On Thursday, 5th May 2022, the famous YouTuber Daniel Howell returned to youtube after a 2-year break with a video titled “Why I Quit Youtube,” and the video gained over 1.5M views in less than 24 hours.
In the video, Daniel discussed his decision to quit Youtube, including mental health issues, depression after Youtube canceled his Youtube Original show, and many other disappointments.
The video didn’t just affect his fans but also us as content creators. Even though we don’t particularly create the same content as Daniel, we still related and felt it’s important for all current and upcoming content creators to learn from his experience as one of the first digital content creators ever to exist.
But first, let us know who Daniel Howell is and what happened to him.
Who is Daniel Howell?
Daniel Howell, 31, is an English YouTuber and Radio presenter. He started making Youtube content in October 2009 with the video “Hello Internet.” He had 2 Youtube channels; the first is Daniel Howell which reached over 6M subscribers. And the other is Dan And Phil Games, as he collaborated with another creator and friend, Phil Lester.
Dan Howell is considered one of the first Youtube content creators to monetize his content and join the Youtube partnership program, which opened doors for him to have a radio show on BBC Radio 1 in 2013.
His success made him one of the most respected content creators on YouTubers, even among those who didn’t like his content.
Surprisingly, in 2019, Howell completely disappeared from the platform and everyone assumed he just quit. But what would make him quit after this huge success?
And just out of the blues, Dan took to Youtube in an hour and a half video discussing all the reasons he took a hiatus and what he learned from it, and we feel like they’re important to discuss.
As it turned out, Dan’s success wasn’t just a walk in the park, as many would assume.
So here we are discussing some of the main issues he faced with social media content creation that we feel anyone working or considering working in social media could benefit from.
It is a 24/7 job, not a standard 9 to 5 one
While a 9 to 5 standard job seems to be a tiring and boring routine as you are supposed to wake up at 7 AM every day and think about what to dress for the day to go to the same office from the same route to see the same people. Yeah, it may seem extremely boring.
However, it’s easy to work 24/7 non-stop without recognizing it as a content creator. Why? Because as a content creator, you should be present whenever your people want to see you or your content regardless of your circumstances, your social life, family, and friends, and you’re going to be blindly obsessed with the number of views, shares, and comments (Online Dopamine)
Tip: You can still be a content creator while caring about your mental health and social life. All you need to do is to set yourself daily working hours or maybe weekly when you can record multiple episodes on the same day (If you are producing videos) or make whatever content you create and schedule them throughout the week.
Your home won’t be as comfortable as it used to if you work from home
As a content creator working from home, your home won’t be as comfortable as before. Before making content, you used to go to an external office for your standard job where you do the assigned tasks, and then you return to your SAFE space, aka home sweet home, to rest.
However, when you start making any content from home, you may work from your bed? Kitchen, bathroom, the sofa, and even in front of the TV, there will be no separation.
Tip: Being a content creator who is working from home with no regular working hours doesn’t mean that you should be working from the place you sleep, eat, have a shower, or entertain yourself.
At the El-Shai team, we were experiencing the same issue. At first, we were purely a work-from-home company, thinking this would make us feel more comfortable, especially in a creative job, but it turned out, it wasn’t.
We found ourselves heading to cafes and co-working spaces until we decided to have an optional office space to work from.
Do you remember the working hours tip? We set ourselves regular working hours.
The content treadmill is infinite
If you’re making a TV show, you will have seasons, expectations, a plan of execution, and time to rest, reflect, improve, and breathe. On the contrary, social media content creation has no rest. You’re expected to keep creating and sharing content about whatever is happening in the world that your people will be interested in, even during the holidays.
You know, holidays are when people are free to do whatever they want. So there will be mostly positive pressure from the audience to keep it coming.
And if you decided to miss the holidays’ content, you will remember how high the CPM is in these days (Easter, new years eve, Halloween, Christmas,…), and you will regret if you missed them.
Tip: Yeah, you shouldn’t miss those important holiday upload days. However, it would be best if you also didn’t miss those holidays to take some rest, reflect, and improve your content for your mental health.
So make yourself a calendar with the important days of the year (They are available everywhere on the internet), pre-prepare the content you will create for these days, and schedule them to be posted on these days while you are on your couch enjoying your time.
As the El-Shai team, we’re doing that; yeah, we acknowledge that we’re not as perfect and committed to this as we thought we’d be; however, it is still effective, and it gives us a chance for some rest and fun.
You will believe in a myth called the “Algorithm”
The content treadmill is infinite, and you can’t afford it when the algorithm is angry. So, yeah, when you stop posting for any circumstance, family issue, or even a holiday. The algorithm will easily catch you and consider you the inconsistent user who took a 2-day break, and moving forward; people won’t be interested in your content anymore. So, the algorithm stops suggesting your content.
Tip: Make a content calendar as we suggested before and stick to it. And if you missed an important upload day, you shouldn’t feel guilty that you preferred your mental health rather than social media. And remember, if your content is good and relatable, people will wait for it at all times and won’t be affected by the game of the myth “Algorithm.” Just tell them you’re there!
Life won’t be fair all the time
Again with the game of the myth “Algorithm.” As said by the social media platforms, the algorithm is all about the good content that is worth pushing and suggesting to people. However, in reality, it is not like that.
Whatever content you create and the amount of work and effort you exert while brainstorming and executing your content, you can surprisingly find other content for competitor creators whose content is extremely superficial and of bad quality are the ones who win the game of the myth gain the numbers.
Tip: As we said, life won’t be fair all the time. You need to know that you need to be consistent and don’t let numbers disappoint you. Be consistent, improve your content and brainstorm new content ideas to make your channel stand out from others.
Remember, the judges here are the people, not the algorithm. People will look for good content despite the algorithm. Life won’t be fair. So deal with it.
Content is business, and being monetized will be your main goal
We’re back to the myth of the algorithm, views, shares, likes, comments, and money. Making views and content that people engage with will be your main goal as it helps you get sponsors for your content that will pay you to do what you love (Content) and be monetized by whatever platform you use and earn more money. So yeah, your dream to be rich is near.
However, it’s not as simple and fair as you think.
Tip: Don’t put your eggs in one basket. Algorithms are just a myth, and so does life, as it is not fair all the time. So why do you care about the money from unstable platforms like social media? You may think about making a Patreon account where your fans can support you with money. You can hire a media salesperson or even be your own media sales and sell your content for the sponsors.
By the time you grow, and monetization won’t be your main goal, you can still make views, likes, comments, and money to live.
Bigger production? People might not like it
Creating content is such a tiring process that you may need some people to help you execute your ideas and expand. However, your content will be better and of higher quality when you do that, but surprisingly, people will leave.
Tip: We experienced the same in El-Shai as we started with a small team and made original content from our homes that people during the pandemic were interested in. However, when we decided to expand and improve our content and hired new people for this new mission, our followers count dropped unexpectedly, and we thought we had done something wrong.
On the contrary, improvement was just a transitional phase, and when we proved ourselves and our new content style, people returned. We’re still growing and frequently checking the quality of our content. So keep going, and don’t let the numbers be your only motive.
Even how you look might not be your Choice
If you’re making video content, people will be attached to your face and shape and even the tone of voice you use in your videos. And you will kindly feel stuck to this shape and if you changed it before telling them or even if you decided to change your style regardless of their opinion. So, sadly, people will leave. The same happens to us.
Tip: Remember when people left while expanding and improving your content with bigger production? The same is here.
It’s a transitional phase that will make you and your content better to stand out. Be yourself, and don’t fall into the trap of considering your followers/subscribers your family.
Yes, they are, but as your family, there are red lines they shouldn’t penetrate, and you have your personal space. And after that, your followers’ count will rise again. And you won’t ever win all the people.
You will be expected to expose all your secrets to the public and be TRANSPARENT at all times
Speaking of, your followers are like your family. The more people love you, the more pressure they will put on you to share some secrets from your life because if you don’t, they may LEAVE because you’re not as transparent as they thought.
Tip: You have your personal space that even your family shouldn’t penetrate and so do your followers. Be yourself, and don’t fall into being transparent and friendly. And remember, people will have millions of reasons to hate you regardless of what you do.