Reality of Dhruv Rathee’s YouTube Career — 0 to 20 Million Subscribers

Exactly 10 years ago, I made my first YouTube video. I filmed myself with a smartphone while having fun at a waterpark. I edited the video for 2 months. I still remember it. I was 19 and had so many doubts.

“Should I do this?”

“Is this a good idea?”

But then, with a lot of courage, I clicked on the ‘Upload’ button. And in June 2014, with 0 subscribers and 0 views, this story began. Today, there are more than 20 million subscribers and around 2.5 billion views! Friends, this is my YouTube career’s 10 Year Anniversary.

Over the last 10 years, this career literally changed my life. It gave me freedom, purpose, and financial stability. It gave me the privilege to see the world and meet interesting people. Today, everything that I am, everything I have achieved, I could do it all because of this career in social media.

But people often ask me one thing, “How did you do it?” How difficult or how easy is it to do? To be a YouTuber, to make a career on social media. What’s the scope in it? What are the differences between those who are successful in this field and those who fail?

In this article, I’d like to share 5 secrets with you. 5 secrets that I believe made me successful. 5 secrets that can help you be the #1 in your career. If you want to pursue social media as a part-time job or a full-time career, then this article will be very useful for you.

These numbers are quite interesting. According to the Kalaari Report 2022, there are more than 80 million creators in India. It means more than 80 million people in our country have uploaded their videos on YouTube or Instagram at least once and have tried to get a social media following. But of them, only 150,000 creators could earn substantially to turn it into a full-time career.

What’s the difference between these 150,000 people and the remaining millions of people? What do you think? Why isn’t everyone equally successful? One of the first reasons that you may think of is that the others did not pursue this career seriously enough. Some people might have uploaded some videos as a joke and then didn’t even think about it. That they weren’t seriously interested in turning it into a career.

Another reason could be that they didn’t have the required skills. You’d need a lot of skills to be a successful YouTuber. You need to know filmmaking, video editing, scripting, you need to be creative. So those who weren’t skilled at these, failed. But even then, there would be numerous people who are skilled in all of this. They pursue it seriously but still aren’t successful.

In my opinion, the biggest factor here is uniqueness. This is my first secret.

A YouTube channel can be compared to a small business. Take a restaurant, for example. Suppose you want to run a Punjabi restaurant in your district or sector. But there are 10 Punjabi restaurants in this area already. Do you think your restaurant will be successful? Especially when you plan to sell the same dishes that others are selling. Your menu items are the same. Obviously, not. Even if you do everything right, you get the best quality ingredients for your dishes, you hire the best chefs, your location is quite good, the seating arrangement and ambiance are fantastic, even then, it will be very difficult for you to be successful, because the other 10 Punjabi restaurants are already well established. They know what works in this business and what doesn’t.

The problem is, you are running a race where 10 people are already 1 km ahead of you. Winning this race will be extremely difficult. But if you run in a race where you are the only one running, you will always be the first. Do you get it? Many people claim that they want to become like so and so YouTuber. They want to make vlogs like Sourav Joshi, they want to be a YouTuber like Dhruv Rathee. To this, I ask you, why would anyone want to watch your content, when someone else makes similar content and is better at it?

Had I thought the same in 2014, what would have happened? I would have watched the top YouTubers back then, like TVF, AIB, seen their comedy videos, and have wanted to be like them! I would have wanted to make comedy videos like them. But I am not skilled in comedy or acting. I didn’t have the professional equipment they were using. I didn’t have a team or side actors, how could I have done it?

Had I seen their success and tried to make comedy skits like them, there was no chance for my YouTube channel to be successful. I decided to make socio-political, educational videos on serious issues, it was a unique path. Because I was the only one running in this race, the bad quality of my videos didn’t matter, or my speaking style when I was starting out, or even the editing quality.

People watched my content because I was the only one making something like this. I was talking about things that no one else was talking about. By the time others joined this race, I was already quite ahead of them. I had years of experience by then, camera quality had improved, my speaking style had improved, the video editing was better, the storytelling in the videos was much better.

Due to this uniqueness, I could remain at the #1 spot in my category. That’s why if you want to be the #1 in your career, don’t limit yourself to thinking about how you can work harder, about what else you can do, these are important, but it’s more important that you are running a race where you are the only runner. Or there are very few people competing with you. From the perspective of becoming a YouTuber, this race can be about any particular skill. Your storytelling skills may be superb, so focus on that particular skill to move ahead of the competition. You may be talented in comedy, or you may have preexisting knowledge in a particular field, it gives you an advantage compared to your competitors. Focus on your uniqueness.

The real struggle is finding such races. Friends, suppose I try to sell mufflers and jackets on a Goa beach. It’s unique. There wouldn’t be anyone else selling jackets on the beach, I would be the only one running in the race. Would I be successful? Obviously, not. Because no one would buy jackets of mufflers on a beach. Obviously, you shouldn’t be running a meaningless race. You shouldn’t aim to be the first person to sell a jacket on a Goa beach. You might be the first, but it will be meaningless. This would be a flop idea.

Similarly, if you start a YouTuber channel, to showcase your personal life, you want to make vlogs about what happens in your home, ‘personal life vlogs.’ Who will watch them? Here comes the second secret. Value. There should be some value in your work. Be valuable. If you make unique YouTube videos, that has no demand from the viewers, the audience doesn’t want to watch those videos. It doesn’t make sense.

There’s a demand from the audience when they find some value in it. The values that you get from my videos are knowledge and education. In the case of a comedy YouTuber or a Bollywood actor, the value that you get is Entertainment. Every successful YouTuber, actor or business not only give you some sort of value, but a combination of uniqueness and value. A unique value.

What is the value of watching comedy videos? You laugh, it feels good. What’s the value of travel vlogs? Some people feel relaxed when watching them. You get to know about new and interesting things. Even the worst creator today among the ones who are popular, does provide some sort of unique value. Because value doesn’t necessarily mean something positive. A thing may not be valuable to you, but it can be valuable to someone else.

Controversies, mindless entertainment, drama, gossip, people may not admit to it, but if people are watching such content, it means that some kind of unique value is being created. As I told you, value is subjective. It depends upon the situation. Perhaps, cheap content with useless controversies may not appear valuable to us, but someone out there is watching it. Even if he doesn’t like watching it, there is a transfer of value in the form of mindless entertainment.

If you try to sell jackets in Manali, it’ll be valuable. But if you try to do it on a beach in Goa, it has 0 value. A Mercedes car may be extremely valuable to you now. But if you are stranded in a desert and are thirsty, a bottle of water would be more valuable to you than the Mercedes car.

To be successful on YouTube, this is the biggest struggle. Based on your situation, for your target audience, making highly valuable videos, that are unique as well. And you need to do this within the limits set by your passion, your skills, and your needs.

– Dhruv Rathee

Team Wavegen Media

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