“Should I quit and start over on a fresh channel?”
I get asked some variation of this question at least once a week.
Instead of responding to each one individually, let’s chat about it here:
- When should you do it?
- When should you wait?
- “Pop and Pivot” Method
- Plus examples and a dive into the mind of a CEO who runs 11 channels and launches them regularly 🧠
Why Does It Matter?
Every creator will run into this question at some point in their journey. You’ll face this decision regardless of:
→ experience level
The only exception being those creators who post purely for fun. But they probably aren’t subscribed to this newsletter 😉
Enable vs. Inhibit
How you respond to this question can do two things:
- Help you grow to new heights
- Make you take seven steps backwards
Disclaimer: I cannot answer the question for you. But I can walk you through different scenarios and examples to help you come to your own conclusion.
Gather around 🔥
What You Need to Know
Consider Going For It
There are 3 primary factors that could indicate a new channel launch would be a net positive:
→ New Audience
→ Channel PIvot
→ Creative Outlet
Serves a new audience
The paths to serving a new audience are either:
- Proactive or
One isn’t better than the other. Proactively starting a new channel will help prevent sub churn on your current channel. However, reacting to a new subset of viewers can also provide insights without starting from scratch on a fresh channel (ie: Thomas Frank → FranklyExplains; more on this later in the issue)
Pivoting current channel
I’ve been through this firsthand when I helped a gaming channel with 9M subscribers make the jump to IRL content. The ins and outs of pivoting your channel effectively is a newsletter for another day ;)
If you want to see that, or have any other questions you’d like me to cover, just email me! I read and respond to every email I get from subscribers 🔥
Back to the pivot: the big question we had was “what do we do with all of these gaming subscribers?” They needed a place to go as we had no intention of slowing down on the gaming content. A new channel was the perfect answer.
We had production up and running within a couple of weeks. Once the transition to IRL content was in full force, we were then intentional about responding to the concerned comments looking for our gaming content.
Now the channels look like this:
→ Pivoted channel: 20M+ subscribers
→ Gaming channel: 14M+ subscribers
Need a new creative outlet
The final reason (in this newsletter) is if you need a new creative venture.
When I got my start in the space back in 2016, I was editing 3 videos a day minimum. When I moved to strategy, I was responsible for 21+ uploads a week plus team management. This isn’t a flex.
This is so you know that when I say “I get YouTube can be a grind”, I truly get it.
Sometimes you need something else to do to keep yourself creatively fresh. And sometimes those things don’t fit anywhere near your current content.
Hence, a new channel is a great testing ground if that exploration is one you want to put on YouTube! Just be sure to set boundaries and expectations before pressing publish to keep it from feeling like work later on.
Hold Off for a Bit
Now for the red flags. Often, they’ll be hiding behind the green flags.
ie: This channel will serve a new audience 🟩, but... 🟥
This is not to say the green is invalidated. Just that the red flag should be addressed before moving forward.
These are the most common issues I see when I’m asked about starting new channels:
If you’ve only posted 7 shorts over the past 11 months and gotten a cumulative 133 views, it’s way too soon to make any kind of informed call. You don’t even have statistically significant data yet.
Depending on niche, I’d argue 50k-100k subscribers could still be too early. Remember, I pivoted a channel with 9M subs 😂 it’s always doable.
Focus on getting traction before you stress about optimizing content direction. Take a podcast channel for example: should they do only full episodes? Or clips? Or a mix? Or solo content (if out of norm)?
Yes. All of the above.
This is what I call the “Pop and Pivot Method” for fresh channels:
- Post a little bit of everything that could fit for your audience.
- Keep posting until you get data on each of the formats/verticals.
Find what works (pop) and pivot to double down on that
- Not exclusively, but lean in to the vertical that’s working while continuing to test and iterate others.
Shot in the Dark
When people ask me if they should quit/restart, I ask what the new channel would be. How often would they post? Which audience are they targeting?
Sometimes it’s a lot of awkward silence after that.
I’m not saying you have to have a 5 year plan with a SWOT analysis before launching a channel. However, I am saying that there should be a strategy behind the decision otherwise you’ll end up in the exact same spot.
Improving what you have > starting fresh in most cases.
OooOh Shiny ✨
Shiny things are SUPER fun…until they aren’t anymore.
I’ll keep this one short - if this pivot or new channel harms your goals, it’s not worth it. Focus on your highest leveraged areas and keep your head down.
The YouTube game is less about virality and more about consistency.
Examples + Conversation
What started as a group of dudes inspired by The Buried Life to say “yes” to crazy challenges and living life outside of their comfort zone, evolved over time into the cinematic human connection/documentary channel that it is today.
That transition didn’t happen overnight. It was gradual as they scaled up the budgets and content. However, as with any shift, there were the audience members that missed the old, off-the-cuff style.
Hence, the Seek Discomfort channel was born. Now those looking for the light-weight videos had a place to go while those more engaged with the polished content could stick around on the main channel.
The Seek Discomfort channel also allows the main talent of Yes Theory to take a step back as the editors and other various team-members get the spotlight.
My dads, Colin and Samir, have been working in / covering the creator space for over a decade. With their recent growth in the past few years, their main channel evolved into a high-production podcast/talkshow with the top voices on the platform.
This left a gap between C&S and their audience of creators. However, thanks to their subreddit, questions from that audience came in and C&S answered. But where should that live? That lower effort (effort ≠ quality) content would be a stark contrast to their more polished main channel content.
The solution: Creator Support
If you want to read Samir’s thoughts, here’s an article on his reasoning.
Around the Campfire: Shane Uriot of SRU Productions
Shane’s company currently runs/has run 11 successful YouTube channels. He’s been in the weeds of launching, growing, and scaling channels for years.
I’m thankful for two things:
- Him taking the time to provide an inside look at his thought processes
- Being able to smoke him on a pool table any day of the week (sarcasm)
Below is a TLDR, but our full conversation can be found here.
TH: What factors do you consider when planning a new channel launch?
SU: Important to note my company specializes in launching channels / brands so my approach may be a little different then the average creator:
→ Niche - we search for niches with a high ceiling that we feel like we can execute on.
→ Costs - We run a business so this may be different for creators that are just starting out but we want to make sure the type of channel we are producing doesn’t hurt us on the business side.
→ Do we like it? Is it content that not only I, but my team would want to make? If it isn’t then we don’t do it.
TH: Have you quit/abandoned channels? Why?
SU: Yes I have abandoned channels multiple times in the past. There have been a few reasons why I have done this and it is on a case by case basis. We always set up KPIs before we go into a channel; where we want to hit certain metrics at specific times…
…I will say though if you are a new creator without a ton of experience building multiple channels (11 of my own and 4 that I consulted for) I would suggest giving it a longer window and experimenting with your content. Just make sure you are committed to learning every time you make something new.
TH: What are the biggest or most common mistakes when considering a channel launch or pivoting an existing channel?
SU: The biggest mistake I see people have is lack of patience and the inability to learn / change. All of our channels grow organically. No push from our other brands. It can be tempting to want to push from a 2m sub channel to one with 0 and think that you are helping but the reality is you are moving the wrong audience to that channel. YouTube understands what a good video is and as long as you make one it will find the right audience. Be patient and learn from your audience.
There are [also] a lot of creators with the mentality that "I made this so I deserve the views".
The reality is that you don’t.
If your audience doesn’t find value in that content anymore and your goal is to get an audience you need to take a look at your content and make a change.
TH: Anything that wasn’t asked but you feel would be sage advice when thinking through this topic?
SU: I think the biggest advice I would give someone is allow yourself to fail and learn. You aren’t going to walk into a gym and bench press 300lbs the first day you go. It is the same with YouTube. If you have never made a channel or a video before chances are your first one is going to suck and that is okay. Just make sure you learn from those mistakes and try to get 1% better every time.
What You Need to Do
Here is your challenge for this week:
Get to know your audience!
- Write down everything you can think of about your target audience
- How old are they?
- Are they primarily male, female, or is it an even mix?
- What are they interested in?
- What other YouTube channels would they be watching? (both inside AND outside of your niche)
- Compare the viewer you profiled to what your analytics say
- Do they match or are they wildly different?
Adjust accordingly :)
Don't forget to tweet me any results @trenthaire
All the best,