When Ali Abdaal kicked off his YouTube journey in 2017, he focused on helping medical students ace their exams. He has since evolved from a medical student to a content creator, gaining millions of followers. Today, he’s the go-to guy for all things productivity on YouTube, sharing insights on productivity, education, and lifestyle.

His secret? A strategic mindset, dedication, and taking calculated risks in content creation. He shows passion, consistency, and a unique style that sets him apart, making his YouTube journey inspiring to upcoming creators. Here’s a breakdown of the lessons and insights from his 6-year YouTube journey:

  • From Medicine to Full-time YouTuber

Ali began his journey by sharing tips and insights drawn from his medical background. He started with advice on medicine and studying, and only after building a solid following and having a secure backup plan in place, he took the plunge into full-time content creation 

  • Three Stages of YouTube Journey: 

Ali breaks down the YouTube journey into three key phases:

  • Get Going: This stage is all about taking that leap and getting your channel off the ground. He emphasizes the need to push past that hesitation at the beginning and just dive into creating content. 
  • Get Good: As time goes on, you should shift your focus to levelling up your content game and building your audience. This is when you start moving from being a newbie to gaining new content creation skills.
  • Get Smart: Finally, you should narrow your focus, find your niche, and devise strategies to make your channel successful. He emphasizes the importance of having a clear direction and smart strategies for long-term growth and success.

  • Taking it Step-by-Step

Starting a channel can be overwhelming. So, Ali recommends breaking it down into doable steps. He suggests finding your “areas of improvement” throughout your YouTube Journey. For example, the first step could be posting a video without worrying about perfection. Then, you can move on to boosting camera confidence. Once you’ve achieved that, the next area could be refining your editing skills, and so on. This makes the process less daunting.

  • Quantity over Quality- At the Start

Ali believes that Quantity leads to Quality, especially at the start of any YouTube journey. According to him, focusing on quality can lead to perfectionism, thus slowing creators down. However, focusing on Quantity can help you focus on getting started and get your name out there. Ali, himself saw traffic success after a few of his many videos went viral.

By uploading an imperfect video every week, creators can overcome their fears of imperfection, camera shyness, or troubles of getting started. However, once you’ve overcome these beginner hurdles, you can slow down and create videos at your own comfortable pace. 

  • Finding “The Unfair Advantage”

Ali talks about finding ‘the unfair advantage’ to grow a YouTube Channel. An unfair advantage means finding out what makes you stand out in the competitive YouTube space. His unfair advantage was that he was a Cambridge Medical student and thus had carved out a small niche for himself in the educational YouTube sphere. 

  • Strategic Title and Thumbnail Planning

Ali learns from his mistakes. Reflecting on his own journey, he suggests pre-planning video titles and thumbnails before the creation of the video, well before hitting that upload button. 

His winning strategy also includes colourful and eye-catching thumbnails, paired with titles, which pose a problem and offer a solution. He also sprinkles important SEO keywords that align with his audience’s search interests:

Ali Abdaal

  • Focus on the First 30 seconds

Ali knows the importance of hooking viewers in the first 30 seconds of his videos. He starts off by narrating interesting facts or engaging stories that instantly grab the audience’s attention. He addresses a problem and makes struggles seem relatable right from the start. He then introduces several solutions to tackle the problem, keeping his videos structured and audience-focused throughout.

  • Don’t Worry about the Numbers

Ali advises on improving yourself as a creator first rather than focusing on numbers. 

He suggests making videos without caring about the numbers. Ask yourself- What video would you make if the numbers didn’t matter? How would you improve for yourself, rather than the audience? This is the key basis that helps upcoming creators get started and improve on their journey. 

Thus, Ali Abdaal’s passion, dedication and persistence in creating YouTube videos led to him earning over 4 Million Subscribers. Besides hitting this milestone, he’s also expanded his YouTube business by making Podcasts, started a YouTube course to help upcoming creators grow and even penned a book on productivity.  His growth mindset helped him improve throughout and keeps inspiring upcoming creators to kickstart their YouTube journey!

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