My Struggle on Youtube
- Friday, 14 December 2012
Long time no diary post! Remember not long ago, I recently received a gold plaque from Youtube for surpassing a million subscribers? I took the opportunity to make a video dedicating it on thanking you all. I want to thank you guys again because none of this would happen without your support. Today, I'm going to talk about the other side of the coin- my struggles on Youtube.
We hit 1 million! What a milestone!
I'm pretty sure most of you have heard me talk about just how thankful I am for Youtube. It's brought me many opportunities and it's been a fantastic platform for me to express my creativity, thoughts and ideas. However, I want to share something that's kind of been lingering in my mind for the past year or so. I want to open up to you all and talk about my struggles I've had throughout my Youtube walk.
With strengths, of course there's going to be weaknesses right? Maybe 90% of you expect my struggle linked with 'Internet trolls' or haters'. Nope. You may think it's odd but I want to talk to you about my struggle with my Youtube 'success'. Maybe I'm sharing this because in some way, I hope you guys will walk away with a thought.
Despite how some of you see me today, whether as a happy-go-lucky, confident or even goofy girl - I grew up as a very very insecure girl. I had a wonderful childhood growing up with lots of siblings and cousins but I always felt like I wasn't good enough.
I was brought up mainly by my grandparents so I wasn't the coolest kid neither XD
I believe most of my teasing came from my own family - my relatives. They used to point at me and compare me with their own children. I can't believe the amount of judgement I received as a child. Nobody likes to be compared right so why do it on your own children or even nieces and nephews? I know people say culturally, chinese people are more straight forward with their words which I can understand but as a child, I really believed I was unworthy. I was ashamed of almost EVERY single thing about myself except my creativity.
I always knew I wasn't the brightest crayon in the box but I had always been grateful for being artistic indeed. Nonetheless, I always wanted to please my parents so I worked very very hard in school anyway. I really tried. I did pretty well in my A-Level exams and with 2 As and 1 B, I ended up enrolling myself into Sheffield Hallam University. With the grades, I could've entered a much better university but I always had the tendency to undermine myself.
Eventually, I graduated from university with a degree I didn't care about. I struggled to find a job because I didn't have any work experience. How was I going to compete with the passionate graphic designers in this economy crisis? So I worked full time at my parent's takeaway/restaurant and it was really nice being in an enviroment that's safe where everybody is nice to you. Still, something always screamed in me that I could do more.
Pic taken over 5 years ago. Me getting ready for work.
When I started to make videos on Youtube, it was like I was able to escape to a whole new world. I would come home excited to read comments. I'd wake up excited to film a video. I wasn't a Youtube Partner back then but I was in LOVE.
Eventually, I became partner and at start I really didn't expect very much. I was excited to have a pretty banner at the top of my Youtube page but I had no idea how Youtube would change the course of my life. I remember the first month, I must've earned about 25 pounds and I thought that was AMAZING. This is like pocket money for me to buy makeup every month so I can continue to make more videos.
Time progressed and suddenly my popularity grew on Youtube. It was pretty exciting finally being able to earn income on my own doing something I absolutely adore.
I suddenly got this boost of confidence on Youtube because I was able to open up about my insecurities. I was fine showing my bare face to thousands of people. Knowing my videos were helping girls around the World really made me feel good about myself. I guess all he judgement I received as a child made me want to go out and tell people they are worthy and capable for greatness.
When I moved to Hong Kong with Tim, we didn't have very much. We took our entire life savings and just hoped for the best. I think between us we had about 2k max. So let's fast forward 2.5 years now.
I now have over a million subscribers.
I have my own cosmetic brush & t-shirt range.
I own a small % of an up & coming network.
I managed to buy my very first property in Hong Kong.
I can't believe we're going to launch Bubbi Range II brushes soon. Time has really flown by this year. I still can't believe these brushes are my very own brand. Still feels like I'm dreaming.
Without a doubt, there are many many many people doing miles better than I am but for my age, I'm not doing too bad right? With all my heart despite the sudden success, I can't deny that I had a bit of struggling trying to keep myself on ground. I wanted to stay being humble but there were parts of me wanted to show all the people who doubted me or walked all over me.
I wanted to show the mean girls in my high school who pushed me around corridors that I've risen above them while they became single mums living from benefits. I wanted to show my relatives who pointed their fingers at me and laughed whilst criticising me. I wanted to show a tutor in University who didn't believe in my ideas. I wanted to show these people I'm now capable.
I'm not proud of this of course but I guess this is a natural thing. It was like me going 'HAH! In your face". It was actually pretty satisfying to show these people I'm no longer the tiny person they can walk all over.
Everybody has their own ethics and morals. One of my biggest Youtube ethics is to be honest with my viewers because your trust in me is my number 1 priority. I am aware I have quite a large following but I never want to abuse this power/trust. Out of 100 business opportunities, I probably work with less than 1 (if even). Even if I do work with them, I like to make sure they give back in some way too and of course, I'll have to believe in the company 101%. I'm not saying this to make myself sound righteous. I'm just saying this is my own personal preference and style of working I guess.
It really wasn't until this year when I suddenly became exposed to all the business and politics behind Youtube. Back then, things were so much more simpler. Now these days, thousands of dollars is paid to endorse a product in a video and some youtubers would even take acting classes to talk in front of the camera. I had no idea stuff like this really exists. I completely understand that Youtube is now an actual career path/stepping stone for a lot of people now (including myself now) so being able to advance isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think it's actually very inspiring to see normal people suddenly become so successful through determination and preservance. Somehow, looking around me even in some channels I used to love, some videos are turning into actual infomercials. I'm not even sure I can trust their credibility anymore. I'm even kind of tired watching some youtubers blatantly lie to their followers. I won't go into detail how I know so let's just leave it as that.
When I was in LA, I was constantly told to see Bubzbeauty as a brand. I was constantly told I'm doing things wrong. Conversations were all about growing the money and audience. This isn't nessecarily a bad thing because Youtube is a career to many to us like I mentioned before so this is just business but all this sudden exposure really messed with my head. It made me wonder...
Maybe I'm not doing it right...
Maybe I should take some deals and earn extra money since everybody seems to be doing it anyway...
Am I being niave all along?
I was subconsciously comparing myself to others. When I was in LA, I accepted a few proposals and I don't know, the way they spoke was very convincing and attractive and it all sounded easy. Honestly, quite a bit of money was also involved too. I have a wedding coming up in 8 months so I thought it will be good to take off the pressure by doing some deals. I was all excited and happy until one night I suddenly felt this feeling convicting me. I had this horrible feeling of guilt. I was actually down for a few days and after talking to Tim and my sister, they told me to go with my heart. I had to contact these companies and tell them I have to back out which was very very unprofessional of me but I'm glad I did it. I realised just because other people are doing things a certain way, doesn't mean I go along with the flow. Sometimes we just get carried away trying to achieve somebody else's dreams. I thought taking business deals was the smart thing to do but my mind couldn't agree with my heart. Taking up business isn't wrong. I wasn't permitting a crime or anything but it just didn't work with my own morals.
Trying to keep myself on ground is very hard. I know for a fact I'm not making the most out of what I do in a business sense but this choice is so worth it. It keeps me sane and grounded. I know how easy it is to become money hungry. Besides, I feel grateful with everything I have right now. Career success was something I always thought would make me happy but it didn't fulfill me. In fact, I felt empty. I realised trying to achieve it all only makes life go by faster. I want to enjoy each and every moment in life. I don't want it to fly by in a flash.
I've spoken to one very special youtube friend of mine and I was actually really relieved to know he was going through similar experiences as I am. One night he suddenly whatsapped me telling me he hopes to be like me one day. He sees how corrupted fame/money can change a person and he said he wants to remain being down to earth and find love and be happy like I am. I felt kinda guilty when he told me this. I'm not as 'good' as he thought I was. I told him that I struggle from time to time juggling between keeping myself on ground on riding on the success curve. Sometimes it can be difficult keeping a balance too. On certain days, I would even subconciously compare myself to others and sometimes fall into trap of envy. Luckily I will always snap myself out of it because we're all gifted in our own special little ways. Nobody is perfect and I am so so grateful and honestly, I can't ask for anything more in life. I was kinda happy he opened up to me because I really thought I was the only one experiencing this.
In a lot of ways, I'm glad I live all the way here in Hong Kong. I'm limited in opportunities but at the same time, I am away from the complicated side of Youtube.
I really felt my head grow bigger in that single week I was in LA. People were constantly praising me and it's so easy to suddenly think you're better than others when you're clearly not. I couldn't believe how nice everybody was treating me (which I have to admit I did enjoy lol). I'm sure lots of people can balance fame over there but if I were to live there for a long period of time, I know it would probably change me. While I love the shopping, sunny weather, food and people in LA, I know I can only handle it in small doses for my own good.
While I'm extremely grateful for Youtube, there was a period of time I started to feel a unmotivated. Youtube started to become a place of high expectations. Your videos must be of a certain quality and editted in a certain way. You must speak or act like this. Suddenly you have to schedule how many videos you must upload in a week. It started to suck away what Youtube is all about for me. With all the pressure, it was as if I forgot to 'enjoy' youtube like I used to when I first started. I was almost making videos out of pressure. Because Youtube is just constantly changing and moving, it's hard to keep up. Sometimes you find yourself running along with it and you're like "Huh? Why?"
My epiphany came one night when I was falling asleep. I asked myself what I want most out of what I do on Youtube. I really had to seek deep within myself for the answer and the answer was "To be able to reach out to others and encourage/inspire them because it gives me meaning". This is so much more valuable and meaningful to me than having so and so views/subscribers/deals. I will enjoy what I do on Youtube because this is what made me fall in love with it in the first place.
Now I do everything almost spontaneously and I don't pressure myself (well I try). If I get stuck on ideas, I don't stress out like I used to. I just carry on my everyday life and let everything come to me all in good time. I got faith.
Everything that's happened has tested and trialed me so I can grow and learn. I know lots of youtubers are constantly stressed and worried about the future of Youtube. I can totally understand because I was once bummed out with the view crunch too. I experienced the downfall from the UK algorithm mess up a year ago and until now, it's still not fixed but hey- it's not end of the world. I'm still able to make videos and you guys are still here with me so I'm a happy bunny. I'm happy to say I'm in a place where I know I'll continue to be happy and fullfilled despite what happens with Youtube.
No matter how successful you want to be; reach your goals and dreams without falling into the trap of thinking fame, success and wealth is going to bring you true joy. You can't base your satisfaction on reaching expectations because guess what? Expectations move and you'll find yourself running after it constantly. I hope you guys will be able to live your lives chasing your dreams but still also being able to LIVE by enjoying it.
Without a doubt, as a Christian - I know it was the Holy Spirit working through me. He made me feel uneasy all this time not to make me feel horrible about myself but to bring my focus back to God. Sometimes I feel like I say all the words but produce no fruit. Being a Christian doesn't mean you can't be successful. God meant for human to have jobs but being obsessed with yourself, money & power is not good for you. I don't want to be too busy to read the bible or pray. He should be my first priority and even now, I have to admit He still isn't number 1 in my Heart. However, I am trying and I know all in good time - He will be.
Sometimes, I feel like a very selfish person because all I ever think about is myself and my loved ones. I ask for all these things in my life and forget to ask what God wants me to do for Him. I know all this conviction within me is just the Holy Spirit telling me to turn back to God. Jesus didn't die on the cross so I can live relentlessly on earth just thinking about myself. I was made for more than this.
It's tough when you have to convict yourself from all of this but I believe I have learnt so much in these 5 years. I know there is so much more for me to learn and experience and I'm very grateful.
So that's it guys. That's my biggest struggle being on Youtube trying to fight myself off from pride, envy and greed. Everything came so suddenly to me and I struggled to adapt to this change so quickly. If you read all the way down here, thank you so much for listening (well reading really). Letting this out really feels good because it feels like a huge amount of weight has been lifted off me. I'm not perfect guys. I face temptations every single day and some days? I fall hard but good news is, I know I'm not the person I used to be.
I know Youtube has really tested me as a person. It helped me see myself clearly. I strive to become a better person because we all know it's in us to be good and it's in my prayers that you guys have the same goal in your life too. Living a selfish life is meaningless. I hope you guys will continue to be honest with me and together, we can keep each other on ground.
This post actually took me over 2 weeks to write. Something in me didn't want to finish it. Maybe because I'm also afraid to express this but glad I hacked it out ^^. I hope you guys don't view me differently after this post. I am super super grateful for Youtube (especially you guys). I love you guys so much. Thank you for being my star =)
I can't believe I'm returning back to Northern Ireland in less than 10 days!! I won't be able to film as much so I'll be writing posts and vlogging to make up for it.
I promise you guys that I will not change. If I ever change, it will only be for the better. I'm hopeful ^_^
Take care everybody!
Much love, Bubz xx