This is a follow up to my last post, Make money on You Tube – start your own cooking channel where I reviewed a number of different Australian cooking channels, including One Pot Chef.
David Chilcott One Pot Chef is the founder of the One Pot Chef You Tube cooking channel. It was the first Australian cooking channel when it launched in Nov 2007. One Pot Chef has become one of the You Tube channel success stories and currently has over 151k subscribers.
I recently had the opportunity to ask David a few questions and got him to share some of the secrets of his success.
Tell me a little about your background prior to starting the One Pot Chef Channel in 2007?
I’ve always had an interest in cooking. My earliest memories are of me helping my mother in the kitchen. Prior to YouTube, I worked mainly in the retail industry. Mostly customer service roles involving food preparation and sales. I also worked as a short order cook in several cafes and restaurants, which is where I developed my skills in cooking short cuts and making meals quickly.
What prompted you to start your own channel? How did you decide upon the theme of The One Pot Chef?
I was working for a supermarket in a management role when I was involved in a workplace accident which left me with some minor spinal damage. I was unable to continue work due to my injuries, so found myself at home looking for something to do. I discovered YouTube, which at the time was quite new, and thought “I could do that!”and I decided to give it ago.
What were your goals at the beginning? Was it a hobby or interest or did you set out to try and make it a business from the beginning?
In the beginning, my YouTube videos were simply a hobby to pass the time. When I started, the YouTube Partner Program had not even begun in Australia, so I had never even thought about earning money or making it into a business. The partner program began during 2008 (as far as I recall) and I decided to apply, not really expecting to be accepted. Surprisingly, I was approved almost immediately. From that point on, I streamlined my channel (which at the time was a mixture of cooking and blog videos) and started to focus on refining my filming and editing techniques.
It should be noted, that at this point I wasn’t really expecting this to be a “business” per se, more of a hobby which might give me a little spending money now and again. However, the channel began to grow in leaps and bounds, far quicker than I could have ever dreamed of, and before I knew it I had a full time business on my hands.
At what point did you think you could earn a reasonable income from the channel?
During the early days, I was living on a Disability Pension. It was hard to make ends meet, and money was always tight. Initially, I was only earning a very small amount of money from YouTube, (around hundred dollars every few months) and as my channel grew, my YouTube earnings started to spike. In the space of 6 months I went from earning virtually nothing, to around the same amount I was getting from my pension. I decided at this point I needed to visit a tax accountant and set everything up as a legitimate business. From that point, I cancelled my pension, and I haven’t looked back since.
You upload 3 new videos per week. How do you plan for your content creation? What role does consumer feedback and comments play in determining what your content will be?
I plan my videos out several weeks (or even months) in advance. I have a large whiteboard in my office which I use to plot out upcoming videos.
Viewer feedback and requests are a big part of the planning process. Any video that gets exceptional positive feedback, I will try and replicate with a related recipe. For example, about a year ago I did a recipe for Nutella Cheesecake. It was a huge success, and since then I have made several Nutella-based recipes, all of which have been very well received.
I also try to plan recipes around “tentpole” events. Food related holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween etc always draw in viewers, so it pays to take advantage of these events by making relevant content.
The channel looks a pretty lean efficient operation. Do you have many other resources to support you and has this changed over time after having some success?
I think it all comes down to experience. Over the past 6 years, I’ve refined my production process, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learned from them. After nearly 500 videos, you get into a rhythm and it makes things a bit easier. That being said, it’s still a lot of hard work, but it’s still the best job I’ve ever had!
What role do the other social media networks play in promoting your channel and how has this changed since launching the channel in 2007?
Today, social media is absolutely essential in promoting my channel and my videos. However, when I first started on YouTube, most of the social networking sites that we all use today simply didn’t exist. Back then, YouTube was much more of a social network than it is these days. But today, most people only visit YouTube when they want to watch videos. Social media allows video makers like myself to attract viewers even when they are not on YouTube. I post links on Facebook, Twitter etc to all my new videos as soon as they go live, and my followers are able to see my new video within moments – no matter where they are. Before social media, I had to wait for someone to come home, log on to YouTube and look me up. Now they can be on the bus and watching my video within seconds.
But besides the promotion of new content, social media adds an extra dimension of interactivity with my audience. It allows my users to ask me questions, send me photos of recipes they have attempted, and helps to give a much more personal touch to the whole process.
What difference has being part of the Tastemade network made to you?
My partnership with the Tastemade Network has presented me with opportunities I would never had thought possible. Last year I visited their studios in Santa Monica, California to film a special series of One Pot Chef videos. Unlike my usual videos, I was able to film in a professional studio environment with a full production crew.
Being with Tastemade also gives me a much more accessible point of contact when it comes to YouTube issues. Usually, if I had a problem with the site, I would have email YouTube Partner Support and wait (sometimes weeks) to get an answer. With Tastemade, I email my partner manager, and I have someone available to answer my questions and to help me with technical issues immediately.
But above all else, Tastemade has put me into contact with some of the most amazing food content creators in the world, and gives me the opportunity to work with them on collaborative projects. Being part of this unique network allows me to connect with like-minded individuals in a way I’ve never been able to do before.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to start their own channel on any topic on You Tube?
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to be passionate. If you don’t absolutely love what you are doing, don’t do it. If you think you’re going to become an overnight superstar and be instantly rich and famous – it’s not going to happen. Success takes hard work. You have to put in the hours, be the best you can be and above all else, enjoy what you do.
What is next for the One Pot Chef?
I’m currently working on some new cookbooks, however my filming schedule takes up a lot of my time these days. When I find myself with a few hours free, I try to sit down and do a bit of writing, as I find it relaxing.
Other than that, I am continuing to expand my YouTube channels, while also exploring new platforms and distribution methods. I guess “diversification”is my key word for 2014.
by Konrad Markham
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