I'm in a bit of a lull at the moment so there isn't a whole lot of new stuff to talk about. Not a bad lull, mind you. I'm in this very comfortable middle where I'm earning enough that I don't have to worry about the longevity of this whole "test" until next Spring, but I'm not yet earning enough where I can go "this is it! This is my job for the next few years now!"
So the result is things are just continuing as normal. There was a part of me that wondered if I would be going through this really stressful period right about now causing some freakout about my future, but I'm pretty calm. I keep inching my way across the tightrope, and as I look down the safety net is still there, so all is well.
All that said, I want to take a nice half year reminder (holy crap, it's been seven months?!) of everything I'm thankful for when it comes to this job. Some of this might sound familiar, but only because I was thankful for it when the year started too.
I am thankful for this community.
Seriously, I try to remind myself of this every week, but I was especially thankful just this past Sunday after we wrapped up the monthly hangout. Kat and I were talking about how much fun it was, and I realized what a game changer it has been to get to chat with and get to know the people who frequent the channel.
I will admit, years ago there were many days where I would ask myself "Why am I doing all of this?". Those were the days where it was mostly just analytic numbers and at most, comments on the video, some of which were the kind of comments you'd expect on YouTube. So it was easy to forget that there were actual people on the other end watching these videos.
I can say with complete honestly that since going full time, there hasn't been one single day where that question popped into my head, and I do believe it's because in getting to know you all, I'm always reminded of why I'm doing it.
I am thankful for the time, this week especially.
I've spent what feels like days now compiling pages and pages of notes of the history of the Disney cruises, and that's all before writing a single word of the script. I've dug through newspaper articles, news reports, books, and even boring official documents. I've spent, at points, an hour researching something just so it can end up being one single sentence in a script.
This is time that I simply wouldn't have had to spare when I was working my day job. Without a doubt, videos like the one going up tomorrow would not exist if I wasn't able to take this leap this year.
I am thankful for the freedom of speed.
Coming from an office job with multiple levels of management and projects that sometimes involved as many as 3 or 4 departments, I got really used to these insanely long timelines when it came to doing ANYTHING. You had to start an e-mail chain. After a few days of that you'd have a meeting. The meeting would lead to a week of "action points" before the follow-up meting, which itself would have follow-ups. It was like trying to run while you were waist-deep in wet sand. It was torture.
Today, running with PK421's idea of doing stickers and buttons for TTA merch, I looked up a potential manufacturer. I shopped around a few places and within that hour I was putting a design together with a template. An hour later I had placed an order for a small test batch. I went from "oh yeah I should look into that" to "I have test units on the way" in just a couple of hours, and it felt GREAT.
Obviously this freedom doesn't mean to rush things. This specifically moved quickly because we already have the TTA art down, so it was just a matter of fitting it into a pin template, but getting to just DO IT without days of e-mail threads or meetings and more meetings is still, to this day, refreshing.
Note on those pins: We're trying this cool new soft-matte finish that's different from the typical plastic glossy finish of most pins. The order is small enough that if they're not all they're cracked up to be we can switch to traditional glossy. I think the current plan is that we'll sell a pack of two (TTA logo and "Hire us Bob!") buttons for a little less than half the price of the pins and hopefully expand from there. They're also cheap enough that I can bring a bunch to the parks this month to give to people who spot me and say hi.
I am thankful for the time I've been given back.
I don't want people to think I was miserable before this year, but if there was one word I would attribute to the channel before 2018, it was relentless. I was waking up, working 9-6, getting home at 7, cooking and eating dinner by 8, and working on the channel from 8 to midnight. I'd go to sleep. I'd wake up. I'd do it all over again. On a good week I'd have an hour or two on weekends to relax. I had to plan days off weeks ahead of time. It was even putting a strain on my relationship with Kat. We never had the time to do fun stuff and go on dates. There was zero room for spontaneity because I always had work to do.
It was absolutely exhausting. So much so that if I'm being honest, if for whatever reason I have to quit this whole gig and go back to a 9 to 5, it may spell the end of my channel. I just can't ever imagine going back to that schedule. At the very least I'd scale back to like one video a month.
Now, I actually have more of a life again. I've been going to the gym a lot more now (11 lbs down, many more to go!). I've been going to the movies. Kat and I have been going out. I've been reading and playing games. Sure, I still work a ton, but it's a ton of work with room to breath.
I forgot what that felt like.
Lastly, I am thankful that I still love this.
The one constant I had seen in every video and article and post by professional YouTubers is how the second you go full-time it stops being as fun and starts to feel like real work. I suppose it's because it goes from being a carefree hobby to being your entire livelihood.
Admittedly, I think a large reason for not feeling that way is because I have that safety new to catch me, not to mention an exit plan. That said, I also think it's because I've grown to love the work over the years. So maybe that shift from hobby to work happened. Maybe it happened years ago. Maybe it happened and I just never noticed it because I always enjoyed it so much that even as "work" it was fun.
Either way, I'm about as happy as ever when it comes to the channel, work, and life. I'm thankful for about a million other things, but if I'm going to finish this Castaway Cay script tomorrow I should get some sleep.
Oh yeah, and I'm super thankful I don't have to ride the NYC subway everyday anymore. Seriously, that commute was the pits.