My friend – a rant about shooting videos and getting rich on YouTube

I have a friend at work who knows that I am learning how to make my Youtube channel, Pure Charm, come to life. While he knows that I am constantly “tinkering,” what he hasn’t seemed to grasp is that there is a learning curve of some magnitude, and while it’s wonderful to watch videos on how easy it is to make and upload a video, the reality is that creating something good and competitive is a much more difficult process.

Recently we were having a conversation at work. He’d like to make a little extra income, and if he could make, “I don’t know, maybe a few grand each month. That would be great.” I looked at him cautiously. Yes, we’d all like to make a few grand each month, but it seemed like he was overly optimistic about how much money he could make given that he didn’t have a channel and had never produced a single video worth watching in his life. (To be clear, he made a movie about a vacation he had done with a friend. He spanned SIX VHS tapes, each essentially the extended version of every home movie you have ever feared. To him, it was a shining example of how much he like to make videos. To me, it was a warning to edit videos carefully.) I asked him how often he could see himself uploading a video and he said, “Oh, only once a month. I don’t have time for more than that.”

Once a month? And make a few grand off that single video? I liked the enthusiasm. It just wasn’t grounded in reality. (I mean, sure, it happens. That girl who lives in a van with her pet snake went from no obscurity to fame overnight. But it’s not the norm.) Out of the 300 hours of video that is uploaded every minute to YouTube, his monthly video will bring in a few grand each month. Just like that?

What bothers me isn’t his overwhelming optimism. What bothers me is the overwhelming arrogance. He isn’t super mega excited to show off the thing he’s super mega excited about. He thinks YouTube is a land where you can walk in with no experience and net yourself a big fat paycheque without trying. I’m MORE bothered, though, that in spite of the amount of work I have done to learn to do the rudimentary videos that I do, he thinks he is already more skilled than I am.

It is a phenomenon I have encountered multiple times. Each time it leaves me entirely speechless: a man will disregard the hundreds of hours of work women dedicate to something and then say they are better. It happens without them blinking. YouTube preparation is one example. Last year in another shocking example, my sedentary colleague, overhearing me talk about how many days each week I was either training for a 10k road race, at gymnastics or at cheerleading, told me (for no apparent reason) that he could still probably outrun me.

It seems they learn it young, too. My daughter’s baseball team of ten years had a suggestion from the spectator boyfriends that they should have a boys versus girls game. The boys insisted they would win. Of them, not a single one had ever played baseball. But the arrogance was already there. (The girls accepted the challenge, by the way. The boys, however, decided it was dumb and the game never happened.)

We see this play out time and time again in careers. Men will apply for jobs they are barely qualified to hold – and will get the job. It’s not their female counterparts weren’t as competent and overlooked. It’s that they didn’t apply in the first place. They read the job description and decided they weren’t qualified… yet. Men are conditioned early on to have confidence, and sometimes even “bravado” where confidence is unwarranted. They are then applauded in their run at excellence. Women are more cautious, but even when confidence is warranted, there is still a man waiting in the wings to tell her he can do it better, naturally, because it’s not that hard. They can run faster, make better videos, get more runs in.

To my colleague who will live in his belief that his single monthly upload will be super profitable, I wish him well. And maybe he is the next winning recipe. Maybe he’ll crack the algorithm and I will watch in awe. I mean, he thinks it can happen.

But in the meantime, just in case he doesn’t crack the algorithm and get rich, fellas, it sure would be nice to not have our hard work get steamrolled by your complete lack of education, training, and commitment. Success is not pie. A woman’s dedication does not mean you are now eligible for less success. It just means she earned hers. You can, too. And you can do it without downplaying our work.