We all have those friends, right? You know – the ones we consider family. The ones we share a lifetime bond and connection with… Along with bickering, arguing, and stand-offs. But the ones we would never ever give up – because they’re the ones who understand us like none other, and who we can call at 3am on a Tuesday morning because someone pissed us off and we can’t sleep. The ones who always have your back – and who will defend you with the vigor of an angry mama bear at the slightest threat. Yep, those are the best friends to have. And I feel blessed to be interviewing one today.
Her name is Maryan, and she is quite the character. What is that supposed to mean!? – she is going to ask. But it simply means that she is unique, a personality unto herself, and that’s what I love about her.
We met almost 22 years ago at our first big girl job. We were so grown up – but really just kids. She sat next to me, training with a co-worker on her first day, and looked at him like he was a regular idiot when he gave her instructions that didn’t make complete sense. Uhhh, whatever, why would you DO THAT!?? she said. And I was intrigued – by her confidence, her gall, and her complete irreverence for what anyone else may think. We went to lunch, and she spoke up when the server gave her a paltry portion of rice: Uhhhh, can you put MORE on there?? – dripping with sarcasm. Then when the cashier took his time writing an unintelligible note on the receipt, she boldly said exactly what I was thinking: Um, WHAT are you DOING?? HELLO – Can you hurry up please?? I was hooked, and we became inseparable.
Through jobs, kids, dating fiascos, arguments, makeups, graduations, weddings, marriages, and more kids – we have been through it all. And even now – we are starting our creative pursuits at around the same time, and learning and going through the experience together.
So when I told Maryan that I was launching this new blog, I asked if I could interview her about her new YouTube channel. Why, she said, wouldn’t readers want someone much more experienced with a huge following? I disagreed, and told her that I thought it would be refreshing to hear the experience of someone just starting out, like many of us are, and that I could then periodically check back in to monitor progress as time goes on. She thought for a moment, and then surprised me with an Okay – makes sense – I’ll do it!
And so here we are.
Thanks for chatting with us today. First, I’d like you to explain what inspired you to start the StayingCreative YouTube channel.
I watch a lot of videos on YouTube personally, and really enjoy them. I started to think that people might find some of the things I want to share interesting or helpful. I was a thespian in high school and love being in front of the camera! I find YouTube to be a great creative outlet for me.
What were your original goals in starting the channel?
To inspire people and hopefully help a few along the way. I thought it would be fun as well. I wanted to share my creativity and thoughts with people without interruption hehee.
Since starting your channel, have your goals or vision changed?
Nope, and I really don’t think they ever will.
How do you decide what to talk about on your channel?
Really just whatever is inspiring me at the time. That’s why I purposely chose the name “StayingCreative” – because it is general enough to allow me to be free to create anything.
Do you have any insight as to what is resonating with your audience?
Yes, based on views it appears that viewers like the crochet and cooking videos the most. It is interesting, because while I enjoy crocheting, I am no expert, yet those videos are receiving many views.
Well, I think you’re much better than you give yourself credit for. But maybe it’s because people relate to you as someone who is learning, and are learning along with you?
Maybe? I don’t really know. I wish I knew more to share more, but I am constantly learning and sharing everything I know.
Are you making any money off your channel? If not, do you plan to?
Yes, so far I have made a few dollars but am not comfortable sharing the exact amount just yet. It’s not much but it’s a start, and I feel that if I can continue to increase traffic I could earn much more.
What is your target demographic, or the profile of your typical viewer?
I don’t have a target demographic in mind when I am creating videos. I just create what I am interested in and figure that it will resonate with like-minded people. But I believe that most of my viewers are women aged 18-40.
What value are you hoping your videos add?
I hope to inspire my viewers in some small way.
Do you have a motto or tagline that you operate under?
How do you encourage viewers to connect and identify with you?
Mainly through YouTube comments or direct messages. Sometimes people will email me directly as well. I do also have Instagram and Twitter accounts, but am not as active with those as with YouTube.
What has been the most surprising part about starting a YouTube channel?
That I am actually receiving subscribers and viewers! I never expected the kinds of numbers that my videos have received, and that has been very encouraging and motivating.
What has been the most difficult part about starting a YouTube channel?
It would definitely be finding the time to edit my videos – it takes a while, especially in the beginning. Also finding good lighting in my home.
What is your favorite part about creating YouTube videos?
I really enjoy adding music to the videos and creating my thumbnails. It’s a big part of the creative process.
Why did you choose YouTube over other social media channels?
I don’t enjoy writing – it’s too much work! And I’m not much of a reader – unless of course it is reader comments. So YouTube definitely fits my personality the best. Plus I enjoy watching YouTube videos myself. It’s my weird way of unwinding after a long day of work.
What would you say to others considering starting a new YouTube channel?
It is definitely a lot more work than you probably think it will be. A short five minute video takes much, much longer than that to film, edit, and upload. But – it is also very rewarding. I love reading and responding to peoples’ comments, and have had the opportunity to connect with so many interesting viewers. Even though my goal is to inspire, I am always happily surprised when someone writes to thank me or comment about me inspiring them. It’s motivating and helps me feel like I am contributing in a positive way.
Do you have any other advice to give?
Be yourself on camera. Don’t be afraid to be goofy and real. Laugh at yourself and don’t take yourself so seriously. People want to connect with other people who make them feel good. And they want to relate to people like themselves – normal people like you and me. Don’t try to act or put up a front – viewers are smart enough to see right through that and then you come across as fake and inauthentic.
Do you think that your YouTube channel will meet, fall short of, or exceed your original goals?
Honestly, it has already exceeded my original goals! I wasn’t sure if anyone would pay attention to my channel or care what I had to share. But I’m finding that people actually do. So I just keep elevating my original goals.
What motivates or inspires you to keep uploading videos?
The fact that people are watching, and that my subscriber pool is increasing. I love hearing from viewers that something I have said or done resonates with them. It makes me feel proud of what I am doing and gives me the motivation to continue.
What personality traits do you think help you in this endeavor?
Not being afraid to be silly or creative. Not paying attention to the haters. Being myself.
What kind of support does your family provide?
Honestly, everyone I know is very supportive of my YouTube channel. My husband especially puts up with my constant videoing, even making cameos in many of my videos! He is a good sport.
I know that you ran a YouTube contest a little while back. Can you talk more about that? How did you decide what to do, was it successful, what lessons did you learn, and how would you tweak it next time?
Yes, I had a subscriber appreciation giveaway. My goal was to hit a milestone number of 100 subscribers. I exceeded the goal and found that the contest was a great way to connect with my viewers and subscribers. The only thing I would tweak next time is doing away with runner-ups. I had runner-ups the first time around, but learned that it created confusion for some of my viewers. So I think one single winner is the best approach for going forward. I really learned a lot! What was perhaps the most helpful was learning what my viewers were most interested in winning. This will help me put together an even better incentive prize for the next contest or giveaway that I run.
Finally, how do you personally “Stay Creative”?
I am constantly looking around and learning. I love browsing YouTube, Instagram, Etsy, and Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. I gravitate towards topics like crocheting, knitting, cooking, arts and crafts, home decor, shopping, plus size clothing hauls, family get-together planning, and the list could go on and on. I truly believe that you can find or demonstrate creativity in any aspect of your life – it’s all about your point of view. I think always learning, questioning, trying, and sharing are the keys to staying creative.
Thank you so much, Maryan. We will follow up with you in a few months to check in on your progress and any new learnings you have to share.
Interested in following Maryan and her progress? Connect with her on social media, and remember that sharing is caring!
YouTube – StayingCreative
Instagram – IStayingCreative
Twitter – @SeeStayCreative
And for a special treat, I’m including below the most popular StayingCreative video at over 12,000 views to date! Check it out for yourself.