Tell us about yourself and your channel.
My name is Heather and I’m a YouTube coach that specializes in helping people use YouTube to make a living doing what they love. Creating on YouTube has truly been life changing for me so I’m on a mission to help others use YouTube to share their stories and spark their potential.
I have two YouTube channels! On HeatherJustCreate, I’m documenting my entrepreneurial journey as a full time content creator. On Heather Ramirez, I share tips, tools, and tidbits, to help YouTube creators thrive in the passion economy.
How did you get started on YouTube?
I was born in 1985 into a world where the internet didn’t exist so I had the unique opportunity to grow up at the same time the internet did. I’ve always been fascinated by digital media but in 2016, I began to realize that DIGITAL LITERACY was no longer just an advantage in today’s world. It was a necessity. So I quit my job to start Sharespark Media, a movement to educate and empower people to utilize digital media to achieve meaningful goals… having no idea how to start a business.
I wanted to be able to look back on what became of the craziest decision I’ve ever made and share it with the world, simply because I can. So I did what any normal person would do and… I STARTED A YOUTUBE CHANNEL! ?
One day, I received a comment from a high school digital media teacher named Tom Buck. We met in person, fell in love, got married, and my business evolved to a company of two! Both of us are full time content creators helping others use digital media to make an impact.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie creator? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
Give yourself a real chance to create what only you can. Learn the medium of YouTube videos by imitating techniques from creators that inspire you. Develop your skillset by putting in the reps and focusing on volume. But then, give yourself permission to manifest your original ideas. It will feel awkward because a lot of us aren’t used to doing that. But trust the process! You will find your voice.
Don’t worry about new trends, features, and platforms that seem to be working for everyone else. Trends come and go. Your brand though, brought to life through a body of work that you’re proud of, can bring you limitless opportunities for years to come.
What is your favorite video you have ever made?
In “MAKING A LIVING ON YOUTUBE,” I reflect on my 5 years as a YouTube creator and what I see for the future of YouTube. This video was the hardest video I’ve ever made. It really took EVERYTHING I had, both experience and skillset, to put this together. Also, it was the first time I created a formal piece of content around the passion economy which I’m very excited about!
I also have to give a shoutout to this video since this is the video I used to propose to Tom Buck. ?
What are some tools that allow you to be more effective at your craft?
My must-have tools are Ecamm Live, Canva, and Notion. I would not be able to run my business or my YouTube channels without them. In terms of equipment, my Elgato Stream Deck has been my new favorite thing. It makes everything fun!
How do you continue to educate yourself in your craft? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
Twitter is go-to resource for learning. It’s like a digital library that allows me to follow the greatest minds of our time and see their latest and greatest work… all for free! ?From there, I discover new podcasts, books, and YouTube channels.
What has been your biggest tool for subscriber growth?
To be honest, all of the things I did that focused on subscriber growth were hard learning experiences for me. I’ve had to unlist/delete several videos because although they were bringing in a ton of new people, they weren’t a good fit for the community I wanted to build.
Since discovering the passion economy business model, I’ve realized that focusing on the depth instead of the volume of my community has really been the key to long-term success on YouTube.
Podia and ConvertKit are two tools that have allowed me to deeply connect with my relatively small audience where I’m able to make a full time income despite low YouTube numbers. It’s why I’m so excited about the passion economy because it’s an almost opposite approach to the creator economy business model where a constant increase in numbers is necessary.
Do you put much time into making your videos SEO friendly?
I do the basics to optimize my videos for YouTube but since I’m taking a more narrow, network-focused approach for discovery, SEO is more of an afterthought than a priority.
Is there a trend that you are seeing emerge in 2021? What excites you about it?
THE PASSION ECONOMY! Being a content creator is the fastest growing type of small business but that doesn’t mean that you have to be a mega-influencer with a massive audience in order to have a successful business.
With the creator economy business model, creators focus on creating content and amassing as many subscribers/views as they can. From there, they can share revenue with companies through ads/sponsorships/affiliates or they can monetize off of their audience through merchandise, donations, or memberships.
With the passion economy business model, revenue comes directly from the community in exchange for a transformational product/service from the creator. So in the passion economy, the product that the creator offers goes beyond YouTube videos. Common offerings in the passion economy include online courses, group coaching memberships, 1-on-1 services, and exclusive content.
Kevin Kelly came up with the “1000 true fans” model where to succeed as a creator, you only need 1000 true fans to give you $100. The passion economy business model flips that where you only need 100 true fans to give you $1000. Again, the focus is on the depth of a community rather than the volume.
The reason why I’m so excited about it is because I think for some people, people like me, it’s so much more practical and approachable to build a business using YouTube to serve ~100 people than to aim for a silver/gold play button. I think there are some creators/niches/topics that have mass appeal and some that are meant to be more boutique. With the rise and development of new tech tools, creating specialized offerings that are truly transformational to a specific audience is easier than ever.
The creator economy business model is viable and it has clearly worked for many creators. But especially after 2020, I think consumer behavior has really changed where people are more open to purchasing higher ticket products/services from personal brands online because they feel a deeper connection to the creator. This means that as a creator, you don’t necessarily have to cross a subscriber threshold to start seeing a payoff.
I’m really excited about the passion economy because it’s a different approach to making a living as a content creator, one that I think will enable many new and impactful businesses.
When did your channel start to ‘pay off?’ In other words, when did your channel start to make you money?
Tom discovered my channel when it had ~4,000 subscribers and that has been the biggest payoff of my life. I will be forever thankful to myself for giving me the chance to try YouTube and for never giving up. Also, I’ve worked for myself ever since I quit my job in 2016 and most of the people I work with become clients because of my YouTube channels. So I guess it all started paying off the day I started.
Have you created sponsored content? If you have, how did you get in contact with your sponsors?
I have and they were terrible experiences lol. This was all in my first two years when I didn’t know any better and the sponsors reached out to me. When it comes to sponsorships, I no longer work with sponsors that are looking to pay for attention and exposure. I only want to work with brands that approach sponsorships as more of a partnership where they recognize that I believe in their products/services so much that I truly want my community to use them too.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I think it’s easy to forget that YouTube and all of these tools allow us to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime – something that is a truly revolutionary concept in the grand scheme of things. The fact that we can transform our ideas into something that has the potential for mass distribution FOR FREE is an absolutely amazing thing. So HAVE FUN and share your story because you have a story worth sharing.