Podcast intro:

Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 397. And today I’m going to talk about all the things that I’ve learned from hitting 1 million subscribers on YouTube.

Hey everyone. So, a few months ago, I finally hit 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Years ago, this was just like a pipe dream. I never thought it would ever be possible to get to 1 million subscribers. That milestone was saved to bigger and better creators than me. But throughout the years, as I grew my YouTube channel, I started realizing that, Hey, maybe this is actually possible for me too.

And at the beginning of 2024, we hit 1 million subscribers. I say we, because it’s not just me. I mean, I’m the face of the channel and I create the content, but I get a lot of help. I have an amazing editor and production manager and content director and content developer and designer. And we all work together towards just creating better content, sharing what we believe in, and also reaching as many people as possible around the world. And this milestone was a celebration for all of us.

But when I started, it was just me. And throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot of things from this experience, from sharing videos and creating content, and even thinking about hitting this goal of 1 million subscribers. And today I want to share with you a few of those things. So this is what this episode is about. So it’s a more personal/professional episode that relates to the content I share for my students around the world. So, let’s go ahead and listen to today’s episode.

Video transcript:

Hey, hey you guys, it’s Hadar from Accent’s Way English with Hadar, the YouTube channel that has recently hit 1 million subscribers. So first of all, I wanted to make this video to say thank you so much for being a part of this journey. Whether you’re subscribed or just watching my videos regularly, or maybe this is the first time you’re watching a video, I just want to say thank you.

I’m honored and I’m humbled that you choose to spend your time watching my content and hearing what I have to say. So, I really want to start by thanking you and saying that this has been quite an achievement for me personally and for us in the company. But it could not have been possible without you guys. So, this is for you.

Now, I wanted to share with you five things that I’ve learned from hitting one million subscribers on my YouTube channel. And the first thing that I’ve learned is that growth is not linear, despite what you would like it to be or to believe. So when you’re growing a business or a YouTube channel or an Instagram account or anything really, you will notice that there are seasons or periods where you… everything that you do just works. And you get the traction that you want, and the views that you want, and people subscribe, and people comment, and people respond, so you feel like that there is this growth, and you believe that this growth is going to continue in the same way until you hit your goals.

So for me, at first it was 10, 000 subscribers. Then it was 50, 000 subscribers, then 100, 000 subscribers. And then of course, as I was growing my channel, it was hard for me to imagine having 1 million subscribers. But I definitely had that on my big goal list. From years ago, I remember that my team and I were talking and we talked about the fact that one day we would hit 1 million subscribers and that felt so, um, far away.

Then there was a period where my channel started growing really fast. We had a few viral videos, and people responded really well to the content I shared. And I thought, okay, that’s it. It seems like I’m going to hit 1 million subscribers this year, or this quarter, or, you know, if we keep growing in the same way. Because we had a goal to hit 1 million subscribers in 2023.

Then around mid or the end of the third quarter of 2023, after having this really, really nice growth, everything just started declining, or we hit a plateau in our growth. And it felt really strange because we were putting great content out there, if I may say. And we did the same things and we invested a lot of energy, but we haven’t seen the same results.

And it was a very humbling experience because it’s like, you think that you figured it out and you think that you’re going to have the same growth, but then you don’t. And then you just have to accept it. And then I ended up not posting for a couple of months, which also affected my channel. And then I just like, I realized that I’m not going to hit the goal in 2023. And I was like, that’s fine, whatever, you know, I’m still enjoying my audience and I’m still enjoying creating content. And it wasn’t something that made me lose sleep in any way, but it’s like a milestone that is nice to have when you have a YouTube channel.

But I realized that growth is not linear and you just have to accept the times where you’re doing really well, and you also have to accept with love the times where you hit a plateau or everything starts declining. Because it’s really cyclical, and at some point, growth will come again. And being in business for 16 years, I already know that to be true, so this is why I was not really worried about it, but we definitely wanted to cross it off our list. So, now we have.

The next thing I learned is that success is not made of highlights. And it’s not made of joyful moments, necessarily, that lead you to that moment where you’re like, I have succeeded. Success is based on tedious, boring, mundane, daily tasks that tend to be repetitive. Filming another video, editing it, viewing it, reviewing it, comments, feedback, titles, reviewing it again, thumbnails, doing that over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, right? Those small moments, like those hours that you spend on doing those things, not wanting to review another video, not wanting to fix titles, not wanting to sit down and shoot videos. But you do it anyway because that is the essence of success.

And success feels like something glorious and wonderful, but no, it’s really a collection of a lot of moments that are considered hard/boring/tedious work. And, you know, like when I think about all the videos that I have on my channel, and all the beautiful, lovely, wonderful, smart, wise subscribers that I have, all of that is really founded on thousands of hours of hard work. And I’m saying that because if you are working towards something, whether it’s a YouTube channel or a business, or something at work, and you are frustrated with the tedious, boring work, remember that that is the currency of success. That is the compound effect. You keep doing it again and again and again and again, and then you will be rewarded for that, right? Like, you will be able to reap the fruit of your hard labor.

And that’s definitely the case when it comes to English as well. Like the hard practice: another word, another word, and another sound, and another grammar structure, and then you try it again, and you try it again, and it feels like it’s endless, and boring, and tedious. But at the end of the day, you walk into a restaurant and you start speaking to the person there with that language that you learn, or you make friends, or you get a job, and that’s the reward. So, the thing that we hope for ourselves or the thing that we consider a success is really based on those small tedious moments of what we perceive as hard work, which makes all the hard work always be so worth it.

Another thing is that if you have a vision for yourself, and you can see it, and you can visualize, then nothing is going to stop you from getting it. Okay? And this is really important. I recently talked about it when I talked about my relocation experience, and how I tried to get a visa to come live here in Barcelona. And one of the things that kept me going was the vision that I had for myself, for, you know, me living here and everything working out for me.

And that’s the same with my YouTube channel. I remember years ago when my channel was still at like, I think 300, 000 subscribers. I took a screenshot of my YouTube channel and I changed the number to 1 million and I put it as a screensaver.

And I always looked at it, like I would open my computer and see 1 million subscribers. That was years ago. So it took a long time for me to get there. However, I knew that that was something that I needed. Now, it’s not the number. It’s not like 900, 000 is not important, but 1 million is. It really isn’t. But obviously it’s a milestone that I wanted to acknowledge.

Because knowing that I have 1 million subscribers once upon a time seemed so far fetched, so impossible, like a pipe dream for me. And as I got closer to it and it became more realistic, I, you know, like I wanted to get there so I could say to myself, that’s it, like I had a vision for my channel, for the platform that I have, for how many people I can speak to, and I was able to get there. So, when you have a vision for yourself and you have clarity and you make it specific and you even make it visual like I did with a screenshot, then nothing can get in your way. It might take longer than expected, but you’re going to get there.

The fourth thing that I’ve learned is how to manage the conversation I have in my head about how I show up in my own success. Because at times where my growth was very, very small, and I was seeing all these other great channels of other people, whether it’s in my industry or not, like growing and exploding, getting to millions and millions of subscribers. And I’d be like, I also put a lot of effort and time and thought into my content, but I’m not seeing the same results.

So, I found myself in situations like comparing myself to others. And I found myself in situations trying to find reasons for why that happens: “Oh, it’s because I’m a non native speaker. Oh, it’s because this is where I’m from. Oh, it’s because my content is so complex. Oh, it’s because I talk too much. Oh, it’s because I don’t do the ‘speak like a native’ thing.”

And I, you know, I started giving myself all these reasons for why I’m not seeing the growth that I want to see. But I think that I was really good at catching it when those thoughts came up from like insecurities, because insecurities will always be there, but I’m really good at managing them, right, like they don’t drive me, they don’t lead me. I don’t make decisions based on those insecurities or like negative thoughts or, you know, excuses that I give for myself.

And I said to myself, “You are where you need to be.” And every time I would come up with a reason ‘it’s because you’re not a native speaker’, I would come back with a result: “But this is exactly the reason why. You are able to connect with your audience. You have such a great connection with your students and your audience. No matter how, you know, big or small your platform is.” It’s because my content is sometimes advanced and I speak fast. So yes, it could be the reason why I don’t I don’t reach more people, but at the same time, I reach the right people who like to listen to how I teach and are interested in what I have to say.

Or when I said, “Oh, you don’t hop on trends of the ‘speak like a native’ and ‘be an advanced speaker’, and that prevents you from reaching more people”, than I would say, “Exactly. And the content that I share is aligned with my values. And when it’s time for me to reach that milestone, I will. I have all the time in the world.”

I have incredible students. I’m so grateful for the platform I have. Beyond YouTube, I have an incredible community, free community on Facebook. If you’re not there, join the InFluency community. I have an incredible membership, ongoing membership with the most beautiful community of students, called Beyond. I have an incredible program that usually attracts the best people in the world, called New Sound.

I am so blessed when it comes to finding the right people. And I think that a part of that is that I have my own pace and rhythm, and maybe it’s different than how I had wished it for it to be. It’s still freaking amazing, and I’m so grateful, and I’m dead honest saying that. It was never, never something that made me feel really bad. But still, like I recognized those patterns, and I was able to manage them. And I think that it’s important to do that because when you recognize the patterns, then you recognize it in other areas as well in your life, and in my case, in my business.

And the last thing that I realized that is kind of going to contradict everything that I said up until now is that it’s easy to get distracted by vanity metrics. One million subscribers, 100, 000, you know, 10 million, gold button, blue button, red button. It’s really easy to get distracted by it. And there’s like this sense of competition, internal competition that you have with yourself when you are a content creator.

However, it really does not matter. The moment the one million’s person subscribed to my channel did not make that person more worthy than the first one who subscribed to my channel. So you see the number of views, you see the number of subscribers, but it’s nothing like the true connection that I have with someone who’s commenting something vulnerable and open, or just showing gratitude.

Looking at a big number or a round number is never going to feel as exciting as when I look at a comment that says, “Hadar, you have really made a difference in my life.” When I see a DM on Instagram of someone saying that because of me they’ve started teaching English, or I’ve made their lives easier, or when someone in my program tells me that they got an English speaking job and that has been their dream for years. Like that would never hold the same importance and space.

So that even though we tend to follow vanity metrics and be kind of like, “Oh, she has so many followers, or he has so many followers, or 1 million subscribers, and that is amazing, and let’s celebrate.” All of that is great, and I love it, don’t get me wrong, and I have had a goal to reach 1 million subscribers. But it’s the true connections that make a daily impact in my life. It’s the open channel that I have with my students that keeps me motivated, and that makes me joyful and happy to do what I do and to wake up in the morning. It’s not for the number.

And I’m saying that because we can get distracted by it, especially when we’re first starting out and we feel, “Oh, we only have a few hundred followers, or subscribers”. And what am I doing is like, who are those 100 subscribers that you already have? How can you serve them? How can you make connections? How can you get to know them so that you can feel like you’ve had impact on their lives and that they have impacted you and motivated you to keep going and to keep doing what you’re doing.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s a 100, 100,000, or 100,000,000. So, I think that’s what really, really matters. Now, of course, having a larger platform means that you can help more people. But it doesn’t make your work less important when you have less people. That’s what I’m trying to say.

And with that, again, thank you to all of you who commented and shared and liked and thought about the things that I had to share. And you opened yourself up for changing something in how you think, in how you practice, in how you use English. Because that is the biggest gift that you could have given to me. And I’m grateful for this platform, grateful for YouTube. And so happy we’re here.

So what is my next goal? I don’t know. It’s probably not going to be 2 million, even though it’s going to be really nice, but that’s not my next goal. My next goal is to really create the best platform for you guys to reach limitless fluency. And I’m constantly working on that.

So, that’s it. Thank you so much for watching. I hope this was somewhat interesting. And like I said, thank you for being a part of my journey. Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day, and I will see you in the next video. Bye.