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The Trap I Fell Into

Hey friends, Before we launch into this week's email, just wanted to let you know that my new course
The Trap I Fell Into
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #130 • View online
Hey friends,
Before we launch into this week’s email, just wanted to let you know that my new course The Part-Time YouTuber Academy launched today. I announced it on Twitter this afternoon, and we’ve already got 60 students, with $30k in revenue which is very exciting and terrifying at the same time. If you’d like to join the 4-week live online course where I’ll be personally teaching you everything I know about growing a YouTube channel and turning it into a sustainable, income-generating machine, check out the course website and email me if you’ve got any questions :)

Anyway, this week’s email is sort-of about how this course came to be. You see, I’d been intending to do some sort of course about the How to be a YouTuber stuff for ages. But I’d been procrastinating from it for way too long.
In my head, I kept thinking of it as some sort of Big Deal. And because it was a Big Deal, I told myself I had to spend ages planning the course, figuring out the content, researching competitors, building marketing funnels, and a load of other stuff.
One day, after several months of beating around the bush with my team, Angus (my producer) was visiting my place in Cambridge for a cheeky takeaway. I was lamenting about how difficult it was proving to figure out a strategy for the course, when Angus said, “look, why don’t we stop talking about doing this course and actually just do the course?”
At that moment, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I realised that I’d fallen into the trap of endless planning, and no execution. Sure, there’s a time and place for planning. But usually, most of us go way too overboard on the planning front, especially if what we need to do feels hard or unclear.
That afternoon, Angus and I took out some post-it notes, and the Part-Time YouTuber Academy was born, with the website ready to go within a few days. Since then, I’ve chatted with lots of people considering starting a YouTube channel. In most cases, they hadn’t started yet because they were still planning. “It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing but I haven’t figured out what I’m going to talk about” or “I’ve been planning it for ages but I haven’t sat down to film a video yet”.
As someone famous once said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. In the context of YouTubing, the single step is just getting your first video out there. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can just open up the YouTube app on your phone and record with the selfie camera directly into it. The main thing is that you take that first step, and start, because if you keep on planning, you’ll never end up doing.
That was the trap I was falling into, and I’m grateful for Angus for pulling me out of it. Now we’ve launched this course, things are going well, all the lessons are outlined, and we’ll be able to hopefully add some value to people’s YouTube careers without wasting more time talking about it.
Of the ~600 people who replied to my survey aimed YouTubers / people interested in starting YouTube, 75% hadn’t yet started a channel (but were planning to). And of those that had started already, almost none were uploading consistently.
YouTube isn’t a get rich quick strategy. Like all the best things in life, it’s a very long game. You have to put in the work, and do it consistently, over several years, to reap any real rewards from it. There’s a simple 3-step formula that I always tell people: (1) produce content that people find useful, (2) do this every week, (3) do this for 2 years. If you can mange that, I can 100% guarantee that your life will change in ways that you can’t imagine.
So even if you’re not a budding YouTuber, my question to you is this - what are you currently planning as procrastination from actually doing? And what are you doing half-heartedly that you could be doing consistently instead, to benefit from compounding returns?
Have a great week!
Ali
PS: I’ve been in a half-hearted rut with the gym recently. I can see the belly protruding a little as I write this. Need to get back on the Gymshark train. Writing this as a reminder to myself and to give myself accountability by telling my friends on the internet. Sorry for the excessive info.
My Favourite Things This Week
1 - Book - I’ve been enjoying The Almanack of Naval Ravikant as my bedtime reading these past weeks. I’ve highlighted it a tonne, and the book’s completely free to download. If you’re not familiar with Naval’s stuff, or even if you are, it’s a great read for very bite-sized but timeless wisdom.
2 - Book - The other book I’ve been reading in bed is Ben Hardy’s new book Who Not How. It’s all about how you can achieve amazing things if you start thinking about who can help you, rather than how you’re going to get there. It’s a subtle mindset shift that has genuinely profound implications for business and life.
3 - Blog - If for some reason, you’re not subscribed to the Ness Labs newsletter / blog, you should. It’s run by the incredibly inspiring Anne-Laure (who I had coffee with in London this morning) - she writes about mindful productivity, which is definitely something I need to get better at. I’ve got dozens of her blog posts in my Instapaper feed and I often highlight them extensively.
Quote of the Week
Technology does not drive change. It is our collective response to the options and opportunities presented by technology that drives change.
Tweet of the Week
Anne-Laure Le Cunff
Highlight of the day: meeting @AliAbdaal for coffee in London ✨

We talked about online education, why creating videos can feel intimidating, building an audience across platforms, generating ideas for content, the power of delegating, and much more - feeling so energised 🙏
This Week's Videos
The 5 Key Principles of Productivity
The 5 Key Principles of Productivity
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Ali Abdaal

I’m Ali, a junior doctor, YouTuber and podcaster from Cambridge, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.