channel and content might blow up one day too, but it’s important to remain respectful towards all, and grateful towards those that helped and inspired you too.

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

My biggest creator milestone so far was reaching 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and receiving a YouTube Silver Play Button in 2019.

I also got the chance to meet my “P-PLE” in 2019 and 2020 in various cities: Seoul (South Korea), San Diego, California (USA), and Manila (Philippines). It was such a privilege to personally meet and speak with each individual!

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

Up until now, I’ve never had a manager or marketing team. The growth of my audience through the years has been very organic, which I am proud of. I am active on my social media, and use it to also promote any content I create such as my YouTube videos or Twitch game streams. And as mentioned, I utilize the help of fellow creator and artist friends to add that extra beauty to my pages.

In addition, I also have translator friends who have been so hardworking in translating my videos to reach viewers all over the world. My videos do heavily focus on culture, languages, and people, so it would make sense to have a global community.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

So far, brands have been reaching out to me via email. In the future, once I go full-time as a creator, I am planning to reach out to more brands myself too. In the beginning, I had no idea how to go about handling these kinds of emails. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read blogs about how to make a creator media kit, how to price, communicate with brands, etc. I also got input from close friends and family. In the end, I was able to create a media kit and rates I was satisfied with. And all of it was done with free online resources such as Canva and Social Bluebook!

The important thing to keep in mind is to know your worth! When I first started out, I was agreeing to free products in exchange for video reviews without even knowing I should have actually been charging the brand! I think for me, since I started out creating content completely for fun, I didn’t even consider that I could make money from it. But now that content creating will be my way of living in the near future, I have to be practical and start looking at it as a source of income, too. If you think about it, you put so much time, effort, and heart into your creations. So, know your worth!

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