Andy Gimenez has built her successful YouTube channel, AndyGM en Berlin to an impressive half a million YouTube followers in six years.
But, even with a highly engaged audience, Andy had to throw caution to the wind a year ago when she decided to make the business her full-time gig.
Andy has plenty of wisdom to share about the work it takes to grow a strong channel and generate a liveable income.
What you’ll learn in this interview:
Create a niche which meets your audience’s needs
Why it’s essential to build an engaged community
Why YouTube business partnerships matter
Create a webinar when you can’t make a course
Three vital questions to ask before you quit your day job
Andy’s best tips for Langpreneurs
When Andy moved to Germany from Spain in 2014, she was shocked to find how hard it was to settle. From enrolling in university to finding an apartment, everything was a challenge.
Determined to overcome the language barrier, Andy enrolled in an academy and studied German for 15 hours a day. Within three months she’d progressed from barely B1 to passing the C2 exam with flying colours.
With German mastered, Andy looked online for help with the challenges she and other Spanish speakers in Germany were encountering. To her surprise, there was nothing remotely helpful on the web.
So, she started AndyGM en Berlin on YouTube to highlight all the problems large and small and show Spanish speakers how to solve them.
Your niche must serve a real need
At first, Andy posted videos on how to live in Germany. But soon she noticed that what her growing audience really wanted was to learn how to speak German. So she pivoted from her original ideas and added Spanish-German lessons, using the methods that worked for her.
That change brought immediate results. There are plenty of English-German websites out there, but AndyGM en Berlin was one of the first Spanish-German channels on YouTube.
Thus Andy learned two essentials of a successful business:
Work uniquely in a niche that supplies your customers’ needs.
Listen and respond to your audience.
Why it’s vital to have a strong community
The AndyGM en Berlin community is Andy’s YouTube family, and she believes that strong connection is vital. Andy’s core secret is staying true to herself. Because they see the real Andy, her followers respond in kind.
An engaged community gives you positive feedback and contributes ideas for content. They are happy to support the businesses you recommend because of the trust you’ve built up.
And, of course, they will be keen to buy when you decide to launch your products.
“In order for you to make things happen you don’t need to build a big audience, just a unified one… with a quality audience anything is possible. That’s one of the things to work for, building a unified, quality audience.”
The importance of building win-win business partnerships
Andy soon learned that YouTube in itself isn’t a business. Instead, YouTube is the way you share with your audience.
So, to make this her full-time job, Andy had to find ways to make money. She learned that companies don’t approach you. Instead, you should actively reach out to companies that you like and trust.
Andy now works with a lot of brands and believes that this creates a win-win partnership. The money contributes to her business income, and she only works with businesses whose products will benefit her followers.
In some ways she’s a bit of a matchmaker, teaming up German companies with the Spanish-speaking people who need them.
The value of meeting face-to-face
Hosting offline events is another opportunity to collaborate. These can grow your audience, benefit participants and provide income.
Early in 2020, Andy partnered with another Langpreneur to create a meetup event for Spanish speakers living in Germany. Having experienced the loneliness of moving to a new country she realised the value she could give by helping people to connect with other people from a similar background.
Their first event proved the concept, but the pandemic halted their plans for a second meetup.
Add to your business with another platform
Would your YouTube business benefit from more exposure on another platform? Many brands work better on Instagram than YouTube, so by improving her Insta channel, Andy could reach more companies.
Loathe to duplicate her content, Andy goes all out to create different posts for her Instagram stories. This strategy encourages people to follow her on both platforms.
Her biggest Insta tip for Langpreneurs is to post regularly and often.
“If you don’t post then Instagram forgets that you are there… so being consistent on Instagram is even more important than on YouTube.”
Webinars make a viable course alternative
Many followers have pleaded for Andy to make a course. However, brilliant courses take a lot of time and energy to create, and as a solo business owner, Andy can’t commit enough of either to make the course of her dreams. So instead, Andy decided to run paid webinars.
Her first webinar covered one topic in great detail. Over four sessions in August, she taught Spanish speakers how to move to Germany and to cope with the problems they’ll encounter. You could see it as a series of online Masterclasses because Andy also offers supplementary videos and PDFs with the webinar.
The response has been amazing, says Andy, and that motivates her to continue.
Eventually, Andy will launch a quality course because that’s what her community is asking for, but the webinars have been a viable alternative and a great learning curve.
Writing content is the first stage in creating webinars and courses; next comes the marketing. You need to create a landing page, mailing lists and write enticing sales copy to advertise your offering.
Andy sold her webinar through Instagram and found that marketing was exhausting work.
Now, with the basics under her belt and plenty of positive feedback from participants, she’s getting ready to sell webinar number two on both her channels.
Should I go full time on my business?
Andy asked herself three vital questions:
Is my current way of life sustainable?
Does the business make enough money for me to live?
And most importantly, what really makes me happy?
After five years in Germany Andy was frustrated with the constant grind of working other jobs as well as YouTubing. Still in her twenties, she had no social life and got very little sleep.
Eventually, she had to ask herself, what makes me happy and what doesn’t?
Andy decided to follow her passion for creating content and teaching others. So, she took a leap of faith, quit her other jobs and threw herself into making the business work.
Andy’s tips for Langpreneurs
Both YouTube and Instagram demand that you post consistently. Decide on a manageable schedule and stick to it so that your followers and the platforms know when new content will appear.
Practice the skills that don’t come naturally
Andy wasn’t confident in front of a camera at first and says that she practised a lot to become a polished performer. Likewise, she was a bundle of nerves when she hosted her first live webinar, but all that previous experience and practice helped.
Be yourself and be real
Andy believes that staying true to her values and her personality has paid off in her business. Not only do people react naturally back to her, but she also has the comfort of knowing that she can always be proud of what she’s put online.
The power of community
“A community can either make you or break you.”
When your content reflects your passions and teaches your audience, then they respond with kindness and enthusiasm. That, in turn, shows you what they need and enables you to move forward with your business offerings.
Don’t underestimate the work that goes into a successful YouTube business
Andy says that,
“Behind a YouTube channel… is a hard-working person working to create content of value, connect with their audience and make them happy”
You don’t have to look too far ahead
Many advisors insist that you need big goals to get ahead in business and life. That philosophy serves some people well, but if the idea fills you with dismay, then Andy has a different outlook: Concentrate on enjoying the present and work towards one or two goals in your near future.
If you look too far ahead and set high goals that are unreachable it can make you very sad, says Andy. So she prefers to give her all each day and welcome what comes out of it.
Go for it even if you feel you aren’t ready to launch a product!
Andy now realises that she wasted time prevaricating before she finally launched her webinar. Because her audience is so engaged she could have offered her product with a much smaller following.
Her advice if you’re too petrified to launch your course?
Just do it because if you work hard and do something with passion people will respond well to it. If you work hard on it, that’s going to show, and you will make people very happy with your own products.”