One year ago today, I changed the trajectory of my YouTube channel from a few random woodworking tool videos, to one centered on vintage sewing machines (VSM’s). What a difference one year has made.
I’ve gone from 83 subscribers to, as of a few minutes ago, 1030 subscribers. I’ve posted 59 videos related to VSM’s which have had 52,204 views and 5,517 hours of watch time. These are decidedly NOT impressive stats by any measure, especially YouTube, but we’re not talking about a channel designed to entertain the masses. This is a niche audience, a very small niche audience. So, as you can imagine, I’ll never make any money on YouTube. Oh, I’ll make a few dollars, but not enough to recoup the costs of equipment and software, but that’s OK, it was never my intention.
So why do it, why make the videos, what’s in it for me?
Well, I have to admit a side benefit of the YouTube channel is it does drive a little business to my website and to my small repair business. That was an unexpected side benefit, and never part of my plan (I have to admit, I never actually wrote out a business plan for repairing sewing machines, this is, like most of my YouTube videos, a “flying by the seat of my pants” operation).
The advertising revenue from YouTube is miniscule for a channel that is as small as mine, and with very limited public interest, it will likely never get large enough to generate more that a cup of coffee every few days.
Well, I make videos for a couple of reasons.
- I almost died on October 24th, 2020. I mean I REALLY almost died, heart attack, arterial blockages, the lights went out, had to be revived in the ambulance, THAT kind of freaking died. Had that happened, just about everything I knew, and everything I have since learned, would have died with me. OMG – That is so not cool. That would have been a waste of everything I knew, all the soap and water used to scrub hundreds of years of collective crud from my hands would have been used in vain, all because I hadn’t shared what I had learned.
- I make videos to help people. In my VSM journey, I have made friends all over the world. We’re a community, and communities help each other. In the community of VSM’s, we help each other source hard to find parts and manuals. As our knowledge grows, we find ourselves answering the same questions over and over and over again, but we don’t complain, because each time we answer that same question, we’re helping a NEW member of the community overcome the obstacles WE had to climb.
- I make videos because I’m an anachronism. I was born during the tail end of the era when things were made to last, and frankly, I’m pissed off that I was born as late as I was. I was born at a time when quality was starting to take a back seat, and then was kicked out of the car all together. I grew up when things, expensive things, were starting to become replaceable instead of repairable. I came of age in an era when “value” was confused with “price”, a concept that escapes most people nowadays. I belong to an age from before I was born, an age when men and women built things to last, with quality materials, and the best engineering had to offer.
- Last, but not least, I make videos to teach, and hopefully, to inspire. I want young people to get excited about things from the past, the tools, the materials, the techniques. Too many things from our past, useful things, have been pushed away as being “old fashioned”, or “too labor intensive” for “modern” life. In addition to VSM’s, I’m a huge fan of hand tool woodworking. I have, and use, a large selection of hand planes. There was a time when EVERY woodworker knew his way around a hand plane, not anymore. We live in a “Post Norm Abrams” world where power tools are always a first choice, even when they’re not the BEST choice. Likewise, fewer and fewer people know how to sew, and the rise of the computer controlled, “plastic fantastic” sewing machine, with hundreds of stitches and tons of features that will never be used, has pushed the traditional, straight stitch, cast iron machine to the dustbin of history. I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It’s been said that once something is on the internet, it’s there forever.
Welcome to my immortality.