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Creator & Artist Stories

AmandaRachLee: 5 mistakes I made so you don’t have to

  • By The YouTube Team
  • May.10.2022
AmandaRachLee: 5 mistakes I made so you don’t have to
A conversation with YouTube creator AmandaRachLee on her journey to entrepreneurship.

When you think about bullet journaling, one of the first names that come to mind is YouTube creator AmandaRachLee. She began her YouTube channel at just 14 years old, and has evolved into an entrepreneur selling all things paper— from notebooks to planners to washi tape and more.

But the road to running your own business isn’t as easy as it may seem. We sat down with Amanda to learn her best tips on lessons she’s learned along the way and how those who are inspired by her success can use them in their own endeavors.

Don’t chase trends or what’s popular, lean into your niche

When I first started, I definitely did not ever think that it was going to be anything that it is today. I was making simple videos as a hobby, and mostly just wanted to find community.

I think the moment that things really started shifting was when I found my niche — which is art and stationery and journaling — and that was about four or five years in. Back then, beauty guru videos and lifestyle content were popular. So when I had posted my first video about journaling, there was definitely a different audience that was engaged, and things kind of grew from there.

I used to pretend that I was my own manager or assistant [and] refer to myself in third person so that it was easier for me to stand up for myself”

Don't allow others to sell yourself short

As a creator, you have to be your biggest advocate and stand up for yourself. Especially as a young creator, brands might see it as an opportunity to take advantage of you because you might not know exactly what you’re doing.

I used to pretend that I was my own manager or assistant and made my own third-party email. And even though I was answering incoming emails from brands myself, I would refer to myself in third person so that it was easier for me to stand up for myself and seem more legit.

Recognize when you’re burning out

For me, the signs for burnout were that every little thing would be a struggle. I would get into this all or nothing mindset where I'm like, "Oh, I'm so burnt out, so if I can't do everything, I might as well do nothing."

I’ve learned to say no to things that don't line up. This helps me stand up for my time, mental health and personal welling.”

Recently, I’ve learned to say no to things that don't line up. This helps me stand up for my time, mental health and personal welling.

I’ve also implemented a motto that life will go on. If I don't post a YouTube video at the exact time that I wanted it to, it's going to be okay. Yes, even though YouTube is my career, posting videos is supposed to be fun, and that's the whole reason why I started this.

Don’t force creativity

A lot of people make videos that they think they need to be making for an audience to come, but in reality, your vibe attracts your tribe.

For example, in my recent videos, I draw things based on a monthly theme. There were times when I would worry about whether the theme or the doodles were applicable to everyone. But what I realized is, I should just be drawing for myself. And when I did draw for myself, those videos actually did better because it's more authentic to what I wanted and people can see that.

Mistakes are't always a total waste of time

The issue with starting a small business with a large audience is that you don't get to have a lot of the grace for mistakes that actual small businesses have.

The launch of the Doodle Planner was definitely not smooth at first. When we launched the 2021 Doodle Planner, there were multiple printing errors in the planner. But instead of just throwing them away, we ended up selling them at a discounted rate and called them the Oops! Planners.

Learning to roll with the punches and being a creative problem solver allowed people to buy the planners at a cheaper rate. And some people didn't even care about the mistakes!

Don’t let brands dictate your worth

As a creator, a lot of times we're in the dark about information.

Something that I do now is, instead of letting brands ask for your rate, you can ask for the brand's budget. I'm not trying to squeeze every last dollar from every brand, but if you have more information, you are able to find something that works for every party — whether that's asking for their budget, or saying, "Would you be okay with me doing less deliverables for this rate?" There's always a solution.