PERSPECTIVE FROM A YOUTUBE VETERAN: STACEY BRENNAN
A YouTube pro, Stacey Brennan has been a regular contributor to the VOD social platform since the beginning. She has many lessons learned around the skills and hard work required to be an influencer. Read our Q & A with Stacey below.
Stacey Brennan was an early entrepreneur in the YouTube space. She has some words of wisdom for young people considering this as a revenue stream.
1. What prompted you to start making YouTube videos? Was it money? Fame? Just for fun?
It was more for fun. I had moved to the city and I was watching a lot of YouTube videos. It was when the community was smaller. I thought it would be a great way to keep my skills updated while starting a new fun hobby.
2. What were your early experiences like? Did you get much of a response from viewers?
I entered a lot of contests when I first started to challenge myself and meet people. I got a great initial response and it has only grown from there.
3. When brands contacted you about promoting their product what did they say? What did they want you to do?
At first I said yes to everything. It is really expensive to do YouTube at first because people want what is new and don’t want to see you repeating the same things. So, yes, like many people starting out I said yes a lot more than I should of. Now, I am much more selective on who I will work with.
4. Did you have a clear idea of what you were getting into with those companies?
Mostly they just wanted a video in exchange for product. They never asked for a fake positive review, just an honest opinion. I had one company send me a script and when I saw that I ended up declining the offer and sent the products back. I never wanted my integrity to be jeopardized. It wasn't worth it.
5.What do you think about companies approaching children and teens and asking them to push products?
As long as they are going for it respectfully I don't see an issue. There is a huge teen market on YouTube so having teens promote or kids (as long as parents know) is fine in my opinion.
6. Lots of children and teens are now trying to build online brands for themselves on Instagram, YouTube etc, how do you feel about that? Do you think they're prepared to handle everything that comes with "being a brand"?
In a word, "no".
Everyone wants their 5 minutes. It’s becoming so crazy in the online world that people are doing it for all the wrong reasons. With that comes poor choices.
A lot of them buy followers or bother popular pages for views and likes. It is very irritating for those of us that did it the right way and for the right reasons. If anyone tries to self promote on my pages I simply remove it. However, if someone seeks me out privately to check them out I always do so and give honest feedback. But trying to piggy-back on "bigger" influencers is wrong and not why or how you should be going about getting known. I don’t think they are ready to handle everything that comes with it either. There is a whole business side to this, that not a lot of people can handle. They think it is just likes and viewers, but it is so much more than that, and unless you can handle the intense business aspect of it, getting started shouldn't even be an option.
7. Do you have any advice for young people? Can they make a career out of producing online video?
I think you can make a career out of it if you pick the right option and figure out your focus.
Gaming/tech/cooking/vlogging... themes like that don't really have an age deadline where you - how can I put this - "expire" to viewers.
Beauty/fashion/lifestyle/comedy …themes like this, I think have an expiry date or a shelf life - as horrible as that sounds. You can make a short career out of it maybe 5-7 years max if you are lucky. But when your audience starts to decline, you’ll need a back up plan for sure.
This is why I’ve always said I will enjoy YouTube as a part time thing and keep my "real world" career as the focus and main priority in my life.