How to be a successful beauty vlogger

1. Grasp opportunities 

I am a former train driver and financial advisor. I knew I needed a new career path to fit around the needs of my children and I am a very creative, arty person so I decided to train as a nail tech and beauty therapist. Even though I was seven months pregnant when I qualified in 2011, a space became available in a local salon for a nail tech so I went for it. 

By 2013, I’d opened my own nail salon, Divine by Design. I started to post images on social media and one tweet caught the attention of Samantha Sweet, director of Sweet Squared, who got in touch. I ended up winning the Shellac Power Polisher of the Year in 2013 and became an educator with CND. Things seemed to snowball from there. For me, it’s always worked best if I don’t push too hard.

2. Don’t make fame and fortune your goal 

In the beginning, I didn’t even realise you could make money through YouTube. I really admired Holly Schippers, the FingerNailFixer, whose tutorials helped me a lot. I thought it would be wonderful if I could help people in the same way. 

So, I set up a YouTube channel, which didn’t really do anything at first. I thought my videos would disappear like a needle in a haystack unless I gave people the direct link. However, I did an open day for the Creative Academy in Manchester on a water marbling technique and created a video for people who couldn’t attend. It hit 14 million views so that really pushed me forward.

3. Learn from the experts 

I only had about 11,000 subscribers when YouTube in London contacted me. They had selected me as one of the top 18 up-and-coming YouTubers in the UK and they wanted to personally mentor me. I spent six months going back and forth to London for courses and workshops. They taught me absolutely loads: what makes people click on a video link and what doesn’t, film techniques and the best equipment to use. I was assigned a partner manager, a mentor, who also helped me decipher my analytics. 

4. Be prepared to dedicate time

By 2016, my routine was to film and edit videos on a Tuesday and Wednesday and work in the salon on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I’d spend Sunday uploading photos. However, the experts at YouTube were telling me I needed to spend more time on my channel but I felt I should be in the salon more often as I had a waiting list. I was torn, but I made the tough decision to sell the salon and focus full time on YouTube as it better fitted the needs of my family. It has paid off.

5. Understand the algorithms

In terms of advertising, YouTube assigns the biggest advertisers to the most popular posts. But in 2017 Marks and Spencer suspended its YouTube advertising over concerns it had been placed next to extremist videos. Other big advertisers followed suit. YouTube responded by tightening things up and a computer algorithm now automatically demonetises videos that it suspects are controversial. While this is a good thing, sometimes the most innocent video subjects as “bows” on nails are penalised so take time to understand how it works.