Finding Myself as a Creator.

Being an online content creator is one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever had. Oh wait – I forgot, I’m a Mom too. Haha! Well, I guess it’s the second most difficult job I’ve ever had. There have been plenty of highs & plenty of lows within this world of creating. I’ve learned so much over the past three years. It’s been so much fun ..and yet, so stressful at the same time. It’s sort of confusing. Let’s back up a little.

In 2013 I became a first-time mom. My life consisted of breastfeeding & watching YouTube videos. I mean, what else are you going to do when you have to feed your baby for hours on end? Yeah, my point exactly. A friend of mine exposed me to the world of family vloggers. It was rather entertaining. I immediately became fascinated with this idea of vlogging & this whole world of YouTube. I never knew people filmed their lives & made money doing it. I mean, I’ve been filming mine my whole life! Where’s all my money?! Haha! So after I had my second child, I decided to take on this “daily vlogging” thing for myself. It wasn’t easy; especially as a mom. I soon found out that it actually sucked. I mean, I guess it didn’t suck that bad – it just wasn’t for me. Filming my life & editing it together for a 8-15 minute vlog (daily) was just utterly exhausting. It had a negative effect on my marriage, my family & my relationship with Jesus. That wasn’t cool. So after a couple of months, I stopped daily vlogging. I changed my schedule a bit & started uploading a vlog 3-days-a-week. It gave me enough time with my family & it kept me consistently uploading content. That worked for me.

I filmed my life for the next 2 1/2 years; capturing everything from family vacations to the ups & downs of living with anxiety. I basically did it as a way to capture memories & as a hobby. I never did it for the money. As time passed, I started building a little online community. It was super tiny; however, my voice was starting to make a HUGE impact on people & it was amazing to watch! Through my YouTube channel I was able to encourage many people to start living debt-free lifestyles & start researching Jesus. That was definitely a win-win in my books! But soon enough (duh duh duhh), I fell into the dreaded comparison trap! I absolutely hate that trap! It’s super lame. I started comparing my content to other creators’ content. I started to doubt what I brought to the table as a creator, or if I even stood out. I struggled with my niche. Like, why did I even have to have a niche anyways? Am I ever going to be successful? Was this just a waste of my time? Even though those questions popped in my head, I kept my focus on creating. I didn’t give up. I also got pretty serious about this whole YouTube thing; traveling to social media/creator conventions & learning all the ups and downs of YouTube & SEO. I also networked my tail off. I’ve also made so many friends. Over the past few years I’ve met so many amazing creators that have helped inspire, encourage & drive me to do what I do every day. They also get me.

After a couple of years on YouTube, my video views were on the struggle bus, my subscriber count was embarrassing & it was just starting to get really difficult for me to keep up with everyone else. Mind you – I was a Mom & a YouTuber. It’s SUPER hard folks. Also, I was creating on a platform that felt extremely saturated with other vloggers; all while momming. It was difficult. It was miserable. I continued to feel like I had NOTHING to offer in this world of online content. But I did. I think as creators we sometimes get so lost in trying to be like everyone else; using all of the same equipment and following all of the same trends, that we lose our sense of SELF. At least that’s what happened to me. It’s not wrong to look up to someone (and their content) or use similar equipment, or do trendy things; however, I feel that we should always be striving for the things that make US happy. What do we enjoy creating? Why are we creating it? What are our passions? I know for me I have always been about Jesus. He is my #1 reason for being on this platform. I knew through my channel that I could be His light in the darkness. I just didn’t want to create serious Christian content. That’s just not me. And God knew that, so one day it just came to me. I realized that there wasn’t anyone like me or anyone that creates like I do. God created me in my uniqueness & weirdness. I’m Cara. THAT’S what makes me different on this platform. That’s what sets me apart! The Cara that loves Jesus, the Cara that shines His light everywhere she goes (well, I try) & the Cara that’s super funny (and SUPER weird). I’m not sure why it took me forever to realize it, but I’m so thankful that God helped me pull myself out of that trap of comparison to show me my uniqueness. He’s pretty awesome.

At the end of 2018, I started to think about the future of my channel. I wasn’t finding any joy in recording my life all the time. I mean it was nice having all of these memories, but I started thinking about the content I so desired to create that had been on my roster for the past year. I wanted to create THAT stuff; I just didn’t have the time (or the man power) to create it. I also entertained the idea of working for someone else just so I could execute all of these silly video ideas. Crazy, right? I soon realized that I had to take my first step – and that was to stop vlogging. One morning an idea came to me while I was cleaning my house while dancing to 90s music. So I picked up my camera and pressed record. That was it! Nothing fancy. Just me. Just Cara being weird. I posted the video on Facebook & waited to see a response. People were blown away! It had such a HUGE impact! And I didn’t expect ANY of it! Then it hit me – this is it! I think this is the type of content I’m supposed to create! I was being myself, being unique & being who God created me to be. I was being Cara.

After I made that weird video I realized that for the past few years I had totally forgotten about Facebook! It does rather well with organic growth/reach & all moms hang out on Facebook! Why didn’t I realize that?! Where was I all these years? I was so happy that I had finally begun to transition my platform, and it was SUPER exciting! Since October of 2018 I’ve been creating silly, comedic mom-related content on Facebook & it’s been a breath of fresh air! I don’t feel overwhelmed, I’m loving what I’m doing & I’m diving back into my roots. I’ve been making content like this since I was a kid. I’ve finally found my niche! It’s just me. Nothing fancy. Nothing amazing. Just me, Cara.

I’m so glad I kept creating. I’m glad I never gave up. I’m glad that I stayed true to myself. And the best thing about what I create now? People enjoy it! That’s seriously the best feeling in the world. The worse feeling in the world is when NOBODY watches your stuff. Seriously. It’s terrible. So having people ENJOY your work is just so rewarding! Yes the past few years I’ve struggled. I’ve cried. I’ve challenged myself & worked my tail off. But none of what I did even matters in the end. There’s a reason behind everything, and I know that His hand was (and is) in this whole process. He created me. He loves me. He believes in me. I just had to allow myself to endure some hiccups along the way for Him to work in me so that I could discover who He created me to be.

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Taking Back the Internet!

Many of you probably aren’t aware, but I’ve been vlogging my life for almost a year now on YouTube. If you are interested in watching, catching up with what we do on a daily-basis (family or not), or you just like YouTube in general, you should go subscribe & follow us 😉 I try to make light of life in a quirky, redheaded, Jesus-lovin’ way – so go and see if it’d be something you’d like!
I’m constantly amazed everyday that I have such a loyal group of subscribers & friends that follow my life everyday! ..and some days I am super shocked with that as well LOL! But I am seriously honored. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In almost a year I have made it to 165 subscribers – and I am so grateful for that! While that’s an AWESOME step forward, I am still wanting to grow my channel tremendously; and make it a part-time/full-time gig! It’s been challenging.
Since March of 2016, I have worked countless hours (too many to count) editing videos, filming daily & interacting/networking with other YouTubers/influencers on the socials/interwebs. Like, a lot. It’s exhausting. I’m up wicked late. I fall asleep editing. Still haven’t made any money. But I keep on pushing on!
There have been MANY days when I honestly felt like quitting or basically, “what’s the point?” And even though I have a goal to make this channel into something that could potentially bring my family income, I sometimes wonder if it ever will. Honestly.
But I’m glad that I’m doing it for the memories – because those are pretty priceless.
Also, I’ve been a victim of comparison too many times to count. I feel like that’s honestly the hardest part about this YouTube game. Legit hardest part. Like on the verge of tears hardest part (I know, lame), BUT I keep doing what I’m doing; putting my faith in the one person who I believe is THE most important person out there – Jesus Christ.
I have NO DOUBT that many of you find it weird that I’ve chosen to do this. Even if you don’t mention it to me personally, I can tell. I mean, it’s obvious. But honestly, what else would I do – or can I do? Before I started this channel I was just your average SAHM. I love being a mom – seriously. It’s amazing. It’s life-changing. It’s challenging ..(boy, is it challenging!?). But was I going to win souls by being stuck at home changing diapers all day? Nope.
On the contrary, I am a very expressive, loud & obnoxious person (that LOVES JESUS) – so why would I want to sit at a front desk job all day answering phones? Sorry, just not me (but I’ve done it).
I feel like I’ve honestly found where I need to be. I’ve found a place where I can share the love of Jesus with others; and that place is on YouTube.
The internet is full of crazy these days. You know it is. However, my goal is to take it ALL back! We can sit around and preach all day about how social media is HORRIBLE or BAD or RUINING our society and/or the church – but what is THAT doing? Absolutely nothing! Yeah, I said it.
So instead of sitting around and letting social media RUIN everything, I’ve chosen to do something about it. That’s right.
Booyah!
I know I may sacrifice growth (or recognition) in my work, but that’s okay. It’ll be hard, but I’m not giving up. Not yet. I know that people may not like me, or what I stand for (or what I’m doing) but I won’t back down. Why, you ask? Because of Him.
Nobody’s going to Heaven with a “YouTube Play Button” or “Shorty Award”. Heaven’s for soul-winners. And I wanna be one! I wanna win souls, and not awards ..but if I win awards WHILE winning souls, that’s cool too 👍
I’m taking the internet BACK for Jesus ya’ll!
You with? 😉

The Vlogger Life – A YouTube Story

Wow – so it’s been forever since I wrote a post ..and SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!! Ellia is now 10 months old, Jonah is 3 years old & the Autumn season has officially begun (yes, I had my first pumpkin-spiced item the other day) – don’t judge me 😉 A lot has been going on, and there will be even more to come in the coming months with the holidays coming, but I wanted to write a simple blog to tell you about something called a vlog. Yes, vlog. It’s the video-version of a blog. Back in March of this year I started on a journey of daily-vlogging my life. You know, on YouTube; that weird online video site. Yup. I started uploaded one video everyday. Literally, everyday. I would film what we did, edit that night & have it up on YT by 10am. Yes, I was doing that. After about a few months, home life started to get pushed to the wayside and I wasn’t spending NEARLY enough time with Brian and the kids (well, I was spending time with them BUT it wasn’t as much as I should’ve been), and so Brian and I had an amazing discussion and then came up with a game plan – I would vlog MWF! What the change in schedule did was not only free up my time on the homefront, but it also took a lot of pressure off of myself in regards to content. Content on the internet (especially YT), can either make you or break you. I had the thought of “well, if I put something out EVERYDAY, then that would gather more interest to my channel”. While having a significant amount of content helps your channel, it can also leave you a little helpless. I would be up until 2-3am every night of the week to edit these vlogs so that they were PERFECT (and they are still far from it). By switching it up to every other day, I’m able to have a little more free-time, still do what I love to do and also have great content. I’m not scraping by trying to figure out how to make my wicked boring vlog AWESOME  ..usually that comes naturally 😉

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The Leighty Life – on YouTube.

YouTube is weird. And I am too. I guess that’s why it works for me. Everyday of the week I pick up my $140 Sony Camcorder (that we bought to film Ellia’s birth) and basically just film everyday-life in my house. I literally am telling the world what I did that day, and what I’m planning to do that day or that week. Somedays it’s boring, somedays it’s interesting (with TONS of montages) – and somedays it’s full of the subject of poop (I mean, I do have young kids). All in all it’s just my life. The Leighty Life. I enjoy doing it & I want my viewers to enjoy it as well. I don’t really put on an act on-camera. I pretty much act the way I do if you were to engage in a normal conversation with me. I am honestly very hyper at times (I’m a high”i” personality), but I feel you sort of have to be a LITTLE interesting, and have a little bit of a personality if you’re going to do this.

Not only is YouTube weird, but people get SOOO weirded out about the internet; especially when it involves their children. And I get it, that’s understandable. Of course when we’re out in public I usually try to NOT get shots of other children/families but sometimes it’s inevitable. It happens. I do think some people think I’m a creeper, so I always try and make it apparent that “hey, I’m their mom and I’m filming them”. I usually try and yell out to Jonah and just talk about what I’m filming so that people are aware that I am not filming them. I’m not sure that they still believe me , but I try. Another thing people get weird about is just the exposure/exploitation of their children worldwide. I mean let’s face it – it is the World Wide Web, so yes, there are a lot of crazy/creepy people out there. Of course I don’t film a lot of personal stuff, or the kids in the bathtub but I’m busy making memories – I don’t worry about everything evil in the world. If you start worrying about everything you just get caught up in all the craziness. I’m trying to be His light in the darkness, and I love the ability to share my life with the world around me. It’s weird, I know. I’m pretty sure I have family members that don’t agree with what I’m doing online & my mom really didn’t like the idea of me putting my life out there on the internets. Even though she was (understandably) nervous with me using YouTube like this, she also understands that I don’t share my WHOLE life on there. I also try to respect my friends and family, and won’t (usually) put them (or their kids) on the vlog unless it’s okay. I’m still learning that a lot of people (even family), don’t like this “form” of media. I honestly don’t think it’s any different than posting something on Facebook. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. It’s the internet. Regardless of what you think, everything you put online isn’t 100% private. Sure, you can set your profile to “friends only” or limit the amount of items you show “publicly” on any medium, but it’s out there. Forever.

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My Snapchat Code – ADD ME!

Speaking of social media, I absolutely LOVE IT! I have whole-heartedly embraced the world of Facebooking, Instagramming, Tweeting, Snap Chatting, Vlogging, YouTubin’, Musical.lying & have most-recently got on the “Vine-train”. I do have to say that I miss good ‘ole Tom on Myspace though (oh – and we must not forget that infamous “LiveJournal” site); that’s where it all started for me 😉

Overall, Vlogging has definitely opened up a world of new relationships/friendships & opportunities. The majority of people still don’t really understand what I do and why I do it. I guess you have to be in this “community” of YouTube to truly understand what it’s about. I sort of feel like it’s some sort of private club or something. Seriously. Vloggers get each other when most of the rest of society doesn’t get you. Even my family can be weird about stuff, and quite frankly it’s annoying. They honestly probably have NO clue that this is actually something I’m trying to grow into a career (while just making memories and having fun). Actually, I’m pretty sure the majority of my family are not even subscribed to my channel; which is annoying. Forgive me – I need to be more like Jesus in this area …

When I started to vlog back in March, Brian (being Brian) told me that I should set a goal for myself in regards to my channel. What I came up with was for me to vlog consecutively (or in my case now MWF) for 6 months to a year. I would see where the , how many subscribers I had received & see where I was headed. I would have an idea of what my channel was becoming – if it was going to be something that I would take on a more professional-level (yes, people make money on YouTube). Overall I have changed a couple of things, and keeping things updated while maintaining a house (and running after children) can be pretty stressful at times ..but I’m doing it! In addition to the awesome amount of subscribers I have gained since March (77!), I have also received TON of views on the recent “Unboxing Videos” on my channel – Unboxing the NEW Apple Watch Series 1 & Unboxing the NEW iPhone 7 . This was an idea that Brian had for me when we both purchased these new Apple products shortly after they were publicly released a few weeks ago. And it was genius. I’m wondering if Brian should be called Brain instead.

vlogger-fairThrough YouTube I have also met some awesome (and sweet) people. Most of these people I have never met in-person, so I’m hoping that in November that will change. I have decided to attend VloggerFair in Seattle on the weekend of November 12-13.
This is one (of many) yearly vlogger/Youtuber conventions in the US; and I’m a little nervous. I sort of have the feeling that most of my family (and some of my friends) don’t think I’m serious about this YouTube thing. I mean, does it not seem like I am? I guess I sort of started on YouTube with the intention to just try something new, do something I love doing (video) & just have fun with it; however, once I saw the whole new level of creativity out there … things changed.

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A lot of times I wonder if people actually like watching my vlogs. I regard myself as pretty hilarious (at times), but with daily-vlogging there were somedays that I would come up without a lot of content. I mean, these vlogs are a view into my life. It’s what I do everyday. I’m a SAHM. I’m weird. I’m a Jesus freak. I have crazy kids. All of this goes into what my audience (“homies”) see everyday. However, the fact that I NOW have a couple of days of footage has honestly been A LOT better for my channel (although, there are times when even shooting video for a couple days turns out to be super boring), but I try 🙂 What can a girl do?

I know I probably annoy a lot of my friends & family with news about my channel. I’m constantly on social media trying to “subliminally” advertise & gain new subscribers. To be fair, that is the only way I can advertise The Leighty Life affordably 😉 Until I head out to Seattle & meet other vloggers and look into collaborating (and learning other methods), this is the way I’m getting the word out. So, apologies. I know some of you are annoyed, and honestly don’t care about my stupid vlogs. I get it. BUT on the other hand, if you had something you were working your tail off night and day to grow – I would honestly support you. True story.

Moving on. 

Like many YouTubers, I experienced my first “thumbs down” the other day. And yes, that upset me. I mean, it didn’t upset me in terms of crying – I just got annoyed. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s my choice whether or not I tell people my business online. And I can’t control what people think. People have the freedom to like and dislike anything they want in life. It’s all good. I can’t make something FUN and EXCITING if it really wasn’t really fun and exciting. So apologies on the boringness at times.

The thing with YT is this. If you don’t have subscribers, if you don’t get thumbs up/likes, if you don’t have any comments or activity on your vlogs or videos ..you really don’t have a chance of making it in the YT-world (or at least making any money). Like I said, I have been putting out videos since March, but I have yet to see any check. And I won’t – until my sub count is up, my videos are getting more views/likes/comments and/or I make some super awesome video that goes viral. I have talked with a couple other YouTubers online and may end up collaborating on some stuff there, so that may help. But right now it is what it is. And I was expecting that. I know it takes a little to get your content out. I mean it just takes you uploading it, but it takes a lot more to garner a following. I went into YouTube NEVER wanting to do one of those stupid “challenge” videos, but it’s changed my mind. Because let’s face it – they work. So be on the lookout for some Bean Boozled challenges ..and maybe something else that’s awesome (like those music videos I’ve been talking about since forever).

In any case, I love the internet. I love the ability we have (as online creators) to create what WE want with the Freedom WE have WHEN we want! I absolutely LOVE outlets like YT to get your content out WORLDWIDE! Whether it be gaming videos, those boring surprise egg videos (someone likes them) or daily vlogs. I may not be the next Casey Neistat (not even close) BUT I am a creator. That’s what Casey is. We create online content for people to enjoy. To me it’s about making memories & having fun; all while showing the love of Christ. I’m not a fancy cinematographer or stunt woman. I’m just Cara Leighty. I make funny, honest, somewhat-humble (somewhat boring) vlogs about my life as a SAHM and photographer. I love Jesus & I enjoy all aspects of media –  filming, editing, cameras (nerdy stuff); all while showing off my crazy (and super random) personality. And I am grateful to God for Blessing me with it 🙂 Maybe I’ll get big, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll eventually make money, maybe I won’t. In any case, I’m that weird redhead on YouTube.

So won’t you like, subscribe & comment? 😉

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