#116: Sara Dietschy – Algorithm Anxiety, Reinventing Yourself, and Advice for Small Tech YouTubers

September 06, 2022

#116: Sara Dietschy – Algorithm Anxiety, Reinventing Yourself, and Advice for Small Tech YouTubers
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Sara Dietschy (rhymes with peachy) is a YouTuber and content creator based in Dallas, Texas.


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EPISODE DESCRIPTION

Sara Dietschy (rhymes with peachy) is a YouTuber and content creator based in Dallas, Texas.

With over 835,000 subscribers on her self-titled channel, Sara creates and uploads docu-series, tech reviews and vlogs. Through her work, she explores the intersection of technology and creativity. Sara rocks the YouTube scene with her sincerity and a contagious zest for life. She's previously partnered with brands like Intel, AT&T, Logitech, Samsung, and Best Buy to enable her creativity and provide the best content possible.

In this episode, we talk about Sara’s approach to creating content, what makes creating hardware so hard, what she’d do differently if she was starting today, and why she’s never been afraid of a little Reinvention.

Full transcript and show notes

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Transcript

Sara Dietschy  00:00

As a YouTuber, you literally wake up every day thinking that it could disappear like that. Literally every day, you're like, oh, if I make one wrong move this is over. You just have the, you just have this anxiety always kind of at bay that's like this could go away. This could go away.

 

Jay Clouse  00:17

Hello, my friend. Welcome back to another episode of Creative Elements. Today's guest is someone that's been on my radar for quite some time. Her name is Sara Dietschy, rhymes with peachy and she has more than 800,000 subscribers here on YouTube. Sara has created docu series, she's done interviews that are podcast that created live where she's talked to Mark Zuckerberg and Gary Vaynerchuk. In 2016, Sara had about 4000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and at that time, she decided to do a parody video of Casey Neistat.

 

Sara Dietschy  00:59

Actually got some video submissions. So here's the first question. Hey, Sara, it's Sara. You're not Casey Neistat, so no one has any questions for you.

 

Jay Clouse  01:10

Casey saw this parody video and he ended up making a video giving Sara a shout out on his channel.

 

Casey Neistat  01:17

Sarah, I always look for excuses to promote other people's content on my channel and share with my audience, other great creators that I think people would like. Thank you for providing me with this excuse that is like 50% because you ridiculing and making fun of me. But you do it in such a great way, I can't be mad at you.

 

Jay Clouse  01:39

That video where he shouted out Sara, 10 asked her channel she went from 4000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers and the rest is kind of history.

 

Sara Dietschy  01:48

For me that was like, okay, it's time to get to work. I remember the summer before I sat at my family's kitchen table and we're eating dinner and I was like, hey, by the next by the next summer, I'm gonna have 10,000 subscribers. Oh, watch me. And then I had 100,000, right? And so like I had just been as cheesy as it sounds I had just been manifesting. You know, I was like, this is gonna happen. I'm, I'm not in a rush. I don't know when this is going to happen. Because as you can tell, I was like, I'm gonna go from like, you know, a couple 1000 to 10,000 they were very practical goals, right? But I was just like shooting for the stars for everything and luckily something happened.

 

Jay Clouse  02:23

Last week, she launched a Kickstarter for her new project, LAB22. Built on serious tech experience, LAB22 creates beautiful desktop accessories for creatives like you and me. They have an infinitely adjustable iPad stand. They have a magnetic charging stand for your iPhone. They even made a stand for your headphones. The Kickstarter had a goal of $10,000. And within hours of publishing this Kickstarter, she had over $100,000 in commitments, and as of this recording, almost $350,000 are backed on Kickstarter.

 

Sara Dietschy  02:58

It's amazing. It's so funny, because I've just been going go and go. And so I feel like I haven't had a moment to kind of stop and think about but for me, it's always kind of like what's next? What's next? And so, for me, there was like this initial buzz and excitement but now it's almost like there's just relief. I think as a creator who bases your entire job around if you still have eyeballs if you still have an audience that cares about you, for me it was it. It just kind of gives me confidence that okay, I'm not done yet, you know.

 

Jay Clouse  03:32

That Kickstarter is still live until Friday, September 16. And a link to it is in the description. In this episode, we talk about Sara's approach to creating content, what makes creating hardware so hard, what she do differently if she was starting today, and why she's never been afraid of reinventing herself and her content. I'd love to hear what you think about this episode. As you listen, you can tweet at me or find me on Instagram @jayclouse. Tag me, let me know or leave a comment on YouTube. That's enough of me. Let's dive in. Let's talk with Sara.

 

Sara Dietschy  04:02

Hardware is hard. And that's something we learned this this project was supposed to launch like earlier this year to 22 in February, which is funny and then you know, here we are in August. It's been so cool to see the launch and see people responding to it. I think the as cliche as it sounds like everyone else, I had kind of a crisis during the pandemic of what am I even doing with my life, right? I've always made videos I've always known how to edit a good video tell a story but there's always something where you're like I want to do something more right and I threw a lot against the wall. So in the span of about a year. I kind of attached myself to like the software project. I I created a photo video rental studio and taxes. And I was also exploring Yeah, I was also exploring this thing, LAB22, creating kind of tech accessories that I wanted in the real world. And out of all of those, I didn't expect this one to hit. It's amazing that it did, because it was the one that I was spearheading, of course, I had so much help from the moment team who understands hardware hardware, and that's necessary, I feel like to partner up with a team that knows what they're doing in order to deliver on a Kickstarter, because I don't know about you, if you've backed Kickstarters before, I've had moments where I just don't even get them, right. And so this is something that we're able, I know for a fact we'll be able to deliver, because this has been, you know, over a year in the making. So it was one of those things where, you know, I was just searching for something more, I just I love projects, I love doing things, you know, that sometimes don't require doing work that doesn't always require my face. As a YouTuber, I think sometimes you get so sick of staring at your own face. And yeah, so this was one of the projects that turned out to be, you know, something that I am just super excited about, and I love working on. And the other two projects are kind of now. I was still somewhat involved, but it's almost like handed over now to my business partners, and they're in there crushing it with with that the software project I'm no longer involved with and the rental studio I'm still involved with at a distance. But the business partner I did that with he's like, crushing it on his own. So I was like, Hey, you take this, I'm going to use a space for free sometimes that we shot actually the LAB22 Kickstarter in there. And yeah, I know, that was a really long explanation. But it's one of those pandemic projects that worked basically, almost worked, we're, you know, we still have 20 days a Kickstarter left, but it looks like it's going to be something that people are really excited about.

 

Jay Clouse  06:51

Oh my gosh, so this show is about three years old now. But we've only been publishing to YouTube for about six weeks, because we decided, you know, we want to make this video for a show. And I haven't been so insecure since I was in like middle school, like so aware of how much I am in need of a haircut, or like, whatever blemish is going on. It's like I'm regressing in my and I'm saying this, because you mentioned like, it's nice to not just be on video all the time. And I'm a guy, I feel like women have even more pressure. And I can't even imagine, like 10 years of doing YouTube, how nice it must be to like, step back from behind the camera sometimes.

 

Sara Dietschy  07:28

Yeah, it gets easier, but it never goes away so I'll say that.

 

Jay Clouse  07:34

You mentioned in the Kickstarter video, and you just mentioned now, you know, you partnered with moment to help make this possible. I'm not familiar with moment. And I'm curious, you know, as you're going through this process, what was that decision to partner with them? What were your other options? Why did you ultimately go down this path?

 

Sara Dietschy  07:49

They started with those iPhone lenses. So back in the day, when you know, the iPhone really only had one camera lens, they would make those really cool, ultra wide lenses and telephoto and they would really transform your iPhone camera into something more. So they have a long history and hardware. And they've now evolved that into, you know, backpacks, they now have their own anamorphic lens adapter, you know, and so they have so many connections in order, they've been around the block when it comes to making hardware. And so I've just been close with their team for a while. And so when this came up, it was it was kind of like, Well, who else would I do it with, because I know that I can trust them with not only, you know, giving me enough free rein with the brand, but also to be able to just deliver they have so much history of shipping products. And I think that is what is so important important with hardware, you know, we're we made this iPad stand that is all around just you know, a couple hinges that allow you to really bring it down to like a note taking position, but also stand it up and be able to use it as like a second screen to your display it like seems simple. But the amount of steps that we had to take in between the idea and you know, like a real life prod product was, was a lot. And so to have, you know, someone to help with that to help with the design, you know, all I have are words, all I have is like hey, guys, I want this, I want it to do this, make it happen. And you know, it just it's span, you know, over, I guess Yeah, a year and a half of just weekly meetings and saying, Oh, hey, this was kind of wrong. Can we increase the strength of this and you know, that send send me new samples. So it was a really cool process. And as someone who's so used to making videos making things in a digital, of course, it's not only harder, but I guess the margins aren't as good as just making a course or making something digital right. But I find it almost it's almost more rewarding because it's something that you can have in the physical I don't know it's it's really, it's really cool so

 

Jay Clouse  09:50

I heard something about that.

 

Sara Dietschy  09:51

Yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  09:52

Like to have that tangible nature and to know that like you're in people's homes. I think about that with people who write books too. You know, there's something nice about no You know, this isn't as infinitely scalable. But it's also harder to miss or destroy, you know, like there are physical manifestations of this thing littered around that littered around the world.

 

Jay Clouse  10:13

Which is really, really cool.

 

Sara Dietschy  10:13

Yeah.

 

Sara Dietschy  10:14

It's almost, it's almost easier to get as well. Because I think with starting a business, you know, something that isn't a video, I've had those moments where I've had to explain things to people like, oh, this software does this and that, but then you have to do that. And it's crazy to see the the change, where I can just explain the iPad stand on a couple sentences. And people are like, oh, I've been waiting for this. Why hasn't this existed yet? This sounds awesome, right? And they just get it, or they see it. And they're like, oh, I get it. So I think that's been cool to see as well is when someone just gets something of course, people are I have a built in existing audience. And I've watched things before, but I haven't seen as much of a good response, just because also there's like that product market fit like people like oh, I'm just I'm not getting this just because I support you. But this is something I'll actually use, which which feels good.

 

Jay Clouse  11:09

Yeah, I'm curious about the iteration time because in digital content that seems like so much faster to iterate and make changes and see those changes and see, like, does this work software takes a little bit longer. Imagine hardware takes a lot longer. So how quickly were you getting improvements or new samples for this type of thing?

 

Sara Dietschy  11:27

It's slow, especially doing this while I'm sure everyone sees the news, headlines of supply chain shortages and boats slowing down. And I think that was probably due. I mean, obviously, it was due to external forces. But that's something that I was just not used to. And it would be, yeah, it's turning days into months and months and months. And sometimes, you know, a full year, we aren't going to get our golden sample in, I think it's like a week or two weeks, which is very exciting. But that's basically where, okay, we have all the changes. And this is how it's going to 100% be off of the factory line if you okay, everything. So I'm still waiting waiting for that, because all of the things that we shot our videos with, you know, they didn't have the final, what do they call it, it's like the final coating on it that stops fingerprints. So you know, during the shoot, we had to like, okay, you know, like, take the cloth and because we don't want people to think this just gonna, you know, attract a bajillion fingerprints. So it's stuff like that, where it's like, the the core of the product is there. But the final paint layer, the Oh hinges that are just a little bit stronger. And so I don't even have those golden samples yet, which I'm really excited to get, I think next week. And so it's it is slow, it is slow.

 

Jay Clouse  12:44

And it seems like it's probably kind of, well, I don't know if this is a youth thing or a moment thing, I had a friend of mine who did Kickstarter, and he was telling me about all of the work and costs involved in making molds for the thing he was making, and how like cost prohibitive that is for new inventors, is that something you guys had to wrestle with as well?

 

Sara Dietschy  12:59

So that's something that Eric and Jordan are designer and engineer could probably talk more to, but we did a lot of 3D printing for the more basic product. So the headphone stand and even just the kind of the base of the phone stand. I actually have it here with me, you know, we had some of those initial samples that were very, I mean, this is like hardcore metal. And so it was kind of hard to judge based on a flimsy 3D printing, right? Like how it's going to be I remember the first 3D print of the headphones, Stan, I got just like broken shipping. So I couldn't even like get a full sense of it. So so yeah, there. It's, it's, it's a journey, for sure. But I think moment has their own process with those things, because they have been doing. They've been doing this for a while. But I will say hard goods for soft goods. So say you're doing backpacks or laptop sleeve or something like that, that's just an extra layer to have because it's like, okay, digital products, but then you got soft goods, which you still have logistics, but it's way easier to make those. And then it's like anything that's metal, aluminum, has electronics in it, you know, that's when it is going to be harder to get those samples. So you kind of have to be doing some guesswork until you do the actual sample that's going to cost 1000s of dollars. Like it's crazy.

 

Jay Clouse  14:17

How is this response been in terms of your expectations to the launch?

 

Sara Dietschy  14:21

As a YouTuber you literally wake up every day thinking that it could disappear like that. And it's not the most you know, we get to do the most amazing things and amazing people and I'm so thankful for all the opportunities I've been able to have and continue to have but the talent side of it is literally every day. You're like oh if I make one wrong move this is over. You just have the you just have this anxiety always kind of at bay that's like this could go away. This could go away. So for me it's been relief. You know that hey, I found something that people We are excited about, and it's something that I can probably continue even if I'm only posting one video a month, maybe less, you know, it's something that I can I can do be on YouTube, which is cool. But I'm thankful and relieved.

 

Jay Clouse  15:14

Where does that fear come from? Do you think because you've been posting for a decade now, and it hasn't gone away? So you would think that you know, you would look at the data and not feel that way.

 

Sara Dietschy  15:25

You think, right?

 

Jay Clouse  15:26

You think, right? So like, what where do you think that comes from is? Have you seen other people like, have that experience?

 

Sara Dietschy  15:33

I haven't done like around a podcast in a while. And with COVID, I have been very isolated. But I've been talking to more creators just the past few weeks. And that is something that is very reassuring. When you're talking to other people, everyone feels the same exact way. Literally everyone, even people at the highest level who are a list celebrities, you know, like YouTubers are like here. And then you have like Ben Stiller on, you know, Dax Shepard's podcast, I was just listening to where he was talking about, you know, the different projects he juggles and how Ozu lander two was a failure in his eyes, but not really in other people's eyes, but he thought he was done. And then after that he did severance which, you know, not only critics loved but everyone loved. And I think so people even at the highest level, when when your success is based on eyeballs based on attention, based on something super personal, like creativity, I think it's always going to be there. It's always going to be in the back of your head of am I good enough? Do people still love me? Right? Of course, Gary Vee is always like, I don't pay attention to the negative or positive comments, and that's how I survive. But I'm, I would love to be that way. But I like I like positive comments. Sometimes I like creating something, putting something out in the world. And then then being like, wow, Sarah is really good at editing or telling a story. Or Sara's funny occasionally, you know, that's, that's nice for, you know, the stroke of the ego sometimes. And so, I'm not gonna pretend like I'm Superwoman. And I'm not affected by that stuff. So I, I think the scariest thing is not negative comments. But if the comments stop, you know, the scariest thing is silence is no one caring anymore. And when your life is run by algorithms, it actually can be around the corner at any point, doing it for 10 years doesn't doesn't give you anything to say that you will be successful for the next year, because we have seen YouTubers streamers, actors, we have seen them fall off, you know, I guess the scarier thing for YouTubers is, you're not an actor who's making you know, millions a project, right? So, but at the same time, I think this project, I think some of the videos I've made the past year that I'm actually proud of, that gives me the confidence again, where I'm like, if YouTube fell off the face of earth, I could still edit banger videos for people I could still direct I could still, you know, make commercials for companies like I'm going to be fine. But that is always in the back of my head. That's the biggest fear.

 

Jay Clouse  18:12

After a quick break, Sara and I talked about her content strategy, and her willingness to reinvent herself over the years. And later we talk about why she's less and less interested in doing tech reviews. So stick around and we'll be right back.

 

Jay Clouse  18:27

Welcome back to my conversation with Sara Dietschy. Sara has built an incredible audience, not just on YouTube, but on Instagram and Twitter as well. And earlier, Sara told me that she's always had some level of anxiety and fear that her audience could go away overnight. So I asked her why she hasn't invested time or effort into building something that's a little bit more algorithm proof like email.

 

Sara Dietschy  18:49

Laziness. Yeah, it's one of those things where I love video, I do video and it takes so much for me to do something just that much extra. However, I will say with lab 22. I posted I think two videos at the end of them. I did like a very initial tease of the iPad stand and we created an email list for that. And now, now I'm like, Okay, I need to actually focus on this. I always thought for an email list, you have to be sending like once a week or at least once a month, you have to be providing a ton of value. But I think when you have people that back what you do and are excited about you, they're gonna sign up. And what was so crazy about it is I launched this Kickstarter for the first 36 hours without any YouTube video, and it was literally Twitter, Instagram and the email list. And we had maybe I think we had about 1800 people on the email list. And just Twitter in the email list alone. It just crazy. It just went and so now I am convinced I'm like Sarah, put your big girl pants on you need to do some things that you don't want to do just to just to me sure that you know, you can hang on to some of those connections, because it's also selfishly, I hate email. So I'm like, do people still answer their email? So I'm one of those people. That's like, well, if I don't use it, no one else uses it. But apparently, it's a very important thing so

 

Jay Clouse  20:18

Yeah, it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, because I started an email from beginning. There's no discoverability to that. So I'm kind of the opposite end. Like, why wasn't I also doing YouTube from the beginning, but the one interesting thing I had been looking at is Gen Z doesn't use email. And the question is, does that mean that we're going to have to change or they're going to age into email?

 

Sara Dietschy  20:39

Yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  20:39

And I don't know what the answer is.

 

Sara Dietschy  20:40

That's actually, hmm, I've never thought about that. It's like, you got to have a TicTok for the Gen Z, right? Or Snapchat for the youth for the youth gotta have email for the millennials, right? Yeah, I don't know what the answer is. I think there's always so many. I don't know, my little brother is Gen Z. And he's so quirky, he doesn't even use he doesn't use any social media at all, which is crazy. So I actually don't know what the answer for that is. But I think everyone has their own thoughts. And they're always so scared about the next generation. But I think Gen Z is also sitting on YouTube and watching our long video essays about things. I think they are genuinely Yeah. So I think I think we'll find the Gen Z.

 

Jay Clouse  21:23

I hope they find me.

 

Sara Dietschy  21:24

Yes, yes. Yes.

 

Jay Clouse  21:26

I want to talk about reinvention a little bit because I have had an interesting experience kind of a researching your your last five years, at least of creating. And I started this morning by going to the last posted episode on the that creative life feed where you talked about, hey, I'm going to put pause on the on the channel right now. And then this morning, I watched your video about reviewing the new MacBook Air and you're like, hey, I'm maybe not going to do reviews like this anymore.

 

Sara Dietschy  21:54

It's like once a year.

 

Jay Clouse  21:55

Those are those are like two years apart. But I'm interested to hear it, you seem to have a pretty healthy relationship with being willing to say like, hey, I'm not feeling this, I'm going to change things. And it seems like things haven't gone south.

 

Sara Dietschy  22:08

How about blown up? Yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  22:09

Talk to me about that.

 

Sara Dietschy  22:11

It's something that I feel like you have to do. YouTube and algorithms that dictate your life are always changing things, which is half of it, but the other half is you the other half is you have to be able to get up and actually like what you're doing. There's one side of it that, you know, oh, you can only do what you love. And that's all but at the same time, it's like you have to pay attention to the platform's you have to be cognizant of the environment of the context you're in. So you can't only do what you love, right. But I think the summer I've been doing a lot of experimentation with just formats and topics. And it's, it's something that I had to do for myself to continue because I swear, probably five different times in this journey. I'm like, okay, ready to throw in the towel. I'm gonna go work for a company literally, multiple times, I've been like, what tech company will take me? How can I be in their PR department or something, but I always come back to it because it's like, I, I would die if I wasn't able to create my own schedule if I wasn't able to have stay up until 4am wake up at noon. But I think a lot of this is based in my self discovery of I just need to go back to being an artist, being project based. Being being someone who just make stuff right, a lot of my career it still, it still feels weird to say like YouTube is my career, but whatever. That's another discussion. I think a lot of my career has been focused on brand deals and making stuff for other companies. Because before this, I you know, worked with an agency and I made only branded videos right for for those companies. And so once I came to YouTube, I was like, well, I can put my own spend on a branded video that's cool and exciting, but it's essentially like you have the same job it's just now with your face where if I'm doing four to six branded videos every month you have four to six clients to pay attention to and expectations to me and you just stopped sleeping and I'm someone who can't I think that something also I've discovered is it doesn't matter if someone's paying me $5,000 radio or $50,000 studio I will treat those equally as important and like die to make them as good as possible. And which is not healthy especially when I'm terrible at hiring people are terrible at scaling. And so I think that's what I'm now kind of coming to is like Okay, cut the brand and work in half. First of all, how much money do you actually need not I just need enough money to pay and I talked about this a little bit on iced coffee hour but to pay for delivery because I hate cooking and just I guess ordering whatever knickknacks from Amazon because I myself somehow you know, oh I need like a new coat rack or something right I don't I don't need a tie. Well, I also want to eventually buy a house, but the market is just freaking insane. But I don't need this big huge. I sold my company for $50 million. You know, who cares? I just want to make stuff. That's what I had to do is start from the end goal, and then work back. And so I started with, okay, what do you actually need? You know? And then, okay, well, given that you don't need to do five or six brand deals a month, make time for videos you actually want to make, but also do the research, take the six hours is going to take to figure out an actual compelling title, thumbnail and do your own projects. You know, there's a series I want to keep doing where I tried, you know, I learn new creative software, I'm the happiest when I am learning new things. And so I, you know, learn blender for 24 hours. And it was, it was super challenging, but it was so rewarding. So I want more projects that are rewarding like that. And so I want to make a little Mac app. So I'm going to learn Swift, but that requires that requires months, you know, I can't do that when I'm worried about, you know, 10 different tech releases and reviewing different laptops and all that stuff. So it's going to be a transition. And I'm still going to try to get through tech season like normal this month. So we'll see. But come October, November, December, hopefully, I'm posting less hopefully I'm doing you know, there's going to be at least one video a month that I'm actually like feeling good about so so yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  26:33

I feel like a lot of creatives feel that periodic desire to like, you know, I'm suddenly daydreaming of taking a job now or like, changing things. Where do you think that comes from, from you? Is it just like, is it the brand deals and the expectation of well, now I'm creating all these videos for somebody else? Is it that you aren't getting the response that you wanted? You know, where does it come from for you, when you're feeling that pull towards trying to find a job?

 

Sara Dietschy  27:01

For me, it comes from just being tired. But then, I always couldn't, because I always talked to my mom about this stuff. And she has a real job at a big company. And a lot of times, I always come back to no matter what we're doing, we're going to be going ham. And so I rather it be on my own projects. And that's what I always come back to because I'll talk to her. And she, I'm super proud of her. She was a stay at home mom for 20 years, she got back in the workforce. And she is just like moving up the ranks after like, only five or six years being back in the workforce. And she is like kicking butt. And it's been amazing to see. But you know, this is like a big company. She's one of out of like, what probably 50,000 employees, 100,000 employees, and she is treating this like it is her own business. Like she will be on meetings at 6am or 7pm at night. And it's like, you know, a lot of people will be like, why? But when I talked to her, I'm like, okay, this is kind of in our blood. No matter where we are, we're gonna be going full force. So I might as well stick through and do really what is the most rewarding for me. And that's creating my own stuff, right. But it's tiring. And honestly, there is something in the back of my mind. On the other side of it that is curious of like, I could probably kick button that setting. I don't know, maybe that's like Sarah, and 20 years, what would it be in a fortune 500 company, you know, kicking butt in the marketing department or something. So a little bit of it is curiosity of like, how would I function? Would I thrive in that setting? Could I could I kick as much but so who knows, but that's another time?

 

Jay Clouse  28:48

Yeah, well, it sounds like you're motivated by just knowing that you're like, doing the best that you can and doing well relative to other people in the same position, which I think would be important in that setting. Because there's going to be a cap on your earning potential. That's the bummer to me about jobs like that. It's like I could top out and the certainly there are like rungs but then you have to wait for somebody else to choose you and give you that opportunity.

 

Sara Dietschy  29:12

That's true.

 

Jay Clouse  29:12

It's always been so hard for me to like rationalize going getting back into that world.

 

Sara Dietschy  29:17

I feel like it's one of those weird things where I would probably have to be super comfortable with how much money like I have enough, you know, acorns stored away to where that would probably be completely a play on like, what title can I get, you know, how far up the ladder Can I can I move because that because that is probably the frustrating part where your earning potential is capped. But for me, and it's like the same reason that it drove me in the three years that I actually stayed in college or these other things. I'm like a very competitive person. So whether it was basketball in high school, guitar, there were a lot of things like the AC T. I just want to like, see how how can I stay back up against other people, how can I kill it? Right? How can I have something that? And I think this goes back to everyone. It's like, what can I go home and say to my parents like that? I did. Hey, Mom and Dad, are you proud of me? Right? Of course, I'm doing that on the craziest scale possible with hundreds of 1000s of people being like, Well, you gotta be my mom. Yeah, hey peachy fam, you know, so so Yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  30:24

You mentioned tech review season coming up. And I asked my membership at that. Any questions for you? And Sarah Loretta, shout out, Sarah. She's awesome. But she said she was super curious to know, like the timeline and process for receiving things in advance to do videos.

 

Sara Dietschy  30:40

Oh, it's like super chaotic. And that's what a lot of that video was about. Where I'm kind of like done with her views. It was more for me letting go of all expectations, expectations, from brands, expectations from myself expectations of the audience to make a video about every everything that is released. And so I used to, you know, when it came to cameras, when it came to laptops, when it comes to phones, anyone who would email me, I'd be like, Yeah, I'll figure out how to make a video. But then what's overwhelming about that is all of a sudden, you just like doubled your clients, you have people who are paying you for sponsored content, and then people who aren't paying you, but are still expecting the same level of I needed up at a certain time right embargo time, I need this, this and that. And so that's where it can get super overwhelming. And that's why I'm kind of, for this next Tech season. I'm good with just the stuff I'm stoked about, right? iPads, iPhones, Sony products, I'm kind of taking this approach where for a while I tried to be someone else, I tried to be this fancy tech reviewer who is doing everything reviewing everything was being on bias. But I will say a lot of my audience that I formed, they came from my opinions. So I don't need to try to be someone else who's reviewing every single thing. I need to be someone who's just making the best story with the products as the backdrop, right, make things that I'm stoked about. And so when it comes to that, yeah, I'm really only now paying attention to the stuff I'm really stoked about. That's Blackmagic, that's Apple, that's, again, Sony. And then if something quirky comes along, you know, if it's something just crazy and quirky and cool, then of course, and then most of my time will be paying attention to hate telling the story. Hey, pay attention to the few brand deals that you have, and then pay attention to your audience. And it's like, I think that will be a winning formula. With that, I will say there's a huge gap. Now, for people coming up. A lot of the bigger YouTubers now aren't doing every single product. So with that, there's this huge kind of ground that's kind of left for the taking of new tech YouTubers to really pick up the slack and make those videos because that's where you can get discovered. That's where searchability and topical content comes into play. And I think that's really great for new creators, when you're trying to grow a following is making those things that people can search out for. Or maybe there's a brand new thing, and no one has done an actual super thorough review on it that can be used. That was a lot of my beginning videos was super thorough reviews with like a Blackmagic, design camera and stuff like that. So yeah, you just have to be willing to always be evolving. And a lot of the tech stuff has been more personal. Or I just don't want to say yeah, I'm just I'm slowing down a bit.

 

Jay Clouse  33:34

When we come back, Sarah and I talk about why she's moving away from tech reviews, and her video production process. We even talk about what she would do if she were starting over today, right after this.

 

Jay Clouse  33:47

Hey, welcome back. A minute ago, Sarah told me that most of her tech reviews are not paid sponsorships, which really surprised me. But she went on to say that the allure of doing these reviews was being one of the first videos up on YouTube talking about these products. But that allure isn't as alluring as it used to be.

 

Sara Dietschy  34:05

Now they're sending them to everyone when 100 people get the things and there's no alert to it anymore. So I think that's a balance. If there's any like brand people out there watching, there has to be some reason why people want to make you know, a video but if literally, you're sending your product to 100 people, and there's going to be over 100 videos posted at the same time, then that loses that shininess and then why even do it and I think I I really realized that I forgot what camera it was, might have been like a drone company or something. I don't know. It's just like everyone has it. So what's the point? And then it gets it gets weird to when half the videos are also paid. So this is where it gets kind of confusing. Some companies will also do sponsored videos mixed in with the embargoed videos, but they'll go live at the same embargo time so some things are sponsor some things aren't. And you know, I have a good idea of how much money these people are getting paid. Eat. And so a lot of the times and this is one of the brands, I just stopped. I'm like you either pay me or not posting videos because they were, they were paying everyone else but then they were just saying like, hey embargo, we'll send you the thing a $500 camera and I was just like, no, like, I don't need this.

 

Jay Clouse  35:18

Just write like a scathing review to say like, I'm gonna be the one video that's allowed to be like super honest and negative.

 

Sara Dietschy  35:24

Yeah, yeah. So it's weird. It's, and I understand how sometimes the audience has some confusion because the lines are, have blurred a little bit. And I think on the creator side, you know, you just kind of have a job of being clear if it's sponsored or not. And with other companies, I think it's pretty obvious that it's on the embargo. And a lot of tech is just loaned out a lot of the tech that you know, I do on embargo I send back, you know, within a year or two years. So that's kind of how that works too.

 

Jay Clouse  35:52

What does your process look like today, when you're making a video, I'm interested to know, like beginning to end, let's take maybe the one you did about a new era of Apple, where it's kind of like this new creative project that you're doing, what did that look like beginning to end?

 

Sara Dietschy  36:03

it's always chaos. And I think that's why I think that's why I've given up on hiring and there's a part of me, during the pandemic, I was like, I'm gonna take the super seriously, I'm going to have what Linus Tech Tips has, or even Austin Evans, Austin has kind of a smaller team, probably like five or six or seven people I'm going to be, you know, that, my own version of that. And then I just learned as like, the thing that is close, the closest thing to me that I kind of do keep sacred is just making videos coming up with topics, figuring out what I want to say, and I can't involve someone else in that. So I now have an editor Kyle, who helps me either with like the rough draft, or sometimes, you know, he's gotten used to my style. So sometimes he'll bring it to like 90%. But I'm still kind of obsessed over every step of that. So even with edit, you know, I'm gonna be going in the final edit and tweaking things. But when it comes to scripting, when it comes to ideation, I learned that like, I have to have something to say it has to be coming from a place where I'm really curious about a subject and I can dive in deep to it. And I can be collecting thoughts on Twitter and other YouTube videos and articles from other people's thoughts. And then, you know, when that kind of all bubbles up to the surface, and I'm ready, where it's usually to the point where I'm like word vomiting to John or someone else in my life, I'm like, It's time to make the video. So that video was kind of more of, I guess, like video essay, which I haven't really done a ton of, but I'm excited to kind of explore that more and be able to tell Bigger, bigger stories. And I think what I struggle with is I still do have a very tech audience. So even with I want to make a video about college, but it's not directly tied to tech. And that's why I've just been I always wait, I always post a video, if it's something topical, I'm always posting like two weeks later, which is terrible strategy, right? So be quicker, guys. But I learned that it's just like, Well, I'm gonna be leaving some views on the table. If I'm doing it in a way that makes sense for me, and that's fine. And I've but the end of the era for Apple, that was something that was kind of like a wake up call, because that got that got views I haven't. If I've gotten those views, it's over time, right? So that got over, I think 300,000 views. And that's something that I'm only used to, if it's like an apple event, or it's something super topical, that was something where people, okay, it's an intriguing title, thumbnail and people stayed and watch, like my watch time on that video is really good. And the click through is really good. And so it's gonna take a minute for me to figure out, like to really examine that, and figure out how to do that for other videos. But it's good. I have these breadcrumbs of kind of like, okay, that's a good, that's a good and it's gonna take me a minute to I think replicate some of this stuff. But it feels good to have some examples of that.

 

Jay Clouse  39:10

What are some of the things you're pulling from those examples maybe added added on to that? Are there any consistent constraints that you put on yourself? Like, I'm looking at the videos, the last five you posted? And they're all about 14 to 17 minutes long. So it seems like there's something around that length that you might shoot for? Just curious to know, you know, how do you how you're thinking about future videos at this point, the next experiment that you'll run?

 

Sara Dietschy  39:32

Really, I just vibe. There's, there's a lot of times I mean, I probably have the most inefficient process ever. One of my videos, you know where or I guess the last video was it? It was where I was like, I just can't review this computer, right? Yeah, that video was such a mess. Because I started reviewing the computer where I filmed an entire video in my office. I watched it back. And luckily Kyle did the first cut of that because it was one of those videos so I ramble for 30 minutes. And I'm like, oh my god, I can't, I can't do this. Kyle, please show what's up for me.

 

Jay Clouse  40:05

That's your problem now.

 

Sara Dietschy  40:06

Yeah. And I started, I started watching through it, because that's something that now it helps when I have someone doing these rough cuts of doing the jump cuts, you know, then I only have to worry about is there a story there? How can I bring this footage from over here and you know, kind of finagle it into a video, I was about two minutes into watching that 30 minute monstrosity. And I was like, No, this is bad. And I had to start I had to film I had to film again. And so there's a lot of moments where I'll watch stuff back. And I'm like, What was I thinking? Because I don't script a lot of stuff out that end of an era for Apple was one of the first videos in a while that I actually did script out most of the stuff. I was saying that that's a very unique scenario. So a lot of times I'm figuring out the story in the edit, I'll have to refilm I'll have to reshoot I'll have to rewrite things. And then a lot of times, I'll be figuring out title thumbnail two hours before I'm posting, that's something I'm trying to get better at. With the end of an era for Apple. That's something that see. And as I'm saying it, I'm realizing what I have to do. Because yeah, I thank you, thank you, I'll pay you your consulting fee. But it's one of those things where the end of the era for Apple, I spent literally two days figuring out that title and thumbnail I was sitting there I was like, usually some nails do better if I shoot it practically. So you'll see the last video I did completely flopped because it's so photoshopped. And I didn't think about the title at all. And so look, look what happens, right. But then when I pay attention to it, and I take the time, hours and hours to shoot the thumbnail, practically, the only Photoshop in that thumbnail was I like Photoshop my eyes to be more crazy and Luminar AI, so I pop more. But that's not a Photoshop background that's in my office, right? And so when I kind of take those things, and I take the two days, literally two days to stress about a title, look what happens. But when you have brand deals, and you have expectations, you have all these people hitting you up. It's hard. Isn't it crazy that like when you have something as a job, it permits you from like doing the most important thing for your job.

 

Jay Clouse  42:13

Yeah, totally, totally, totally get it. You said in a recent video, you've always had this mantra, like one for me, one for them. And then you said in a recent video, it's kind of like a throwaway line, you're like, Well, YouTube doesn't really work that way anymore. It's like one for me six for them.

 

Sara Dietschy  42:27

Yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  42:28

Tell me about that. What does that mean?

 

Sara Dietschy  42:29

In the very beginning, I knew that if I was making all the videos for the algorithm that was gonna jump off a cliff, you know, so it was one of those things that, you know, from the get I was like, dang, I gotta, I gotta go back. And that's what I was doing the very beginning for I paid more attention to that pretty explicitly in the very, very beginning. 2015 every video, I would post two videos a week, one of the videos would be like a fun camera unboxing and then hang out with my friends and just shoot around not worry about YouTube, that was definitely a one for me. And then the one for them was very, I could still learn from Sarah and 24 2015. Every week, I was doing something that could reach beyond my audience. And that's where that Casey video came from. I was like, Okay, how do I be like Casey Neistat, this is something that can reach beyond my audience, he has a million passionate fans, if I just get a retweet that is 500 more people that can watch my videos. And in the beginning, it was very simple because I only have 4000 subscribers. I was averaging like 500 500 views per video. And so for me, I was like, if I could get 500 more people watching my stuff, that's that's doubling, right, let's increase I know. And so maybe in those days, because the numbers were smaller, it was more easy to be like, Oh, this like growth hack or whatever is more worth it. Because again, you would you would like double your views, you could get 500 more people here 1000 more people here. And now you're more worried about like the algorithm because that's what's going to give you 10s of 1000s of more people and so yeah, I mean that saying is kind of just going back to always what I've known what you should be doing but you always get distracted and veer off so I'm always doing some version of there has to be a project for me that keeps me happy that keeps me fulfilled that makes me look at a video and I can say to myself you can storyteller you still got it good job. And then the six next videos where I'm just like yelling at a camera or something or maybe it's just for you to be I can feel better about those because hey, those are paying the bills. But look, watch this video if you think I'm just a normal YouTuber.

 

Jay Clouse  44:44

So I interviewed Ali Abdaal and he credited you with part of his YouTube strategy because he said he heard a story where you mentioned before you did that video shouting out Casey that you wanted to make sure your channel looked good. So if he did shout you out people came to your channel can you Talk a little bit about that strategy and if you think it still applies today.

 

Sara Dietschy  45:03

It's easy to be like, oh, that was my strategy. In hindsight, I wasn't thinking about having a viral moment in the future. But I was thinking, okay, this is this is something that I do want to make my job, I don't know when it's going to happen. It could be a decade, I had a long view of it. But when that when a moment happens, where people are finding my channel, they better have a back catalogue of content, that they could binge that they can see, oh, she's actually good at storytelling, right. And so I did all of these personal projects like creative spaces, TV, which is was a docu series on creative people and their spaces. And obviously, I've always been obsessed with death setups and stuff like that. So, you know, it's cool that I'm now a part of that with lab 22. But creative spaces, TV was something that I was like, I got to do this project, just to prove to myself that I can do it, right. And so I was doing these Docu series, I was doing camera reviews, because yeah, I wanted people to come to my channel and have things to watch, right? If you have one viral video, people click on your channel, and you have nothing else in your channel, they're not going to be sticky, they're probably not going to come back, you're going to be the one hit wonder. So I think probably the most important time for making things that you want to create, and developing your style. And your look is when no one's watching. I think that's the only time that you're actually going to be able to do that, actually. Because now that I have an audience, I have so many more expectations and so many more people to worry about. It's sad to say, but at the end of the day, my only focus isn't like is this color grade perfect. Is this, you know, a lot perfect, like, I recalibrated my display. And all this stuff was all in my last video was like so terribly color graded, but I was like, I gotta get it up. So I don't care, right. But back in the day, if it was a creative spaces TV episode, I don't have a schedule, I just want to make sure it looks beautiful. And that the person I'm interviewing when they send it to their 20 closest family members, it's going to, it's going to be something they're proud to share. And they're excited about. And so if you have 50 subscribers, if you have 100 subscribers, be stoked, because right now is the time to make the shift you actually care about, okay, this is the time to experiment. But also realize, and this is probably this is funny, this is probably we're all I freaking love Ali. But he says in the beginning quantity is more important. I actually say it's the complete opposite, I think is actually where quality is most important. Because I think that's when you have the most time to curate what you want people to see and curate what your YouTube channel is going to be. Because what I found, I have a ton of interest. But really, people are going to want to come to your channel for like one or two things, right? I got the most distracted when I started vlogging and people got confused. What are you even doing when I honed in on tech, that's when my channel like actually grew again. So I had a very I had like a fork in the road. When I made that tasty video. A lot of people were like, oh, do do a parodies on people. And I'm like, that is not me. I cannot be the person who's just making fun of everyone. And so luckily, I had that back catalogue content of like, hey, I want to do creative stuff. I want to do techy stuff, right? And that enabled me to actually do that moving forward so, So yeah.

 

Jay Clouse  48:20

I've heard you talk about you know, that video took you from 4000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers, and you made a video about that jump and that took you to 90,000 subscribers. What did that feel like at that point? Did you know you know what, how did you decide you know that the path forward that you were going to continue to do this aesthetic was that already set in and the timing just worked out or?

 

Sara Dietschy  48:40

You know, amazing timing because I was going full force with the Adobe Creative residency. So I got that. And I had all of a sudden kind of like, you know, funding for a year I had an audience and it was like off to the races. So for me, that period actually wasn't like, oh, we made it. It was like okay, Sara, this is what you've been waiting for. Go, go, go, go go. You know. So yeah, plenty of sleepless nights.

 

Jay Clouse  49:07

If you had to reinvent yourself and start from zero, and the Sara Dietschy name was meant nothing to anybody. What would you be doing today if you're getting started on YouTube?

 

Sara Dietschy  49:15

If I could take the learning still with me so no audience but maybe I still have

 

Jay Clouse  49:21

You're giving the learnings to today's audience who is maybe starting to zero.

 

Sara Dietschy  49:25

Yes, yes. Okay. Yes. The past five years there has been this movement of and I say Gary Vee not to gang up on him like everyone is because you know, hustle porn, all that shit because I actually freakin love Gary. I see him as like one of my internet gods. But watching him and a lot of other people surrounded by him, I kind of had this idea of what my future would look like. And that was building a huge company with a ton of employees and selling it and then go chilling on the beach and not working ever but cuz I have, you know, 50 100 mil in my bank. That's not me, first of all to that it's so difficult three, I hate hiring and training people. At the heart of things, I am more of an artist probably than an entrepreneur, right. And so I've been very attracted to this kind of like solar solo printer movement. And that's what I'm kind of, like, stoked about now. And so if I were to start over, I think I would just be tinkering. Obviously, video making is always going to be the core of things. And I would be making cool videos to talk about, I think, the projects that I'm working on, but I've seen people with only a few 1000 followers on Twitter, just sharing their process being open about the tools that they're building, and growing like a really loyal following. So, you know, I think maybe I would have stuck with my computer science degree, or maybe I probably still would have dropped out because I frickin hate college. But maybe I would have stuck to coding a little bit. Or, you know, and I would just be tinkering, maybe I'd be making like a Mac app, and then sharing that process on Twitter, or I would be making you know, little things in Blender, I think I would probably be more diverse in my creative pursuits. If that makes sense. It wouldn't be straight up video. And if I could still take the learnings and the feeling that I have now, I would be totally content with having this kind of smaller, but maybe more like smaller but very passionate audience like I think you can you can be dangerous with 5000 followers on Twitter, you know, in a in a killer newsletter, you probably know more about the email, but it's one of those things that yeah, I would probably just be exploring, I would have to again, probably maybe learn how to cook and not spend as much money on DoorDash not spend so much money on freakin tech. And, and it's so funny. I'm kind of nervous because I did the iced coffee hour podcast. And you know, I kind of said how much money I've made over the years. And of course, that's like top line revenue. And that's like, people don't know, I'm spending like, over half of that money on my failed employee attempts on $5,000 computers on, you know, all this stuff. And so, future Sarah would probably just be more of a responsible, low key creator that maybe isn't as focused on YouTube, but kind of building up that small loyal following, showing the process on YouTube showing the process on Twitter, and then if something really, you know, like putting out a lot of projects out there, okay, watching 10 things in a span of two years. And if one thing pops, like go with that a guy who's really good at this, let me get his name, right. He's like one of the leaders of the solo printer Nomad movement. Peter levels. Yes, Peter levels. There you go. Oh, wow. I'm glad I caught that. Yeah. I totally butchered his name. I think he's someone who's been kind of leading that movement, which I like, because there needs to be more people that are like, Hey, I'm not worried about bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. I'm bringing in like maybe a million or something. And I'm doing it with me and a few freelancers. And we're just enjoying life. And I'm not looking for a big buyout. I'm just looking to live my life. And I feel like that is so refreshing. And I feel like that is the appropriate pushback to some of this over hustling stuff. Because I think people go on both ends. It's like, too much hustle. You just need to be you just need to like, not pay attention to anything and not work hard because capitalism and all this shit. And I feel like there's a there's a good middle ground for the builders out there so.

 

Jay Clouse  53:47

This is something I really admire about your work is you talk about this, this really engaged audience it seems like your people the PG fam, I love what you do. And I'm curious if there's been any Have you picked up anything that you do that works well for that, that you could impart onto other people for building that type of loyal following.

 

Sara Dietschy  54:05

I think just being open and transparent along the way, when I was vlogging, I was a little bit too much where I was just like complaining all the time. No one wants to see that right? No one wants to see you just complaining. 24/7. But now I think I found a healthy balance where, you know, it's not all rainbows and butterflies, I'll share like, Hey, this is what I'm having a hard time with. I want to I want to bring you guys along the journey. But I'm usually sharing about those times when I'm like on the other side, if that makes sense. So it's kind of like I used to just kind of blow up and bow like life. For me, at least it has to be somewhat productive, where you can take something from it. If you're not being entertained. You're either being inspired or informed in some way, like how can I help my audience and so I think hopefully my audience sees that with every with everything. doing, you know, it's either, hey, you guys are like genuinely my friends and I either need some help, or I need your thoughts with this, or maybe this, I went through this and so maybe you'll understand and maybe this will help you, or let's just have a freakin fun time. And like, let's just escape for a minute. So I think just not being scared to share. And genuinely, it comes from a place for, I don't know, like, in high school, I didn't have a ton of close friends where we would like, hang out after school. And you know, I had like two or three really good friends in high school. And then I had the people who I was in a band with, I liked them, because we were all doing creative stuff together. And so for me, my relationships online are actually like, super important to me as well. Like, they helped me like to be able to go on Twitter and just, like bounce ideas off of people and to have real conversations like that, actually. It's like a It's a very, I don't know what the word is like. It's a good relationship for everyone, basically. And I think they feel that, yes, a symbiotic relationship.

 

Jay Clouse  56:04

I'm so good at getting these words,

 

Sara Dietschy  56:04

You are, I shouldn't even be talking, we should just be taking this over.

 

Jay Clouse  56:09

I'm glad you brought that up because you had done an interview. I feel like as with Craig Adams, maybe you said this line, you're like, there's not actually a ton of room for friends when you're living that creative life. And then you did an interview with Matt D. Avella. And he said the same thing. I'm sitting over here. And I'm like, I feel so seen. Because I spend so much social time with people online. But then, you know, it gets to be six, seven o'clock, and I realized, Oh, I didn't actually make any plans tonight, I'm not going to see anybody. And as you're talking about, you know, finding some more balance, if you were to reinvent yourself again, how do you feel about that? Do you feel like that's a necessary part for us creatives or is that something to change?

 

Sara Dietschy  56:48

I think it's all about knowing you and knowing what you need. So for a while, and this is something I had to figure in high school, I would feel guilty that instead of going to a party, I was like practicing scales on my guitar, or as I was, I was like learning a song. But I've been able to let go of that guilt. Because I was feeling that just because that's what everyone else did. That doesn't mean that I have to do it right. And so I get a ton of joy from, you know, these really cool creative relationships where I can see or link up with people twice a year at a conference, or spin really deep, meaningful time with people you know, like on a podcast or a two hour chat, who kind of understand where I'm coming from and who are also in the creative world and those relationships and those things I love and I get a ton of energy from but then at the same time. After that, I'm totally drained. I don't want to talk to anyone. And so it's helped me to just understand, okay, you are, you know, you are like, totally an ambivert or whatever the hell it's called. Or you're introverted, you need you need alone time to recharge, but hey, you really liked that time, that really concentrated time with people at a conference or a getaway or something like that. And so making time for that is really great. And and that's how I do it. So I've stopped feeling guilty for not having you know, 20 friends that I go get drinks with every week and blah, blah. And I'm thankful for a you know, a fiance that I can just like, come home and we can just like hanging out, watch shows and recharge together. And that's amazing. You know, I've learned recently too, is like, Don't get caught up in what other people are doing. Don't think you have to have a big company because other people have big companies don't think that you have to have friendships with people in this way because other people do. What do you actually like to do? Are you feeling guilty for these things? Just because it's what the world is telling you? You do you that's really what it all comes down to.

 

Jay Clouse  58:41

This conversation was so fun. I love how willing Sara is to admit that she's not feeling something anymore. She's not excited about a certain direction and just change directions. I think a lot of creators and creators like us, we often feel that urge but we're afraid to make that change. And maybe we can look at Sara as an example to see that everything will be okay. If you learn more about Sara, you can go to her website saradietchy.com or search Sara Dietschy here on YouTube. Links to her website and all of her social media are in the show notes. Thanks to Sara for being on the show. Thank you to Connor Conaboy for editing this episode. Thanks to Nathan Todhunter for mixing the audio and Brian Skeel for creating our music. I'd love to hear what you think about this episode. You can tweet at me or find me on Instagram @jayclouse or leave a note here in the comments on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe if you have not already. Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you next week.