A few weeks ago, I found myself on Ali Abdaal YouTube Course, the Part Time YouTuber Academy course learning a new skill with 399 other students from around the world. Something totally different, getting out of my comfort zone, but could it really give me the transformation that I was looking for?
Stepping out of my comfort zone
So here I am, Stephanie, 50-something, working in a corporate job full time, and thinking
‘Can I try something different?’
I’ve been thinking for a while about how I can take my blog to another level, but also how I can challenge myself. I did think of YouTube in the past, but I was not sure that it would be the right channel for me or for my audience, and whether my way of speaking – my accent, my personality, would really work for YouTube. But here I am, three weeks into Ali Abdaal PTYA course with 399 other students from all around the world, learning about YouTube!
So why? Which tweet from Ali Abdaal made a difference?
It all started with a tweet from Ali Abdaal. A few weeks ago, he posted a tweet saying
Post one or two videos every week for two years and I guarantee that it will change your life”
and somehow that really resonated with me.
When a few weeks later he announced that he had launched his course called Part-timer YouTube Academy, I thought ‘Okay I’m going to try that right away!’ I jumped in and I was probably one of the first few getting onto the course very very early on.
I really didn’t know what I was embarking on because yes, I was watching some YouTube videos – that’s how I found Ali (I’m a bit of a tech geek so I like watching tutorials and stuff like that), but I don’t watch YouTube the way that my 14 years old does for instance, for entertainment, for most of the advice in my life – so I was not sure whether that would be the right journey for me.
But what I found was first a guide, and second a tribe of companions on a very interesting journey!
PTYA course leader Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal is the founder of the course called Part Time YouTuber Academy, and he has created a wonderful course delivered as a live cohort.
Ali Abdaal, our guide, is a great inspiration; very generous, very knowledgeable – of course he’s achieved an amazing track record with his YouTube channel, and he was really open about sharing his journey and sharing behind the scenes, in terms of struggles, in terms of numbers etc.
But it was really his style; open, friendly, funny, that made the course entertaining and for me what made the difference was an insight into his way of thinking – about business, processes, systems, and productivity.
A welcoming community
Another key thing in the course was the community – 400 people from all around the world. Most of them were under 40 (I was probably among the oldest), but everybody was very welcoming, very generous, very frank, and exchanged and shared and helped each other all throughout the journey.
There were lots of different ways of being involved with the community; you had a circle online forum, and you could also attend some peer sessions. You could also just have a WhatsApp chat – we created a WhatsApp chat for the London folks, for instance, and every time one of us had a question or posted a video many of us would go and check and give feedback and that was hugely valuable. Also, during the live sessions the chat was really funny.
Strengths and areas for improvement for Ali Abdaal YouTube course
The Good Points
You go from basics, in terms of studio setup, performance and camera, through to some medium information about how you can schedule and plan your content. Then it’s more advanced and discusses how to hire a team to help you with editing, for instance, and how you can monetize your content later when you’ve got a lot of subscribers.
Ali Abdaal free video editing course
You usually would have to buy it through skillshare but Ali makes his video editing course free to students of the YouTube course.
This is a long journey, Ali is very clear about that, and it’s very clear that its only by being consistent and providing value that maybe something will happen. So, the course is delivered in a non-logical way, which I found, personally, very interesting, because it meant that every time we were logging in for a live session, we never knew exactly what we would cover.
The element of support was great – the interactivity throughout the course, the amazing live session. I mentioned the chat already, but we had breakouts and we would come out and meet people and share some thinking and some learnings very openly.
There was also a very carefully thought out follow up with every student – we would have a check-in from Ali’s team regularly, ensuring that we were progressing and were not left behind. There was a survey before the course and a survey after the course to really assess where you are, how you’ve progressed, and possibly your gaps still in terms of what could be improved.
Points to Improve
More beginner friendly
Sometimes it was a bit overwhelming for debutants and beginners, and obviously Ali has progressed a lot in the past couple of years, and he could possibly not remember how it was to be at the very beginning of a journey.
That’s why the peer sessions were useful because you were with other people who were on the same journey as you. I do think that for the lesson there were times where he could have said ‘this is level one/level two/level three’.
Greater gender representation
Other things that I’ve challenged them to change for cohort 2, is to have a wider representation in terms of gender, because a lot of the examples and all the guest speakers were male. It would be good to have more of the female YouTube scene represented as well.
Finally, possibly the price might be an issue. I was very lucky to jump in right away, so I got extremely good value for what I got, but the starting price for cohort 2 is higher because there was so much interest. There are so many people wanting to do it that he has to kind of have limitation – he does offer scholarships though so it’s worth applying because I think he’s very generous and I’m sure a well-crafted scholarship application will get an interest. Trust me, there will be lots of value for you.
What did I learn from Ali’s video course?
I learned a lot! A lot about YouTube, about the content, about setup and the gear, about the performance, the process of scripting and more.
Systems and processes
What was more interesting for me was everything about systems and processes and productivity – for instance there was a lesson where he talked about the slow burn versus the heavy lift.
The slow burn was a revelation for me – I’ve always been good at doing the heavy lift and at doing a slow burn at work, but for my blog of my online areas I never do that. I either go in or go out, but I never do the kind of deep in deep out, manage different streams at the same time which can really work and be very productive, so it was an important part.
Changing my mindset
The other key learning for me was the change of mindset. This idea that if you want to get something out of this kind of thing, you really need to invest the time, the energy, even the mindset and money. For instance, I decided to outsource the editing of my videos and I may do the same for my blog. I may hire a virtual assistant to kind of streamline some of my processes, and I hope that it will mean that I can deliver more regular, interesting content to my audience which ultimately is the goal.
Who is this course for?
- YouTubers: whether you’re beginners, medium or advanced. It is particularly good if you’re a medical student or in the medical field because of course, this is Ali’s background.
- Productivity fans: you’re going to learn about systems, about being more efficient, about thinking about your time differently.
- Trying something different: if you are someone who wants to try something new and different then it’s really a good course.
It’s not for
- Those who think that it’s going to give them a shortcut to success – it’s very clear that you must put in the work.
- People who have a big ego! What was amazing was how everybody was very humble and generous in the community and we didn’t have big egos that were absorbing all the attention. I think that kind of personality wouldn’t work in that course.
How to get the best out of Ali Abdaal’s course
Make sure that you attend the live sessions
Some of them might be a challenge, depending on where you are based in the world, they were usually from 4pm-6pm London time, which meant that US could join. The reason why it’s good to join the live sessions is because of ‘breakout rooms’ – lots of interactivity, lots of opportunities to meet other students and it was very interesting. One minute I could be talking to somebody who was doing videos about property investment, and another time someone who talked about employment law.
Attend the peer group sessions
I was not able to because the timing didn’t work for my family life, but if you can fit it in your schedule, I really encourage you to do so. Many people say that it was the most valuable part of the course.
My third recommendation is, if you’re a beginner I think the essential edition (there are three levels) is probably enough. Lots of value, lots of content that you can work with – just go with the essential edition. I certainly felt like I had plenty to absorb in the essential edition.
Reflect on every lesson
Don’t take all lessons as face value. Reflect on whether that makes sense for you, whether there is another way to do things. They can apply very well for some areas, and they can apply well for Ali, but maybe for you it’s not the same niche, for instance.
Find your niche
There’s a whole part of a session of the course about finding your niche, which was well done and interesting, but I want to try on this YouTube channel different things that I’m doing on my blog.
With my blog I’ve got a very established niche – it’s boutique hotels for people who like chic, stylish holidays. I want to try things around that, of course, but also around who I am, what I do – that I’m a French woman living in London, that I raised a bilingual child, anything like that.
I was able to take a step back and say you know what, on this I may do something different from what the lesson told me.
So is Ali Abdaal online course Part Time YouTuber Academy worth it?
Certainly, for me it was – my expectations before the course were to find a system to publish consistently and to feel free of being on YouTube and not worrying about what people would think of my accent or the way I look or anything really.
I have found consistency, but I think more importantly, I have changed my mindset around that and around creating content consistently. I’m going to apply that to other parts of my online area and my online space which should be really exciting.
On top of the second one, which is putting yourself out there, I did it! I’ve posted three or four videos, which they really push you to do during the course. Put your videos out there – many people won’t watch them to start with, so just go for it!
That’s definitely what I want to do – I am now on this quest of life-changing experiences that Ali hinted at in his tweet a few weeks ago, that got me so excited. So, who knows what’s going to happen around the corner?!
Follow the channel to find out and you can sign up for the course through this link.