Creator Voices: Dtay Known
Dtay Known is a 23-year-old comedy creator who makes high-energy videos that his nearly 2 million subscribers love. When he’s not ridiculing parents, he’s pretty much making fun of everything else in life. Dtay took a break from song parodies and over-the-top skits featuring family and friends to share some of the lessons he’s learned from being a YouTube creator.
I started consistently making YouTube videos in 2018. Before my channel began growing at a substantial rate, I was creating a variety of trendy videos, such as dances, challenges, reaction videos, vlogs, etc. However, I wasn’t receiving my desired results, which I attribute to being a jack of all trades and a master of none. I decided to focus on comedy because that’s what I enjoyed the most. The results from this decision truly changed my life and I’ve learned different lessons along my journey that I would love to share.
Consistency is key
Consistency is the key to growth when building your brand on YouTube. I was in college when I first experienced channel growth and to keep up with my academics and posting, I was forced to make a schedule for my channel. Striking this balance allowed me to manage producing new content every 3-4 weeks. This worked well because the videos I created took weeks to produce, so I had downtime. When I dropped a video, it was high quality, unique, and worth the wait for my supporters. I stuck to this schedule consistently throughout college and grew exponentially as a result.
I graduated in May of 2020 and am now managing my social media business full-time and consistency is still top of mind. When you aren’t consistent, it is hard to gain momentum. Even when you don’t feel like creating content, you have to go through the motions, execute, and get it done anyways. We’re human, we get tired, frustrated, and sometimes lack motivation. But executing is the only option. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it at 100%. Therefore, the key to growth is to remain consistent no matter what.
Focus on the creative
The next lesson I learned is don’t get caught up in the numbers. So many people base the quality of their videos on performance, views, likes, etc. I used to spend hours making videos that weren’t being seen. Of course, in the back of my mind, I questioned if it was worth my time, but my passion overruled any negative thoughts or self-limiting beliefs trying to take me off the course of my dreams. If every content creator/entertainer you see decided to quit because of their stat sheet, there wouldn’t be anyone left.
We all have to start somewhere. Even after you’ve started, you can be years in and still have times where numbers are moving slow. There are ups and downs in this profession. However, one thing remains constant and that’s your commitment to your craft. Don’t allow the numbers to dictate how you show up for yourself. Focus on the creative and the quality of your work and the numbers will come with time.
The most important piece of wisdom I can share with anyone chasing their dream is to remain passionate, whether you are a YouTuber, athlete, dancer, artist, doctor, astronaut, etc. Never forget why you started. I say this because you will have times where things get hard, something happens that you didn’t expect, or times where you put your heart into something and don’t get the results you wanted. Don’t get discouraged—turn your struggles into motivation, as sometimes you have to fight life back. Also, don’t let the work take the fun out of it. If you get too focused on money over the love for your craft, it can lead down a path of self-destruction.
When you truly put your heart into something and love/treat your gift correctly, the money and other things come with it. People will often discredit themselves when creating content on YouTube because of their earnings. Of course, creators want to be financially stable while building a thriving career on YouTube, but during this process, never let the numbers be the only measurement of the quality of your work.
Keep it original
Originality is what will separate you from the rest! Do your best to make original content that will be unique to your viewer. It is okay to be inspired by and even get ideas from others, but you must find a way to put your own spin on it. A big mistake I made early in my YouTube career was not being aware of the copyright policies. When I say be original, try to avoid using other people’s music, sounds, or videos within your work without the proper consent. Sometimes this is unavoidable depending on what you are creating but when you can avoid it, avoid it! I spent hours creating videos and then used a copyrighted instrumental in my intros, preventing me from earning revenue from all of my hard work due to a lack of knowledge. The takeaway is to always understand the policies of the platforms you put your creativity onto so you can fully take advantage of the benefits available to you.
Overall, YouTube has been a life-changing journey for me. And I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve worked so hard for and to have the supporters that motivate me each and every day. I have a lot more to create and learn within this profession, and I’m excited to see what happens next.
These were a few lessons I’ve learned over the years that I hope will help creators and prevent them from making the mistakes I did. Stay passionate, stay driven, and stay the course. Believe in yourself while understanding that not everyone will see the vision you have—you were blessed with your unique dream for a reason. You have something special the world needs and hasn’t seen yet. We’re waiting on you, make it happen!