Do You Need to Show Your Face on YouTube to Succeed?
Some of the most popular YouTubers on the platform have channels where they have never shown their face. Here’s a list of very successful YouTubers who almost never show their faces.
|Channel Name (that doesn’t show face)||Subscriber Count|
|Minute Physics||5.34 MILLION Subscribers|
|What If||5.25 MILLION Subscribers|
|Oversimplified||4.88 MILLION Subscribers|
|RealLifeLore||4.16 MILLION Subscribers|
|LockPickingLawyer||3.09 MILLION Subscribers|
|Hydraulic Press Channel||2.96 Million Subscribers|
|Wendover Productions||2.93 MILLION Subscribers|
|PolyMatter||1.39 MILLION Subscribers|
|Data Is Beautiful||1.39 MILLION Subscribers|
|Lessons from the Screenplay||1.36 MILLION Subscribers|
|Girlfriend Reviews||1.23 MILLION Subscribers|
|Alt Shift X||1.2 Million Subscribers|
|Preston Jacobs||169K Subscribers|
Clearly, it’s possible to have a successful YouTube channel without showing your face or even revealing your identity. But is it advantageous to do so? Or is a regular guy setting himself up for failure?
Let’s go over the pros and cons of each approach.
Disadvantage: Loss of Anonymity
There are many sensitive subjects out there (like prostitution, drug addiction, etc.). Topics that you may not want your employer or immediate social circle finding when they Google your name. Heck, even I’m afraid of cyberstalkers seeking me out in real life despite being a 300+ lbs MAN.
Suppose I YouTube’d about sensitive topics or wasn’t a 300 lbs man. In that case, it wouldn’t be easy for me to brush off anonymity concerns. Consider creating a stage name if you have this concern. It’s unlikely anybody would find you this way (unless your channel got very big).
That said, most people are just afraid of being on camera. So even if you put your full name on the work, it’s unlikely many people will ever Google you.
And if your YouTube channel is often, you may be surprised just how impressed your cyberstalkers will be. Rather than not offering you a job because of your channel, the exact opposite might occur.
Advantage: Personal Branding
People with hundreds of thousands of subscribers are effectively C-List celebrities.
And C-List celebrities do quite well for themselves. If Johnny Harris (1.45 MILLION Subscribers) put out that he…
- Wanted to work a regular high-paying job. How long would it take a subscriber to offer him one?
- Wanted a date. How long would it take for a beautiful woman to just show up?
- Wanted to collaborate with any YouTuber of his choosing. How long would it take for that creator to accept?
Having a million subs on YouTube is extremely powerful. Heck, having 10k subs on YouTube is extremely powerful (if they’re all super into your face). As much as we fear repercussions for being on the platform, you’re more likely to be received positively. Extremely positively if you make it big.
Subscribers who tune in to watch you will make you very powerful in life.
Disadvantage: Nobody to Hold the Camera
If you’re recording yourself, you need a cameraman. That may involve buying tripods, cameras with flippy screens, and much more expensive equipment. However, if you were never on camera, you’d be free to be your own cameraman.
I’m reminded of creators that record their pet dog or their pet otter.
Advantage: Minimize B-Roll Needed
When you can record yourself talking and put it on screen, it dramatically reduces the amount of footage you need to fill your video. By about 50 to 100%
Granted, a 100% talking head video can feel tedious. That said, reducing the B-Roll you need by at least 50% is an enormous advantage.
Disadvantage: Feeling a Need to Look Presentable
Blogging’s a lot of fun because I never have to take a shower, and you’ll never know…
I mean, I’m definitely showered right now as I write this 😉 . But it’s nice to feel like I don’t have to. When you’re on camera, you’re going to feel like you have to look decent.
Advantage: Connection with Audience
This is just a fact of human nature. We feel dramatically more connected to somebody if we can see their face and experience their emotions with them.
There’s a video where a lightning strike scares the crap out of me on my YouTube channel (see below). I decided to leave my reaction in the video for fun. And a ton of people commented about how they thought it was hilarious. Outtakes are valuable, and you’re not going to get any if you don’t put yourself on camera.
Disadvantage: Mean People Criticizing Appearance
I was overweight before the pandemic, and the pandemic didn’t help.
At 36 years old, I don’t get bent out of shape if somebody calls me out on being fat (I think it’s funny now). But, younger me was very sensitive to that kind of body shaming. And when you put yourself on YouTube, you’re going to be worried about stuff like this if you have insecurities about your appearance.
Luckily, my experience has been largely positive. It’s rare that somebody is a jerk and goes there. That said, it can happen (particularly if you’re a woman, unfortunately).
My advice is that if it really bothers you, you should turn off your comments. Hopefully, your experience will be like mine, and this won’t be a problem for you.
There really aren’t a lot of downsides to showing your face on YouTube. Particularly if you’re willing to take on a stage name so that your employer doesn’t Google you. It’s unlikely the people in your life would even find your content until you’ve got 10,000+ subscribers. And at that point, they’ll probably be impressed rather than judgmental.
We’re all afraid to be on camera. It’s normal. But, the pros outweigh the cons, in my opinion. So be brave! It’s not easy to put yourself out there.
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