Okay, that’s not really the end of the post; we’ll dive into this topic as we do with all things YouTube, but if you’re looking for the quick answer to “am I too old to start a YouTube channel?”; – No. You are not too old to start a YouTube channel. Whatever your age. As the saying goes, “It’s never too late to start something new”.
It is, however, perfectly natural to worry about being too old to jump into something that, from the outside, looks very much like a young person’s game.
There several reasons why you might think it’s not for you, and we’re going to lay the biggest ones out for all to see, and then tell you exactly why they shouldn’t stop you from starting up your own channel.
Let’s Talk Numbers
It can help to get over your fear of being “too old” for YouTube if you know some of the numbers around age on the platform. For example, even though YouTube is thought of as a very young person’s platform, you might be surprised to learn that the average age of a YouTuber is closer to thirty. Twenty-seven, to be exact.
Of course, that’s still pretty young, but remember; that’s the average age. That includes extremely popular YouTuber’s that are as young as 16. And, though not strictly in keeping with YouTube’s terms of service, there are YouTuber’s like EthanGamer, who started his channel at seven years of age and had hit a million subscribers by the age of ten!
We realise that highlighting these incredibly young YouTubers may seem counter-intuitive to the point of this post, but remember, we’re discussing the average here. YouTuber’s like Ethan—who even now is only fourteen years old, bring that average age down considerably. For the average to be up around twenty-seven years old, there has to older YouTubers to balance it out.
YouTubers like ThePianoGuys—one of whom is over fifty years old—and Adam Savage—fifty-three years old—prove that you don’t need to be a baby to get going on YouTube. And those are just popular examples. ThePianoGuys rank inside the top 100 YouTube channels (discounting organisations like VEVO), and Adam Savage has over five million subscribers.
There are YouTubers like Gamer Grandma who has a much more modest—yet still very impressive—410k subscribers for her gaming channel. She is ninety years old. And there are many more YouTubers like her who, while not as successful in terms of subscribers counts, are nevertheless enjoying plenty of popularity in a wide range of niches, such as Peter Oakley, an eighty-six-year-old autobiographical vlogger.
It’s also worth noting that YouTube’s reputation as a platform for younger people stems from the earlier days when it really was a platform for younger people. But YouTube has been around for a while now, and those more youthful people have grown up. For example, YouTube veteran, Philip DeFranco, started YouTubing at the tender age of twenty-one years old.
These days he is thirty-four years old and still going strong. To illustrate this, we’ve picked out a few YouTubers from the top fifty channels by subscriber count. Obviously, we’ve left out the large organisations and YouTube channels for big celebrities. Nobody should be looking at T-Series, Eminem, or Ed Sheeran for examples of how to succeed on YouTube.
|Subscriber Count (2020)
So, let’s get to those reasons why you might feel too old to start a YouTube channel, and why you shouldn’t let them stop you.
As we get older, we tend to become more conservative. Not in a political sense—well, actually, in a political sense as well—but in the sense that we become more introverted as time goes on.
It’s perfectly natural, and it happens to most of us, but on a platform full of bright-eyed, cheerful souls all gleefully welcoming viewers to their videos with bubbly optimism, it is easy to feel intimidated by the prospect of joining that world yourself.
Fortunately, there are many ways to put your videos together, and there is absolutely space for more introverted YouTubers. Many successful channels feature quiet, reserved personalities, people who don’t show themselves on camera, even videos where the YouTuber in question never features at all!
The main ingredient to a successful YouTube channel is providing content that people want to see, and the way you deliver that content is the seasoning. Your particular seasoning maybe to some people’s taste and not to others, but it is the main ingredients that will be the primary determiner of success. So, focus on those main ingredients, and don’t worry about whether you come across as cheerful enough.
And, besides, putting on a personality that just isn’t you is a surefire way to burnout and lost the desire to make videos altogether.
Even if YouTubers themselves are trending older, the people watching YouTube are still young, right?
One of the key aspects of building an audience is being able to appeal to that audience, and there has always been a natural culture-gap between younger and older people.
Not an insurmountable one, of course, and as we mentioned above, the main content of your videos is a more significant factor than the way you deliver it, but it is there nonetheless.
It is certainly not impossible to appeal to people outside of your age bracket, but you might be surprised to learn that 35+ and 55+ are two of the fastest-growing demographics when it comes to people watching YouTube.
Again, it is not impossible to appeal to other age groups than your own, but if you are firmly locked into your own age demographic, there are plenty of viewers for you attract.
Another reason older people might be dissuaded from creating a YouTube channel is the lack of ideas for engaging content.
Some of the most popular videos on YouTube involve young, handsome people dropping heavy things onto trampolines from a great height, or makeup tutorials, gaming videos, or any number of other things that are decidedly younger in scope.
It can be very easy to look at these videos and think that you have nothing to offer.
However if you need some guidance I have pulled together a list of “older” youtubers within the silver surfer bracket that command huge audiences and prove that age is merely a number and not a road block.
The first point of order here is that you should not let arbitrary limitations hold you back. We’re not saying start-up a parkour channel at the grand old age of eighty-five, but anything you are physically capable of doing should not be considered off the table. Grandma Gamer, who we mentioned earlier, is a prime example of that.
That being said, even if you don’t want to tackle something that might be considered a little young for you, there is no shortage of topics and ideas and niches on YouTube. We mentioned earlier about the growing number of older watchers, and those older YouTube viewers have interests that are similarly skewed.
Don’t get bogged down trying to appeal to a younger audience if what that audience wants isn’t something you are interested in. YouTube viewers span a broad spectrum of interests, from gaming channels to life hacks, from keyboard modding videos to reviews of historical military rations.
Finding Your Place
We have talked about not getting held back by misconceptions of age on YouTube, and what kind of content you could make, but how do you go about finding your voice and choosing your niche on YouTube?
The first thing to address is why you want to make content in the first place. If you have no clear motive, you will struggle to maintain any kind of momentum in your YouTube career. It would, of course, be immensely helpful if that motive aligned with your own interests.
Not only are you far more likely to stick at it if you are genuinely interested in your content, but you are also more likely to make more engaging content in the first place.
Now, there may be other factors in play as to why you are starting a YouTube channel. Perhaps it is a companion channel to something else, such as a blog, a podcast, or a business. Unfortunately, not every venture is a labour of love.
And even if you are making content around a subject you are passionate about; it might sometimes feel like hard work, but there is no sense in making life harder for yourself than it has to be.
There are also people who just enjoy the act of making YouTube content itself, and perhaps you are one of them. People like this often end up vlogging because talking about yourself is a subject we can all be experts in. However, combine a simple desire to make YouTube content with the introverts we mentioned above, and you have a recipe for internal conflict.
If it is the process of making content that appeals to you, but the thought of sitting in front of a camera and talking about yourself a few times a week is unappealing, consider making your videos about something you like, even if you are not an expert in that thing.
YouTube viewers can be very forgiving as long as you are honest with them. And, if you are open about your lack of expertise, you may even find viewers helping you out from time to time.
It can help to do your research before getting started. If you have a particular type of content in mind, find successful channels that are making that kind of content and see what they are doing. Of course, you shouldn’t be looking to copy anyone, but if you see common themes across different channels in your desired niche, there may be a reason for it. That being said, don’t blindly copy themes just because you’ve seen them crop up a lot.
Always try to understand why people are doing what they are doing before using that method yourself.
And, since age is the focal point of this post, it may help to study channels by other YouTubers your age, and see what they are doing. Do they have a young audience? And if so, how are they engaging that audience? Or, if their audience is more on par with their own age, how are they approaching things differently to the younger content creators?
YouTube may still be young, but has been around for a long time in Internet terms, and there it is full of examples of success from all walks of life.
Also, while we would never advocate you starting a channel on something you don’t like, if you do like something that might be considered a typically younger interest, there is plenty of clout to be had in the novelty factor of older people doing younger things, as people like former Vine star and current YouTuber, Jason Nash, have shown.
Jason has essentially made a successful career out of being “too old”, and now has a very popular channel, as shown by the three million subscribers he currently has. In this case, Jason’s age has not only not held him back, but it has also played an active part in his success.
Embrace Your Age
Growing older is a natural part of life, and one we all have to come to terms with eventually.
However—continued advances in medical science, not to mention a much better awareness of health concerns in the workplace and at home—have led to us not only living longer lives on average but living fuller lives in our later years.
People are increasingly taking up—and excelling at—new professions in their forties and fifties. Pensioners are discovering new hobbies in their retirement. And we’ve already talked about the eighty years and up YouTubers who are enjoying great success on the platform.
The paradigm of working your whole life so that you could enjoy a few nice holidays in your retirement are long past, and lots of people are finding fulfillment in their golden years.
If you suspect YouTube could be part of that fulfillment for you, don’t let any stigma about your age get in the way.