Being a YouTuber in Singapore

Local blogger Brenda Tan tells us what it is like to run her own YouTube channel, wordweed.

Nadia Illyana Foo

Published: 1 July 2019, 2:33 PM

All it took was a video of her double eyelid surgery to kick-start her YouTube channel.

Created by YouTuber Brenda Tan, the 16-minute video featured nine days’ worth of raw footage from her post-surgery recovery stage.

“I started getting a lot of questions about the video because people were genuinely curious to see the recovery process, so it ended up being searched for a lot,” recounted the 23-year-old on the video, which has over 200,000 views.

Brenda, also known as wordweed, produces videos ranging from lifestyle to beauty for her 45,000 YouTube subscribers. Her viewers also look forward to her “story-time” videos, where she candidly shares some of her personal experiences with dating and sitting for examinations.

Youth.SG sat down with Brenda to find out what it takes to be a YouTuber in Singapore.

Who: Brenda Tan, 23
Occupation: YouTuber
Studied: Degree in theatre studies from the National University of Singapore

Since 2015, Brenda has been directing and filming her own videos independently. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/NADIA ILLYANA FOO

Tell us more about yourself! 

Ever since I was a kid, I have always spent my time online and I was always very talkative.

I have always treated YouTube as a hobby when I was younger. Now, it has turned into something that I love and I’m proud of.

How and why did you become a YouTuber? 

I had always considered doing YouTube since my blogging days in 2010. I enjoy creating and sharing my ideas and thoughts with people. I have always been encouraged to do it because every time I blog, I get a lot of responses.

When I turned 18, I felt confident enough to present myself in front of the camera, so I made the switch to YouTube. It was a very easy switch because I have always expressed myself better [in front of the camera].

It’s just my method of communicating to people and that kind of connection is very precious to me.

How has the YouTube industry changed from when you first started? 

When I first started in 2015, YouTube channels by productions like Wah!Banana were big in the industry. Back then, Singaporean channels were mostly made up of teams, and I rarely saw other solo YouTubers like myself.

Nowadays, I see a lot of solo Singaporean YouTubers with huge followings.

Describe a typical day at work. 

I usually have something scheduled. There are meetings, product launches, events and consultations. It also depends if a brand prefers to talk to me face to face or over a phone call.

I will also be filming during the day, editing videos and photos, responding to comments and replying emails.

Brenda vlogging at 313@Somerset. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/NADIA ILLYANA FOO

What are some challenges you face as a YouTuber? 

I’m a small and solo YouTuber. I can’t afford to hire a video editor to help me and I don’t want to underpay anyone, so I have to do everything on my own. Thus, I can’t produce as much or as often as people want me to.

It’s also difficult to foster a pure relationship with other YouTubers, even though we might know each other through collaborations. Sometimes, friendships and work don’t mix because we are still very business-focused.

What are some memorable experiences you’ve had as a YouTuber? 

It always makes my day when people come to me and say hi because it can be so lonely filming by myself in front of the camera. Since I’m talking to a screen, I don’t really know who watches my videos.

There was once when I was doing a makeup giveaway in school and a girl from another block ran and hugged me! She gave me a Starbucks card, a cake, and ran off to catch her bus.

I know there are people who watch my content but I don’t really realise the impact that it has on my viewers until I see such a connection and this makes me very happy.

What are your future plans?

Ideally, I would love to expand my channel, have a team, and make more videos – maybe thrice a week – and set up a video production company.

Another big goal would be to produce documentaries and to make them fun and exciting to watch.

What’s your biggest advice for youths who are interested to be YouTubers?

Don’t do YouTube to get famous because you’re just going to get disappointed.

Instead, do it because you want to tell a story, share visuals and create content for people. Otherwise, your viewers can tell that there’s not much effort put in. You have to love what you are doing.

Educational requirements: None, but you need to be at least 13 years old to start a YouTube channel.

Qualities needed: You must be creative and original, so that you don’t seem like you’re copying another YouTuber’s style. You also need to be disciplined and self-motivated when creating content.

Salary range: It ranges from $100 to $5,000, depending on the scale and deliverables of each project.

Working hours: Flexible; it usually depends on the number of projects you take up.

Career prospects: It depends on the type of projects you work on and the type of content you produce. Based on your skills, you can consider being a social media personality or a digital consultant.

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