Insights from my 50,000 Youtube subscribers milestone

The last time I wrote about my Youtube milestone was when I reached 30,000 subscribers. So let me update you what has been happening since.

Following through

I've been watching a lot of videos from the Gary Vaynerchuk's Youtube channel lately. That guy is an entrepreneur and puts out videos every day -- he actually has someone following him around who's doing the filming and editing. He produces daily videos because he wants to challenge people to work as hard as him. He says that 99.9% of people who watches his videos will not follow through with his advice.

Coincidentally, another recent video that I watched from character designer Stephen Silver also talked about the same topic. He said some students could never put in the effort to concentrate and follow through and instead jump to different areas of interest when they got bored or things got difficult, and as a result wasn't doing anything to help with their personal growth.

The common theme in those videos I mentioned is on focus and commitment

If you want to be successful in life, it's about following through and not giving up. It's about constantly working, just like how a musician will always practice even if there's no concert coming up.

All the advice I've written about becoming successful on Youtube are actually templates. Every successful creator on Youtube has followed the same route. Some rise to fame fast, some take a longer time. But what they all have in common is they, at their own speed, follow through.

Let me back track a bit and talk about what exactly is success. It's not just about money. To me, being successful means being able to do whatever thing that you want or enjoy. It can be money what makes you successful. Or it can be your job that gives you the creative freedom that makes you successful.

You've read my articles. You already know what it takes to be successful, so it really comes down to whether or not you are willing to work hard, to sacrifice your time in order to achieve your goal. Even minute you spend watching TV or on Facebook is every minute you can't spend on drawing or creating.

When I tell my artist friends how I make money online, they wish they could do the same, but none followed through. The thing is, success doesn't happen overnight, and if you don't invest the time and effort now, years later you will still be wishing.

The reason why I am putting out Youtube content so relentlessly is because I'm making up for lost time. If I had started my Youtube channel the time I started my blog in 2008/09, I would be have a very good life now. In July 2015, I wanted to test myself and find out what happened if I make at least 20 video each month. The result was more subscribers, more people watching my videos, and I also get to make some money through Youtube advertising (from those wait-5-minute-to-close ads). Seeing how my channel grew motivated me to put out more content. To date, I have close to 600 videos on Youtube. I wished I could produce even more videos each day. On some days, I would talk until I almost lose my voice.

The effort that you put in every day will help you improve. And the work you accumulate will come back to help you in the future. Youtube is not like a salary or a freelance job where you get paid only when you work. The content that you put out will have people watching even years into the future, and that will continue to make you money and give you new opportunities. I've people asking if I sell my original art on Youtube. I've seen artists who does that and do quite well.

When you have video working for you, you can slow down in future, relax, and your channel will still help you make money. If you have a large subscriber base, every video you put out will instantly earn you money within a day because a portion of those subscribers will watch whenever they get that email alert that you have uploaded something new.

If you have a salary or freelance job, 10 years later, you will still be in the no-work-no-money-got-work-got-money scenario. With online businesses, your content will work for you even when you take an extended vacation. In the financial world, people invest money to make money. In the online world, you invest time to make money. To me, that's a very good return. For artists to create something out of nothing, that's spectacular returns.

That's what I've been telling all my friends. They all like the idea, but no one follows through.

The most common excuse preventing people from trying something new is the fear that they might waste their time. What if it doesn't work out even after you have poured in the hours? I've studied many artists who are successful on Youtube and they all follow the same route. If you're good at drawing and you follow the same route, you will be successful as well, it's just a matter of when.

I see a lot of artists who are doing well on Youtube and I'm happy for them because their efforts have paid off. Even if they don't earn a lot from Youtube, having extra pocket money each month is always a good thing.

Hitting the Youtube jackpot

Sometimes, you can get lucky on Youtube.

I saw four artists who hit the Youtube jackpot since I wrote about my 30,000 milestone.

What I mean by hitting the Youtube jackpot is when some video that you've created suddenly becomes viral and gets you lots of subscribers.

The first artist is HC Holly. She had less than 30,000 subscribers and then that suddenly shot up to over 100,000 subscribers in a month or two. One of her videos Anatomy Mistakes Young Artists Make got viral and received, to date, over 800,000 views. That video got her many subscribers and also significantly increased the view count of subsequent videos that she has released. She currently has 120,000+ subscribers.

The other artist is Minnie Small. Her 30 Ways to Fill a Sketchbook series was immensely popular and got her an additional 32,000 subscribers in two months. Because of the popularity of that series, and her recent videos, she's been getting an average of 800 subscribers daily. By comparison, I only get 90 subscribers daily. She currently has 128,000+ subscribers.

The third artist is Peter Draws and the breakout video is 1000 DEGREE PEN vs WOOD (pyrography) which has over 400K views since it was published in Feb 2017. His channel had a total of close to 4 million views that month. Back in September 2016, he had around 150,000 subscribers. He currently has 370,000 subscribers.

The fourth artist is HappyDArtist. The number of subscription shot up when she launched a series called 30 Days of Art. This situation is similar to Minnie Small's. In September 2016, she has 44,000 subscribers. She currently has 148,000 subscribers.

So what does this say?

Luck can hit you anytime but you have to put yourself in the position for luck to hit you. You must work to be lucky. Everyone starts from zero. The more videos you have, the more likely you will be successful. If you rest on your laurels, your growth will also slow down, hence it's important to take advantage of luck and continue to create even more content.

I believe you can engineer your own luck. There are certain strategies that make certain videos popular. I believe these techniques are those discussed in the book Made to Stick. There are also techniques that are more questionable, such as using click bait titles. Perhaps I would do a case study of selected wildly popular videos in the future.


The next time I'll write about Youtube will probably be when I hit the 100,000 milestone. I wonder how I will feel then, and how many videos I would have to make to achieve that, and whether the sacrifice would be worth it. So far, after making close to 600 videos, I'm still enjoying the ride.

Here's the table (compiled on 3 May 2017) comparing all the artists on Youtube that I know of. The next time I write about my milestone, I can look back and compare how far I've come.

Name Subscribers Videos Total video views
Mark Crilley 2,762,323 616 339,980,032
Draw with Jazza 1,452,851 683 121,126,632
Baylee Jae 788,965 257 82,272,274
Proko 662,823 197 32,248,093
Mary Doodles 419,915 287 33,941,813
Peter Draws 376,744 480 31,434,146
thefrugalcrafter 326,486 1,631 41,174,263
Alphonso Dunn 321,612 257 18,037,943
Cubebrush 241,645 205 12,222,374
FZDSchool 234,466 196 15,272,872
PearFleur 232,995 92 11,063,487
kelogsloops 215,700 23 3,626,598
Will Terrell 207,756 171 8,160,099
Tillith 186,320 154 7,582,615
HariSaysMeh 180,780 39 7,951,994
Shoo Rayner 164,031 907 24,819,601
Xia Taptara 163,502 309 15,656,534
Happy D Artist 150,262 110 4,837,841
Juicy Ink 146,786 104 5,345,861
Lachri Fine Art 144,562 754 11,780,163
Scott Robertson 142,996 68 4,175,134
Iraville 136,550 51 2,820,287
Ross Draws 132,705 74 3,813,628
Minnie Small 134,925 111 4,599,570
Sara Tepes 130,056 72 3,440,293
Vicky Papaioannou 124,652 484 11,606,632
H.C. Brown 123,099 110 4,384,851
Fran Meneses 117,112 178 5,701,802
Mind of Watercolor 92,933 124 4,258,661
REIQ 79,919 100 6,681,241
LevelUp 75,255 78 1,997,469
ArtGerm 68,247 51 1,381,870
Aaron Rutten 68,176 885 8,577,267
Bobby Chiu 66,129 505 3,983,597
Jake Parker 57,692 87 1,781,577
Kim Jung Gi 56,249 39 5,752,136
James Gurney 51,618 187 3,390,939
Peter Sheeler 51,931 112 3,001,606
Me 50,635 601 7,044,414
Watercolor Misfit 49,651 149 1,772,761
Will Terry 34,967 205 2,244,300
Stephen Silver 27,506 237 1,283,416
Owings Art 19,829 257 2,224,791
Holly Exley 14,343 88 625,081
One Fantastic Week 14,005 199 1,334,138
Mateusz Urbanowicz 13,986 62 458,736
This article is part of the Internet Marking for Artists series that you can follow at


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