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Building a Team to Grow Your YouTube Channel

Growing a YouTube channel and your online business means building a team

Building a team around your online business, whether it be a YouTube channel or otherwise, is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll face. Most of us start off as one-person working on a hobby project with no idea how a business in run.

Actually turning your YouTube channel into a scalable business is something completely foreign and maybe a little scary. It requires time, money and leads to more uncertainty than most of us want with our growing monthly income.

If you do want to reach your channel’s potential though, there will come a time you need to start outsourcing the work. I haven’t talked to a single creator with more than 100,000 subscribers that hasn’t outsourced or developed a team around some aspect of the business.

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YouTube Tasks that can be Outsourced

A note before we talk about which tasks can be outsourced. I’m using ‘outsourced’ and ‘team’ almost interchangeably here. The word ‘team’ implies someone that’s a regular member and maybe has more buy-in than a freelancer to whom you outsource work occasionally.

I think of it as a progression though. You might start by outsourcing a task to a few freelancers before deciding to work with just one regularly. Over time, that person will become a trusted member of a more cohesive team even if you never see them in-person.

Editing is usually one of the first tasks YouTube creators decide to outsource. Editing videos can be tedious and involves skills a creator hasn’t developed. It’s also one of those tasks that can be handled without a full command of the English language, making it easily outsourced to lower-cost regions of freelancers.

When you’re looking for video editors, make sure you ask for video references to see examples of their work. Scripting out your videos will make it easier because you can add production notes for where you want graphics and other assets to be placed.

Thumbnails are another task creators choose to outsource as their channel grows. Best practices says to keep your thumbnails consistent with structure and branding so it’s relatively easy to reproduce images for new videos. Some freelancers will still require you to provide images and text copy for each thumbnail but the rest of the outsourcing process is straight-forward.

Promoting Your YouTube Channel through social media, ads and collabs with other creators is a big step to outsource. It can also be one of the more expensive roles to hire but also worth it if you find someone with skills across social media and outreach.

Hiring promotion for your YouTube channel can actually be three different roles; social media, ads and collabs. They’re all related so I’ve included them within an overall promotion role but you might start trying to find three separate freelancers specializing in their specific role.

  • Social Media Strategy means not only sharing your videos across your social accounts but engaging in groups to promote the channel as well.
  • Advertising includes building a measurable ad campaign for different platforms from YouTube to Google and social platforms. This doesn’t mean you throw money at ads because you feel obligated to have an ad strategy but comes only after carefully considering the costs and return.
  • YouTube Collabs are a great way to reach other audiences on the platform but can be difficult to set up. Finding someone with experience connecting people is worth the effort.

Here is where laying out responsibilities and trusting in the hiring process will be critical. We’ll talk about this more in the next section but we’re not talking about a quick or technical task like involved in thumbnail creation or editing. Promotion is a creative task and more than one way to do it. Even if you don’t immediately agree with the strategy used by your new freelancer, give them time to grow into the role.

Comment moderation is another task easily outsourced though most channels use a process to answer different levels of comments. Typically an assistant will answer the easiest and most basic comments, those simply thanking you for your channel. The assistant will also delete spam comments and then mark remaining ones for the creator to answer.

Scripting and other parts of your YouTube content generation are usually the last to be outsourced. This is the value you bring to the table and it’s usually quite expensive to find similar skills that can script videos in your natural voice.

Still, there are parts of your content that can be outsourced or at least can be worked on within the team. Assistants can help with idea generation, doing research on popular keywords on other channels and then researching ideas to be included in the video. Your entire team can all contribute ideas and direction for content strategy. You can pass the drafted script on to your members of the team for review and input on ways to engage and interest viewers.

How to Work with a Team on YouTube

It’s one thing to know what you want to outsource, it’s something entirely different to be able to find people and work with a team effectively.

I’ll warn you that putting an effective team together will be a frustrating and long-term project. You’ll have to put up with people that don’t perform and will have to rehire when valued members leave.

It’s all part of running a business.

Put in the effort to be a manager rather than just a one-person operation and you will grow your business. Know that every other manager and business owner goes through the same frustrations. Your will be rewarded with higher income and a business that can function without you at the wheel 24/7.

We’ll talk about setting up and managing your team next but understand there is another route you can take to this.

The alternative is hiring a business manager to handle everything you don’t want to do. This is, of course, the more expensive option but can also free up your time to create content and do what you do best. You’ll need someone that understands your business and is a good manager as well. You’ll still need to be patient, letting them grow into the role and understand exactly what you want, but it’s easier than managing the entire team yourself.

Whether you go with a business manager or not, the first step in working with a team is to set responsibilities, a process and goals for each role you want to fill.

  • Write out exactly everything the person will do, assuming they come to the role with no prior knowledge. One great idea I’ve used is to create a video tutorial for each task.
  • These different tasks will help you understand the responsibilities you want the role to bear and lay out goals for the hire to achieve.
  • Of course, you and the hire want to evolve in the role over time. The best team member will be one that does their job and creates other tasks within the role that will drive growth.

This formalization of the role needs to be as detailed as possible before you begin looking for someone. It’s going to make it crystal clear what you expect and what the freelancer needs to do.

Finding and selecting the right people is the easy…er, the hard part. There are innumerable freelancer sites, some specific to a task while others are broader. I use Upwork but have also found people on Fiverr, Freelancer.com and through connections.

  • Browse other job requests similar to yours so you have an idea of how much to offer
  • Decide on all the special skill sets you want including English proficiency
  • Detail your job description as much as possible and use any filters to prohibit people from applying if they do not meet requirements. Require some type of cover letter, their answer will help show you whether they actually read the description or are just replying with a template answer. Also require at least three references and contacts to prior work similar to your job.

Understand that for every 30 applicants to a job, you might only get a few worth interviewing and then maybe only one actually qualified for the job. Whatever you do, do not skip over parts in the hiring process. Time spent interviewing people and checking references is well spent compared to hiring the wrong person and then having to repeat the entire process in a month.

Finding the Best for Your YouTube Team

One method I’ve found that works well is to narrow your list of potential hires to a few well-qualified people, then have them all test on a small project. You’ll still have to pay for them to perform the project but it will give you a better idea of how well they actually fit the role under a real assignment.

One important decision you’ll need to make, at least starting out, will be the level of experience you want new hires to possess. You can hire someone able to do the job perfectly from day one but will generally have to pay more. You can hire someone with less developed skills but will spend more time training them for the role.

The most difficult part of the entire team-building process is after you hire someone for a role. Now comes the stage of training and development, a stage that will probably take at least three months.

This is where your new hire will need to work hard to learn the role but you’ll also be tasked with being patient as they grow into it. Even someone with years of experience cannot be expected to know exactly how you want things done from day one.

Even more difficult will be accepting that your way may not be the best way. Keep an open mind to your new hire’s ideas and be ready to accept change if it could help grow the business. It can be difficult to let go and let someone else take responsibility but this kind of proactive employee is the best kind to find.

You don’t wake up one day and think to yourself, “I need a team for my YouTube channel.” It’s a slow realization that your time is better spent doing some tasks and not others. You’ll start off by outsourcing one or two roles. Learn from the experience, being a better manager and slowly growing your team. One day you might wake up and think to yourself, “I really have a great team for my YouTube channel.”

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