How to Leverage a Small Following

In case you missed it, I was a guest on the Indie Intellect podcast and talked about why 2016 will be a major year for small YouTubers.

I brought up a study that focused on smaller creators (1,000 – 100,000 followers) on Instagram and how they can be the most effective partners for brands due to high engagement and trust. We expanded on this idea further by talking about Snapchat and how brands are using it to reach out to consumers more effectively.

Go ahead and watch it! I’ll wait.

(Also, side note, can we just say how cool it is that I finally had my first in-person collab!)

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Oh, Shiny! On project abandonment

Sometimes I do this thing.

Remember how I said I was an expert at walking away from bad situations? And how being easily distracted makes me emotionally resilient?

How about that video where I listed off all the ideas for videos and blog posts I’d come up with in the two hours since I woke up?

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We Need to Talk About Devon

This is a re-post of the essay I wrote for my application to the 2016 World Nomads travel writing scholarship, which provides several winners with a 3-day writing workshop with Anthony Ham of Lonely Planet and a 7-day trip across Australia. 

You can also view (and share) my essay on the World Nomads website

The Traveler

Wanderlust and humanity have always gone hand-in-hand. Once, we spent our lives out in the wild, hunting and gathering for sustenance. America’s forefathers had high hopes for what could be out west, so Manifest Destiny was our cultural theme. Today, we seem to travel in our twenties. We want to backpack across Europe or hike through Australia’s outback. We want to spend our early adulthood touring Asia and sipping coffee (or wine) outside a cafe in Paris. We want to see the world, meet people, tuck experiences under our belts, and become more cultured. But we forget about what we have to offer the locals. When you travel, you’re not always the only one who learns a lesson.

I grew up in New Mexico, which survives on the money from two sources: the government blowing things up in the middle of nowhere and tourists.

I’ve met a lot of people from all over the world. Sure, most come from northern Mexico and west Texas, but many come from Germany, Japan, and New Zealand. One in particular changed my life.

His name was Devon. He was a 22-year-old truck driver from Cleveland. We met a few weeks ago and spent an afternoon together enjoying Albuquerque’s local cuisine and chatting while we hiked the east mountains. We kept in contact for only a brief moment of time, but I’ll carry his words with me for years to come.

I’ve always struggled with self-doubt and an impressively low self-worth. Over the last couple years, since leaving an unhealthy relationship, I’ve grown, but growing into myself has, unfortunately, meant giving up on other people. I pride myself on my independence, but at some point I crossed the line into outright isolation.

Devon called me out on that. He had the ability to read me, see where I was lying to myself, and figure out exactly what I needed to hear to shift my perspective. He asked me if that felt like living. It doesn’t. He asked me if I was happy with my life. I’m not. He asked if the things I’m doing to change my life are effective. They aren’t.

But what struck me the most was when he told me that he understood. He knew what it was like. He said I don’t have to feel isolated and alone, because everybody goes through pain like this and handles it in their own way. This was just my time to heal and cope – to become a full, whole version of me.

I discovered a new, vulnerable way of life. I have a new outlook. I have a new me. And it never would have happened if it weren’t for the traveler.

On Orlando, Loneliness, and Hope

I’ve had a lot of feelings over the last 36 hours.

I remember being 11 years old. I was in school – actually, like the rest of the “gifted” kids, I was at a different school, in a program called Target, where I went once a week.

The bell rang and sirens sounded. We were on lock down and the teacher made an announcement.

“You will remember where you were at this moment for the rest of your lives.”

She was right.

It was the morning of September 11, 2001.

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100 to 0 Real Quick: Emotional resilience through distraction

I’m one of the most stubborn people that I know, but I’m also one of the most rapidly-changing. I’ve become a professional at walking away. I’m also incredibly emotionally resilient, but it doesn’t come from a place of being well-adjusted or self-assured.

It’s because I’m really fucking easily distracted.

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Juan Alcazar talks tips for small YouTubers

After being on YouTube for about five years, indie filmmaker Juan Alcazar of JC5 Productions is easily one of the most seasoned veterans of the small YouTube community. And he’s been gracious enough to share some of that knowledge today to help new and small YouTubers avoid some mistakes, find direction, and keep a shred of sanity.

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How to Be Successful When You’re Not that Good at Stuff

When #BrokeAssSmallYouTuber was kicked off, I was thrown into hundreds of conversations with hundreds of small creators. Some of them are insanely talented and wickedly brilliant. Some have a lot of potential to become great.

Several were singers. A couple were dancers. A few put out incredible art. Some told the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard.

And then there was me.

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