MANILA, Philippines – With so many successful YouTubers and many more on the rise, it's difficult to imagine starting a channel now and still making it big.
But for musician and content creator Tyler Ward, who started his channel in 2008, a career in YouTube now is not impossible, and he has some great advice for those who'd like to try.
"I believe that YouTube has a platform of real estate. For example, if you get into the market now, it's only gonna grow. So if you just start now, it's okay, there's enough room for everybody. But 10 years from now, it might be actually truly over-saturated, so it's just a matter of timing," he said at the press conference before YouTube FanFest (YTFF) Manila 2016.
At the May 27 conference, he and the other 12 YTFF performers spoke to the media before the nighttime event. (READ: AJ Rafael, Tiffany Alvord, and more: Here's the YouTube FanFest 2016 lineup)
"We got in early, so we got fortunate," Tyler continued, motioning to fellow musician Tiffany Alvord beside him. "So I'd just say stay consistent, be yourelf, and don't worry about the numbers. You'll be alright."
He has almost 2 million subscribers on his main channel as of writing, but Tyler wasn't always as successful as he is now. "I used to live in my dad's basement. And I didn't know what to do," he shared after the conference's host introduced him. "And YouTube came around, and now I'm here, it's crazy."
The Philippines' "Super Selfie King" Gab Valenciano shared in an interview with Rappler on May 26 that he actually got his start inadvertently, stemming from his family and friends encouraging him to make the videos he sent them public.
"In my mind, it was like, 'Uhh, I don't want people seeing me in rainbow-colored socks, women's shorts,' and you know, they were like, 'Just try it, just try!'" he shared, on his initial hesitation.
He eventually posted a few videos that got people's attention, he said, "One day, I woke up, and you know, that was it."
It's incredible to see just how much hard work goes into a Super Selfie. Gab has a hand in the entire thing, from concept to post-production. He told Rappler that while we see the finished, polished product, there's a lot of exhaustion and practice in between.
Gab, whose father is singer Gary Valenciano, has admitted before that he used to dislike being called a celebrity or "artista." (READ: Gab Valenciano shares inspiring words about healing, success, and artistry)
But he said that being an online content creator feels more sincere: "The best thing about being an influencer or a digital 'star' is that these are real people that just are dorks, you know what I mean? We do what we have to do, nobody tells us who we have to be or what we have to do. And I guess that's what makes it really unique, it's that when you meet these people, they're just normal, you know," said Gab.
Inspiration and originality + the hunger for more
During the interview with Rappler, Gab also said he's constantly inspired by things he sees and hears. A song on the radio or the sight of an empty crane, for example, can set his brain off into thinking about the visuals for his next video.
"It's gotten to that point where... sometimes your mind just keeps rolling and rolling, and there's a point where you're kinda like, 'Okay, I need to slow down.' I can't keep up with what I'm thinking," Gab shared.
For someone with so many ideas, the opposite can be worrying. "My toughest moment is when I actually don't know what to do next," Gab said. "Because, especially with my content, it's so quick, so there's always a gimmick, there's something new, every video there's something new."
He added, "When it comes to my personal creative process, sometimes I get to that point where I'm just like, 'Okay Gab, what's next, man? Are you gonna jump out of a helicopter in slow motion?' That, for me, is the toughest."
Adapting: From MySpace to YouTube
At the press conference, Tanner Patrick agreed with Tyler's advice, saying he felt he was "late on YouTube" when he started in 2011. (WATCH: Gab Valenciano teaches Tanner Patrick how to 'Super Selfie')
Tanner was part of the band Disco Curtis, which was signed to MySpace Records, as he had grown a following on the site. They disbanded in 2010.
"If you're passionate about something, put it out there, and if people like it, they're gonna come back and keep watching," said Tanner. "So share whatever you wanna share, I'm sure they're gonna love it."
At an interview with Rappler, Tanner also said that he used a lot of what he learned from MySpace to grow his YouTube channel.
"It was similar because 'friends' [on MySpace] were your subscribers and 'plays' were your views, so it was kind of a similar thing. And I used to get on there and I just messaged people, 'Hey check out my music, check out my band,' add friends, that kind of stuff, then I took a lot of what I learned there and went to YouTube with it, and just started making videos."
Like Gab, Tanner is constantly thinking of new content to release – it's just a matter of creating and putting it out there.
"I think faster than I can produce, so I'm like 10 videos ahead of myself all the time. And if I could just multiply and make all of those videos... there's only so many hours in a day. So for me, I'm very visual, and I'm very constantly seeing what it could be, and the hardest part, really, is staying on top of it and trying to produce as fast as possible, 'cos we're only human.