Youtube Stories: My Journey to Monetization

The podcast of this blogpost is available here.

This post has been languishing in my drafts folder for months, and I thought it was about time I finished it and published it. I’ve been a content creator for 9 months now, but I actually started in Youtube in 2007 as a “watcher” — as part of the then growing YouTube audience. I did try to make a video or two in the intervening years since, but I never really quite caught the groove. So I dropped out, came back, and was totally discouraged by the monetization requirements of years past. I marked my web presence on Instagram and recently, Tiktok, but it was just me being there, documenting my days. It was just like writing here was to me— a way to memorialize life.

Then sometime in June, a friend who has had quite the success with her own channel goaded me into giving it a try. This time, I had her wisdom and guidance to encourage me through the seemingly tall order of racking up 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours within a year. (240,000 minutes!) She told me she knew I would be able to do it, given my penchant to snap pictures and videos of things I bump into and pass as a denizen of New York City.

I had 3 accounts which had videos of some sort and which were connected to my personal brand and pursuits. There was GothamChick which, like my blog, was meant to be my crafting channel. There was The Postcard Storyteller which had two or three videos uploaded in the last year, given my return to active postcard trading. Then there was, of course, Pinay New Yorker, which I snagged in 2007 when I started on YouTube.

Of the three, the choice of Pinay New Yorker was obvious given my focus on “New York.” I also thought it would be a good partner to my 2-years-in-the-making podcast which I wanted to call “Conversations with Pinay New Yorker”. With all that settled, I started with begging friends and relatives to subscribe and add to my 20-something viewers. This was important because I could not do any streaming videos until I hit 50. And when I did, the journey started in earnest.

I knew from the start my vlog was going to be about New York. There were endless subjects to film as I had been doing, and it was a topic of interest to the world. Something as common as walking past the Chrysler Building (which happens to be my favorite building in New York City, by the way,) was a sight to behold for people thousands of miles away. I could take footage of my walk to work along Park Avenue, and that was already one video to upload.

I also didn’t even have to debate the topic of being in front of the camera or just putting out a so-called faceless channel, because I wanted the focus of the channel to be New York, not me. I have always been confident that New York, by itself, would be enough to sell my channel. And to be honest, I don’t have the self-assuredness to actually show myself on cam beyond my voice and my hands. So that was settled.

I published a long livestream the first opportunity I got, which was when I hit my first 50 subscribers. I uploaded content consistently, going around the parks and sights and doing Times Square and similar attractions. I made sure my videos were at least 10 minutes long, and I toyed with the thumbnail until I settled on the current one which I am reworking across my channel. It was simpler, direct to the point, and almost always mentioned New York or NYC somewhere there. This wasn’t my own idea— I looked at well established channels showcasing destinations and picked up the simplicity of their titles.

I managed to rack up the 4,000 hours before the 1000 subscribers which was the more difficult task of the two for me. I joined community chats in the livestreams, actively sought out so-called “new and beginning YouTubers” like myself, leaving comments and subscribing to their channels. And more importantly, I started creating shorts.

Shorts are a minute or less clips that have their own category in the YouTube realm. Again, I focused on the easily obtainable clips of my daily life. People walking to work, the New York icons all around me like Times Square, and our parks. My breakfast or the sizzling steak I’m cooking. A BTS birthday video I caught quite by accident, or clips of magazine pages referencing HRH Queen Elizabeth II when she passed. I was so surprised at what topics or clips caught people’s fancy. And I was even more surprised at how those shorts brought in the subscribers.

In 4 months, I became a YouTube partner. My channel was finally monetized with my 1000 subscribers, and over 5000 of the 4000 watch hour requirements.

It’s been just over 5 months since, and I’m at 2270 subscribers as of this writing. And to be honest, my YouTube revenue just slumped over $20 a week or two ago. Yay on that! I’m not fazed or discouraged. This whole journey, after all, has always been meant to be a stress free and fun passion project. And to date, it has stayed that way.

I’m hoping to make it to 3000 subscribers by the time I hit my first year anniversary. Baby steps.

I am still a new YouTuber, otherwise referred to as a beginner. I claim no expertise other than what I have managed to build within my channel. I want to help fellow new YouTubers to establish their own channels by sharing my journey, and I have been so surprised at how many Pinoys are out there. It makes me feel proud to be among both small and big channels alike, because I feel like I am part of a big community of kababayans (countrymen) who are trying to make their way around YouTube.

And my biggest supporters and mentors have come from the same group. Being on YouTube isn’t quite as easy or as glamorous an activity as others might think. You have to go in with low expectations, and a boat load of confidence. You have to be willing to learn and to share, and do your own marketing and networking to grow. it does take a village, starting with your first 1000 subscribers. Your first 240,000 minutes watched or the 4000 watch hour requirement cannot be achieved alone.

So I seek out new organic subs and watchers— I look at what my analytics tell me, and I try to learn from those who have done more than I have. It is a journey I have come to enjoy and have fun with — and one I will stay on for as long as it stays that way for me.

I upload shorts everyday, and a long form or full video at least every 3-4 days, if not daily. You can find me on YouTube as @pinay.newyorker , or you can just click on this link.

Finally, as we YouTubers always say, please don’t forget to click the “like” and “subscribe” button.

Below is my latest upload, showing New York as I ride a bus out of Manhattan, on the way home.

Monday Musings: Hello, February!

UntitledPlease click here to listen to the podcast featuring this article.

A milder winter weekend. The temperatures in New York have started to turn milder, but we are just hovering above freezing. So our heaters are still on full blast, and we New Yorkers are walking around all bundled up like eskimos.

I am not a fan of cold weather. As someone who came from the warm and humid Philippines, winter can be such a chore. We are lucky to have been spared snow so far, but the below freezing temperatures can be brutal as is. Don’t get me wrong —- it is as pretty as it has been touted as it falls, and right after the snowfall stops. But in the days following, the snow becomes an unwelcome presence for the constant cold, the slush and the ice if we get the mix. Then again, we’re in February! Winter will be over before we know it.

Creating again. So I made a sale on the Etsy store and I was just caught off guard. That turned into a panic when I realized I couldn’t find the bracelet. It led me to go through my supplies so I could recreate the bracelet and ship it on time. I went through my trays and found the Czech Pressed Glass beads, set aside the antique brass findings needed, found the heart charm that was one of the focals of the design and recreated it. Done!

In the process, I found some pieces I had made for a craft fair I had joined last year but which never made it to the shop. I also found some necklaces I now want to rework. There were beads, chains, focals and other components I had set aside but have yet to use. I am hoping I can find regular time in the coming weeks to start crafting again. It seems like that’s the only way I’d get anything done, given the stops and starts with the creative projects.

I must say the sale has made me look at the shop again. If I can sell without doing anything or uploading new pieces to offer, imagine what would happen if I posted more products, more regularly.

And the podcast is live! After much hesitation and endless postponement, the initial post featuring my blogpost prior to this one, is now live via and available on Spotify and some other podcast distribution channels. I am also premiering a video of the audio on YouTube on February 8th. The podcast version of this post will follow shortly after. I feel a sense of accomplishment in that, and can only hope that I will be able to maintain the momentum.

Of course this will always be the first place where my posts will land.

My sister is suggesting I read my poetry or any poems for that matter. I am on the fence about that because my poems are very personal to me. I also think production would vary slightly because it would need more background music.

Friends have been supportive of the idea of the podcast as a whole, but I need listeners more than the support. Just as I am with the YouTube channel, I’m being patient and taking it slow.

Wish me luck..

The Blog, The Podcast

This blogpost is available as a podcast here.

I’ve been meaning to start this podcast featuring my blogposts here for a while now, but it has been rather slow in coming. The podcast idea has been brewing in my head for the last 2 years, but the idea of doing a podcast of my blogposts was a recent development.

I initially wanted it to be a conversation with one, two or three others, regarding topics of interest to me. A real conversation. I conceived the title, asked a friend to create the soundtrack for the intro and extro, had my niece create an avatar for the podcast page, began writing show outlines and I started pounding on friends’ doors to agree to join me in what I was going to call “Conversations with Pinay New Yorker.” That wasn’t difficult – and I almost always got an instantaneous nod from the friends. But for some reason, the actual production never took off. After more than a year of the idea being in the backburner, I almost forgot about it. Somehow, it crept upon me again last year, in the middle of my being a newly monetized content creator on Youtube.

I suddenly thought – a podcast connected to my blog, produced in purely audio format – would be good additional content for the Youtube channel.

I felt it was a good way to get me writing more, as well as allowing me to explore a new avenue of expression. I was, after all, once upon a time, a newscaster for a local radio station back in Manila. It was there that I learned how to produce magazine style shows, and I figured I had more than enough material to go by, given I’ve been in this space for over a decade.

So the idea is to be able to give my blog a voice by not only publishing it online, but also making it listenable. I’m still trying to learn the rudiments of podcast publishing, but I’ve chosen the platform I will publish on, and I have a pretty good sense of what my material will be. Besides producing what I write as I go along, I intend to pick an article or two from the archives, and give them new life in voice.

I’ve also decided to narrate my own blogposts. If it’s written by my hand, it makes sense to lend my voice to my words. Who else can better put feeling into it than the one who wrote it… the idea is evolving, and I’m hoping this will be my first episode. I guess you can say that this is a work in progress. I don’t know if it will eventually turn into a book, written or in audio format. Or that it will just be a shortlived project that dies a natural death for want of purpose or an audience. As always, I am all gungho about giving this a shot. For me, myself and I. And if it makes its way to someone’s listening list eventually, and I can give someone something they can relate to out there, then I would’ve given my words more meaning.

I’m not here to change minds or swing votes – or even to make you agree with me. Like my blog, I’m doing this for my own benefit. It’s me, talking to the universe. And I thank you for having bumped into my space, and giving me a listen. Here’s wishing you come back for the next.. and the next.. and the next..