How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel



It’s no secret that video has been on the rise lately, and more and more creatives are turning to YouTube to promote themselves. However, while just starting a channel might seem like a piece of cake, building a successful channel takes time, hard work, and lots of dedication.

With how popular YouTube has become these days, we decided we had to have a workshop dedicated to it at our 2018 Conference! We’ll be having special guest and successful YouTuber Hannah Ashton joining us to teach our attendees about the ins and outs of the platform and how to start a channel that people will actually watch.

We’re so excited to have Hannah come speak, so we decided to sit down and do a quick Q&A with her! Read along to get to know Hannah and get a sneak peak at what she’ll be teaching at The Workshop!

Tell us about yourself! How did you get to where you are today?

Hello! I’m Hannah, a senior in high school in East Tennessee with a love of videography and entrepreneurship. I’ve been growing my YouTube channel, Hannah Ashton, for about five years now and love inspiring women through my videos. However, I always knew I didn’t want to just stop at YouTube videos. In the fall of 2016, I started getting a significant amount of questions on how I create my videos, grow my channel, and have a career as an influencer. I noticed there was a need for a mentor in YouTube and social media that could connect and relate to the creators more than a manager could.

So after some research and discussion, I launched Hannah Ashton Content––my freelance YouTube and social media consulting business––in January 2017. I now not only post weekly to my YouTube channel and social media, but I also post weekly podcasts and blog posts around entrepreneurship and women empowerment along with consulting clients.

Take us back to when you first started filming YouTube videos. What inspired you to start?

I first discovered YouTube in middle school. I would come home after a long, dull day at school and the first thing I did was grab my computer to be transformed into the world of American Girl Dolls and makeup (those were the types of videos I watched at the time). I decided I wanted to give girls that same feeling of inspiration and connection to a world outside of their surroundings. So with parent approval, I created my first webcam stopmotion.

How has your channel evolved over time?

I’ve had over three channels in the past seven years of making videos but even my current channel has evolved drastically. I started my Hannah Ashton channel under the username MissInnerBeauty2 and made videos about beauty, fashion, hair, and my faith. As I a grew older I moved to productivity, healthy lifestyle, and faith.

Just this past year I added another genre that has been a hit on my channel! With the creation of Hannah Ashton Content, many viewers want to see the behind the scenes of running a business as a teenager. I started posting entrepreneurial videos under the tag #BossBabe and #GirlBoss and started re-branding my channel with those tags too.

Walk us through the process of recording a video from start to finish. What’s the planning, recording, and editing process like?

I get inspiration from blogs, books, other YouTubers, or my day-to-day life. Some of my videos are totally unplanned. For example, one Sunday I may decide to organize and deep clean my room, I’ll go ahead and film the process, add some pretty editing, and call it “My Productive Sunday Routine.” Other times I will have a simple outline for videos.

After I have the idea I set up my office for filming which only takes a few minutes since I keep it tidy in case any spontaneous filming needs to happen. Filming takes anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the video. Then for some weird reason, I can’t go straight into editing after filming. I usually give myself a day or two in between filming and editing the content. A few hours of editing later and the video is up!

Building a community is such a big part of YouTube. What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to build their community and gain subscribers?

Build real relationships and connections. It is unlikely that someone will take you seriously if you just comment “Follow for follow” or “Check out my channel.” Comment genuine compliments, questions, or thoughts on other creators videos and social medias! They will recognize your name and maybe reply or follow back. Once you start a budding relationship, it will be more natural to set up collaborations and projects with your community in the future. Some of my best online friendships started with a simple, sweet comment.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a YouTuber?

Not comparing myself to other YouTubers. No one can predict the growth of a YouTube channel. It can be hard to see someone who has only done YouTube for a year grow faster than my channel of 5 years. We are told the harder you work, the greater the reward. That is partially true with YouTube, but many factors of growth on social media have to do with connections, money, and the complicated algorithms. I have to realize that everyone’s YouTube journey is different and it’s not about the number of people who watch, but the content they take away from watching.

Greatest reward?

Receiving a personal comment from a viewer on how I made their day, inspired them to try something new, or brought a new perspective to them with my video is the greatest reward. Whenever I have a bad day I can read all the direct messages, comments, and texts I receive and it’s like having my own personal cheer squad at my fingertips. I don’t think they’ll ever know how much their sweet comments have brought me happiness and strength over the years.

What are 3 tips no one really knows about when it comes to starting a YouTube channel?

  1. 1

    Cohesion and consistency are key.

  2. 2

    Follow tons of other creators starting out––this will help you find people to start building real connections with.

  3. 3

    The first 3-4 words of your video title are super important in YouTube’s algorithm! You want to choose words that are searched often and relate directly to what your video is about.

When you’re not busy filming videos, what can we find you doing?

I love being a part of my school’s extracurriculars like tennis, choir, and musicals. You can find me every week at a coffee shop catching up with friends or working on other cool projects. And every now and then I can be found under a pile of bubbles in my bath with ice-cream and Netflix for some much needed me-time.

Give us a sneak peek of what we can expect from your YouTube Workshop!

I am going to be focusing not only on the technical side of YouTube, filming, editing, and uploading but also on how to build your channel like you would a business. I will also dive in-depth into the three tips mentioned above. I can’t wait!

Want more YouTube tips?

  1. 1

    How to Brainstorm New YouTube Video Ideas

  2. 2

    Should I Start a YouTube Channel?

  3. 3

    Using YouTube To Grow Your Passion ft. Lynette Cenée

  4. 4

    Growing Your YouTube Subscribers

  5. 5

    How to Build Brand Awareness Using Video

Want to attend Hannah’s YouTube workshops? Be sure to snag your seat to The Workshop–tickets are going fast!