The dream of being a professional YouTuber is undeniably appealing. Making content for a living, working to your own schedule, doing what you love. So why, then, do so many people give up on that dream?
This is something that does not just affect those who have tried and failed to achieve the dream.
Some YouTubers achieve immense success and then, seemingly without warning, give it all up. Others seem to be on the cusp of that dream—having achieved constant growth for some time—and then just… stop.
For those of you starting out on the road to YouTube greatness, it can be something of a mystery why these people would do this, but there are perfectly good reasons behind it all (and some bad reasons), and we’re going to take a look at those reasons today. So, why do YouTubers quit?
Probably one of the leading causes of YouTubers quitting is burnout. One of the reasons it is so common is because it does not discriminate between successful and unsuccessful YouTubers; it is equally possible to get burnout with a few months and twenty followers under your belt as it is if you’ve been YouTubing for years and have hundreds of thousands of followers.
Burnout can come about due to a lot of reasons, but the broad scope of the problem is doing too much of something. For a long time YouTuber, this might be because they have been making the same kind of content for extended periods, and it is getting harder and harder to find the motivation to do it. On the other hand, a YouTuber who has not been doing it for that long might get burnout because they have pushed themselves too far; trying to get more content out than they have the time to reasonably make.
In both cases, it is possible to combat feelings of burnout if you take proactive steps. Things like trying to vary your content where possible. Granted, you probably have a niche and your audience expects a certain kind of content from you, but explore that niche fully, and try different things. It is easier if you do this from early on in your channel’s history, but it is never too late to start.
Remember, losing some of your audience because they don’t like a new direction is better than losing all of your audience because you don’t make videos any more!
Getting burned out because you are doing too much, and it is wearing on you can only be handled by managing your time more effectively. Most YouTubers get started while attending school or working a full time job, some might also have children to care for.
Trying to produce daily—or even weekly—videos around these obligations can be challenging to say the least. It is important to remember that many YouTube channels have succeeded with erratic upload schedules, or long intervals between videos.
Sure, your particular type of content might benefit from more regular uploads, but again, the damage from taking your time is almost certainly less than the damage from burning out and quitting!
As strange as it often seems to those who are early on the path to YouTube success, not everybody wants this life. Some YouTubers learn this after achieving some of that success and realise it is not making them happy. Some go into the YouTube game knowing full well that they don’t intend to stick around. Other’s may merely be using YouTube as a promotional tool and have reached a point in life where they no longer have anything to promote.
Whatever the reasons, there a lot of YouTubers who quit because they don’t want to do it any more.
This type of quitting is also common with people whose success on YouTube has opened doors for them that they never previously considered. For example, a person whose charismatic nature lands them a hosting role on a television show. In that case, the person in question might never have considered hosting a television show as a career path before, but now that they have the opportunity, they find that they prefer it to YouTube.
Though not technically quitting, another reason that a YouTuber may stop uploading is because the success they have achieved outside of the platform is leaving them little time to work on the channel.
The most common example of this is probably musicians who, after gaining immense popularity on YouTube, find themselves too busy touring and making music to work on new videos. In this case, they might never have intended to stop making videos, but circumstances have made it too difficult to make time.
A Project Has Run its Course
Not everybody enters the YouTube game with the intention of becoming a full time YouTuber for the foreseeable future. Sometimes, people enter the platform with a specific purpose, and when that purpose has been achieved, they leave.
An example of this could be a political channel that is pushing for a certain thing—a particular candidate’s election, or a certain policy to be enacted. If that goal is reached, they could shift gears and move on to something else, but it is not entirely uncommon for YouTubers in this form to just dust their hands off at a job well done and disappear back into the night.
A similar version of this—and one that could be termed similar to burnout—is a channel exploring all the possible content in their scope. This could be a tutorial channel which has covered everything there is to teach on the thing they are covering. Again, the channel could shift gears and move onto something new, but it is not uncommon for the YouTuber to just decide to close things up and move on to new things.
This, in and of itself, is another form of the project running its course. If a YouTuber simply feels satisfied with their channel, that they have done all they want to and have nothing left to add to that particular body of work, they might decide to stop making content for that channel. You might think this is burnout, but it is different.
In this case, the YouTuber is capable of making more content, does not feel frustrated or tired with their channel, but simply decides now is the right time to walk away.
The final reason we’re going to cover for why YouTubers quit is somewhat less voluntary. It sadly quite common for YouTube channels to end due to factors that are either beyond their control, or of their own making but ultimately against their will.
An example of the former would be a channel that goes under due to one of the many YouTube adpocalypses. Many YouTubers do it for the love of the thing, but if you were previously making enough money from your channel to be a full time YouTuber and a change in YouTube policy erases your income overnight, it can be understandably demoralising, and might well cause you to quit.
An example of the latter tends to be things like repeated copyright strikes or community violations leading to the channel being suspended. Though we wouldn’t go so far as to say this is fair 100% of the time, it is the case that the vast majority of channels that finish up this way had plenty of warning before they were taken down.
The important thing to remember about this is that, ultimately, it is YouTube’s platform, and whether you agree with their ideas of fair use of hateful language, etc., you have to follow them if you want to use that platform.
One final note on external factors; it is worth remembering that YouTubers have lives outside of the platform, just like the rest of us. Out in the real world, there are practically endless factors that could cause a YouTuber to stop making videos. They could have had a loss in the family and are no longer in the right mindset to make content. They could have landed a new job that prevents them from making online content. They could have been arrested for something.
They might even have died. It’s always good to take a moment and consider the possibility that things are going on in the YouTubers life that are keeping them away before getting angry at them for not uploading more videos.
At the end of the day, there are more reasons than we could ever list why someone might quit YouTube. We’ve done our best to break them down into broad categories, but humans are complicated, and that complexity is hard to pin down when talking about why someone might do something like this.
Still, the most common reason by far is that of YouTubers not achieving the success they had hoped to achieve as quickly as they wanted to. The only way to avoid that particular hurdle is to stick with it, and look for ways to get better. It is no guarantee of success, but quitting is a guarantee that you won’t succeed.