Most YouTubers fail because they are not patient, they’re not honest with themselves about the quality of their videos, they’re not continuously learning, and their content is made primarily for them, rather than their audience. These are the most common reasons why many YouTubers fail.
Over 84% of YouTube channels have less than 1000 subscribers and only approx. 3.4% of all YouTube channels have more than 10,000 subscribers.
Now subscriber count does not necessarily mean that a channel has failed, but it does show how many people start YouTube channels and can’t grow them to a significant amount.
Contrary to what many believe, the main reason channels fail is not because YouTube is oversaturated, as you can see, over 95% of channels aren’t massive, so why do YouTubers fail?
In this article, we’re going to look at the 9 biggest reasons why YouTube channels fail and what you can do to make sure your channel does not.
9 Reasons Why Most YouTubers Fail
1. They create videos for themselves and not their audience
Most people that start out on YouTube create videos that they themselves enjoy and expect that they will automatically be liked by other people as well. These videos are entertaining for the creator, but they’re often of no value to the viewer.
If you upload a video of your vacation, with footage of the places you went, who does that help? No-one, because they probably want to see different places and find out more about a destination before they go. If you upload a vlog of your day, who does that benefit? Only yourself, because no one is interested in random person X’s day.
How to fix it:
To create videos for your audience, put yourself in their shoes and look at what it is you can offer in your videos.
For example, if you take a video on your vacation, you can talk about the best places to visit, places to avoid, reviews on certain tours, hotel stays, how to save money, and so much more, instead of just uploading a video of your holiday.
2. Not creating enough videos to gain momentum
Many YouTubers fail because they upload only a couple of YouTube videos every once in a while. It’s very common to see channels where creators have uploaded 10 videos in 6 months and then they wonder why they haven’t gained any momentum with their channel.
It’s true that some YouTubers can have their channel take off with only a few videos uploaded, but it’s the exception to the rule and the large majority aren’t that lucky.
How to fix it:
In order to gain momentum with your channel, all you need to do is create more videos for your audience. If you can create 100 videos within your first year on YouTube, you’ll have a lot more chances of your videos being found, you can see what type of videos people engage with and you’ll have gained valuable practice.
This brings me to the next point…
3. Too little practice as a YouTuber
A YouTuber is not just a person that uploads videos to YouTube. As a YouTuber, you’re also a content strategist, keyword researcher, analyst, storyteller, writer, producer, actor, video editor, presenter, moderator, designer, planner, accountant, salesperson, marketer, manager, negotiator, etc.
When you get started there are many roles to fill and you can’t expect to be good at everything after only a few tries. Most people think that their videos are great, or that their edits are good, but when you’ve just started, odds are they probably aren’t (mine definitely weren’t).
Most YouTubers fail because they just have too little practice being a YouTuber and give up before they develop and improve those skills to grow as a YouTuber.
How to fix it:
The best way to get more practice as a YouTuber is to create more videos and to keep practicing the other facets that YouTubers deal with on a regular basis. Things like Thumbnail design, keyword research, pulling information from your analytics, writing better descriptions and titles, coming up with better ideas for videos, etc.
4. They only focus on one YouTube skill
Many YouTubers fail because they only improve one of their YouTube skills and think they can get by on that.
It could be that they’re great at video editing, but lack an on-camera personality, or lack the understanding of how YouTube works, or how to do keyword research. Or maybe they just lack the design skills to make an engaging thumbnail.
If you only focus on one YouTuber skill, then you are doing yourself a disservice as you could reach more people more quickly and in a more engaging way, but learning more outside of your bubble.
How to fix it:
Practice, but practice more than just the things that you are good at. If you suck at making thumbnails, then practice making better thumbnails, look at what type of thumbnails get good engagement on YouTube and within your niche and try to replicate them, and then throw your own spin on them.
I’ve put together a guide to creating engaging thumbnails for YouTube here.
5. They expect results too soon
This is probably the most common reason why YouTubers fail, they lack the patience to see things through and expect immediate results.
It takes time to build an audience on YouTube and most people expect that after 2, 3, or 6 months to already have 10k+ subscribers. At the same time, all that they have done is upload a video every week or two, and haven’t learned how to be comfortable on camera (here’s a guide), how to optimize their videos (another guide here), or how to be consistent (here’s one last guide), just to name a few things.
After 6 months, if you’ve created one video every 2 weeks, that’s about 13 videos you’ve created. Only 13 videos that you’ve had to practice and improve on. Maybe by video number 10, you’ve learned some things that can make a real difference, but maybe you only find the right content mix by video number 20, or 30.
This is why you need a lot of practice and patience.
How to fix it:
I could just tell you to be patient, but if you’re just starting out and you’re learning, then patience is not going to help you if you’re not creating the right content. This is why I recommend trying to make at least 100 videos in your first year on YouTube.
This will give you enough practice to improve, you will have a large enough sample size to get useful data from, and because you’ve created so much content, there’s a much higher chance that your channel takes off and that your patience is worthwhile.
6. They burn themselves out and then give up
A big problem for both established and new YouTubers is that they burn themselves out. With established creators, they set themselves near-impossible deadlines, like daily uploads, which is doable early on, but after a while, without taking a break this can lead to you burning out.
For new channels, burnout happens because of a combination of the different things I’ve already outlined here. You create a lot of content in the first month or two, and then because you don’t see immediate results, the motivation wanes, but you try and keep going only to burn yourself out and then give up.
How to fix it:
I’ve dealt with both of these before and it’s something most creators come across at some point in their journey. Pushing yourself to your content limit is generally OK, as long as you realize this is not sustainable and you’re only doing it to see how far you can go to then establish a plan.
I recommend looking at what you’re capable of, but to include planned breaks and days off, you should at least take one day off per week. If you come back feeling fatigued and tired, take more time off. This is what helps me though, it may be different for you.
7. They take advantages of the tools available
Not taking advantage of the various tools that are available on YouTube and from 3rd parties is like trying to build a house with only a hammer. You need nails, wood, miter saws, concrete mixers, etc. to build a solid house, and the same goes for your YouTube channel.
How to fix it:
There are a number of free (and paid) tools out there that can help you find video ideas and optimize your videos (these are the best tools for video optimization), tools like Canva that can help you design great channel banners and thumbnails, as well as screen recording/live streaming tools, and video editing software to improve and speed up your production.
8. Not using YouTubes tools effectively
YouTube has a number of built-in tools to help creators reach the right audience and create more engaging videos. Often channels fail when they choose to ignore all of these features and just create videos on a whim.
Tools like YouTube analytics can show you when viewers are leaving your videos, so you can see what you may be doing in that part of the video to then correct it in future videos. Leaving out, or not filling in fields properly, can be another big cause of videos not reaching their potential.
By not using these tools that YouTube provides creators for free, you are not fully taking advantage of the great opportunity that YouTube provides to grow an audience.
How to fix it:
Take advantage of the tools available. Use YouTube analytics to see when your viewers leave videos. Look at what thumbnails and titles generate the highest Click-Through Rates, and make sure you fill out fields effectively.
9. They don’t have a strategy
Most failed YouTube channels don’t have a clear strategy. They don’t know what type of videos they want to make, what their niche is, who are the people that are watching their videos, etc.
This means that their channel is all over the place, with many videos that aren’t relevant to all of their viewers, which in turn means that most viewers don’t become subscribers or watch any more of your videos.
It also means that YouTube doesn’t know what your videos are about and doesn’t know who it should recommend your videos to.
How to fix it:
Establish a channel strategy by picking a niche you’re interested in. And then decide on an upload schedule that you can manage, and try to stick to it.
I recommend creating a video list, or a hit list, for your channel. When you’re starting out, this could be 50 videos that you plan to make and upload. Find the main topics within your niche (4 or 5) and then look for 10-20 subtopics on each of these (using tools like TubeBuddy or VidIQ to find good keywords and ideas).
For example, if your niche was “Gardening”, your 4 subtopics could be:
- Growing organic food
- Backyard gardening
- City gardening
Then your 10 videos under “city gardening” could be:
- 10 best plants for cities
- How to grow an urban garden
- 10 Urban garden ideas
- 5 worst plants for cities
- Urban vs backyard gardening
And so on, as you can see some could even have an overlap of your subtopics. You could even be more specific and do lawn care, growing organic food, garden ideas, etc. for people in cities, as more of these videos would be relevant to a larger portion of your audience (which will increase your CTR and can help your channel take-off faster).
As you can see there are many reasons why YouTubers fail, but with these tips and hard work, there’s no reason why your YouTube channel should flop. For more advanced tips to grow your channel, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide, you can read it here.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.