Joseph Nathan Cohen

Department of Sociology, CUNY Queens College, New York, NY

Succeeding on YouTube as a Black Woman

A back stage view of the YouTube business with two successful independent creators. This video was organized by my talented colleague Carmine Couloute.

This livestream was produced as part of the QPL Learning Series project.

Original Video Description

In this episode of the Queens Podcast Lab Seminar Series, Queens College’s Carmine Couloute interviews Vanessa Kanbi and Chidi Ashley, two successful black female YouTubers. Carmine asks about breaking into YouTube, how to produce successful content, and how to develop a larger creative enterprise. Vanessa Kanbi – Website – Chidi Ashley – Website –

Transcription (Auto-Generated)

awesome hi everyone good afternoon uh welcome to today’s programming thank you for being here um our event today is sponsored by the sikh program in addition to africana studies queens college student associations the queen’s podcast lab my name is carmine kalut i’m a faculty here hi everyone good afternoon welcome to today’s programming carmen we lost your audio and it’s a pleasure to have you here i’m sorry you lost you for a minute you know everything happens on zoom for a reason so thank you all for your patience um as i was mentioning i’m a proud faculty member here of the sociology department in addition to the seek department and i also have the amazing co-host of professor cohen here with me thank you all for being here today we have two amazing panelists um i can’t introduce them enough i can’t say the kind words that i have enough so i’m going to have them introduce themselves to you so that way you can get to know them what they’ve done their successes their trials and also their achievements so far and i know that they’re gonna uh you know be in the top the forbes 50 one day if not earlier um so without further ado i’d like to introduce city ashley please hi hi everyone it’s so good to be here and thank you so much um for inviting me to chat with you guys today thank you chidi and now without further Meet Vanessa Canby ado vanessa hi everyone i’m vanessa canby and yeah thanks so much for having me today and so a bit about me i’m a scottish guinean presenter filmmaker and podcaster and have like a passion to shine a light on untold stories i was born in scotland and i moved to ghana and i have a social media following of about 180 000 people and my youtube channel’s got in excess of 20 million views and i create content about ghana where my dad’s from where my heart is and where i now live and i’ve also um been a host of on a bbc sounds podcast called word up and i was in like a bathroom-nominated documentary called black and scottish and i’ve done a lot of like radio work and stuff like that as well so yeah i’m excited to talk to people who are like early on in their journey awesome thank you and speaking of journeys right chidi what’s your journey where do you come from what inspired you to start your youtube channel yeah so i was born in canada grew up in south africa um in nigeria and moved over to new york i went to nyu studied business and marketing um and then i started working in tech for a couple of years um afterwards i ended up quitting my job and i moved to bali indonesia and i started a travel company now called lux tribes and kind of through that journey i decided to start a youtube channel and document my experience over overseas and all of the cool cultures and hotels experiences i was having and so yeah it’s been a really fun journey sharing that on youtube sharing that on instagram and building a really supportive community through that and really utilizing the power of social media to now grow my business and also start another business so i also own a software company and social media has been such a key part of growing that company and generating the that initial uh interest in in my businesses so very excited about this conversation because there’s so much that you can do uh by building an online presence you’re awesome yeah and i think both of What can you do with YouTube your channels highlight the untold stories of people around the world right and you’re able to get people together learn about what they can do and i think sometimes when we think of youtube we just think of content creation what more can you build uh with youtube yeah i mean there’s so much that you can do with youtube like i said uh for me youtube is a really great way to start and scale a business and really in this day and age branding is so important and personal branding is something that is so key when you think about some of the biggest companies today and emerging companies you always want to know who’s behind who’s the face behind the product who’s the face behind the company and people are really buying into stories right so as they say people are buying the story um you know not just the product and so i like the idea of using social media to uh tell your tell your business story tell your personal story and that’s what i’ve been able to do with lux tribes my travel company so by sharing my personal uh travel experiences i’ve gotten so many other people who want to travel to those same destinations that reach out um and so now we’ve been able to grow to a team of over 20 full-time employees with lux tribes um and then really being able to take that capital from that business and then go into the tech space as well uh really off of the back of building a social media presence okay awesome thank you oh that’s like a How does your YouTube bring people together lot and you have like 20 employees that you employ that you’re able to bring into the market that’s amazing and vanessa i know you’re able to also highlight the stories of people in ghana and even outside of ghana so how does your youtube bring people in and bring people together so when i started my channel it was actually something totally different like i started about parenting i just had my second child and i was like oh you know i was really into natural births and stuff and i just wanted to share my experience and try and help other moms out there and because i’ve taken so much help from youtube like i basically spend my life watching youtube videos and and so i wanted to you know give back in that way and then after my daughter started you know growing up in my son i was like i’m not really into you know talking about that anymore and i’d actually gone on a trip to ghana so i’d been coming to ghana every two years ever since i was like three years old and i came on a trip and i thought you know what let me just vlog this experience and let’s say the parenting content was getting about i don’t know 200 views i went to ghana and the video did like 50 000 views and then i came back again on another trip and it did like 150 000 views and i realized that hang on a second like i absolutely love ghana it’s something i could talk about all the time i definitely need to switch the direction of my channel to purely be about ghana so i also realized that there wasn’t many people at that time so that was maybe like three years ago focusing on sharing stories coming from ghana um in sort of like from my perspective from i was kind of focusing on people that had moved to ghana from the diaspora because that was also my dream at the time i hadn’t done it so i went and you know spoke to different people shared their stories and realized that so many people are doing such amazing things on the continent like in ghana and also and new businesses coming up i was able to share their stories and now actually i do quite a lot of real estate videos and so i’m also able to share that sort of story but i think it really there’s so many people here that i meet on a daily basis that have moved to ghana because they’ve watched my videos or have come to ghana because they’ve watched my videos so it’s obviously had like huge impacts that i never really imagined and yeah that it would have 100 right and i think sometimes we don’t How did you find your target audience see um the impact that we’re having until it happens right and a lot of us here especially at queen’s college i think that you mentioned you’re switching directions and how you both switched directions and both ended up on youtube with your businesses also how many of you in the audience are thinking about switching directions how many of you watch youtube so i think this could also appeal to you also right and my razer can how many of you do watch youtube i spend my whole life on it to be honest wait first of all cool awesome julia keisha asia tasia christopher awesome so about like 25 navila so maybe this is a calling for you du young says i i do right this is a calling for you to get active right to switch your direction it’s never too late and it’s never too early so uh my follow-up question is um who did you want your youtube to reach how were you able to find your target audience for example yeah i mean i think that people find you that’s the beauty of youtube right and the way that the algorithm works is uh people who connect with you will find you naturally uh for me a lot of my content is tailored around travel so if you love to travel if you love luxury experiences um if you love bali because for a big chunk of time my content was centered around living in bali building a house so a lot of my content is centered around real estate so travel entrepreneurship real estate remote work um these are the core uh topics that i i share content around on on youtube and so um those were the type of people i wanted to attract as people who shared those interests and youtube kind of pushed them through your to your door and and if people are staying watching connecting sharing you’ll naturally see that it just kind of explodes at some point and it takes time but it happens yeah no i definitely agree i also think that um for me i knew what i was passionate about what i could talk about and i knew that the people that also were interested in that would watch i think when i switched direction to actually talk about ghana as well i was very conscious that there is this perception of ghana out there of you know sub-saharan africa and i basically just wanted to kind of like change the narrative in a way because my friends in scotland especially when i was younger when i was going like 16 i was telling them i was going to ghana they literally thought i don’t know where they thought i was going but they had no idea of the experience that i was having you know going to like amazing nightclubs hotels having really nice experiences so i just wanted to show that to the world i wanted to just change people’s perceptions so i think that’s what i wanted to reach and who i did reach was definitely people that want to like connect to their roots move to ghana and quite a large like african-american audience so my audience is mainly in america and then i’ve got the uk germany and then ghana is actually smaller so yeah it’s kind of like around the world people that are interested in ghana yeah awesome it’s funny how both your accounts were able to explode and also hit different sectors and different How important is it to niche markets and we have a question from joey i love when students give questions so again if you have a questions please feel free to share it your questions definitely come before mine and hours because we want to hear your voices uh joey acts how important is it to niche down do you see the most growth when the niche when you niche down um so yeah the question about building your niche yeah i think it’s so important uh to find a niche um and again it goes back to one that’s the easiest way to attract and build a community um so for example when i first started posting online a lot of people kind of think that the number of followers is equates to the amount of money that that you can make on social media for example but when you have a really loyal small community you can make so much more than if you have a hundred thousand people that don’t necessarily care about what you’re talking about when you have a clear audience um sorry for example i had a clear audience that loved to travel and wanted to find other people that also enjoyed traveling so even when i had 10 000 followers i was still able to make multiple six figures from you know speaking about my travel experiences to my audience and getting them to really buy into that right versus you know sometimes you might have 100 000 followers that don’t necessarily uh connect with any particular story so i would definitely suggest finding a niche um and that’s also a clear way for brands to reach you so if you’re someone who wants to monetize your social media and brands are looking at you they’re going to say what is this guy about right and from your first few videos i’ll be able to see are you about finance are you about travel are you luxury travel are you solo travel so it really helps in terms of people reaching out for uh partnership opportunities also helps with building a community that’s loyal to you and that you can eventually monetize as well if that’s something you’re interested in so thank you yeah i also agree it’s definitely important to find the niche that works for you i tried a couple of well i was primarily doing the parenting niche which i would say is pretty saturated highly saturated actually whereas i moved into sort of talking about ghana which was not saturated at all and there was a high demand for the content so i found out you know high demand with low supply and that really worked but there is also like let’s say you are going into the parenting niche there is ways to do it that haven’t been done and or you’re doing just vlogging and people end up loving you as a person and they just want to follow your journey and i it’s quite difficult though because when i started with the parenting i was maybe at like 3 000 subscribers i shaved all my hair off at that point and that video did really really well and so i thought oh should i like change the whole channel to a hair channel right and i actually don’t know how to look after my hair but i was considering it and i thought you know what let me just try it so sometimes you can get swayed by like the views should i actually do this and i spoke to some people at youtube at the time and they basically said you know you have to talk about what you can talk about for years to come like you can’t you can obviously change your direction but there’s no point in just doing it just for the views basically you have to be passionate about it in order for it to work and people can definitely see through it i personally at the moment aren’t considering like niching down even further and and because i see people like innis who is this like huge real estate youtuber actually like he’s one of my faves he’s maybe close to like 3 million subscribers and he only does one thing basically which is house tours and he does not deviate from that and i do think when you niche down that much it’s very easy for people to subscribe because they know what’s coming next and whereas i do a bit of i am quite niche down but i still do a little bit of everything whereas i think it can sometimes be slower for you to build in that way thank you and i know sometimes especially with with our generation since we’ve grown up with phones right How do you stay committed we expect things instantly right so how do you stay committed especially when things are blowing up as fast as you want to blow up right or things are booming now so how do you stay committed and how do you stay passionate about content creation to prevent you from burning out yeah i mean i think you got to go into it with really just enjoying it from the start right if you go into it with the idea of i just want to make money um you’re gonna find yourself uh taking uh maybe sponsorships that don’t even align with your channel right so someone offers you 500 to talk about fruit snacks but your channel is about uh you know travel or something else it doesn’t align with your audience right um so i definitely think that you really gotta focus on what do i really love talking about and let the views let the attention come over time um and it’s it’s hard it really is hard i mean i think after i posted about ten videos or eight to ten videos when i start is when my my videos really started to pick up um and then from there it just kind of you know rolls and you find your stride so you got to be with with this and with social media i think it’s definitely you got to play the long game um and you got to be willing to kind of um put put the feelings of damn like am i what’s wrong with me or why isn’t this working sometimes it just needs time you know and also you’ll start to see like people will give you feedback on your videos like hey we really love this can we see this uh this content or hey we really want to see um you talk about something else and and people will kind of give you uh feedback which you can then use to continue to grow your channel and and continue to find your stride so thank you yeah i’d say it’s absolutely not easy and having a clear goal and vision is very important and i had a vision and a goal of reaching 100 000 subscribers and to get there i was absolutely committed and dedicated i uploaded three times a week and i feel like consistency is so important and and growing on social media and it takes time like i didn’t make any money for two years so to do something for two years and not make money from it you have to actually enjoy what you’re doing and and so but now i hit 100 000 subscribers and then i was kind of like oh what next you know so it’s just making sure that you know your why why are you doing this like why is the reason that you want to keep creating videos you know who are you helping is this really what you want to keep doing and if it is the consistency needs to happen and and yeah you basically just need to keep going but there is times where i am you know like burnout happens especially if you’re creating so much content like three videos a week is it’s a lot it’s a full-time thing like if you’re not shooting you’re editing and you can get burnt out and i do think it’s important when you do get burnt out to stop so like i do have periods where i just like stop completely doing anything for like let’s say a month and then coming back because you can’t and somebody was i heard this quote and it was about like you can’t squeeze from lemons unless you like root the tree because the lemons won’t keep coming so you just have to like take a moment if you get to a point where it’s all a bit too much right thank you and i think um both of you Audience questions said that um both of you asked right maybe the audience can share also in the chat um what do you care about i see tasia isn’t she has her videos i see that she’s in the classroom right so maybe some of you are educators maybe you can also share about educating or even in new york city right how’s our education system uh what do teachers need to buy right uh maybe some of you are focused on beauty and lifestyle what products do you use to um i guess to focus on your niche right um i think there’s also space for everyone in this group too or everyone in this space also uh joey asks another question when first starting out should we focus more on quantity or quality of content yeah i mean i think my channel if you look at my channel i don’t have like a crazy number of videos um and i i kind of post maybe once a month i think it’s so important to have quality content um and really think about all the components of the video so and i’m not saying go out and buy a 6 000 camera but i am saying quality of what are you talking about you know how did you put the video together you know is there a story that people can actually catch on to um and then also other components like what does your thumbnail look like what is the title of the video all of those things that will also help youtube to show your video to more people so i would definitely say go for quality but also in the beginning yes you do have to be consistent um to really build that momentum and build that uh that audience that wants to follow you and people don’t want to come to your channel and see maybe two or three videos once every six months so you know you do have to kind of keep it consistent i would suggest finding something that works for you so finding a formula for me obviously because i’m juggling uh managing my businesses i know that i’m not going to be able to shoot and edit every single week and so on so it’s really like okay one video works for me and i’m gonna make it a banging video you know and that’s something at least that i can commit to and of course once you see how many people are interested in your your content you’ll even want to post more because you’re you’re feeling the um the excitement from your audience i think there’s there’s two ways you can go like i’m definitely all for um quality and i try and make my videos like as high quality as possible but i also kind of go for the quantity root and and i think that i think especially in the beginning i’ve i’ve slowed down like i don’t upload three videos a week anymore and i do think that it works if you do an amazing video like um what chili was saying like once a month or let’s say once every two weeks if you can make it really really good but i think if it’s like not absolutely amazing you should definitely upload probably more than that i think to begin with i personally would suggest uploading at least once a week but if you can do more than once a week like twice a week or three times a week it’s just going to like accelerate the process it also allows you to learn and figure out what people like and what people don’t like and i’ve also realized more recently there’s been videos that i’ve spent so much time on like let’s say you know i’ve shot over days and it’s taken days to edit and it’s just not done as well as like a video where i’m just shooting it on my phone like i went to nigeria and i didn’t bring i actually did bring my camera but i didn’t use it all the time i used my phone and that video did really really well so sometimes people just want good quality content in terms of like the idea and what you’re showing it doesn’t necessarily have to be done with like the best camera like you know i normally shoot with like a a really nice camera but this was just with my phone and i actually use my phone so much now and if you’d asked me a year ago i would have said i would never use my phone to shoot but there’s just occasions that i wouldn’t even be able to take my camera out in that i can use my phone get that moment that people can see and people can engage with okay and i think that makes content creating more um accessible right so i YouTube Shorts think sometimes the price of content creating scares a lot of people too i had to pay for this camera uh this mic right but again using your phone something that we have right we’re also able to bring people in different ways too oh anisha asked um how do you uh both feel about youtube shorts so i’m actually and i’ve got a youtube short partner manager and which is like somebody within youtube that i have meetings with and they talk about shorts and stuff like that so what i’ve realized is that i okay so what i’ve seen from shorts in general and i actually just spoke to one of my friends that does youtube today about shorts and she took short seriously for one month so she posted a lot of shorts in one month and she saw huge growth of her channel um not only like from the views side but also from the subscribers they also have the shorts fund which i’m sure people have heard about which is like 100 million dollar fund which they’re giving out to creators making shorts because you make money in a different way from shorts so normally from a youtube video aside from sponsorships and stuff like that you get youtube adsense but with shorts it’s not the same way they basically look at high performing videos and they give you like a sort of bonus and they choose the price i think the highest you can get is i don’t know if it’s 30 000 or 10 000 dollars anyways quite a lot of money for just one short video so what i’ve seen is that it really really works but i’ve tried it a couple of times but again you have to be consistent with it it’s totally different it’s not really what i normally create i don’t really normally create short content so it’s just something that i have to lean into and i’m definitely going to try it because i just think why not and i know that youtube really wants people to use it and when youtube wants people to use something they’re definitely going to push it right and i guess the uh the key concept is Challenges that uh consistency is key right so uh what’s what are some of the challenges that you both have faced um on youtube getting your page up with your businesses what have been some of your challenges and how were you able to overcome some of those challenges too yeah i mean for me one of the biggest challenges is uh staying consistent i guess what we talked about just now is um you know you want to be able to kind of find a stride and find uh something that works for you and sometimes you can have this amazing video idea not work out not post it so it’s kind of like a uh you know sometimes it’s like a hit or miss every month uh with with being consistent but again consistency is key and so that’s really one of the best ways to continue to grow your audience i think what i’ve noticed now though is that when you have a backlog of really good videos people will keep coming back for those and youtube will keep pushing that um and so that’s something that’s been exciting that i really didn’t think about uh when i started youtube is um you will still make money from videos that you posted a year two years ago because people are still watching that if the content is relevant so if you’re creating content that so for example a lot of my videos are travel related videos so i see a lot of people watching like my grease videos or my bali videos when they’re about to travel uh for the summer or travel when when travel is at an all-time high right um and so uh those are like to me in my mind like timeless pieces that you will continue to earn from um or at least continue to get people to to watch and so that’s something that’s really exciting about um about youtube even if you are not able to continue pumping out as many videos as you used to uh if you create good quality content uh people will still be able to um utilize your channel yeah for me there was definitely a time when i struggled with like comments so i used to read every single comment i used to be there’s an app called um youtube studio which when you start a youtube channel or if you’ve already got one you should definitely have on your phone well actually i’m saying that but at the same time i’m going to say that i checked it like every minute of every day and and so on there it shows you all your new comments and i used to like if there was bad comments it actually affected me and i’d feel like so sad so terrible and then it would affect me even wanting to create more videos on youtube so anyway it got to a point where i just said like i’m not actually doing that anymore why why am i reading all these comments these people like you know it’s amazing that people are watching my channel but i don’t need to see everything that everyone wants to say about me or you know my family or anything like that and so now what i do is i go onto my actual channel and i’ll comment under comments but i’ll mainly look at like the top ones and they’re normally the ones that are liked so they’re normally like positive comments you know so then i don’t get to like the negative ones that are at the bottom and and then what else have i sort of struggled with and i think that’s probably the main thing also like motivation keeping going because as i spoke about before burn out knowing which direction to go in and all of those things i just like take a moment you know write things down and talk to other people who do the who are in the same space and then you know move forward yeah comments is definitely an interesting one because yeah i mean i feel like no matter how long you’re on social media because you are a person um it just there’s some comments that just like really like you’re like you really like you’re like wow i can’t believe someone would say that but yeah i guess it takes time you know to to figure that out and to kind of brush it off and i like your formula for doing for kind of missing the the comments thing so i’m definitely going to try that one i feel like we’re all learning in this space together we learned about short Editing funds youtube studio and i think you both read um alvin’s mind alvin sent me a direct message about uh how do you handle negative comments right and i think with a lot of us too um some of some of them may want to work nine-to-five jobs so they had to find a ways to um to handle and to manage uh the comment side the privacy side while also pursuing their passions on youtube also uh lusu asks what are the best apps for editing uh sites and how do you edit your videos so with me oh you can go ahead vanessa no no feel free okay um so one of the cool things um again i’m kind of juggling two businesses right and so the way that i see youtube is a really great part of my personal life outside of work and a a medium that kind of helps my work right um and so i kind of had to realize early on that it wasn’t going to be conducive to edit um every video um and so one of the cool things that you could do is go on or go to and you can find people that will edit your video for thirty dollars fifty dollars depending on obviously the complexity of the video so if you’re someone who maybe is working a nine nine-to-five job you don’t have the time but you maybe want to put aside some funds um towards editing i would definitely suggest finding a good editor that’s affordable that can assist you with editing your videos it also helps you if you want to stay consistent because they can edit it you can schedule the video and you can kind of go about your day-to-day life and youtube then becomes another source of income aside from that i have my partner and he um has he actually learns how to edit videos specifically when i said i wanted to start a youtube channel so that’s been pretty cool as well so when he’s not busy he’s the one that edits pretty much like a lot of my videos so that’s been really cool as well so i use um final cut pro and also yeah that’s the main tool that i use which is on macs like apple laptops and computers and i think that one is like 300 but the alternative is imovie which comes free on macs and apple computers if you’re on a pc then i’ve also used premiere pro i used to work um at the bbc for a bit and they use premiere pro which actually ends up being more expensive because i think it’s about 45 dollars per month and that’s like forever so over time obviously that adds up but there’s other alternatives like there’s da vinci and other alternatives on pc as well but personally i use final cut i find it very easy and like intuitive to editing i also for my thumbnails i use picmonkey which is it’s not that expensive i think it’s like 14 per month for the pro version or you could get the free version but with the pro version the main reason why i bought it is you can like cut out a person like it cuts out the background if you can do things like photoshop obviously you don’t need that but i can’t do anything like that and so i do pick monkey for the the thumbnails and then for my um for my music i use epidemic sounds which is about ten dollars per month and there you can use all um copyright free music that you pay for which is very important because in my early days i used to just go on youtube and type in copyright free music and so many of those videos are now like strikes in terms of copyright which means that all the money is now going to the artist and not coming to me so those so because what people end up doing is they make it copyright free music on youtube so that people like me who are you know not that smart use it and then two years later they will not make it copyright free so that they then get all the money from those videos and some of those videos have done so well and made a lot of money so definitely find something like there’s art list i use epidemic science there’s different subscriptions you can have for editing and i also don’t edit every single one of my videos i used to my husband works with me so he edits some videos and i have another guy here that edits some of my videos as well thank you and i think professor cohen wants to add something else too i just wanted to add for all the students here that we have queens college students have access to the entire adobe creative suite it’s a very expensive software package and you can use it at the labs and i think you can even download it at home so if you’re going to get started and you want to learn a package that has commercial applications and will look good on your resume take advantage of your being a student and try out that software amazing you’ll save so much money definitely and i think you both brought up really good points about finding the right people around you whether it’s your partners or your friends to support you uh maybe even friends who maybe they Other Careers like to edit maybe you can get a friend to edit for you maybe you get a friend to take the photos for you or even do your thumbnail for you also so i think the good question is right find out who’s around you right find out what people around you love to do to and how you can incorporate them on your journey also um i also wanted to ask you um what other careers are tied to content creating um what about the videographers uh the editors anything else that we should know about yeah i mean uh videographers is a big one um and you get to even travel with that as well so if you think about people like los leblanc he hires uh videographers that are kind of behind the scenes if you if you’re someone who doesn’t like to be in front of the camera but you love to get creative you know definitely consider videography um photography as well i think right now even like social media management is a big one like managing a channel coming up with the content uh what you’ll find is a lot of uh youtube stars have a whole team behind them and sometimes you’ll be like wow they will have four or five people who are you know in charge of the production in charge of creating the concepts and reaching out to um to brands and the brand partnerships and so on so there’s so many now it’s becoming like this whole new industry um of people who are able to create a career from um social media and it doesn’t always involve you being directly in front of the camera and then another way that you can utilize social media again is by starting a business right and building an online presence and so that’s something that i personally connect with because i’ve been able to do that with my travel company um starting that business and then being able to use the power of social media to grow um our our audience right and grow our clientele and take and show ownership of that specific topic so when people see you traveling the world when people see you uh being a thought leader on um a specific topic they feel more trusting to want to work with you right and so that’s a really good way to grow your business um because people can kind of see that you walk the walk and you’re about what your your business is about um and then the same as being able to also invest in in tech as well uh from youtube and from being able to monetize um my business and my channel and so on and so that’s a really cool way where you can kind of take that um and leverage um you know social media and then pull it into other directions that you might be interested in yeah i’ve also recently started a business called the ghana guide which right now we sell itineraries so anyone wanting to travel to ghana because i got a lot of emails asking like where should i go and so we started at this company called the ghana guide we sell itineraries there’s seven different itineraries for all different travel experiences and that came off the back of the queries that i got and another thing that i’ve i mean there’s several things that i’ve had the opportunity of doing sort of careers that have come from my my youtube channel and another one is real estate so we’ve sold like millions of dollars worth of property from showing the properties on my channel and i get commission from that which is i make like amazing i probably make more from that definitely than i do from youtube directly and and then i’ve also was a presenter on bbc science podcast a documentary i did a lot of radio and tv when i was living in scotland and last year i was named one of the youtube black creator class of 2021 which was absolutely incredible like youtube also has this um youtube black fund that they’re doing which again is like 100 million that they’re putting towards black creators and they honestly youtube was a company i really love them obviously it’s google they have a lot of money to put behind their creators and i feel like they really care and they give us seemed funding and they also gave us a lot of support and we got to meet a lot of different people as well i kind of like dabbling in tv presenting and but from the other side as chiri was saying like there’s graphic designers and actually a good channel to look at to see the behind the scenes is ali abdel vlogs so ali abdal is like a big creator absolutely love his channel he’s just started a vlog well i think he started a while ago but he’s just started daily uploads and so you get to see him go into his office and he has like 20 plus employees and you kind of get to see what all the different jobs are so i was watching his channel yesterday and he has somebody who just does after effects which is on the adobe suite so that’s just like things that pop up so let’s say he says oh and today we’re talking about productivity it’s just like the word productivity popping up he has somebody doing all that graphic design and strategists and analysts looking at the data of the youtube channel to figure out what you should do next talent managers so i actually previously had an agent for a bit and um you know that is a big you know career like you’re getting 15 of any like deals that are coming in for your creators and you’re going to probably have a pool of multiple creators under you as well so yeah there’s so many options if you don’t want to be the on-screen talent of a youtube channel there’s so many ways you can get involved behind the scenes right thank you and i think we’re learning a lot too about ali abdullah and i think you’re all mentioning other content creators also so it’s really awesome how you’re empowering other people in your fields too and i think that’s what we should try to promote more um and hopefully what you all promote too in your classes and your fields and more um so we have a question from elvin also how do you uh see yourself how do you both see yourselves within the next 10 years relating to your youtube channels what are your 10 year goals yeah i mean i think it’s it’s an interesting one right because you evolved naturally as a person um so you might you know when i was three years ago i was traveling constantly um and i was the type of person that was in a new location every other week every two weeks uh living in thailand and so on and so um that was my life and now you know a few years later i have to be in an office i have to kind of juggle a team and all these things so the travel side of me has definitely slowed down and so that’s been the dilemma is how do you continue to feed and give that content that people came to you for it originally um i think in that case for me and what i see myself doing long term is really opening up my youtube channel to other sides of me um and you know so pivoting into talking about tech talking about uh entrepreneurship and still also showing travel here and there when i go on vacation so i think it’s while while you can niche down you should be able to have that flexibility to let your channel grow as you grow um and you don’t need to feel forced to stay in one um you know to stay in one specific niche that is no longer uh your reality right because then your content isn’t as genuine um and i think that it’s okay to let that channel evolve so for example if you look at the makeup industry right uh three years ago makeup videos were the thing right everyone was posting an eyeliner highlighter makeup review video if you look at the makeup industry today uh okay we’ve seen it all now you know and you’re seeing a lot of makeup influencers pivot to getting more personal and telling us you know about their day-to-day lives or maybe some of them are pivoting into fitness uh some of them have moved to talk about lifestyle and managing a home and and parenting or whatever it is so i i think that a lot of time people might come for that niche but they’ll stay for you um and so you get to kind of use that to your advantage and once they’re connected to you they’ll stay and encourage you um you know and the people who who don’t connect with that will will find somewhere else but that’s just the natural cycle yeah i think that there’s kind of two types of youtube channel one is idea based and one is personality based so the personality-based ones are more like the vlogs i personally watch majority personality-based channels like vlog channels just really interested in people’s lives and but my own channel is more idea based so every every video that i make is pretty much an idea and that is the subject of the channel it’s not really about me so much although i have done some vlogs here and there um but i think moving forward um i’ll probably get more into like vlogging because i’m going to start building my house kind of like judy did absolute inspiration your house is amazing so i’m definitely going to like vlog the process and film the process of the house build and i would love to basically start being a developer and build houses for other people as well so i’d love to kind of like show that whole process on my channel and so kind of like pivoting in that way thank you and then first um cohen wants to add uh something else also uh i just uh i have to go and i wanted Queens Podcast Lab to put a small commercial in for the queen’s podcast lab before i leave and i wanted to tell everybody who’s here that’s in my 140 class you’re not excused you have to show up for final presentations but in all seriousness if you are inspired by these creators and you are interested in becoming a creator yourself whether it’s on youtube or tick tock or podcast or whatever if you’re going to be back in the fall come reach out to us at the queen’s podcast lab we’re building a community of creators we have facilities we have professional development activities we even have paid internships so if you’re gonna be back in the fall write me an email or you can write carmine or me at joseph.cohan and we’d love to have all of you join us if if you’re interested and i wanted to thank you carmine for arranging this it was awesome so best of this isn’t the end i just have to leave thank you very much carmine of course thank you professor going awesome and i think we have um some more and i think yeah i think we should all take advantage of what school provides us also i think that um even though you know life after you graduate is amazing too but life while you’re still in the institution or still at queen’s college um can also help you uh you know with getting apps for free with using uh software for free also so make sure you’re taking advantage of not only both their amazing words right but also the um the knowledge that they’re giving to you too right let’s learn uh from them so that way you can be as as cool as them you know one day and also you know be invited to speak to colleges and all around the world and and be such amazing people inside and out uh i have a question from lusu how do you decide how do you decide on a manager once your channel becomes successful or is self management the best so i am kind of got to a point where i thought i mean i get a lot of emails and i thought do i need like a pa like a personal assistant somebody that helps with my emails and my sort of calendar or should i get sort of like an agent who deals primarily with my brand partnerships and and potentially bringing in new brand partnerships and and so i got an agent but it wasn’t just an agent for this it was like an agent for like tv stuff as well but i feel like it’s very important to find like an agent who is doing what you want to do so they have creators under their belt who are like let’s say doing the brand sort of partnerships you want to do and you’ve seen that they have managed to do that i but now i don’t have anyone and i do it all myself and to be honest i think it’s fine like i’m i’m fine with like managing my own things i do think if you have like a a specific content creator manager you might be able to get more opportunities but i’m okay just now with like the opportunities that come directly my way so yeah do you wanna uh piggyback or are you okay oh yeah i mean i i didn’t chime in because i’ve never um had a specific uh manager for my channel um for me i filter a lot of the emails requests i get by myself and i’ve kind of made my channel centered specifically around um making sure that whatever i talk about aligns with what my audience wants to hear about um and i think that that’s something um you know to touch on that topic uh whatever brand that you decide to work with um whatever opportunities come your way i would definitely recommend you know not just i mean initially the excitement of like having someone knock on your door is really fun uh but you you should pretty soon think about how you want to manage all of those inquiries and create a you know a value based system for yourself or create a set standard for yourself these are the type of companies that i want to work with these are the type of brands that align with my values um and that will make it so much easier to be able to spot the right opportunities for you because you’re going to get a lot of different people like want to send you free stuff to mention them and so on and so forth and so my motto is give value give value and then ask for business so whenever i promote something on my channel um i really want people to listen and to um you know to to know that i’m not just gonna sell them anything um and i think that that’s something that’s really important in terms of being a content creator is building trust with your audience and um you know so whatever you talk about make sure it’s something that you absolutely believe in and that aligns with your values and that makes it much easier to then filter out opportunities that come your way yeah filtering out options that come your way um knowing what you love Breaking Barriers knowing what you care about what you’re passionate about and also sticking true to yourself too right people will love you for who you are and i think that also that authenticity adds a lot of value to channels too and also work in business also um so how do you both continue to break such amazing barriers um what berries have you faced how do you continue to break them day in and day out especially since you’re abroad and you’re able to target or you’re able to um bring so many people together yeah i mean for me uh social media has really just opened the floodgates in terms of you know having access to amazing people uh from different backgrounds different cultures being able to kind of speak to people in your community and have people kind of look at your journey and feel inspired and i think sometimes when you’re in the little bubble you don’t realize how many people you’re actually touching um so that’s been something that’s been really really exciting sometimes it gets to a point where it just feels like a number on the screen but those are actual people that are connecting with your story and i feel like that in itself is really breaking barriers opening up um you know to show people what is possible for for people that look like me and and even beyond right uh young people i get a lot of people on my channel like you’re so young how do you do this and how do you do that um or people that are like there’s no way um but that’s exciting because i want people to feel that they’re it is possible right um so yeah we’re breaking barriers barriers for me is through connecting with people uh being able to touch people being able to um make new friendships uh get advice from people that i would normally never have crossed paths with and that’s super super exciting and being kind of connected to new communities as well so youtube has become a really good way of networking finding opportunities and also leveraging that audience to build and go in different directions for my life i feel like there’s several ways that i’ve kind of like broke barriers first of all and you know i’m a mother with two children and i’ve managed to like uproot our life from scotland to ghana with my husband purely through my youtube channel and creating content and building up and you know my revenue to a point where i could support the whole family you know it’s not normally seen as like the woman would be like the bread winner and especially when my husband was in like a very sort of like high-flying career and he was able to leave that to come and work with me like i was so proud of like that moment and and also just being able to highlight stories here that people wouldn’t see basically if there wasn’t youtube like people aren’t showing these sort of things maybe a bit more now on mainstream tv but without youtube and being able to just like tell our own story and me be able to speak to people who can tell their story direct to camera which can just like blast out to the whole world is so so incredible and i think it’s changed so many people’s opinions on ghana and i even know that from the people that i encounter that are just like we had no idea like nobody’s ever shown us this nobody ever told us this at school or showed us this on tv but from your channel i’ve been able to see that there is this side of ghana as well so yeah that’s that’s how i think i’ve broken barriers so yeah i think both of you are like the epitome of like changing narratives right and making it uh possible to Microaggressions people that can see that it is possible uh to achieve such success it is possible to continue breaking barriers and different barriers too um so as women of color as women on youtube how do you both combat microaggressions that are thrown at you oh gosh um it’s funny because when i posted my house tour video so so the funny thing is every single video um that i post i always mention you know my businesses and i’m always like you know go check out this is what i do for a living but i always seem to get the same comments like where does she get this money from or um there’s no way like people calculating what they think your income is and they’re like there’s no way that you can do this and you know i i think that especially as a woman in business um and and then a woman on youtube that’s putting herself out there uh people have the perception that you are funded by someone else or that whatever your success is is because it’s they always attribute your success to someone else um and they can never fathom that you know maybe you did just put in the work right um and so for me um a big way that i’ve been able to kind of combat that is just keep keep on shining um sometimes the comments they get to you a little bit but you know being able to stand in your power being able to be confident being able to um express that express yourself confidently confidently um online i think is a superpower um and the best way to tackle these aggressions is to keep shining and to keep showing people um you know why uh what you do is so amazing and why you are so amazing so um you know sometimes you get caught up in that but for every person that is negative for every person that makes certain comments there’s hundreds of people that are literally cheering you on excited they want to see your content um and it’s easy to kind of get yourself boggled down by the you know the hate sometimes but it’s so important to uh just use the the positive energy that’s coming your way as fuel to keep on keep on doing what you love and so that’s something that i’ve been doing is just kind of taking all the positivity um which is ten times anything that any troll can say um and and just keep showing people um excellence as a woman as a woman of color um and hopefully inspiring other women of color to see um that there’s so many opportunities for us out there um whether it’s you being directly in front of the camera as a youtuber whether it’s you using youtube to uh you know channel to fund your your business or your entrepreneurial journey so there’s so many ways that you can do that and yeah that’s that’s the fun part yeah i think definitely having like tunnel vision and just ignoring what people have to say is so important because otherwise i mean i just don’t like focusing on negative things full stop in my life whether that’s like what i’ve watched on netflix i mean this has changed i used to watch those sort of murder mystery things all the time but you know like i try and just watch positive things and yeah in terms of my channel just like tunnel vision there’s been occasions where especially when i was in scotland i’d say now i’m in ghana so there’s there’s not so much um sort of like racism or anything like that but when i was in scotland you know there was a lot of that sort of thing but i just i just kept going on what i was doing and what i wanted to do and being able to achieve like greatness like what you’re saying is so important because it just shows those people like as much as whatever you think like we can still do whatever we want to do i think that’s the most important thing like what you’ve ever you put your mind to you’re able to actually achieve whatever that is whether it’s like a grade university or you know a number of subscribers you want to hit if you keep putting in the work you’ll definitely get there so i think that’s just why i always tell myself thank you and i guess it’s also tied to um to both the essence that it is possible and also to stand in your power Hope for the new generation right standing your truth um and also look at the positives instead of negatives also because i think that sometimes the negatives weigh us down but there’s so many positives that um sometimes are over shown yeah or get oversha or outshined um in our society today also um so what is your hope for incoming content creators what do you hope for the new generation coming up um yeah yeah i i would say get rid of the vanity metrics um a lot of people focus on the numbers that they see from other people right and so you’re seeing this person is like oh she grew her channel in this amount of time she was able to do this and you’re you’re always focused on the vanity metrics you’re not as focused on just enjoying the process um and really focusing on yourself stay in your lane uh focus on your lane and kind of look ahead um rather than focusing on what everyone else um is accomplishing um and it’s okay to kind of look at other people pat them on the back and and use that as inspiration but i i think that in this day and age where so many people want to come into the world of content creation um it’s easy to compare yourself to other people and i think it’s so important to really just find what works for you and go at it 110 don’t let yourself get caught up in what everyone else um has going on because that’s the quickest way to um to know to nowhere right that’s the quickest way to end up you know not enjoying the process and end up um you know uh not being able to continue what you’re doing so yeah i would just say don’t compare yourself get rid of the vanity metrics a lot of times you can still monetize with a small community um which is something that i found out that a lot of people um don’t always know is even if you have 10 000 followers if those 10 000 followers really truly connect with you um you have so much more power than someone who has a hundred thousand followers that are pretty much you know they’re not really connected they’re just coming there for a quick show and they don’t think twice about it thank you yeah no i i definitely agree honestly i feel like you’ve covered so many of the points um but yeah just make fit well i think yeah sitting down figuring out what’s maybe different about you what you’re passionate about what you’ve maybe searched for on youtube before and not being able to being able to find because there’s actually still things out there that aren’t online sometimes i’m shocked i’m like looking for something and i’m like wow like nobody’s made a video about that that’s the sort of thing you need to make a video about because other people will be searching for that sort of thing and and yeah just making sure you find your niche staying consistent making good quality content and that means like if you’re using your phone make sure you’re in good light so lighting is so important whether that’s just standing in front of a window or going outside not stan not basically being in a dark room and making sure that the audio is clear so you’re in a space that doesn’t have music playing in the background because you will be demonetized because that music’s probably copyright or if you’re in a room it’s not that echoey even though i’m actually in an echoey room right now um or you know like making sure that you are in a space that the audio sounds crisp you can even like if you’re doing voice over a duvet over your head i still do that sort of thing and so yeah audio video being well lit and then making sure you use things like um you know the thumbnail well the title well make sure you make searchable content especially in the early days writing things that people are searching for looking at google trends making sure that basically people are looking for that sort of content because they’re not going to find you if you just write um day in the life going to the coffee shop until you’re somebody like patricia bright who’s got millions of subscribers and people want to know what she’s buying from the coffee shop so you know until you get to that level make searchable content right thank you um and does anyone from the chat have any uh final questions that they would like to ask um at this point any final questions anyone want answered oh sonya asks do hashtags work so i don’t hashtag so do you mean the hashtags at the top because i’ve seen that it’s like a new feature that people can put hashtags just under the video i’ve never tried it personally but so i don’t know i say go for and do whatever you think is gonna boost your video if even if it’s adding hashtags i had add hashtags to my videos um as just an extra way it’s there so i’m like maybe this is an extra way to boost the video it takes one minute to do it so just do whatever youtube is giving you because um you know you never might know the exact uh thing that is pushing someone to your video um hashtags have worked really well on other social media uh for me for me and so i i i believe if it’s if it’s effective on somewhere like instagram or tick tock then definitely i’m using it for youtube awesome thank you thank you both uh casey asks any tips on making your first videos i’m happy we’re inspiring some people into their first video so any uh tips that you have it’s funny because my first video i was overthinking it i was like i need to come in with a bang and i need to do this i need to do that and you end up in a state where you actually don’t get anything done because you’re trying to do the most um so i would say for your first video uh don’t overthink it uh just put it out i mean the quicker you can put the video out obviously again uh make searchable content uh make it something that people will be looking for right um that’s important but don’t overthink it because as soon as it comes it goes and then you need to be on to the next one um so a lot of times the first video initially might not get the most views uh but it is so significant in the way that it prepares you for for youtube right and so it’s a nice way to kind of get comfortable with being in front of the camera talking to a camera and so on um so embrace that embrace the fact that you’re learning embrace the fact that it’s something new pat yourself on the back because you are finally doing it especially if you’re someone who’s been thinking about it for a long time enjoy making that video um put it out there and get right to the next one i i would say that because a lot of people are like oh i’m gonna do it i’m gonna do it and then they never get to it because they think it needs to be some crazy uh first start to your channel and it really doesn’t need to be um and again the views might not even come until much later on for that specific video awesome yeah so casey go for it and let me know how it goes please i’ll definitely be one of your first like viewers if possible uh we have a question for um from lusu to vanessa hi vanessa i am also a mom of two one three-year-old and one seven-year-old can you give me advice on how i can schedule doing my videos and being a mom because it’s difficult finding time for myself and i find myself pushing my dreams aside amazing to hear that you’re at uni and you want to start a channel i actually am when i had my son i was at university i went straight back and i had literally exams when he was one week old and so i feel where you’re coming from so what i did with and my daughter she was i think she was around the same sort of age when i started my channel and i used to film so i did everything at home at that point mainly although i did like family vlogs so what i did is i used to film when she was napping so i would film but you’ve got three-year-olds i don’t know if they would nap but anyway i basically film any moment i had time or if i could maybe have somebody look after the children for like 30 minutes you can probably film a video in like 30 minutes to one hour if it’s a sit-down video if you could have somebody watch the children or when they’re sleeping and you can film and then edit again maybe when they’re sleeping that’s what i did because i was and my husband was at work so i was the one looking after the kids and so or even if he was back on the weekends he could maybe watch them for a bit whilst i worked i do think there was a period of time of like a year when i was uploading so much and and i was also traveling to ghana to film and stuff like that that i had like no days off it felt like i was just working every single day i barely saw the kids barely saw my husband and i think there’s definitely like a balance to be had which that probably wasn’t it but obviously it served a purpose at the time and so i think it’s just like finding those moments that you can find in your day isn’t easy but you know just trying to make it happen if it’s what you want to do definitely um and also maybe even to utilizing the night time also you know you might be getting less sleep so i don’t know if that’s promoting self-care at all um yeah and i think it’s amazing to acknowledge like the struggles to the realities of pushing out contents also as parents as young adults as a workers as business owners too um thank you so much for your question um sunny asks when should i start investing in a camera and charlene asks what is something you choose not to share or show on your platform um so with regards to the investing in a camera i would suggest invest in a camera once you start to gain traction on your channel um don’t think that i i mean nowadays we see like everyone they have this amazing graphics and all these crazy stuff and so you think like you need to match that in the beginning you really just need to figure out like what works for you um what style of videos work for your audience or what type of content you enjoy making um so you don’t necessarily need to go right ahead and invest in a camera if it’s something that’s not in your budget it’s always a great and nice to have but it’s not an absolute must in the beginning once you start to gain traction where you are seeing more views come in to the channel and you’re like okay i’m ready to level up and i have the budget um then i would suggest you know investing in a camera but take everything in steps and stages and then uh with regards to the question about what you choose to share or not share on your platform for me i like to stick to uh specific topics that i love and keep everything else private so when it comes to who am i you know my personal life who i date uh family um and so on i don’t share any of that on social media um for because i like to separate the two i think sometimes unless your channel is specifically uh around centered around your life sometimes you feel the urge to want to over share uh because you feel that it might get you more views so you have to decide what are you comfortable with what what’s your what’s your comfort level because there are going to be people out there watching you and um you know kind of following your journey are you comfortable with sharing certain aspects of your life for me i had to decide that um anything relating to my private personal life was off limits on my channel and i really just wanted to focus on specific topics that i was really passionate about um and that has worked so far so everyone’s different everyone has a different comfort level um it really just depends on you and and what you enjoy making content about so yeah i’ve previously used to do the parenting stuff i used to do family vlogs and then i actually completely changed my mind and i didn’t want my kids on social media at all so i deleted like every video that they were ever in even on my instagram you know i deleted every picture that they were in as well and that is quite a shift because a lot of the other things i was doing i used to have a podcast called magnificent mothers which to be honest was more about mothers but a lot of the things i was doing even on like tv and radio was all mothering parenting related and i completely changed it and i think what made me change my mind was people started making like hate videos about me right and i used to just think oh my gosh imagine not so many it wasn’t like out of control but you know just some people here and there made some hate videos and i thought imagine they made a video and then my child was in that video even thinking about that makes me like basically want to cry because i’m like they’ve didn’t decide to be on this they’re too young to make that decision and now they could be in somebody’s mind like in a negative way and i just thought no like it’s really not for me and um i just don’t want my kids online at all so i completely changed the way that i did that my husband as well um isn’t really on my channel at all like he’s never spoken on my channel he might be like in the background but it’s basically not about my family at all it’s mainly about the people that i’m interviewing or the real estate or it’s not so much about my life thank you and i feel like it’s also important to understand boundaries right what are you comfortable sharing what are you not comfortable sharing i think that’s also a part of your stories too and part of your content also especially since some of you are want to be teachers and some of you want to be one work in politics one day right so it’s really good to find a fine line with what you’re okay with sharing and what you’re not okay with sharing um do you both have any final words for us and then i’ll just leave the the zoom open for a little while if anyone has any private questions they want to ask um but yeah and either if you can go first um just some final words i just think that this is such an exciting time for everyone we now have like a time where we can make content without having gatekeepers you can make whatever you want put it online it really wasn’t like that before i’ve kind of like dabbled in the tv space and there’s so many different and like barriers and gatekeepers to that space whether you’re working with production companies tv companies whereas with youtube and content creation instagram you can just wake up make whatever you want and post it online and it’s such an exciting time and it’s it’s like really liberating to do that sort of thing so i think it’s just so exciting for everybody if you want to get into content creation you know to just dive right in it’s also a great way to make money and you know that’s what we do as a full-time job obviously i’ve got two children that we support so it’s it’s possible basically you can do it it takes time like i didn’t make money for two years and so it definitely takes time to build up to that but you can do it if you want to do it thank you yeah i mean i totally agree with you there vanessa um it’s such an exciting time and for me um i would urge you to think about what is your personal brand um you know if if that’s something the world is changing in a way where everyone wants to know who you are what are you about and what do you stand for right uh when i hire someone i want to know what are you about i’m going to go search their linkedin i want to see what are they what are they showing to the world online right um and and it’s getting more so like that um and so uh wherever you stand if you’re in front of the camera behind the camera um stand for something right um and be loud and proud about that in whatever way that you choose to do that um and again like i said earlier it’s so important to realize that there’s so many ways to go about content creation whether you are a business owner whether you are um you know a videographer or photographer whatever it is there’s so many ways to go about it and be in the space um and and monetize the space um and so i urge you to kind of find what works for you um and and really just just own that and be a thought leader in in whatever um space you’re you’re passionate about and it’s really comes down to finding your passion figuring out um you know what your values are and really building from that and standing by that awesome thank you um and just to recap right the fact that there are no gatekeepers right uh find out what your personal brand is uh know the opportunities with youtube short uh the free service that you have available the programs that only cost 14 a month to utilize um like vanessa mentioned right uh stand for something like td highlights also right there are so many ways to get involved the market is not oversaturated everyone can find a place right uh whether on you know in front of the camera or behind the camera um i hope you all enjoyed this this um this panel uh thank you both so much for the emails and you know for keeping in constant contact i know you both are always on the move and you’re always you know so far so thank you for gracing us with your presence um thank you for everything that you’ve done for us today we really appreciate it and thank you to all the participants um that stayed behind the ask questions i know some of you had class um so thank you again i hope you all do well during finals week uh this week and be safe and have a great day and if you want to answer some last-minute questions you’re more than welcome to ask in the chat now i’ll just end the recording cool thank you everyone have a great day thank you guys thank you so much